It has been about a year and eight months since I had neck surgery. I am not sure if anyone even reads this blog but I will update it anyway.
I wish I had better news but I am still in pain all the time. In my neck and my mid back. Like I tell my pain doctor, I do not regret getting the surgery, and I am thankful that I did every day. Let me tell you why.
Before my surgery not only was in constant pain I was in constant fear of my neck "going out", AKA hearing (or maybe feeling) that "POP" and having my pain jump from a 4 to a 9 (with random bursts of 10) that medication did not help and staying that way for at least a few days. It caused a lot of mental issues knowing it could randomly happen. I would try to do anything possible to not let that happen, yet it would randomly happen. For example one time I fell down the stairs and it didn't happen. Other times I would be drying my hair very carefully or putting on a shirt and BAM it would happen. I also move around a lot in my sleep and often have night terrors... trust me this subconscious head moving in my "sleep" would make my neck go out all the time. These events became more and more frequent leading up to the operation.
Now, the way my pain works is mostly consistent. I know things like working, driving, overhead lifting, staying in the same position for too long, wearing a bra for too long (yes this can get very painful no matter the type), moving my head a lot (like while shopping), and other things will make my pain worse. Doing these activities won't make my pain jump from a 3-9 all the sudden. It gradually gets worse. I also rarely get to the 7-8 pain level. Daily I sit around a 2-6. I can live with that. I should also mention that the choking feeling in my neck/throat is mostly gone thank God!
All of this pain is not necessarily from the same spot I had operated on. I had a steroid injection in T10-11 and it helped quite a bit. It also assisted in me gaining about 10 lbs. When I did weight watchers I started at 180, and got down to 135. Now I am about 157. I would like to get back to 140-145. I am really not doing well with eating healthy, that is something I need to work on because I don't want to gain more. Its also not about how I look, its about my health. Before it was about my looks.
I do currently take meds. I take Tizanidine 8mg for sleep, Hydrocodone 5mg 1 or 1.5 when I can feel the pain building. Cymbalta 60mg for depression and pain. I see my pain doc about every 2-3 months. I really like her, I have to wait a while but she takes time to listen and has done things like gotten me a tens unit and sometimes gives me samples of the Cymbalta. (Its 50 dollars a month otherwise).
I am ok with how my pain is now. At least it is predictable and somewhat manageable. I wish I could still play hockey, ski and bike ride and do active things like that. Hockey I know I can't play any more, but skiing I would try. I knwo it would increase my pain but I am ok with that, as long as it does not make things much worse. I know I could ski on the little hills and be ok, but that is not me. If I get to the ski place I am going to want to go on everything.... and that will lead to falling. Self control? No such thing. Biking I am going to try this summer. The head position and arm position is not good. But I am considering getting a different bike. More of an upright one. I do love my trek mountain bike though, but mountain biking won't happen any time soon.
I still work for Panera. I work 2 days per week doing training stuff, and 3 days per week in the cafe.
If anyone reads this.... and wants to talk feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org