Saturday, May 30, 2015

Surgery on My Neck: Post-Op

I ended my last blog post talking about the pain in my neck along with my surgery options. Well, let’s just say things didn’t go quite as planned. As I wrote before, I opted for the larger surgery because of the long-term benefits and decided not to go ahead with the small surgery. Surgery was on May 6 although my stay in the hospital was more than the initial intended time of 3 to 5 days. I got home from the hospital May 13 and have been in the recovery mode. I spent a little over a week in the hospital due to a few setbacks during the procedure. 
The two surgeons that were working on me were an orthopedic surgeon and neurosurgeon, I couldn’t have asked for a better team. The problem came across when they opened me up and saw that the bone spur was bigger than they expected. The team was also worried about spinal fluid leakage along with baclofen leaking because that’s right around the area that the catheter sits for my baclofen pump. After removing the spur, they put the "plug" in place as planned and then instead of doing the larger surgery they did the smaller one (both surgeries explained in previous post). I spent 4 hours in surgery as opposed to the 12 originally set aside.

This is what the bone spur looked like from a CT scan. It's the white pointed spot between C4-C5 (towards the middle of the picture) that was facing towards my spinal cord. Since they've removed it, I've had significant less spasms and pain relief even though things didn't go as planned.

The surgery for the actual fusion (originally planned in the first one) from C4-T3 has yet to be rescheduled. I’m still recovering from this one, especially only being 3 ½ weeks postop. I have to wear a neck brace 24/7 hopefully only until my postop appointment on June 23. I missed my first appointment on May 18 because I wasn’t able to sit in my wheelchair for more than a couple hours. I’m still working towards being in my wheelchair for the length of time I used to (about 10-12 hours) but it’s a slow process. My body can only handle so long before I have to get back into bed. Right now though I am up to about 6 and I’m slowly increasing every day.

This is the view from my patio that was recently built. The picture also shows the neck brace I have to wear.

Recovery and rehab time/process afterwards is always unknown in these situations but I’m hoping it won’t be too much longer before I’m back to normal. I've been trying to get outside when it's nice even if it's just sitting on my patio. Although, my dog Brody sure loves his walks so I've been taking it slow rolling down the streets with him! Like I stated above I’m not sure when I’m going to have the actual fusion; I guess I’ll have to decide that at my postop. I appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers, and concerns. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and I hope to fill in more details as they come along.



riotwalter said...


You are my hero and a trooper. You put a smile on my face.

Anonymous said...

How's your neck movement? You said that you'd lose function in your neck after this surgery. I hope it wasn't enough so that you can't operate your wheelchair ��

I am so lucky to have the function I have even with my SCI. I am a low level quad and I get pissed off about lack of finger and hand function often. You deal so well with everything, I actually aspire to be more like you in terms of my attitude. You're amazing.

Shanell Custer said...

It’s good that you have a great team of doctors working hand-in-hand to facilitate the surgery. I hope your next surgery procedure serves you well in the long run, and stabilizes your ongoing neck troubles once and for all. That way, you can work on recovering fully, and finally getting back to your normal routine. Good day!

Shanell Custer @ Sage Health and Wellness Clinic

colleen Foxley said...

Hi Jenni! You are a tough cookie. And I hope you enjoy your summer!!! Thanks for the updates when you can! -COlleen

Wheelchair said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Wheelchair Travel

Keep Posting:)

Brian Wolff said...

Hi Jenni,

Did I ever tell you how much I admire you?

It has been about five years since you completed my environmental biology course, but I remember you well and think about you often.

Tonight, I thought I would just let you know that you made a difference in my life. You were an inspirational student, and I have not forgotten you!

I hope you are doing well.

Best wishes,


Wheelchair said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Lightweight Wheelchairs For Sale

Keep Posting:)

Heidi (Speak) Carlson said...

Hello Jenni,
You don't remember me, but I am the State Trooper who was first on the scene of your car crash November 1, 2002. I remember that evening as if it was yesterday. I have thought of you often over the years and used your story in countless speeches and driving courses that I have given since then. As I was cleaning my office in anticipation of retirement, I ran across your Ms. Wheelchair America story (and your blog address) in the StarTribune from 2011 that I kept all these years. I just want you to know that I think the world of you and am so inspired by the woman you have become despite your hurdles. I will never forget you and pray that you continue on this path of greatness. I hope the best for you and your family and may 2016 be your best year yet!
Heidi (Speak) Carlson

Mabroor Bhatty said...

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max den said...

Amazingpost said...

Hello Jenni, Are you still blogging? Just trying to connect with you. I conduct outreach for Metro Mobility. My email address is Best, Claudia