In which being stiff necked leads to having a fractured neck….pretty much.

I honestly though I was “good” by following most of the rules after my ACDF at the end of October. I mostly wore the collar of shame. I mostly stuck to the 10 lb weight limit. I mostly didn’t drive until I had the all clear.

Except for the time spent picking up shells on the beach…..and folding laundry (which involved getting up and down from the living room floor)…and maybe a few times of carrying laundry up and down the steps in a fit of frustration because someone didn’t do it fast enough for my ummmm taste. I suppose I should also come clean about carrying too much weight. Let’s just say that in the event of a zombie apocalypse- My family of 5 and my 4 pets could survive for months with what i carry in there….. including entertainment in various electronic forms.

I wore the electromagnetic bone growth stimulator- thinking I was “being good” even though I suspected it was one of those medical quackery things you see in museums….

Every time I went to the neurosurgeon, I was surprised to see how little progress had been made in my healing….

I cried all the way home a few ekes ago-when he said I needed surgery. Again. For a failure to fuse- and for worsening of the joint below. (C6-7 was not fused the first time. for those wondering)

Okay…I did more than cry- I raged all the way home. Surgery now, meant IN THE MIDDLE OF MY HUSBAND’S radiation treatment for prostate cancer. This is not just more than I can handle— it’s more than my family can handle.

I kept going on about how “good” I’d been, and how unfair this is.I called a friend to cry some more. (I’m amazed I didn’t get in a wreck with all the ugly crying going on in that car that day..) It was a age prayer-ugly cry-athon.

I considered postponing the surgery until a more convenient time. It felt selfish to schedule a non-life saving surgery in the middle of my husband’s treatment for cancer.

Except I kept hurting. and I was losing  control/ use of the outer three fingers of each hand…and it hurt. And I couldn’t sleep. And did I mention? It hurt?

We met with the radiologist in charge of hubby’s treatment. He assured me hubby could take care of himself while I recovered.

My two college boys reminded me that I have 4 adults in this house. We can make it work.

I kept my appointment for surgery. Surgery was Saturday.

It’s a good thing I did. We now know why I was in so much pain. In addition to the failure to fuse and the craptastic condition of c 6-7 (previously not repaired) The neurosurgeon found several fractures in what little bone had grown between the vertebra.

Technically- I had a fractured neck and didn’t know it. I probably shouldn’t have cleaned the carpet the night before surgery.

I probably shouldn’t have done a lot of things. Like pressing the envelope for weight to carry….. and all the other things I’ve already confessed.

I thought it was just a fluke that it didn’t fuse. I was wrong. The truth is- my stubbornness to continue life as before affected my healing. My stiff-necked-ness risked my health. It put me in danger- fractured bone in your neck= not good. I mean- really not good.

Fortunately- it was in the disc area and the surgeon removed it all in order to revise the acdf. (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion- surgery was 6/23- I cam home 2 days later)  He also used a different rare earth (Tantalum- for the geeks among us) cage to replace the disc space and fill with what I call “bone spackle” which will hopefully fuse into solid bone over the next few months.

I am sporting a new titanium plate and more screws that span from C5-7. I’m recovering well. Most importantly? I’m behaving.

I’ve learned a hard lesson. Doctors pretty much mean what they say.

I will struggle to do as I’m told. I hate having limits. But- I hate having a fractured neck due to stubborness- even more.

I’m resting.

I’m praying. I’m thankful for a second chance to heal.

I don’t know if anyone reading is as stubborn as I am….or what you’re being stubborn about- maybe a decision to be made- a limit to accept or something to give up…..or maybe something entirely different…. but I am praying for you—-that your stiff-neckeness doesn’t result in fractures in your neck… or life…..

Dear lord- Okay- so I get it. I’m stubborn and I always think I know better. I think I know how to toe up to the line without crossing it….. the truth is- I don’t. Thank you for a doctor who helps- and for your tender heart toward me- that I believe protected me from permanent damage due to my own stupidity. I love you Lord- and I hear you… it’s a time to rest and heal. A time to listen and obey. I pray for those who read— that they can learn from my mistake…. and maybe avoid more pain in their own life….. in jesus name- amen.

Stiffnecked peoples been around for a long time.…. I may not have built a golden idol while waiting for God… but I sure built an idol of  “I can do it all by myself” while waiting to heal…. same difference if you ask my fractured neck…

5 thoughts on “In which being stiff necked leads to having a fractured neck….pretty much.

  1. I am stiff necked and heavy headed. And I am resting.

  2. Athena says:

    I <3 you. We need to catch up. Soon. Praying!

  3. leejcaroll says:

    I will tell you my, and doc’s stubbornness.
    I had neck pain for years, always complained when I saw neurosurg (for my trigmeinal neuralgia – face pain) and he pooh poohed it.
    One day 2 friends and I were in an elevator. These are tall people and I have never been. “You look like you guys have gotten talle.” I said They replied “You look like you have gotten shorter.” I took that to heart and next appointment I impressed upon neurposurg how bad the neck pain was.
    He put up the xrays they had taken over the years and said “Dr. ( ) has been concerned about this for some time.” Only problem was no one said anything to me.
    Then he said “I want you to go right now to the orthopedic surgeon>” Next thing I knew I was seeing the ortho surgeon who told me I had to have surgery that week, that my neck was “falling down:” and I could be paralyzed just walking down the street.
    Turned out someone, I assume a resident had taken out too much bine during a laminectomy to get to my brain during surgery 8 years before.
    I had the operation which also could have paralyzed me. It added 2 1/4 inches to my neck, it had truly “fallen down” and I have clamps in front and back and 12 screws. (Ironically I told my friend “It’s a good thing you said that about my looking shorter or I never would have had the surgery or known.” She replied “We were only kidding”
    Stubbornness vcan truly disable/kill you. The strange thing is that many of us are often not stubborn about insisting on meds, tests, etc.
    Thanks for this post. (I hope you don;t mind but I would like to use the idea of stubbornness, not your post itself, at my site because I think it is such an important topic.)

  4. b says:

    May God continue to Bless This forum. Iam 41yrs old woman and One year Post Two Level Acdf surgery and I have been resting and trying not to go crazy with the limits I have placed on myself and Family which only consists of one teenage Son and Man Friend in order to heal. No driving No going out Unless for very litte walking and shopping for small items and Physical Therapy which the use the heat all over my back with the elcetrical stimulation.No lifting too much and alot of praying with very little housework and cooking and I have stopped the Bone stimulator for the past 2months cause I feel it was making me crazy electrified I could feel it down to my toes and throughout my bod,y dont like that feeling with bone stimualtor and I am around a smoker! which my doc said would take longer to fuse. Go figure! I just took an xray and i cant tell if its fused or not and will wait until the doctors report. I just pray. I have woke up one morning with a stiff neck a few times and would just lay on a heating pad for relief and after 3 days it went away as long as I could stay home and rest and eat healing foods all day. So When I read about the stiff neck I got scared caue I have pain too and pray It is fusing. The doctor says it should take a year so I will see.Blessings to you

  5. Wow… while I’m sad that others are experiencing this- it’s god to know I’m not alone. Thank you for posting- I’m praying for you B and leejcaroll!

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