forminectomy – 3rd spinal surgery

Well it’s 15 hours after the surgery and I think all of the local anaesthetics that were injected into my spine have worn off………… I am using the pain pump full of morphine every 5 minutes, but it is now not working.

My consultant warned me that the pain would be bad, worse than the other 2 operations; but oh my………….The muscle pain is the worst I’ve ever ever felt. It hurts to breathe, to move, to stay still. My neck feels really stiff and I cannot move my head. I tried to use the collar they provided me to help take the strain off, but it made the pain feel worse. I asked the anaesthetist to allow me to utilise a pain pump with this being the most painful operation, he agreed, thankfully.

Once I came round in the recovery room, the pain hit me!! It was unbearable and I was crying, so I ended up having 6 doses of my pain pump in the space of half hour. I was then placed on my own personal pump. I was able to use dose of 5 every 5 minutes, should I need to. I didn’t use this at all times, but only when I needed it. The pain was kept under control, but it was still painful.

I was given my usual dose Oxycodone of 10mg at 7 or 8, I cannot remember, it might have been earlier πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. The oxy and morphine blew my head off, I asked to not have the oxy so it didn’t react too badly with the pump, but they insisted. The pain relief was amazing, I hardly felt anything, but my heart rate was only 54bpm and I was hallucinating a lot, it was funny; I saw my dog, thought I was in a hospital, train, I saw and heard things, but I knew it was the meds so I enjoyed the fun, I still could not sleep as my heart rate was so low……..

The good news from my anaesthetist and consultantwas that the bones which were removed had released a whole bunch of trapped nerves, not just the left medial one.

Once the pump was removed from my neck, through my shoulder muscle and out, it felt much better. This was 3 hours ago and now the pain is unbearable again. The morphine is helping, but I cannot sit upright without pain, if I lay back on pillows it’s still bad, I cannot move my head or hold it upright, arghhhhhhh.

I had a double Forminectomy in my cervical spine; where I previously had my 2 cervical discs removed, a double fusion and a few bone spurs removed and shaved. C5/C6 and C6/C7. Read more here.

The fibromyalgia makes your pain receptors much more aggressive and over sensitive. Things that should not be painful, are painful. I’ll give you a couple of crazy examples of what happens during a fibro flare up:-

    The wind blowing the hairs on your head/arm and this hurts.
    Someone puts their hand on your shoulder/arm and it hurts.
    You blink and it hurts.
    Clothes or a bed quilt brushes against your skin and it hurts.
  • My personal nurse has been coming to see me every hour. I am now using the pain pump every 5 minutes; which is giving me a bit of relief. I’m trying to lay flat now and use a quilt to prop my head up a little. It’s hurting to hold my head up and sit up felt supported by pillows. I can’t move my head without intense pain and the collar they have given me hurts too bad.
  • Once the pump goes tomorrow what am I going to do?! 😒. This operation is taking pain to the next level…………..
  • I’m now off to do some meditation, clear my mind, focus on healing my spine and relax my muscles. Remember that pain is fluid, it changes, it’s not always there, you do get brief episodes with no or reduced pain. Focus on the positives and remember ‘things’ will always turn out for the best.
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    What went wrong?

    I was having a great recovery; pain was under control I was walking 3 times a day, managing a little bit of housework. Now here I am struggling to sleep, struggling with pain, unable to cook a decent meal, not been for a walk in days. Had 2 migraines over last 3 days…….

    So what went wrong; entertaining a guest at the weekend, I don’t have the energy. Changed pain relief due to pressure from my doctors from Oxy to morphine, but I cannot sleep on morphine, so I switched to tramadol in the day and Oramorph at night, but it’s not strong enough. Once the morphine had worn off and it was just tramadol in the day, I went downhill fast. This is the worst I’ve felt since the surgery.

    My hot tub pump has broke so I’m waiting for that to be fixed, this has made a big difference to my pain, so my daughter is running me a hot bath, where there is a will there is a way.

    Doctors are so obsessed about reducing opioids/opiates, that for those of us that need them we have to fight tooth and nail to get them. I took the time to explain to the doctor step by step what they did on my neck and lower back and that my spine is aged 25 years older than my actual age, sometimes you just have to take the time to explain your personal situation to them, my 2nd double fusion was not a standard operation, my neck had to be broken in 2 places, my facet joint had to be removed as it was full of bone spurs, that’s before inserting the cage and implants. With having fibro; the pain is real, yes it is more intense and will probably last twice as long as someone without it. But I cannot change that, what I need right now are the right painkillers to ensure I get a decent quality of life and get back to my job. I cannot imagine trying to work right now………..

    So I am waiting for them to ring back and I am telling them that I am going back on Oxy (I have about 2 weeks worth left) and they had better support me, or I’ll be leaving work and living off the state.

    Rant over!!

    More pain and spasms 4 weeks post op

    So here we are it’s been 4 weeks since surgery, time flies!! I am in a lot of pain, the most I’ve had since the surgery. I am however doing more………..which I pay for days later.

    Good points are that the left hand side feels great, not had a twinge since surgery, obviously the left hand side of my neck is tender, but not the shoulders or upper back. I can actually turn my head and bend it towards my ear, further than before the surgery.

    Bad points are that I am struggling to sleep as I cannot get my head comfy, it hurts to sleep on the left even though I had surgery on the right, but I did have my neck broken in 2 places on the left!! The muscle and nerve pain is much worse in my head, neck, shoulder, upper back, arm and hand. It hurts to type with my right hand, I cannot lift heavy things, I am also getting bad headaches at the back of my head.

    I have took the decision to stop Oxycodone as I do not want to be on it long term, as it will be harder to come off. The doctors won’t give me any immediate release Oxy anymore and the slow release is only lasting about 6 out of 12 hour intervals. I’ve gone back onto morphine and Oramorph for breakthrough pain. I’m in agony, all my head, neck and jaw feels extremely tense and the muscle spasms and nerve pain is pretty bad. My fibro is flaring up a little bit it’s not unmanageable.

    I am taking short walks, I am increasing my targets on my Fitbit slightly each day. I am now managing 3 walks a day and take my cute little doggy with me (apart from noon as it’s too hot for him).

    I have a PEMF pad that uses pulsed electrical magnetic therapy, I have been using this at the rear of my head, neck and shoulders. They use this technology in hospitals and it can aid the fusion of the spine too.

    I have looked on a few sites at community posts and there are plenty of people still struggling with pain a double cervical fusion after weeks/months so I don’t feel so bad about it now. I need to be patient, take it steady and learn to relax more. I restarted my meditation yesterday and that should help me relax and focus. I always forget to do it anthem after a few weeks I feel stressed, when I meditate I feel less anxious and more, well normal.

    3 weeks post op

    Well what can I say? I feel pretty darn good! I know for those of you that may be reading this and potentially getting mentally prepared for major surgery yourself, you may be thinking really? Yes, really!! I have also managed to cut both meds; immediate release and prolonged release Oxy down by a lot!! Half on the prolonged and more than treble on the immediate release.

    Much of recovering from surgery is your mindset!! Don’t be too hard on yourself, talk through issues with a friendly face, arrange to keep work informed, meditate every chance you get, even if it’s just deep breathing……….

    The medication can however make you complacent and temp you as it has me, to do more than you should; when the meds wear off I hurt, ache πŸ˜– then I know I shouldn’t have done it. Like stretching over and shutting the windows above my head, or pushing or pulling something like a clothes basket or shaking blankets out to dry etc…..

    Don’t do any exercise until after your 6 week check up and always check with the physio first. I couldn’t do much at my first physio appointment as I was still sore. My consultant doesn’t believe in neck collars as they restrict movement and can actually delay recovery, causing stiffness. Car journeys are painful and I’m not allowed to drive yet, I possibly should be okay from next week.

    My neck feels much more sore and achy now I’ve cut down my meds, which is probably a good thing as it stops me doing too much. But it is particularly annoying at night time. I’ve been using ice packs and am now able to use heat on the rear of my neck, upper back and shoulders, but not on my wound.

    My fibromyalgia is not too bad as the Oxycodone is keeping it under wraps, but I know that once I wean off it will return and as I still need my lower back fusing I will still have pain. The Osteoarthritis in my neck isn’t cured either, it will still also still cause me neck pain and stiffness.

    I have found a great website with information on fitness post fusion with a blog of useful information. The reason I had this surgery was not only to reduce pain, but to allow me to restart exercising again. Yoga yes and I’m hoping to restart HIIT too, with either light weights or just bodyweight exercises. The website I mentioned is here.

    Me using my PEMF machine to help fusing.

    My Fitbit targets complete…..

    I can not recommend a Fitbit Versa enough, my old Fitbit got wet and broke and I lost the other somewhere lol. This new one is waterproof and is more like a smart watch.

    One week post op

    The last 48 hours have been hell. The pain in the right hand side of my body, neck, shoulders and head have been worse than the first fusion. The reasons for this is that the lower spine I could rest by just laying on the bed. When your neck has been cut open it hurts even to hold my head up, it hurts to swallow, indigestion hurts and I feel bruised inside. This is normal and I am under no illusions that the pain is going to get worse, as I try to undertake my physio exercises.

    Ha ha I must have started this post the day before yesterday and then forgot, it was hurting me to text.

    I am glad to say today that I feel much better. I think the Oxy is well and truly in my system now. I’m sleeping better than I have done in a long time. I’d never take this stuff for fibro, I can see that you could get in a cycle of constantly increasing your dosage. I can imagine wearing off it is like absolute hell, much worse than tramadol or morphine.

    The little dog has been cuddling nonstop, under my sofa blanket and everything lol. He’s so cute and has kept me entertained whilst I am home alone.

    Anyway so far so good. The first week has been hell, resting is important, no cleaning, keeping my right arm rested but also not just sitting on my backside all day long. This weekend I want to start walking, build up my strength.

    Again I forgot to post this from earlier and now it’s 12.30 at night and I cannot sleep!!

    I had pushed fibro to the back of my mind since the operation and today I’ve had a big reminder that it’s still there!! I ate some chocolate cake left over from my daughter which is full of gluten and sugar, the pain in my neck, shoulder, arms and hands is unbearable and I’m struggling to get comfortable. I know it’s my fibro as my lower back is hurting and I have this flu type feeling, a mini flare up. What an absolute tit, I have to stick to my plan, stay healthy. I have a sugar and gluten free cake I’ve been eating fine all week so I should have stuck that that. I’m sure my daughter will be telling me I told you so!! πŸ˜‚

    I know some of you probably have not figured out just how much your diet impacts on fibro, I didn’t believe it myself until I went on the diagnostic diet. I could not believe the difference in how I felt once I’d figured out which food types made me illπŸ€’. Here are some good groups that CAN affect your condition and increase some symptoms here.

    I know some of you will have tried ‘diets’ I fu@@ing hate that word! Diets don’t work, full-stop.

    You have to change your eating and drinking habits and make it permanent. Trust me; cutting out a few foods is pointless if you are leaving several other ‘trigger’ foods in your meal planning. Also when you go onto a strict eating/drinking regime the flare ups are more severe but last hours not days/weeks; why? Because you figure out what you ate/drink to make you ill and stop, thus cutting off the intake of that trigger food/drink.

    You are what you eat; eat shit and feel shit!! Eat more fresh food, cut out foods full of sugar; yes, even some fruits, mango makes me feel ill as it’s full of sugar.

    I need to eat healthy even more right now, I’m trying to recover from one of the worst surgeries I’ve ever had and being silly is not going to help me. Tonight I will hardly sleep which means more pain tomorrow, no energy, negative thinking and more pain! All this for a piece of bloody cake!!

    First week post op

    Recovering well! My right arm is hurting pretty bad; it’s constantly aching, feels very weak and it’s hurting to text and use my right hand. But the right hand side of my neck has been cut open so it is to be expected.

    I lost my Fitbit and broke my other one so I treat myself to a new one, the special edition new versa.

    It will help me with my recovery.; as it tracks my sleep, or lack of!! Mobility too. I am just in the process of getting it set up to nudge me to stand up and move around more………..setting a minimum steps each hour.

    I am taking 30mg of oral morphine twice a day, 10 mg Oramorph (liquid morphine) and paracetamol in between these doses, every 4 hours.

    I’ll finish this off later as need to rest my hand, I am struggling to text………..

    I’m back!! Been in quite a bit of pain all day, in fact a lot of pain. Obviously made worse when I am moving, but, also aching and throbbing really bad when I don’t move. The painkillers aren’t working as well as they were a few days ago. I am only sleeping 4 hours once every 2 days. Which is flaring up my fibro and just generally making me feel like absolute hell………. Trying to get comfy is proving very challenging.

    I actually thought this recovery was going to be simple compared to the last operation. I felt much more mobile and in less pain in hospital than the last fusion. The pain is changing though. All the anaesthetic they ply you with has worn off completely and the what I only can only describe as,; internal bruising sensation (as this is how it feels) has comes into play. I’ve also had to resort to super strength laxatives after the general anaesthetic. I lost 7 lbs in weight in just over a day. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    My daughter has had to do more chores as I now cannot clean downstairs either. My husband has had to run around like a headless chicken doing urgent items on my lists; he loves my lists I leave laying around πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

    Dave and I watched motoGP today and both wore our shirts!! Dave had to help me get dressed as I could not get a t shirt over my head!!

    I look rough as hell in the picture above, no make up and not much sleep!! It took my mind off things but not the pain! You know you’ve got bad pain when something your passionate about doesn’t help!!

    I have spent a little bit of time reading up on other people’s experiences recovering from an ACDF (double fusion). This has made me feel more positive. We all heal differently and some of us have multiple issues. I find it useful to go into surgeries with my eyes wide open as this reduces post op stress and anxiety. This site is amazing here.

    This site has some really interesting myth buster information about neck collars. My consultant won’t use them as he said that they restrict movement too much and are counter effective in recovery. Trouble is sometimes I forget like today, looked up and oh dear the pain was excruciating for over an hour πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Click here

    If this pain continues tomorrow I will have to ring the doctor as I need sleep and have lost 3 nights sleep in a week already, this means I am probably going to get germs!! That would not be a great idea right now…….,,

    First week post op

    Recovering well! My right arm is hurting pretty bad; it’s constantly aching, feels very weak and it’s hurting to text and use my right hand. But the right hand side of my neck has been cut open so it is to be expected.

    I lost my Fitbit and broke my other one so I treat myself to a new one, the special edition new versa.

    It will help me with my recovery.; as it tracks my sleep, or lack of!! Mobility too. I am just in the process of getting it set up to nudge me to stand up and move around more………..setting a minimum steps each hour.

    I am taking 30mg of oral morphine twice a day, 10 mg Oramorph (liquid morphine) and paracetamol in between these doses, every 4 hours.

    I’ll finish this off later as need to rest my hand, I am struggling to text………..

    I’m back!! Been in quite a bit of pain all day, in fact a lot of pain. Obviously made worse when I am moving, but, also aching and throbbing really bad when I don’t move. The painkillers aren’t working as well as they were a few days ago. I am only sleeping 4 hours once every 2 days. Which is flaring up my fibro and just generally making me feel like absolute hell………. Trying to get comfy is proving very challenging.

    I actually thought this recovery was going to be simple compared to the last operation. I felt much more mobile and in less pain in hospital than the last fusion. The pain is changing though. All the anaesthetic they ply you with has worn off completely and the what I only can only describe as,; internal bruising sensation (as this is how it feels) has comes into play. I’ve also had to resort to super strength laxatives after the general anaesthetic. I lost 7 lbs in weight in just over a day. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    My daughter has had to do more chores as I now cannot clean downstairs either. My husband has had to run around like a headless chicken doing urgent items on my lists; he loves my lists I leave laying around πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

    Dave and I watched motoGP today and both wore our shirts!! Dave had to help me get dressed as I could not get a t shirt over my head!!

    I look rough as hell in the picture above, no make up and not much sleep!! It took my mind off things but not the pain! You know you’ve got bad pain when something your passionate about doesn’t help!!

    I have spent a little bit of time reading up on other people’s experiences recovering from an ACDF (double fusion). This has made me feel more positive. We all heal differently and some of us have multiple issues. I find it useful to go into surgeries with my eyes wide open as this reduces post op stress and anxiety. This site is amazing here.

    This site has some really interesting myth buster information about neck collars. My consultant won’t use them as he said that they restrict movement too much and are counter effective in recovery. Trouble is sometimes I forget like today, looked up and oh dear the pain was excruciating for over an hour πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Click here

    If this pain continues tomorrow I will have to ring the doctor as I need sleep and have lost 3 nights sleep in a week already, this means I am probably going to get germs!! That would not be a great idea right now…….,,