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10 days post-op from Anterior Cervical Fusion
virvin posted:
Hi, everyone. I am not even sure if this is the place for this topic, but I'm hoping it is. Several months ago I started having pain in my trapezius (upper back shoulder muscle). The pain began radiating down to my right bicep/tricep area and finally into my forearm. I did some massage therapy for a while and then went to a physical therapist who did some dry point needling in my shoulder area to try to help. When I told him about the pain starting to radiate down my arm, he suggested that maybe it wasn't just my shoulder and asked me to go see an orthopedic doctor.

I am on really good terms with the ortho center here in town. Prior to this surgery, I have had 13 others for various things. The most recent being a TKR (total knee replacement) in August. The doc scheduled an MRI for me the next day and asked me to come in the day after for review of the MRI. He saw that I had a disc herniation between C5-C6 that had completely slipped into my spinal column and was compressing the spinal cord as well as the nerves down my right arm. I have bulging discs between C4-5 and C6-7. He went through my insurance and really pushed hard to get the surgery for disc replacement through but even after several appeals, my insurance company said no.

He said they approved the fusion, but I was terrified. However, over the next two weeks, the pain in my arm increased drastically. I realized that I had little choice in the matter so we scheduled the surgery and before I knew it, it was done.

My surgeon said that when I woke up, the majority of my pain would be gone and the rest would go away over time. Well, he was right. I woke up and couldn't believe it, but I was actually pain free. Not even the incision hurt. I stayed over night and went home the next day feeling great. I only need to wear the neck brace if I go for a car ride or if I sit at the computer for any length of time.

My problem, you ask? I am having horrible dreams and having panic attacks regarding the titanium materials in my neck. Titanium is not new to me. I have it in one of my feet, my jaw, and of course my knee. But for some reason, this is getting to me. I had nightmares last night where I was trying to claw open the back of my neck to get the hardware out. Then this afternoon, I had a nightmare that I ripped open the incision in the front of my neck to get the hardware out that way.

I am still pain free and go for my follow up on Wednesday morning. However, the panic attacks are getting worse throughout the day and I'm starting to have a hard time functioning. I know we can't take the hardware out, but I'm freaked out about freaking out. I never had a problem with any of the other hardware in me...why this now?

Has anyone else had this problem or even heard of this problem? I hate to bring it up to my doctor as I don't want him to think I'm crazy. Thanks!

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