The surgery was much easier than I anticipated. Zero swallowing and voice issues. The minute I came to after surgery, I wanted to get up and walk around by the neurosurgeon said to wait until I was in recovery when he came to see me. He did tell me it was "bad" but he took care of it and I'm all set. Found out the next day that all the nerves were squished and compressed very bad in there and he was not expecting that, but he took care of it... so the surgery was maybe a little longer than anticipated.
Ended up spending a night in the hospital when the surgery was at 8:15am. Refused all pain meds because the worst pain was more from the hospital bed then the surgery in itself. Also had zero sleep in hospital because nurses were checking on me every 2 and 3 hours and in between all that, I had to pee so much from all the IV fluids that I was calling them so I could get up. I'm still on no pain meds as of today.
Short of having a sore shoulder and upper back, I'm doing ok, and it's just sore. No excruciating pain. It feels like I just played one of my ice hockey games. Daily walks have helped tremendously. I was sent home with pills though just in case and also with a soft collar, which I was told was not required with the neurosurgeon's work (that must be some great work). I've been on mostly soft foods until yesterday, when I was craving pizza in the worst way, so got that with family who are staying to help me next couple of weeks and scarfed down 3 slices LOL.
I've been told I can drive after 2 weeks and will be taking my first shower tomorrow and apparently can let the incision breathe so will remove the bandage. I have a bone growth stimulator which I start on Friday. The only bad part is sleeping in bed. While I am getting sleep, sleeping propped up is difficult whether it's the bed or the recliner. It just puts too much strain on the rest of the body. I've been using the neck brace to sleep and keep neck stable but last night I felt it made it worse and more stiff for sure, so I may try without it tonight.
I still have a 5-10lb restriction for 3 weeks and then a 20lb restriction at 4-6 weeks for 3 months. Turning my head has been ok so far, just a little slow so I don't make any quick reactions. Might be a little more stiff turning right than it is left. Lots of good strength in legs has returned too and a little extra strength in the arms and hands, but some has to be built up. Definitely seems to have solved the myeolopathy for now. Unfortunately, that C3-C4 area is still fairly shot. So I suspect I'll be in for another one fairly soon. Almost makes me wonder why a C3-C7 approach was not taken. I only had one doctor offer this, but every other surgeon said that wasn't needed and C5-C7 ACDF was needed at the very least with likely an ADR at C3-C4. Thinking I'll be in for a new MRI soon coming up to see what needs to be done here. I really feel the next one will solve every single issue, I just hope insurance will approve it.
Anyway, wanted to share an update, since my story has been ongoing this year!