Dr Slice and Dice Says I am Structurally Sound

So, you all know I had surgery last September. I was in agony and miserable before the surgery, and when waking up in the recovery room it was as if a miracle had occurred.

3 months later I started to experience some of the original symptoms that led me to seek out the Neurosurgeon in the first place. I dismissed this return as insignificant, because, well, I was not interested in even thinking about going back to Dr Slice and Dice, awesome though he is.

Within the last month I have regressed to pre-surgery symptoms. Not fun. I had an MRI done, and X-rays, and went this morning to see Dr Slice and Dice.

Apparently it can take up to 18 months post-surgery for me to be “normal” again. The honeymoon period – no pain or symptoms – is common for a lot of patients post-surgery, and the return of some symptoms within 6 months is also common. My spinal cord went through a trauma and it is not realistic to expect everything to bounce back to 100% so soon. Truthfully, I may always have some degree of weakness in my left side. I may not. There is no way to tell.

The Xrays and MRI show that the bone graft and titanium plate are all in the right place doing what they are supposed to be doing. Structurally, my neck is sound. However, I am in tremendous pain 24/7.

Doc has suggested I do physical therapy, massage, go to the gym, and get as active as possible. It won’t cause me harm to work out – something I have been avoiding as I hurt too much. The idea even now of working out when I am in so much pain makes me just whimper.

Ergonomically, I need to fix up my office so that the way I sit at my computer puts as little strain on my neck as possible.

I should probably look around for a better pillow too.

It’s not an easy fix, but thank God I don’t need more surgery. That was my biggest fear.

So, Planning to get back to the gym next week, maybe will swim too, will make an appointment with the local physiotherapy center, and will start to feel better soon. I will. I WILL.

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  1. Yes, you WILL. There is no other option. I know it feels so counter-intuitive to be active when you’re in pain, but if it can’t harm you to try (as in, the doctor gives the okay,) then try. Even if it still hurts, you will have a change of scene while you’re doing it and know that even if it isn’t FEELING good, it is DOING good. xoxo

  2. simone g says:

    So happy for you. As my dad ah used to say, it will pass. I tell amy that all the time.

  3. Suzsqueak says:

    I know this sounds silly, but what kind of pillow are you using at night? I know that my mother is still having issues, but they also replaced her C4-5 and C5-6 discs, and she tried a number of different pillows before finding one that worked for her. She’s now using one that has little styrofoam beads, and the surgeon also recommended trying a tempur-pedic type pillow and/or down.

  4. Philo says:

    Have you thought about trying dietary changes? What you eat can have a tremendous effect on how you feel, even on your musculoskeletal system. A lot of problems can be caused by food sensitivities we’re not aware of.

  5. I agree with your doctor and with Philo here – you need to provide lifelong support, both nutritionally and through exercise, to your spine and the rest of your body. During recovery, your neck and back muscles have probably atrophied some, or at least lost strength and tone. Your core muscles, too – they provide most of your support, anyway, so don’t neglect them. (I should talk – I really, really need to practice what I preach!) A good mattress and good pillows definitely help; occasionally, I need a muscle relaxer at bedtime to keep my muscles still and keep ME asleep without tossing and turning in pain, or I wake up like I’ve slept on a box of rocks. But now that you know there’s nothing medically keeping you from working out, get back to it – I’ll do the same. (I’ve already started on the “better nutrition” part – cutting way down on sugar, bumping veggies and good proteins WAY up).

  6. S.A. says:

    Very happy to hear you won’t need surgery. However, you are a complete overachiever. Please take it easy as you begin to work out (I say this knowing that you probably won’t listen to me :-P). I really like this physiotherapy idea. Water exercise is good for people who are recovering. Good luck and I hope you start to feel better soon.

  7. lavender garden says:

    Dear Hadassah,
    I am inspired by your upbeat, real, “secheldik” attitude. Go for it- and may Hashem grant you a complete refuah – you’re doing great!

  8. Alia Ramer says:

    Spend up for that pillow! It is so important.
    I have a shaped, hard memory foam pillow that I never would have chosen in a store, but my husband bought it and I stole it almost immediately. He now has one that is regular poly-fluff on one side, memory foam on the other. Each was in the $50 range, more than I thought a pillow should cost, but since you sleep one third of your life, it’s worth the investment!
    The benefits are a deeper sleep and less tossing while sleeping. My daughter started stealing Daddy’s pillow so she got one for a Hanukka gift!
    Good luck, refua’ah sheleimah.

  9. newmom says:

    I’ve been using a buckwheat pillow for years, and it’s the only thing that stops my husband snoring.

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