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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    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.

    Reducing pain meds

    I’ve never took Oxy and personally I would never consider this medication for fibromyalgia. It is much stronger than morphine and much research has shown that opiates/opioids are not effective for chronic/long term pain. They can also increase fatigue and insomnia. For the post operative pain I’ve had it’s been a double edged sword. I managed to cut out 90% of my pain but then on the flip side it makes you over complacent, so I do ‘stuff’ then afterwards I’m in agony! I wash too many pots or do some clothes washing πŸ˜‚.

    I am now weaning off; I’ve reduced my immediate release Oxy by half, I’m only dosing 3/4 times a day with 5mg dose. I’ve reduced my slow release dosage from 40mg x twice a day to 30mg x twice a day. The pain has increased quite a bit but I’m using heat/ice alternate to help. I have shooting pains down into the right hand side of my body down my arm and it’s hurting to text which is why I’m not posting often.

    I’m walking twice a day, up-to 5000 steps a day. I’m also lightly jogging a little with the walking. Taking my little dog with me but holding the lead with my left hand. I’m doing my physio twice a day;

    • Sitting in a chair twice a day for 10 minutes at a time.
    • Turning my head to look over both shoulders
    • Bending my ear to my shoulders both sides
    • Lifting both arms straight over my head then back down to the sides
    • Squats with arms out front of my body

    I am feeling confident with my physio and recovery, but I do also know that without the Oxy I would be in agony right now. I opted to go onto this medication as the doctors kept raising my dosage on morphine and it was slowing my heart rate right down and I was struggling to breathe. I have had no such problems with Oxy, I don’t feel high, I just feel great, it has however blocked out my fibro symptoms, I am not looking forward to these returning. I guess this is why they are abused so much. I don’t feel high at all as my opiate/opioid tolerance is very high. I have had a few weird dreams but nothing major. I’m taking 35mg liquid laxative a day as my digestive system stopped working and is excruciating otherwise.

    My little doggy is really helping me.

    I am proud that I’m now sleeping well, it’s took 2 weeks post surgery to get here, my exercise is walking only at this moment as I cannot manage anything else.

    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…….,,

    At home all comfy

    I’m tucked up under a furry blanket at home. My mum bought me a triangle pillow which is really comfortable. I’ve started back on the morphine tablets today but they are only 10mg of morphine, not very strong to be honest, I used to be on more than that with the other meds. I’ll probably give the doctors a call later to see if I can increase the dosage a little bit more. I’m topping up with 10mg Oramorph every 4 hours too at the moment.

    The daft dog is asleep under my legs

    Do you like my sexy green stockings? I have to wear these babies for 6 weeks ha ha woo hoo!! That’s a pic of my thighs not my bum btw πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

    Fibro isn’t doing too bad but I have been naughty and just ate some lemon cake for breakfast, I’m okay, keeping positive. Feeling a bit stiff and sore, feel like I’ve been in a car crash today tbh lol. My ribs, lower back and upper shoulders are sore. I also feel like I have a lump in my throat, the consultant warned me about this, it’s not majorly uncomfortable, it’s just annoying.

    I’m having a chill day today, the naughty little dog has thrown up on the sofa πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. No idea why so will have to keep an eye on him…….

    Cannot take any more pills

    So far I’ve had 100mg IV Tramadol, 10mg IV Morphine, probably about a full bottle of Oramorph, or so it feels like it lol, but I was having 10mg doses (double the normal rate). Multiple Tramadol, Diahydrocodeine, paracetamol and nefopam. That’s quite a list. I only felt pain relief with the IV and actually woke myself up snoring a few times πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

    My throat is very dry and I struggled with the large paracetamol and the last diahydrocodeine, getting them stuck in my throat and they melted in my mouth 😣. Now my tongue is white and very dry and I’m struggling to swallow anything.

    I tried to sleep but just couldn’t, the pain in my neck is bloody awful

    I tried chamomile tea, crap tv, rocking in bed!! Deep breathing; but that just hurt my throat.

    I begged them for some more IV tramadol but I couldn’t as I’d took 2 earlier, orally. They aren’t allowed to give IV morphine on his ward grrrrrrrr. They should have just given me with my own morphine pump like the consultant promised, (I had one last time I was fused), but the new anaesthesiologist said I wouldn’t need it. Really? They broke my neck in 2 places (as collapsed facet joints had fused), a double fusion and fibromyalgia. Well it’s my body, I’ve had it before and did bloody need it!! Great, well I’ve had 2 hours sleep in 24 hours, 4 day before that and no way I’ll sleep like this!! I explained to the lady how fibromyalgia worked, in particular the increased pain! Plus making non painful things hurt!! She absolutely understood and I reckon knew someone close who had it……,,

    I have now been given an intramuscular injection of morphine in the thigh. Hurt like hell and they take a while to work as I’ve had them before, last a long time too. Whoops I seemed to have bled on the bed from the injection πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    They look like bites! It’s been 20 minutes and I cannot feel it at all!! Great lol πŸ˜‚ I think I’m a machine!!