Thursday, October 22, 2009

6 Week Post-Op Update: Cervical Disc Fusion Surgery

Tuesday was the six week mark for my cervical disc surgery. I'm pretty much pain-free although the past two days I've had some shoulder pain on my left shoulder. It doesn't last long and may be from sleeping funny: I still tend not to turn very often at night since I'm not wearing the cervical collar and I worry about jerking my head.

I actually don't see the surgeon until the 26th and tomorrow I am headed to the hospital for an xray so he'll know how fusion is progressing by my appointment. I'm not worried, I'm sure that's fine. What I am concerned about is my voice or lack thereof. One of my coworkers called the other day and said I sound like Froggy from The Little Rascals. My voice is still raspy-sounding and I can't get any volume behind it if I want to yell.

I was lucky enough to call Tuesday and get an appointment with the ENT the next day. He took a look at my vocal cords and said that the right side is paralyzed. The left is compensating for it which is why I have any voice at all. It is also the reason I sometimes choke if I try to drink too fast. It doesn't effect my ability to eat, just drinking is a problem and for me...only when I try to drink something too fast. He seems to think the nerve is damaged and will correct itself; if the nerve is severed then this is as good as it gets. I have a follow-up appointment in 3 months. For now though, he said I can't damage it any further by no worries there. He said I may wear my voice out if I talk too much, but it won't damage that paralyzed side any more than it already is.

Last week was a little rough for me; I was feeling really down. I think because the surgery was a lot more difficult to recover from than I thought and having to deal with the losses: my voice, cutting off the pain pills after being on them since July, and quitting smoking. Silly, but I found myself crying over cigarettes the other day. While I feel better and smell so much better, I do miss my old friends. When I was feeling stressed or sad or angry...I'd reach for my cigarettes. Now I have to find other ways to cope and it's a loss although my bank account isn't complaining. Since both my husband and I quit, we figured we're saving at least $500 a month. Both of us were buying 2 packs of cigarettes each day, a little more than $5 each pack, for 30 days....big money.

I met a woman the other day at the doctor who said she's been smoke-free for years and still misses them. I suppose it will always be like that for me, too. The good thing is that less and less I think about them during the day and when I do get a craving, it's over fairly quickly now. I do like being able to smell things that I couldn't before and I did notice that things taste differently now and not always in a good way. I always liked eggs but the past two times we've gone to Denny's and I've ordered eggs two different ways, I couldn't stand them. I've really tried not to stuff my mouth with food because I didn't want to gain weight by quitting smoking and, so far, all my pants still fit the same way. Sugarless gum and mints help with the cravings. I also have a stash of suckers that help, too.

The scar seems to be fading and while it is still a bit tender, it's not nearly as swollen as it was before. I've even been rubbing some Mederma on it every day to help with the fading. I no longer have any pain when turning my head from side to side like I did when I first came home from surgery. The best part is the arm pain is totally gone and my fingers are no longer numb. Hopefully, the neck is fusing but I'll know more after my appointment with the surgeon next week.


Tammigirl said...

Congratulations on being smoke free. Double congratulations on having the cash to use somewhere else!

Priscila said...

Yes I agree with Tammigirl...its a hard thing to stop doing!!! Great job!!!

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