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8 weeks post-op (major surgery) c5-c6-c7 cage anterior, c8-t1 posterior, multiple fractures

Hi All!
I'm new to this, but am looking for some understanding people. I had cervical fusion 12 years ago c-5 c-6 c-7 with a plate and 6 screws due to two herniated discs.
8 weeks ago I had a bad fall off of my horse and broke my neck, literally busting up the hardware from before, numerous fractures, and basically "just messing everything up in my neck" (my neuro's words).
I was in surgery (anterior and posterior) for 9 hrs, ventilator, ICU, the whole deal. (I absolutely hated for my kids to see me like that.) Stayed in hospital for 2 weeks.
I am 50 and in good shape normally. My issues, thus far post-op, have been mild tingling in my left fingers, and many issues with my right hand.
I am currently doing Occupational Therapy 2xs a week and have come very far with the range of motion and strength of my right arm.
My right hand, however, continues to be my main concern. I have a lot of excruciating nerve pain in my right thumb. It is important to know that my right "limb" was pinned behind me for about 45 minutes (it seemed like HOURS) until the ambulance came and stabilized me.
I am taking Neurontin/Gabapentin, Narco, and a muscle relaxer for the pain. I also have a stylin "Miami J" neck brace that I keep on religiously.
My first 2 fingers are very swollen which makes doing anything with my right hand very complicated, to put it mildly. And, of course, I am right handed. I continue to massage it, hydrate it, and do what I'm told to do by my OT.  I am hyper-vigilant with my instructions bc I know how bad this was, and could have been.
At first, with the symptoms in my hand (burning, itching, swelling, discoloration, intense pain, etc.) there was some concern that I had developed RSD/CRSP, but I had a radioactive bone scan last week and that has been ruled out (although I'm not yet convinced). 
So, I am just trying hard to be patient...I am, after all, a walking miracle. When I fell, I knew immediately that I had broken my neck. I had no feeling nor could I move anything below my neck. Fortunately, I never lost consciousness so was able to explain to the EMT workers about my previous fusion and to make sure they were SUPER careful when moving me, mobilizing me, etc.. Needless to say, I have never been so terrified. All I could think of was Christopher Reaves (Superman). I honestly thought I was DONE. I have ridden my whole life (hunter/jumper) and have had LOTS of falls (you ride, you fall...it's part of it). Fortunately, I was schooling my horse at a show that just happened to be relatively close to one of the top trauma hospitals in the area. One of MANY God-Things in my "story".
My right hand, fingers are very troubling to me. I really need someone to tell me that it is all due to the massive trauma and will just take some time.
Can someone please tell me that?  :)  My Neuro-Surgeon said he expects a 100% recovery. (But he is in a different state and hasn't seen my hand.)
Glad to be a part of this forum. I normally work full-time as a High School Counselor, and am happy to say that I am TOTALLY FINE with my little medical leave. :)  I will not be able to go back as long as The Hand remains this way. I can't write and typing is very slow-going. And words of encouragement are most appreciated.
~Peace
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Comments

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,441
    Crfairley, to say you have been through a lot is an understatement!! But welcome to Spine Health, you will find a lot of understanding and caring people here.
     My problems are different from yours but I understand the nerves being pinched. And it does take time for them to wake up. Does your surgeon know the condition your hand is in?
    It sounds like you've got a very positive attitude regarding your recovery and doing everything you should be doing, which is so important.
    Take care, be patient, hope to hear from you again.
    Sandra
    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my  Medical Story  
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,268
    edited 12/19/2016 - 9:06 AM
    hello crfarley !


    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,268
    Hello...
    With your neuro surgeon in another state, curious who is seeing you for follow up care?

    For any concerns, using search, upper right on page, may lead you to current or older discussions with members sharing their experiences.
    And also.....may lead you to medical side with articles and videos. Very informative!

    You may also be interested to read...Recovery the Most Important Phase.

    You seem to have a great attitude with all you have been through! 
    I wish you the very best with your continued recovery!

    I look forward to following your recovery! Please keep us posted!



    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • jimandjrjimandjr Dallas TXPosts: 735
    Welcome.

    In a way, you are very lucky to be walking. I hope you have given up horseback riding. 
  • Hey y'all! I was just reading thru the comments to my post and thought I'd give an update. First, thanks so much for reading and replying to my post...I go thru periods of pity when I don't think anyone knows what Im going thru...then I read something on here or go to my OT and see folks who have it so much worse than I. Anyway...I actually have now been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD in my right hand. This, by a specialist in a nearby city, and since have had a stellate ganglion injection in my neck. I am supposed to give it 2 weeks to see if I notice any difference and it has only been 1 week (without any change so far). The injection is basically supposed to "quiet down" the sympathetic nerves in my right hand/arm that are firing overtime. My right hand is still swollen and I cannot extend my fingers...but I am getting better at flexing them and making a fist is getting easier and stronger (baby steps).
    I have been talking to friends and researching short-term disability to try and see what my options might be since I cannot resume my work without the use of my right hand.
    To jimandjr, I do realize that I could very well have become paralyzed, and am thankful for that on a daily basis. I have also sold my "dream horse" and am getting ready to sell all of my equestrian equipment. I will not ride again...it's not worth the risk and I know that, although it has been a heart-wrenching decision. 
    To memerainbolt, thanks for your comments and encouragement. I definitely try and do everything in my power to keep going and being positive on my "journey". I have had days of complete frustration and one complete breakdown, but I know that's just part of it and I have allowed myself those days.
    To Savage, thanks for the welcome and the research suggestions...I will definitely take your advice and look into the reading you mentioned.
    My next move is to follow up with the doctors who are working with my CRPS. I am also having all of my surgical info sent to a local doctor in order to have someone local (who performed my original fusion 12 years ago) take over my "case". Oh, and I need to amend my original post...my original plate did not break (it's titanium!!). My cervical vertebra actually broke away from the hardware. I don't really know what is worse :-/
    Again, thanks for the comments...I look forward to more!
    ~crfairley
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  • jimandjrjimandjr Dallas TXPosts: 735
    Been awhile since your last post. Glad you gave up riding horses. I know it was a tough decision but necessary. GLTU
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,441
    crfairley, I know that was a very hard, rough decision on your part to sell your horse and equipment but I commend you on making that decision. 
    I sold my Harley and did not want to. I had waited many, many years to have my own, as I had always ridden with my hubby. But I can't do that anymore either. We made that decision together, it's not worth the risk. I had a pain pump implanted on the 19th and will not take the chance of something happening that would damage me or the pump.
    I've learned you just move onto something different.
    I have been seeing a cognitive therapy psychologist for almost three years to help me deal with the pain, depression, anxiety and guilt. I had so much going on between the pain and having to give up so many things that I loved doing, it was overwhelming. And he helped me so much, still does.
    I really hope your journey becomes smoother and easier as time goes by. And it will.
    Please keep us posted.
    Sandra
    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my  Medical Story  
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