Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17 2011

I am almost 4 months post op.  I have been going to physical therapy for about a month, it seems to be helping my back but making my neck worse.

I have been getting this horrible, "muscle spasm" IN my throat type feeling.  It is horrible and is worse at night, especially if I had to talk a lot during the day or during work.  

I had a follow up with Dr. Jennings.  She is not sure what is causing that muscle spasm.  I am also having muscle spasms in my left shoulder blade again.  She is also concerned about my range of motion in the neck.  She wants me to do neck PT after I finish the back PT!!  She also prescribed Skelaxin.  It is a muscle relaxer.  It is supposed to have less side effects than most muscle relaxers.  I am still not convinced its helping.  It gives me a headache and sort of makes me tired.

I also got a TENS unit.  I do like it, it seems to help.  It atleast takes my mind off the pain.

I really like PT.  Everyone is really nice and fun.  I seem to be getting stronger. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

3 months post op

I am sorry I have not updated this blog in a while.

Lets just start by saying... I can't believe I am 3 months post op.  It feels like I was sitting in pre op just a couple days ago.  Each month things seem to get a lot better.  Currently my neck feels great.  It tires easily, and after a long day at work I do get some mild to moderate (compared to pre op spasms) muscle spasms.  If I am working on the computer or working on the sandwich line looking down a lot, I do get some pain in my neck, but trust me... nothing near what I used to get pre op.  The new kind of pain will go away if I stop what I am doing.

Back pain has been an issue lately.  Although it does seem like every months it gets a little better.

I went back to work on August 24th, which was 2 months post op.  Going back to work was tough, because of the physical demands of the job.  Within 15 minutes of working my back muscles go extremely tight and start burning.  If I sit down the burning will slightly lessen, but as soon as I start walking, bending and lifting, it starts back up again.  I also get sharp pains in my low back and in my left hip.  This all was much worse in July and August, so I am hoping it just keeps getting better.   I talked to Dr. Croissant about this and he ordered a Lumbar MRI.  I also asked him if we could do a Thoracic MRI because I always felt like something was wrong with that part of my spine.  I had both MRIs and they both came back with nothing wrong.  He then referred me to Dr. Nadine Jennings, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctor.  She did an exam and we both determined together that because I was incorrectly moving my body pre surgery, it took an effect on my lower back.  By not moving my neck, I strained my mid and lower back.  This resulted in incorrect posture for a long time, thus giving me the resulting back pain.  She prescribed Flexeril to take nightly, Flector patches (A NSAID patch.  I am not supposed to take any NSAIDs because I am waiting for fusion, but she says the patch mostly targets the area and does not put as much in my blood stream.  Unfortunately insurance does not cover the patches, so she gave me some samples.  I am not convinced it helps anyway.  She also prescribed PT.  I had my PT consultation yesterday.  Everyone was really nice.  The doctor at the PT place said they would be using a combination of MedX exercises and massage.  We will see how that goes.  I have my first actual session on Monday.   I am supposed to be getting a TENS unit.  I thought someone was going to call me about that, but I haven't gotten a call yet.  I will ask Dr. Jennings about that next time I see her.

Anyway, overall recovery is going well.  My neck and shoulders actually feel somewhat normal.  I am glad I had the surgery.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Left hand

I noticed I can hold my left hand still now :)

Lower back isn't hurting as much.  I think it was from sitting in the recliner too much.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wed July 13

I haven't posted in a few days......... I still have been having a lot of lower back/hip type pain.  It is really getting to me!!  I don't know what it is.  I can't stay in the same position for a while because of it. 

My neck is not doing bad........ It is sore but nothing like pre surgery.  Then again- I am not working.

I just want the pain to go away and to get my life back.  Now I have all this lower back pain.  It's not nearly as bad as my neck was pre-surgery, but it is constant and painful.  Probably about the 5-6/10 range.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10

Today all day I have been having a lot of pain in my lower back/upper hips.  I don't know why.  I had this pain pre surgery since about April.  I thought it was because I never really moved my neck and moved other parts of my body in strange way to make up for it.  I am still hoping that it will go away when I heal from this surgery.

Lots of pain in my shoulder blades today too, both sides.  I feel my arms are still very weak especially my left.  I am going to look up exercises to strengthen them.  I don't think I will be going to physical therapy.  We will see after the next apt.

I hate pain!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday July 9

Yesterday I had xrays and saw Dr. Crosissant.  The xray was great, I didn't have to change into one of those gowns and just had one taken from the side view.  The plate and screws looks pretty cool!  The Doctor said it looks good, the plate hasn't moved or anything.  He told me to do more walking and try to move my arms more when doing the walking.   He was not feeling well, everyone was sick!!  Glad to get out of there, hopefully I won't get sick.  After that I went to five guys with mom, I just get a little cheeseburger with lettuce.  It is pretty good.  I don't like their fries very much.  After that we went over to Sarah's Panera and had a coffee.  She made me a caramel latte. 

After I got home I rested on my computer for a little while and then went on a walk.  It was about 2 miles.  I think I kind of over did it because I was pretty sore when I got home.

Today I woke up feeling pretty sore.  Lots of pain in my left shoulder blade!  I thought that wasn't supposed to come back!!!!!  I have been putting a heat pack on it which is helping a little.  I know it is still early in the process but it will be very dissapointing if I have this shoulder pain still!!  I have to keep reminding myself that it is still very early in the process!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday July 8th

Yesterday Michelle came over and we chatted for a while.  She brought me a pie.  I stayed home all day.  I went on a walk around the small circle (about a mile I think).  That's pretty much all from yesterday!!  My days are pretty much event less lately, but I am healing, that's how its supposed to be. 

Today I am going for X-rays and my 2 week follow up drs appt!  Last time I had xrays the xray tech tried to move my neck painfully around. She almost got punched!  My neck does not hurt as much now as it did that day, so hopefully I will be able to move it enough for the xrays. I am excited to see what the xray looks like now, with the plate and screws!  I will post a pic on facebook when I get it, maybe on here if I can figure it out!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday July 6th!

Today I was supposed to have my two week follow up/xray appt.  They called early in the morning to say the Doctor was not going to be in and asked to reschedule to Friday.  So now I will have the appointment Friday morning.

Yesterday was pretty much a boring day.  I stayed home all day and played computer games and chatted online.  I also went on a walk down Gunn road.  Not that safe but it is the closest to nature that I could get without going into the biting fly infested bear creek park.

Today I went to the village with Mom and Sarah.  We went to Bravo and I just got a house salad.  It is pretty good, it is a chopped salad with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bacon, Wonton Strips and a creamy kind of like ranch dressing.  I always get the dressing on the side, because I don't like that much of it.  After that we walked around a little and had Starbucks.  I had a gift card from my dad and so I treated.  We walked around a little.  My neck muscles get tired and sore VERY quickly.  It rotates from side to side which muscles are painful.  By the end of the day they are all painful!  I think it is good for me to get out and walk a bit because it helps condition them.  I need them to get strong quickly!  I can't travel that much because the bumps in the road hurt a lot, also if the car gets smashed I would probably have perminant damage and have to have more surgery.  I have to wait until the bone grows more. 

I am still not aloud to drive :(  It may be for the better anyway.  I can't really turn my head at all. Although  I couldn't really turn it before surgery anyway. 

After the village I came home and did my usual online stuff.  Then I walked around the block.  It was so Sunny, the spots of shade were a blessing.  I may try to do my walk earlier in the morning so it is not as hot.

I am still taking pain medication and or muscle relaxers at night, not during the day except some times in the evening. It really hurts to lay down in bed unless I take them.  It only helps a little, but enough to be able to get a decent nights rest, that is importiant for healing. 

I have been kind of worried today about when I am going back to work.  I know that is atleast a month away so not to worry so much.  I am looking at august 10th or 17th.  I think I told my boss august 3rd.  The extra weeks would really help and I would still get paid from the insurance company. I will see what the doctor says on Friday about my healing progress.

My friend/coworker Michelle is going to come over tomorrow.  I wonder what we will do.  There is not much to do except go on a walk and talk.  Usually I like ice skating with her but of course we won't be doing that!! At least not for a while.

I always see people biking by and wish it was me.  I also see hockey and wish it was me.  I see people running and wish it was me.  I see people doing a lot of things and I wish I could physically do it.  It is depressing but I know I can do a lot more than other people so I shouldn't be complaining.  Like walking.  Lots of people with they could walk, or see, or hear.  I hope by next summer I will be biking again and doing fun things like that. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th

Yesterday ended up being a pretty boring day.

I spent a lot of time on the computer, ate a sub, ate some candy, drank a powerade zero.

Went on a little walk to bear creek park, but as soon as we got there we turned around because of the flies!

My neck hurts a lot at night when I go to bed.  It hurts in the day if I move it around a lot.  Also if I do a lot with my arms.

Today I am actually going to leave the house.... Going to my cousin's house for a 4th of July bbq.

Update: 6:39pm
So I just got back from the bbq at my cousin's house.  It was kind of a long way with quite a bit of bumps in the road which didn't help.  It was good to see everyone, and the dinner was really really good.

I started getting really sore around 4pm (which is usual), but it just kept building and building.  We left about 6, and my grandpa hugged me but he hugged me around my neck and squeezed me extremely tight and it hurt so bad i screamed a little.  I was seriously seeing stars.  He stopped and felt really bad when I freaked out.  I know he haw a hard time with remembering things, and it was all so quick.

I am in a lot of pain right now and just trying to relax.  Between the hug and the car rides I am beat.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 10!! WOW

I can't believe it is already day 10!

Yesterday ended up being a really good birthday!

I have to remind myself not do to anything crazy or stupid!  My neck is still in the very beginning of the healing process.  The bones probably have not even started to fuse!

Today I am going to try to go on a longer walk.  Yesterday I walked around the block.  Today I am going to try to walk to bear creek park.  I have to remind myself to be patient.  I normally don't like walking but I have to remind myself I am not in a rush.  However long it takes, that's how long it takes.

I tried to go to sleep last night without taking any pain medication.  I tried for about an hour and a half but with every laying position the pain got too bad.  I have to remember I am still early in the process! 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

9 Days Post Surgery!

Today is my birthday!

I am not supposed to travel in a car (can't drive at all) because if we were to be rear ended it could really effect my neck!!  Today is my birthday so we decided to make a trip to my favorite restaurant, Red Lobster!  I made sure we took the van (the seats are much better than the Jeep) and my mom drove like an old lady (I wanted her to).  Some of the bumps in the road were tough, but I wore my neck brace and it was ok!

Usually on my birthday trip to RL I get crab legs, but I wasn't sure how cracking them would work out.  It is very hard to hold my arms up and do stuff like that.  So I ordered fish and chips.  It was pretty good, but I only ate about half of it because I ate a bunch of my sister's shrimp pasta and................ 2 strawberry daquiris!!!  It was ok because I didn't have any pain medication since about 2am.   I only seem to need it in the afternoon/evening and night!! :)  I am in less pain now than what I was before surgery.  Of course I am not working, which I am sure adds to that, but I don't get "that" feeling in my neck.  I still get shoulder/upper back pains, which can be really painful, but so far not as bad as before surgery.  Funny because a lot of my pain is right sided now.... My pain before surgery was mostly left sided. 

After RL we stopped at Walgreens on the way home.  I had a prescription ready for pickup and wanted a white chocolate kit kat bar which they didn't have!!  I know they have them at target!

I have been really wanting to play Oregon Trail II.   Not just Oregon trail but it had to be Oregon Trail II.  A while back i tried to play it but it wouldn't work on my computer.  I couldn't find the disc so I ordered a used copy on amazon.  It came in 2 days!!!!!!!!  What a great seller.  For some reason it works on my computer!! I have been playing it!!

I am really glad my pain levels have been staying low, at least during the day.  I know I need to get out and walk more to keep up my strength but it is SO HOT!!  Excuses I know!  I am no where near ready to start working, but I know I am on the right path...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Day 8

Hello Friends!

Today I actually feel great! (So far hehe).  My pain is literally a 1/10.  It has not been this way for a LONG time.  I am not going to do anything crazy, because I know what will happen.  I know it is still very early in the recovery.

I have been trying to find my ipod since before my surgery. I finally found it this morning!!  In the cushion of the couch I never sit on!

Later on today we are going to have a fondue party/bonfire/fireworks at my house :)  It is just a family only type of thing.  I am excited.

The fondue party was really yummy and fun, but all that reaching left me very sore!  I took some meds and now I am watching movies on facebook.  I removed the rest of my steri-strips!  They were getting loose, kinda smelly and driving me crazy! 

Tomorrow is my birthday!!  :)

I am not sure how to post pictures on here.....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

One week!

Today marks one whole week from my surgery!  It seems time has gone by fast.

Last week at this time (2:38pm) I think I was in the recovery room!

My pain has not been extremely bad lately except for around 4pm.  Every day, around 4pm my pain spikes and stays that way until I take medication which helps a little.  I don't know what it has to do with 4pm!

I have been very careful.  Sitting around a lot, walking a little.  I know I need to walk more.  I am going to do a little more walking when the temperature goes down a little, or at least the sun.

Today so far I took Dixie outside, she went to "ssr".  She is so cute!

I also ordered a delivery sub from Hungry Howies!  Ha ha ha.  It was pretty good.  So good but so bad. 

I talked to my friends on the spine-health website today.  There are a lot of nice people on there, unfortunatly all with neck/back issues as well.

Unfortunately I have been having some strange dreams lately.  Last night I had 2 that I remember.  The first one was that I stepped on my grandpa's toe and broke it!  :(  The second one my sister was so excited she came into my room while I was sleeping, woke me up, grabbed me by the front of my pajamas and pulled me up and down (like in a whiplash position!) I freaked out and was crying and angry because I can't move my neck that much.  Hmmm

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 6 After Surgery

Today is day 6 after surgery.  Wednesday June 29th.

I am starting to loose track of the day.   I thought it was Thursday!

Yesterday I was in a lot of pain.  The morning started off ok, but around 11 the pain started to get really bad, it stayed that way until I took medication at about 4, then at about 5 I was starting to feel a little better.

Laura came over for a visit.  She is leaving for France today!  I am so happy for her.  What a great learning experience!

Today my pain has not been that bad. I am being very careful not to move very much.  Any movement of my arms, and shoulders is bad, and movement of my neck is prohibited and really bad!!

Today I have been getting pretty bored.  I am surprised it took this long for me to get bored.  I guess I am also sad today because the fireworks are tonight and I really want to go.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 5 After Surgery

Even though I am just chillaxing at home, time seems to be flying.  Today is Tuesday, June 28th which is day 5 after surgery.  The last few days have not been that bad.  Yes I am in pain........ but I can still eat and drink and walk around so I am doing fine.  I would have updated this blog more often, but every time I tried to I would start feeling very dizzy!  My sensitivity to light and sound is much less now thank goodness!!

My pain is concentrated in my upper back, mostly the part of my spine where the neck connects to the back.  It also hurts around the shoulder blades and will get very stiff at times.  The front of my throat where the incision is really does not hurt.  It does not feel like anything.  It itches sometimes and is a bit numb.  The right side of my chin (my right) is very numb!  A random nerve will miss fire every once in a while.  I will think there is something on there but there is not.  That is not painful, just weird.  The back of my head where my neck connects is also very painful especially where the muscles connect on both sides.  The pain is less after I start moving around, then more after I moved around (If that makes sense haha), and then in the evening my muscles get super tight, and then at night It is very painful and hard to sleep.  I wake up pretty often.  I have a sore spot in my throat.  It seems to be on the right side.  I didn't have much pain in my throat until about the third day.  I am very thankful because I know they put all those tubes down my throat. Most people have a lot of difficulty swallowing after surgery.  I am thankful I had little to none.

Last night I woke up at about 4am.  My neck brace was off, my covers and pillows were off the bed and I was laying there in a twisted up position.  NOT GOOD!!!  Lets hope and pray that does not happen again.  I was afraid of something like that happening, because I am known for doing that.  I often have "night terrors" where I talk in my sleep and move around. 

My lower back is still hurting a lot.  I am going to have to try to get that checked out again as soon as possible.  I don't think it is a disc issue because it is not the same type of pain.  Who knows!  Always something.  :( 

Today I think Laura is coming over.  She is leaving for France tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!  Lucky her!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ACDF 4-5 continued


So every time I continue to write this blog, I become nauseous so I can only write a little at a time.  Anyway.. Back to my story....

At about 6pm it was time for me to get up for the first time.  I was NOT looking forward to that.  I had to go to the bathroom anyway so it had to be done.  By this time my mom was there and she accompanied me to the bathroom.  Basically....  getting there was awful.  They said I was walking like a penguin!  When I got to the toilet I couldn't go, I sat there for 45 min with a full bladder and with a great effort finally went a little.  I also felt like I was going to pass out.  Finally I got back to my bed and rested for a bit. Around 8-830ish my new roomate Vickie came in.  She had lumbar fusion surgery. Her schedule was late... It didn't even start until about 3pm.  Let me just say... She was STARVING!!  She ate all the graham crackers and finally the nurse went and got her a sandwich!!  The night was rough.  I was pretty much up all night.  Between my trips every 45 min to the bathroom, and Vickie's trips as well, no one was sleeping at all.  The night was like some crazy drug induced sleepover where you stay up all night!  There was also always something going on out in the hallway.  Different emergencies! My IV blew up and it took 2.5 hours before I was able to get a new one.  This was good because I was able to make my bathroom trips a lot easier, but bad because I wasn't getting my fluids, antibiotic or pain medication.  The nurse, Melissa, was pretty new.  She was nervous about giving me the iv, especially because my veins are hard to find.  She ended up doing it in my wrist, which I was nervous about, but it worked out fine and actually hurt less than the other iv!  She was really nice.  All the nurses were pretty nice.  Throughout the night they were giving me a rotation between iv morphine and oral Percocet 5/325.  I did not get sick at all from the meds.  I was very sensitive to lights and sound the whole time, and still am.  In the morning I ordered breakfast.  I ordered buttermilk pancakes, a banana, yogurt, and English muffin with cream cheese and jelly.  When I got the food, they literally gave me one silver dollar pancake that was dried up!!  I didn't even end up eating that.  I ate the English muffin, half the banana and yogurt.  Soon after breakfast Dr. Croissant and Zac the nurse came by.  When they walked in the room they all stood at the end of my bed with a puzzled look on their face.  It was an awkward staring contest for about 2 seconds.  It felt like a whole minute.  Then finally Dr. Croissant said, "Do you know your neck brace is on backwards".  I told him I know, it supports my neck in the back better! They all thought that was very strange but then the Dr said everything looked good and I was going to be released around noon.  He also told me that I am the youngest person he has ever done a cervical disc fusion on.  (Lucky me)  Not to mention he has been in practice for over 40 years.  He said my disc was extremely ruptured with lots of fragments on the spinal cord and nerve roots.  He seems like a very nice but quiet person.  I called mom and she came to get me.  We waited a little bit for paperwork to be filled out and then I left.  I was not looking forward to the ride home.  I get carsick very easily and was afraid of the bumps in the road.  Zac wheeled me down to the lobby in a gigantic wheelchair, and I got in the car.  We stopped at Walgreens to get my prescription filled.  We finally got home and of course I wasn't feeling great.  Mom gave me a bath and I almost passed out when she was drying my hair. Everything started looking extremely fuzzy and like it was raining and my hands and arms became extremely tingly!  Then grandma brought over some stew and I ate it while lying back in the recliner with an ice bag covering my head and eyes.  The bright sunlight in the kitchen really really bothered me.  I felt bad but I was getting one of the worst headaches ever.  Soon after grandma and grandpa left I went to bed. I was worried how I was going to be able to sleep.  The recliner was comfortable, but getting OUT was nearly impossible. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to sleep flat in the bed either.  I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep but with the help of piled up pillows, a neck collar, Dueche, the lou boys and Percocet I could!  I was so relieved.  The next morning I woke up feeling ok, had an egg for breakfast and then went outside and walked up and down the driveway a couple times.  This really tired me out and gave me a huge headache.  I went inside and laid down for a while after that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 2011 (2nd day post op)

Hello Everyone!!

I am now going to recount to the best of my ability the experience of my surgery so far.

June 23rd 2011.

When I arrived at the hospital with my mom I checked in at the front desk. It was about 8:30am. They sent me up to the B elevators- second floor surgery check in.  I signed in on the computer at surgery check in and within a few minutes they called me to the desk.  They asked me what I was there for and had me agree to a few questions, like if they could give out my room number to visitors and if I consented to having the surgery.  They then told me to go sit back down and a pre op assistant would come and get me.  Not even 5 minutes later the pre op person got me.  They took me to pre op bay 7.  I undressed and put on the hospital gown.  It is a very interesting gown.  It was very soft purple paper/cloth like material.  It had holes where you could hook up a hair dryer type thing that could either heat u up or cool you! I was not hot or cold so I didn't use either yet.  After that I waited and the other nurse came and asked me questions about medications and some other legal type questions.  She gave me a dramamine pill to prevent sickness after anesthesia. It seemed really early to take it, but of course that wasn't up to me! I waited about another half an hour and then my mom came in.  I couldn't sit on the bed because it was really hurting my neck.  The nurse said it was ok to sit in the chair next to the bed.  I sat there for a while. The nurse came by again and said the surgery before mine took longer than expected, so they are running about a half an hour behind.  The time dragged on.  I was very nervous.  Anesthsia came by.  There was an Anestheologist, a nurse anestestist and a student nurse anestestist!  They looked at my mouth to see how big it was... they didn't look pleased.  They asked me lots of questions about previous surgeries and about my history of allergies and asthma. Soon they left and the surgeon came by.  He asked me if I was nervous and I said YES!  He told me that's normal but not to be nervous.  He put a piece of tape on my neck where he was going to cut.  Then a bunch of people came and they told me it was time to get in the bed.  I got in and they started pushing me towards the OR.  This is where things got VERY fuzzy.  They said time to say goodbye, my mom kissed me and then they pushed me through the double doors.  I don't remember what happened after that until they lifted me from that bed to another bed.  They lifted up the blanket I was lying on.  Kind of like on TV how they all go 1.2.3... and all lift.  The other bed had a doughnut pillow thing that was uncomfortable. I reached my had up to move it but they took my arm and tucked it in very tight close to my body.  They then and pulled my other arm, the one with the iv, out on a stretcher thing...... and guess what.........  I don't remember anything else.

Recovery Room:

Nurse:  Lisa!  LISA you need to breathe!  Breathe LISA (while taping on my chest)
Me: (in my head) Lisa? (while trying to breathe)
Nurse: LISA!  You need to breathe!
Me: (again in my head Lisa? LISA?)  (Also it was kinda scary not being able to breathe.  Finally I started breathing again or something and they pulled out the tube.  I drifted off a couple times and every time the nurse would come back..
Nurse:  Lisa you need to take deep breaths, deep breaths Lisa!

Anyway... At this point I could not talk.   I kept trying to say Donna but nothing was coming out not even a whisper.  Finally after trying a lot of times I could barely whisper.  I kept motioning the nurse over and finally she came over and I let out a little whisper, "Donna".  She was like, Huh? Finally she looked at my chart and was like OMG I am sorry your name is Donna!  I also noticed sometime during this that I did not have a collar on.  She was giving me pain meds at that time, it was dilaudid.  I did not feel sick at all in the recovery room. It was great!  She kept asking me if I wanted to go up to my room.  I kept saying no!  She asked me why I don't want to go there and I said because I don't want to get up.  She told me they would move me on to the bed so I wouldn't have to get up.  Finally I didn't have a choice and they just started wheeling me up there.  THIS MADE ME SICK!  I was pretty dizzy when I got up to my room and they helped me up and made me walk over to the bed.  I felt like I weighed 10000 pounds (Yeah they didn't move me).  I got in the bed and was super dizzy.  The nurse, Zac, was there and my aunt told him I was dizzy.  He gave me some Zofran in my IV that pretty much instantly made me not dizzy.  That was cool!

My First Roomate:
Although I was not dizzy any more I was still EXTREMELY sensitive.  Especially sensitive to light and sounds.  Let me just start by saying, I hate the tv show Judge Judy.  I had a huge headache.  The tv was booming.  Judge Judy.  Not only was the tv booming, the roomate's husband's voice was booming. I should say that I was on the neurology floor and my first roomate had some sort of memory issue. 

Nurse to patient: Do you know this man?
My 1st roomate:  Oh yes, he is a good friend.
Husband: GOOD FRIEND?  I am your husband of ?? Years!! (Starting to freak out going on and on.)
Roomate:  Sorry I cant remember I dont know I dont know anything. (OVER AND OVER)
Husband:  I am your HUSBAND, HUSBAND (Over and over booming)
Roomate: I'm sorry, I don't remember, I don't remember (crying)

Judge Judy was still booming in the background.

I don't know exactly what happened after that, my aunt was feeding me ice chips and I got an ice bag.  Finally the first roomate left and that was the best thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I had peace and quiet for about 2 hours and then about 8:30pm I got a new roomate.  Her name was Vickie and she had a lumbar fusion.  More to come soon......

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I am starting this blog for multiple reasons.   The first reason is so that I can keep an account of my feelings before and after my surgery.  The second is so other people that are about to undergo this surgery will have something to read, so they somewhat know what to expect.


I have been having neck, shoulder and upper arm pain for approximately 4-5 years now.  The first time I can remember neck pain was when I was at my senior all night party and did a bungee run bounce house type game.  I got whiplash.  I do not know that my injuries ocured from that point, but what I do know is- I will never do another bungee run game and I recommend other people don't do it as well.   The following fall, my freshmen year of college, I always felt like I had a tight neck and shoulders, but there was not much pain associated.  The following year I was working diligently on my HRD 423- Instructional methods project and my neck, "went out"  This was the first time I experienced the excruciating pain in my neck and shoulder.  Over the next few years I was still very active but oftentimes my neck would go "out".  It started 2x a year, then maybe 4x a year, last year it went out about 6x.  This year in January my neck went out again, and it never really got better.  I used to have the excruciating pain for 2-3 days and now it stays for over a week.  In between the excruciating pain I still have pain, especially in my left shoulder blade, pretty much when I do any kind of activity.   I never know when my neck is going to go out.  I can feel fine, reach up to dry my hair and BAM.  Panic strikes.  My neck is out.  This was very problematic especially with my job as a manager in a busy restaurant.  In January, when my neck went out, I arrived to work and my boss sent me home and to the doctor.  I went to the Dr and she prescribed muscle relaxants and PT.  I started taking the muscle relaxant at night and did not go to PT.  I didn't think that would help and it was expensive.   Not even a month after this the severe pain came back.  I had to do inventory that day too!  I went back to the dr and got the prescription for PT again and started to go to PT.  At first I thought it was helping a little, but really it wasn't.  I should mention that even when I am not having severe pain I am still having pain.  The worst pain is right behind my shoulder blade in between my spine on the left side.  I also get very bad muscle spasms where i can feel that entire left shoulder blade move and pull on the neck, right when it is about to go out.  I get massages from a massage therapist friend and while that helps relax the muscles that does not fix the underlying problem. EDIT: I am going to also mention that I became very depressed from the pain. At 23 years old I felt my life was pretty much over.  How am I going to have children and take care of them (Not that I want children now, but for the future)?  How am I going to continue my career at Panera, I felt as though I wasn't as good of a manager as I used to be because I couldn't do as much as I used to be able to.  Pain is also very distracting.  Thinking thoughts of depression and pain can really consume a person.  I felt as if I couldn't go to grad school because I was having a hard enough time working and not going to school.  I used to work full time and go to school full time!  Now I felt as if I could barely work full time.  When I got home I couldn't do anything I enjoyed like bike riding, I quit hockey, everything caused more pain.  (End of Edit)    Anyway... My pain came back full force and with the reccomendation of my mom I made an appointment with neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Croissant.  Many of my family members had successful surgery from him in the recent past.  I went back to my primary doctor because the pain was so bad.  He prescribed pain killers and xrays.  I had the xray done and the only thing that showed w as a reversal of the normal lordatic curvature of the spine and scolosis.  10 days later I had my appointment with Dr. Croissant.  He watched me walk, did some reflex tests and asked me about my pain.  He then ordered an MRI.  The following day I had an MRI.  Although MRIs are not supposed to be painful, it was hard laying in the position they requested.  I did it, and got it done, but it was painful. EDIT: I should mention that my MRI results said, "C4-5 small left paracentral disc protrusion resulting in mild left forminal stenosis."  When I saw these results I was very scared because my pain was no where near mild, I wasn't sure if I was just being a wimp.  I was scared because if this is mild.... how much worse can it get!?  In a couple days I had another appt with Dr. Croissant.  He looked at my MRI and said the levels look normal except c4/5.  The disc is pushing on the spinal nerve and also causing stenosis.  He again asked me where my pain was and then said he could do an ACDF surgery (Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) and it would be a 90% chance that would take care of the pain.

I was in shock when I heard the news so I didn't really know what to think about it.  I went home and did a lot of research, learning more bad than good about the surgery.  I also talked to all my family members that had the surgery- and they had nothing but good to say about the doctor and the procedure.  I talked to work about it and after about a month, scheduled the surgery.  

After scheduling the surgery I was still (and am still!) very nervous and hesitant to have it done.  Time has flown since then and here I am, writing a blog on the day of my surgery.  June 23rd, 2011. 

I am leaving in 35 minutes.  I have my bag packed and I am ready to go!!  Very nervous!

I'll let you know more as soon as I can.......