Tag Archives: chornic pain

10 Worst Parts Of ACDF Surgery…So Far

It’s obvious that any major surgery is going to be a bitch, but so far this recovery is more difficult than I expected. Usually, I can complain about it, but handle it. I don’t feel like I’m doing so hot. I have been going for short walks every day, which is supposed to be great for recovery.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Slight pain in my neck and that was it. I’m so lethargic and wait around until my mom can help me with basic tasks. If I drop something on the floor, I just wish it well as there is a good chance I won’t be picking it up in the near future. Here are the 10 things that I am struggling with the most:

1. Brain Fog

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When I have conversations with people, or even text them I don’t remember if it actually happened or if I made it up in my head. Especially with all the meds they gave me in the hospital I feel so out of it. I hate that feeling. It makes me sad and like I’m missing out on stuff. It’s like that crappy dream-like daze where you aren’t quite sure what is real or not.

2. Itchiness

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Every. Freaking. Thing itches! Especially around the incision sites. I want to claw at them, but I’d probably end up with some horrific infection. In the hospital the opiates definitely made me itch. When I asked the nurses for Benadryl they acted like I was asking for a chest of diamonds. C’mon ladies, this is literally your job.

3. Pain

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In case I haven’t said this before; I can NOT take pain meds. I told the surgeon, the anesthesiologist and nurses that I get violently ill with any and all narcotics, but they think they know my body better than I do. They said I couldn’t do the surgery without pain meds. I have an extremely high pain tolerance. When I’m at a 6 or 7, that is someone’s 9 or 10. Anyway, the loaded me up with anti-nausea meds and the patch behind my ear. Someone told me that in 30 years of doing these surgeries he has only seen 5 people throw up after the surgery. I told him I would be the 6th, and he said he highly doubted that.

So, guess what happened? I threw up of course! Do you know how shitty that is after neck surgery? It’s the worst. So to manage pain I’m prescribed Flexeril and Valium to take the edge off. It helps me sleep, but also contributes to the brain fog. I’m not having many appealing options here.

4. Being Bored

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Ok, so I know I was lying around a lot before the surgery due to pain. But this is SOOOOOO boring. I can’t do much. You don’t realize how much you look around and use your neck until you aren’t allowed to. I have to retrain my brain to move my torso and not my neck. I can’t look up or down. No BLT (Bending, Lifting, Twisting). I have to adjust myself a specific way to watch TV. Typing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I just am right now. I exist but am definitely not living. Makes a good recipe for increased depression.

5. Constipation

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Ok, so this is going to be WAY TMI, but I had to suffer through it so you can read it. I’m also still a little loopy so I don’t care enough to be embarrassed, although when I’m put together again I may delete this part. For now, I have no shame in my game. I hadn’t pooped since the day before my surgery, (Tues. July 4th); I finally got it out yesterday, (Mon. July 10th). That is too long to go without letting that shit out, literally. HA!

I’ve been bloated from all the meds, fluids and being backed up making me look kind of pregnant. I was on the toilet (if you get grossed out last warning to avoid this nasty part!). So there I was, waiting for relief. Nothing happened for a while. I started to strain because I knew there would be a lot, it had been almost a week! I strained so hard I was worried I’d pop a blood vessel or pass out or something. Nothing. Not a damn thing.

I was sweating profusely trying to birth my butt baby, fully dilated but the pushing was no use. Well, my daughter leaves her trash all around the house and there was a lollipop stick. I was grossing myself out, but desperate to get relief. You can guess what I did next, ahhh sooo embarrassing, I tried to scoop out the hard as rock poop with the lollipop stick. You are absolutely allowed to be disgusted with me now, I am.

The stick didn’t work. Only got a bit out. There was an old photograph on the floor as well (I have another copy so don’t worry). And I ripped that into thin strips to continue the attempt to scoop out the poop. This is not my proudest moment. A very low point for me. After several attempts with the picture pieces it all started coming out! This was and is hands down the best shit of my life. I have no regrets…..

6. Trouble Swallowing

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They said this is a common side effect since they move your esophagus and trachea aside to get to your spine. It’s more of an annoying feeling, but I do get anxious when I really have to concentrate on it.

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This is what they did to me.

7. Everything Takes FOREVER

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I’m not even kidding. I can’t bend down to brush my teeth. I sit on a stool and have this little plastic tub thing that I hold just under my lip to spit into when I’m ready. Then, I take a sip of water to rinse out my mouth and spit into the tub again. Getting dressed is a pain. I’ve been wearing the same thing for 2 days now. I don’t even care. I am allowed to take off my neck brace to get dressed, but I have to be mindful not to move my neck when placing clothing over my head. Showering is dumb too. I’ve only showered twice since last Wed. I LOVE to shower every day. I don’t care at this time. I’m struggling with this recovery so I couldn’t care less about my personal hygiene.

8. Migraines

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For anyone who suffers from migraines, I am so sorry for you. I never had them until my car accident in Sept. On top of the nausea, neck pain, hip irritation and general recovery; a migraine is the last thing I need. They gave me an injection in the hospital to help with them and it actually worked. I think it’s called Imitrex. Anyway, they sent in a script for this med. Guess what they did with it? I got vials of the medication and a bunch of needles. Never in my life have I injected a needle into my body. WTF? Are these people serious? Why would you send someone home with an injectable medication without informing the patient? They could have at least told me. And then they should have shown me how to do it. I get migraines every night and almost break down and take it, but I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong. I’m pretty frustrated with that part of it. People don’t think sometimes and I’m usually understanding of it, except when it impacts me directly.

9. Puking

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I loathe throwing up. I have a super weak stomach. One of the major reasons I can’t do narcotics. So when I say no they give me multiple opiates. Makes sense. I said this earlier, but throwing up after neck surgery is a real bitch. I’ve been throwing up on and off while writing this post. I’m sure I moved my neck, how can I not? I have tears running down my face because of this misery and my lack of understanding while I’m still puking. I haven’t taken any pain meds since I was released from the hospital. I’ve even been taking my Zofran (anti-nausea med) regularly. Yuck! I don’t have a big appetite either, so I don’t understand what my body is trying to get rid of. Maybe my serial killer hip ghost?

10. Not Being Able to Snuggle my Buggle

Favorite part of my life

This one is not the least important because it’s last, it’s the one that breaks my heart. I did get to have her come spend some time with me today and she was pretty good about being gentle with me. She wants to touch my hip and neck and continues to ask me to open the scars to show her the screws and my bone. I love every moment with her, but get frustrated when she’s being super wild and it hurts me. I know she doesn’t intend to hurt me, she just doesn’t understand completely. Then I feel awful for snapping at her or hurting her feelings in any way. I’m worried I’m going to scar her for life, because I’m in so much pain and I can’t pick her up or do things for her that a mom should do.

She has been helpful about getting me some stuff though. I asked her to get me an ice cream sandwich, it’s one of the few things I feel like eating. So she goes and gets one. I thank her and she says, “this is for me, silly.” Really? So rude. My mom got me one, but what the hell kid? She’s definitely my daughter. I won’t get to spend the night with her alone for a month, possibly longer if I’m not healing very well. Once the neck brace comes off I still have the weight restriction. We shall see.

Today sucked. I’m itchy and nauseous. I’m sweating and have a migraine. I can taste the puke in my mouth and my cat licked my ice cream sandwich just now. I’m going to retire for the evening. TaTa for now!

Neck Pains and Vagina Games

My surgery almost got postponed. Just a tad before 5pm this evening I got a call from the surgeon’s office telling me that insurance FINALLY approved my surgery. They are only approving a 23 hour stay in the hospital. Laughable. At this point I don’t care. I’m having the surgery. I will be on the road to recovery in a little less than 36 hours. I would have been so livid if it had to be rescheduled. Nothing like waiting until the last second and making me so nervous I almost threw up.

It’s so hard to fake it. I hate the “fake it ’til you make it” saying. One, because it isn’t genuine. Two, that takes a lot of energy. And three, I don’t think I’m that convincing that I’m fine when I’m really not. Chronic pain and mental illness are so misunderstood. It isn’t easy to pretend you’re fine when your head and body are at constant war.

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Artist: Al Margen

People really struggle with understanding others if they can’t see something obviously wrong with them. It’s like no one actually believes that you are suffering if you don’t have the blood shed to prove it. Once I have the surgery, I’ll have all sorts of people sending me well wishes and prayers. I absolutely appreciate it, but I wish it could be acknowledged that the struggle is real right now.

I keep snapping at my daughter. Pain makes a person so grumpy. I have no patience for her and it makes me feel like a shit mom. I also feel like the most non-fun parent in the world. She has a great dad who spends quality time with her and they have a lot of fun. They do a lot of active and adventurous things. He’s exciting. I’m grateful he is like that, but it’s hard not to compare yourself to that. He is the literal Disney dad (he’s taken her to Disney World twice, one time with me but that’s not the point). I’m boring and tired and in pain. I could happily (well depressedly) stay in bed all day and lay around with her. Apparently, that isn’t much fun for an almost 4-year-old.

When I was watching videos online of the surgery I’ll be having, I found that the inside of your neck looks like BBQ ribs. I can’t get that thought out of my head. So I asked my Dr. at my pre-op if he eats ribs. This is after I asked the essential before surgery questions of course. He kind of looked at me like I was a weirdo. I am. I told him that the inside of the neck reminds me of ribs and I was curious if he ate them after seeing so many gross things during surgery. He responded; “yes. I’m an omnivore.” That was a disappointing response. I did get a hint of a smirk, but that’s about it.

Photo Credit: The Metapicture

My bladder is still trying to calm down. I think I’m finally starting to feel better. I’m not sure, I can’t ever tell. Sometimes I think I’m all better, then I’ll be living on the toilet for the next 2 days desperately trying to pee. I was hoping after the whole bladder debacle I would actually be fine in that area.

I have another story related to this. Last week I was feeling like I had another UTI. So I took some antibiotics and AZO to calm it down. I was on it for several days and it wasn’t getting any better. I thought something else might be wrong. I was at my parents’ house and decided to take a gander at the ‘ol vag. It’s not a pretty picture down there. Might help if I knew my what’s going on down there, but hey web MD told me all I needed to know.

I decided from my vaginal detective skills that I had a genital wart and HPV. I called my ex and accused him of giving it to me. I asked him if he knew that he had an STD before he infected me. He denied, denied, denied. I took pictures of my nether region so that I could inspectigate more closely. I looked for similar pictures on google.

When I found what diseases I probably had, I showed my mom the pictures (of MY vagina, not the pics on the web). Don’t worry it was zoomed in super close. She said it looked normal, but that there was maybe a little sore or something, confirming that I did indeed have an STD. I got an appointment with my gyno the next day.

I go in and tell them that I believe I have an STD, HPV to be specific, as well as, a genital wart. I then told her that I am concerned my vagina smells and that my labia is too large. I asked if she could check it all out while she was down there. With the bladder issues and past trauma they had to use the pediatric speculum, by the way. That still hurt me.

This woman got in real close and searched the whole situation. She inspected all the caves and caverns. I was very chatty. She was super supportive and reassuring. I told her that I took pictures and asked if she wanted to look at them to see what I was talking about. She told me she was good, as she was looking at my actual vagina. Fair point.

I got an anatomy lesson that day. I do NOT have genital warts. I do have some extra tissue. I do NOT have HPV. My labia is normal, she would not classify it in the large category. My vagina doesn’t smell bad, and I believe her because she was right up in there for a good amount of time. No mask.

All the tests they ran for STD’s came back negative. The only thing that showed up was my E. Coli infection. My pee did smell bad. It was that and not my vagina. The pee most definitely did smell like a barnyard. I’m not kidding. It was potent.

I had to call my ex and embarrassingly admit that he “most likely” did not give me a STD. Then fully admit that I was wrong and jumped the gun. I learned that my vagina is normal. I probably shouldn’t search down there too often as I might scare myself again.

All in all the gyno trip was very informative and eased my anxiety. While I thankfully don’t have any STD’s, I have to admit that I just might be a hypochondriac. Thanks a lot web MD for the stressful information. Who would have thought that you shouldn’t get medical advice from the interwebs? Shocking!