Recovering well from neck surgery

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by sggas, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. sggas

    sggas New Member

    The last 24hrs has gone so quickly and I am so confused. I am just looking for some support or imput from anyone who cares to. I am very frightened so I would appreciate that if anyone has a horror story that it not be shared with me unless you feel it very important that I have the information. I am sorry if this gets to long.
    My fiancee was diagnosed with fm several years ago and has had difficulties with fatique and muscle pain off and on to varying degrees throughout this period.
    In December he become very tired and in constant pain and then the syptoms began to change. He was unable to work. Numbness and tingling starting in his arms and hands and moving down to his legs. Around the beginning of March he began to walk like he was drunk and about a month ago began falling and had to start walking with a cane. Numbness and pain in legs and off balance. He was also loosing control of his bowels and bladder.
    We saw his physician in April and requested an MRI to check for MS or other possible reasons. We were waiting for the appointment with the neurologist who would refer him for the MRI.......but.......he got so bad on the weekend that he was not even able to lift his legs to walk anymore and had had some very bad falls. I had to lift his feet to get him up the stairs.
    I decided to take him to emergency. To make a long story short they did many tests of reflexes etc. and completed an MRI this morning. The neurologist and surgeon informed him that they felt very strongly that they knew what was wrong from the MRI results.
    They claim that he has two disks in his neck which have completely deteriorated and have fused to his spinal column. They want to complete a three hour surgical procedure. I think that they called it "anterior cervical decompression" They enter the front of his neck and remove the disks and replace them with some type of braces and ceramic material. They are saying that they have completed ten of these operations and although there are always risks with any type of surgery, all of the ones they have completed have been successful.
    They were going to do the surgery tonight but have decided to wait until Friday.
    I guess I am just looking for some kind of support. I am scared of course, but I know that he could not go on the way things are progressing. I am just wondering if anyone has any words of encouragement for me.
    Thanks for your time.
    [This Message was Edited on 07/15/2003]
  2. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

    i don't blame you for being nervous.
    The only thing I can tell you is that I had back
    surgery which failed. I later had neck problems
    and my surgeon offered me neck surgery. Since
    I didn't have good luck with back surgery, I decided
    against surgery and did physical therapy, etc.

    My surgeon did tell me that in his experience,
    neck surgeries have more positive outcomes
    than back surgery. So this will most likely
    be a very good thing for your fiance.

    I do have to say that I do not believe that ten
    surgeries makes a good surgeon. I would
    want a dr. who does many of these surgeries
    not ten. This is serious stuff. Can you
    get a second opinion???

    Good luck.
  3. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

    But a dangerous one. You can try and do a search for MGH nuerology chat board and find spinal disorders 3 know a SD3 go on there and do a search you will find many people that have had the surgery and will help you through it. IT must be done very soon. I won;t go into the reasons. IF you are in the AZ area the best surgeon is Dr. Curtis Dickman. Good luck and keep up posted. I can help you. I have a c2-3 herniation and a c-6 syrinx. ELlie YOu really don't have much time for lots of opinions from other docs. One other opinion would be smart
    [This Message was Edited on 07/09/2003]
  4. sggas

    sggas New Member

    I had mixed feelings about posting because I knew that I would have to take the good with the bad.
    I do appreciate your ideas and the comfort of feeling that there are people close by.
    I am in Canada and it has been so difficult. I cannot be there to see the doctors or hear any of the results because of the SARS restrictions at the hospital.
    I am way to scared to do any searches or check into this because I know that I am going to read horrible things that will scare me more.
    I guess the fact is that he is there and he has agreed to have this surgery done. So basically I have to pray and trust that it has to be this way and hope that we have a good outcome.
    Thanks for being there for me
  5. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

    Like when he trys to swallow it will be very hard, so lots of apple sauce and soft foods. He will most likely need to sleep in a upright position for awile, he may lose his voice for a few months all of these things will go away with time so don't freak out about it. I had to prepare for this surgery but I have not lost my bowels or use of my legs untill then no surgery. I am here for you. With sars and he already is in the hospital it is in god's hands ask for prayer on the worship board, I will pray for you also. Ellie
    [This Message was Edited on 07/09/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 07/09/2003]
  6. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    Bad points [let's get this over with], they gave her a serious infection in her spinal cord [?] from a myelogram and it was only after a while of intense pain the situation was realized and i think maybe then surgery was brought forward.

    She had 2 fused, was supposed to get 3rd done later, but she hasn't.

    AFter surgery, she told me she would never go through it again, too awful.

    Good points: part of her awful experience might have been due to the morphine given to her after, she hated it.

    She has fully recovered and resumed a very good quality of life.

    She was crying from the neck pain before the surgery. She has occcasional neck pain now, but it is not a major or chronic thing [that I know about].

    That was more than 10 years ago, and times have changed, so, might be a better procedure now.

    Hope things go well.
  7. kredca4

    kredca4 New Member

    The fact that they have done only 10, is what would send me packing and looking for another Surgeon.

    They can do the Fussion, with using a piece of bone, either taken from your Hip, or from a bone bank.
    I have to have the surgery myself, but I'm going to trysome PT first, if for no other reason than to get my body ready for the operation.

    I had a Laminectoy(sp?), on the C7, now they need to fuse the C4,5&6. So I too am very nervous, and I can understand your worry's. I really would have another Surgeon look at him, maybe one with more experience, the one that is doing mine, is the Top Rated Dr., along with his Partner.
    I called a lot of Dr's office's to check him out.

    What I did was call a Neruologist, and an Orthopedic Specialist, and asked their Nurse, who they would recommend for my type of surgery, they all said the same name.
    My Doctor, so that takes care of one fear.

    I will tell you this, because you need to know, the Surgeon who did the C-7 surgery, tore my Right Rotator cuff, and I lost the full use of my arm. So you really need to do some research and wait if possible. I know the Pain is Bad, so that is to be considered also. But I was in a Hurry to get rid of my Pain, and I had only seen this NeruoSurgeon once before, he was nice, but after the Surgery, he became Arragont.

    One thing, he might lose the use of his arm's, during the first 24 hours after the surgery, this is do to the Decompression and the swelling from the surgery, so don't let that scare you. If they position him Properly, which by going in through the front makes this easier, he should be alright.

    God Bless you, and do some search's on the net. I use Google Search engine and they have a ton of info.

  8. kayfrey

    kayfrey New Member

    There were a lot of negative responses, but I had a cervical fusion about 7 years ago where they took bone from my hip and placed in my neck and I would do it again in a heart beat!!!!! My arm and hand had started going numb and my shoulder hurt so bad from the referred pain for years. I decided that I wanted the surgery and when I was out of recovery I could already tell the difference!!! The bone taken from my hip hurt worse than anything.

    I am pain free today of the neck pain anway. Good luck to you and I hope this helps!!!

  9. kredca4

    kredca4 New Member

    I can pay them back, after I'm done with All my Bone's, and anything else that they can use.

    I think the thought of taking a bone from my Hip is not a good idea, since I already have some Orthopedic and OA problems, there.

    Didn't even know they had a Bone bank, well guess there's hardly a part that can't be donated these day's.
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I'm sending up a prayer for your boyfriend and success with his surgery.

    Love, Mikie
  11. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    You've gotten some good advice & info. My brother-in-law had this surgery & it was very successful. I do not believe he has any pain or "leftover" symptoms after the surgery. I understand your fears, anything around the spinal column makes people nervous, naturally. Good luck to your fiancee & please let us know how he is doing...

  12. sggas

    sggas New Member

    Just wanted to thank everyone for the input and support.
    The surgery yesterday went very well. He had a team of three nuerosurgeons and one is supposedly well known for his successes. Some people around the area have refered to him as Dr. "God". (Hmmm wish they had told me that BEFORE the surgery......might have saved me a whole lot of fretting)
    He ended up having an anterior decompression of two discs and fusion of four (4,5,6,&7). I think I have that right. I am really not sure because I am not allowed to be at the hospital much because of the SARS restrictions, so I am not there when the DR sees him.
    He was walking down the corridor when I got there tonight and he looks wonderful. The burning sunburn sensation on his skin is completely gone. He has feeling in his hands and feet for the first time in months and has been using the toilet with no accidents so far. He says that besides the actually discomfort of the surgery (which he says is really not that bad considering he has built up such a high pain tolerance with having FM for so many years.) He says he still has an overall mild flu like pain in his body, but nothing like he has been experiencing.
    He is walking a little better than before he went in, but I am expecting that and other things will continue to improve each day with excercise and pyshio and LOTS OF PRAYER!!!!
    Believe it or not the biggest success for him is that someone finally believed that he had something seriously wrong and did the testing to find out. He has been so discouraged with people continually asking him......."Are you DEPRESSED" and giving him more pain pills and anti-depressants to keep him quiet. Even the night I took him to emergency he had a doctor go up close to his face and say........"are you SURE you are not just depressed?" and he said to the doctor..........YES!! I AM Depressed, but that is not why I am here.....I am here because I can't walk and I am sh**ing my pants, are you going to help me or not?"........the MRI was ordered the next morning and when the results were so serious, that doctor actually came back to him and apologized for his apprehension.
    That felt good to him to show proof to that doctor and so many other people who just see him as a weak, depressed, character who needed to get his act together.
    I feel so badly for him and others who live with FM, because there is really no test or conclusive evidence to show proof of the pain and fatigue that people encounter. If there was...........there would be a whole lot of people getting "MEDALS" for tolerance and endurance.
    Thanks for letting me ramble.
    Take Care

  13. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

    SO glad to hear will post more but I am in pain tonight myself. Don't forget to thank GOD for all he has done. Amen and ALOHA Ellie
  14. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    That's great!

    What hospital was it done at? Toronto western? Or was it done in Bellevue? I ask that because a friend of mine had brain surgery at Toronto Western by a skilled neurosurgeon.

    I am wondering if my mother had the most discomfort due to bone taken from her hip like someone else said and maybe that's one of the reasons she has been reluctant to have another vertebrae fused. But, she has nowhere near the severity of problems as does/did your fiancee, so she would be less motivated of course.

    Thanks for sharing your great news and I hope you can de-stress a little now!

    Jen F
  15. sggas

    sggas New Member

    The surgery was performed in the Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ontario.
    He did not have any bone removed from his hip.......the procedure was done with ceramic and metal. I guess there are pros and cons for both. We weren't given a choice.
    Hope this helps answer your question.