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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    It’s been a while since I posted

    It had been a while since I posted, I have been focusing hard on recovering from the recent double cervical fusion and getting back to work.

    I am back at work starting an 8 week rehabilitation; I do 1 days worth of hours split over 5 days for 2 weeks, then increase a day a week and so on. I should be back in work full time by w/c 8/10/18.

    It has been hard, I am fatigued, found it hard to concentrate at work and I still cannot get out of bed early. I have a nerve pain issue in my left arm which started a couple weeks ago. This is causing permanent pain with unbearable spasms. I have weakness in my fingers and hand too. I am back at the hospital next week to try to find out why this started 3 months after my latest surgery. This pain is multiple times worse than before the surgery. My consultant says this is NOT normal. It could be permanent nerve damage (but this would have started earlier), maybe something has migrated in my neck or one of my other discs above or below the double fusion is affecting my nerves (I bloody hope not!), or I’ve done something to flare it up (not that I know of).

    Since the operation my fatigue has improved, in fact a range of my fibro symptoms seem to have improved. This is the conclusion from a study here…….The surgical treatment of cervical myelopathy due to spinal cord or caudal brainstem compression in patients carrying the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can result in a significant improvement in a wide array of symptoms. Minimizing those symptoms translates into a measurable improvement in quality of life. A detailed neurological examination should be incorporated into the evaluation of every patient considered to have fibromyalgia. The finding of cervical myelopathy warrants radiological investigation to exclude a treatable cause. More intriguing, in view of these results, is the possibility that, in some patients, cervical myelopathy may be the underlying cause of the fibromyalgia syndrome. Here is the full study here

    My fatigue, cognitive issues, headaches, overall skin sensitivity (pain when being touched by anything including clothes), muscle aches and headaches have all reduced significantly.

    This is amazing and I thought impossible, but studies have proved this can be the case.

    Now I just need to find out what’s wrong with this sudden nerve pain and weakness in my left arm, hand and fingers and hope I don’t need revision surgery. Hopefully this is nothing nasty and will settle.

    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.

    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!!

    Ouch

    Tried to shut the window and hurt my neck whoops. Chef closed the window as he heard me crying!! Don’t think I particularly hurt it, it’s just that the iv meds have worn off. I’m hurting like hell. It’s pulling, throbbing, can’t turn head to right, it’s aching……….

    I can’t brush my teeth with my right arm, can’t push the bed trolley off my bed 😒. You get complacent with these things. ‘Oooooh it’s not that bad!! Then the meds wear off and me sitting in the chair, strolling around, brushing teeth etc. I’m now in a lot of pain’. Not much I can do as only so many meds you can take. I wish they had put on the morphine pump like they promised!!

    Oh well πŸ˜” might have to get the music on my headphones and start meditating!! Can’t wait to get home and maybe ask the doctor for a pain patch!! Better than popping 12-16 pills a day; deffo don’t want to get up to 25 plus a day again……….. at least it’s constant relief πŸ‘