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So many dreams left behind because of surgery

Started by alicia on 07/30/2011 12:05pm

uffffffffffffff finally able to speak with people experiencing this agony. I just wish I never had fused my cervical 5 and 6. I keep reading about people having more surgeries. Every movement with my neck is painful, is weird, is strange, I just miss the movement from that area. The worst part that what did hurt was my arms, and now I think that could have resolve with time. I know a friend that have pain in her neck and left arm for two years, did not operate and now she is fine. I just think surgeons operate to fast. Is kissin and hugging and cuddling painful for you people???? Posing in pictures and being clownish is it different.... I just feel that the neck influences all the body and i am so conscious of every movement. Doing funny faces to a baby hurts... WOW I so much wish everything would go back to normal :-( It's been six month, I am depressed, confused. I don't go out anymore, don't want to be a party booper. I was not taking meds before surgery, now I am. Sorry I know this is not very happy joy message. Thanks for listening!

I am scared, I battle a lot before the surgery, and now I am tired and feel like a totally different person.

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6 Responses


Hi Alicia,

I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling depressed. I haven't had my corrective surgery yet (likely to be in December this year), and have done alot of reading though. After reading your heartfelt post, a few things came to mind.

For instance, although 6 months seems like an eternity for you, I've read that complete fusions (complete results from the operation) can take over a year or more. The nerves and musculature are probably still trying to heal inside and there is probably still internal inflammation and swelling which can put pressure on the nerves.

I've also seen that depression is quite common. Anyone who suffers with chronic pain are very susceptible to it. So, you're not alone there. I often get the blues because of the limits I have on myself now. I used to be uber-active. Super physical, etc...and now, (at least till after my surgery and maybe a year or two from then) I'm very limited on what my body can handle.

Did you go through PT?

I think you should maybe call and talk to your doctor. hon. There may be some post-op complication going on...like sometimes after fusions, discs above or below the hardware can blow out....I mean, often with fusions it seems there is residual pain afterwards, but the hope is that it is less than it was before.

But, yeah, I'd think you should call the doc. He may want to get an exray or MRI to make sure everything's okay and that the hardware/fusion/bone growth is as it should be. I'd also mention the depression. Maybe a short term round of anti-depressant meds might help too.

Please hang in there, call the doc, and let us know how you're gettin' on, kay?


Hi! Thanks for your answer!

The doctor says everything is ok but I haven't have an MRI. I can give you my stroy better later bacause I am so tired. I have taken antidepressants and they make me feel worst, more akward that how I already feel. It makes me wonder when I read the forums how this surgeons based their percents, there are so many people posting they are worst after surgery. I know people that are better. Is just that I did give a lot of importance to my neck movement. I didn't know it was going to be this weird, I literally feel how my cervical c5-c6 don't move. I guess this is because I study for a lon time body conciousness and I was obssesed with how my neck move. I am very clownish, I do a lot of expressions with my face, and I feel that now is so weird. Nobody notice it, but I feel it. My neck was not hurting, it was my arms, but they were nost sleepy or tingling, they hurt, and now I wonder if it was the antidepressants, or the neurontin, or the mixture, the fear and stress.

I would like to know why are you having surgery. I read two good books, I don't know if I can post them here. Have you loose ROM in your neck? Could it be spasms? Disc reabsorve with time, I have read it and I know people that this have happened to them. I know a men that had three herniated disc, pain for three month and then he was fine, my psychologist a herniated disc pressing her cord c3-c4, she get spasms and currents she decided not to operate, she feels better. The truth is that the other disc get pressure, so I wonder aren't we more vulnerable after surgery, having does discs with more pressure. They operate to prenvent, because if you faaaaaaaaaalllllll, but hey what if I fall now, aren't my other disc more prompt to herniate. If you have a herniated disc, it will take a lot a least my experience to make it worst. I hit my head a serious of time, it make me have a lot of pain but the mri show that wuhuuuu my hernia was allittle bit smaller... is true that my cord had edema. This is so complex. Well I wish, I didn't wish to be who I was, I wish I wish to be just a person that loves movies, and being in the house. But I need to work, and my work needs my body... I don't have kids, Idon't know if I can have one like this... I don't have a boyfriend, I don't know if I want one like this... Sorry is as if I was still waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I just wish I could wake up and have the condition but have stay more calm, more positive...I want to wake up and be were I used to live, instead of living with my mother at 35. I want her to have her privacy. I want to wake up, and hug my father, and his wife eithout pain, without fear, I want to cuddle with my cat, without feeling strange...I wanted so much to go back to creative movement, I came back from NY after four month to my country and my best friend is in so many workshops of yoga, dancing... all of this I wanted to integrate in my practice as a social community psychologist. I took a day workshop before the operation, and I felt great, I used my limitations in my favor... ufffff I am sorry, I am not positive at all.

A lot of people had tell me that is to soon, that the surgery is recent, I hope for that... but I know I lost motion that I can noticed and it confuses my body, is a weird feeling. I know a lot of people that do't notice the change or don't mind them, WOW! I admire does! Maybe I am to sensitive. I love to travel, and travel in buses, sleep anywhere, and camp, love nature, and the rivers... but now I feel akward in this places, first the pain, sorrryyyyyyyy. I really hope it goes great for you. Really! You seem calmer than I was, and myabe you are having a stable life excpept for your pain.

Thanks again,



Hi Alicia,

Well, as for it looking like everyone has bad results from surgery – there’s something to think about. Most of the people who post on support forums do so because they are in pain. The people who have great results from their surgery (and yes, there are actually many), don’t log into support groups because they have been able to just move on with their lives.

You sound like you are perhaps overly concerned with the fusion you’ve had. My best friend had 2 cervical fusions. The first one didn’t take, so she had a second one. And yeah, she felt a bit different for a while, but now (although, she too has a certain amount of pain she has to accept), she has allowed herself to get used to it. I suppose because there is no other choice really. What’s been done, has been done. However – after her first surgery she was very depressed because of the amount of pain she was still in. It was about a year or two later where she went to a new doctor and he discovered that she was not fused and that she needed a second surgery to correct things. I certainly hope that is not the case for you, but with all spinal surgeries there are chances that you’ll need another.

As for your meds, ironically, many anti-depressants can actually cause people to feel more depressed. You may want to check with your doc about those as well. If the meds are not maintained at a very specific level (which may be unique for each person) it can kind of throw things out of whack a bit.

Lastly, it may be a good idea to maybe get in a few sessions with a counselor. Having a sounding board and someone who can listen and teach you coping skills for stress, anxiety and depression is priceless. A counselor could teach you how to deal with all the feelings you’re having and help put you back into a positive frame of mind.

As for me – my condition is actually in my lumbar spine. I have a combination of problems, such as an unstable spondylolisthesis (forward slip of vertebrae), spondylolysis (fractures of spine), ruptured disc (bone on bone), and severe nerve impingement of both L5 nerve roots. I’m trying to off the corrective surgery until December, but I’ll have to talk to neurosurgeon next week to see if I can wait.

I know I can’t control the surgery, or the outcome, so the only thing I can control is my attitude towards it. I’ve heard that the more positive people are – even if you have to dig to find something to be grateful for – the higher chance you’ll have of a good recovery.

But yeah, I’d suggest talking to your doc about your continued pain. Also, if he –or she – doesn’t seem to be giving you the satisfaction you need – then go to another doc for a second opinion. I would also address your meds to see if they are reacting together, and also look into making a few appointments with a counselor who can help get you through this rough patch in your life.

I certainly wish you well, hon! Good luck and keep us posted!



Thanks again. I am already going to a therapist 2 days a week. Sorry for my writting errors, uff there were so many. I will check again to see what is happening with my doc and let you know. I wonder what kind of fracture you have? Sometimes they heal with time. I have three herniated disc in my lumbars they game me problems for 5 or 6 years, and not anymore. Sometimes I have pain but not that much. Do you know if we can post names of books here? To recommend you one.

I know I need to be positive, I am also aware that the people that post here are the ones that are not feeling good, I thought about that. But I have also been thinking that there are to many. If I look for other operation forums, I don't find so many support groups. Maybe what I want after my surgery is to make sure that people have their surgery because they really need it, because there are more, more chances to get better. I prefer a tingly arm, pain in arms and hand that a painful and weird neck and not being able to move as I used to before surgery. I have a friend that had three herniated disc in her cervicals and it resolved in two years. She had an almost dead left arm. She is fine now. She could not move her head back, and now she can, she could not move it to the sides and now she can. She does not feel pain. She was told she needed surgery but this was in 1997 and it seems the procedures weren't that advance, it was to dangerous to operate.

What happpened to your friend? if you can tell me. I was not taking meds for my hernia but until like 6 month before the operation. I guess that what I am trying to say is that many doctors mean good, they know what they know from their studies and experiences. Many of them mean good, many of them sadly have to deal with a system that demands them for any mistake. Spine surgery is something delicate...

My neurologist was my best friend, she beliefs that where I live surgery is done to quickly, she has seen a lot of cases of people getting better with time and worst with surgery. She do belief that sometimes is necessary. I went to other neurologist, not my best friend that told me they would suggest operation, they were not my best friend, they are thinking in prevention and maybe demands, best intentions from what they know. Maybe they haven't give time to see if this patients get better as my friend did. I guess that a lot will depend in ones expectation and what are you willing to exchange. Maybe I had other expectations, I realized that a lot of my pains came from stress, the hernia, and meds.... I was to histerical, the worst moment to make a desicion. You at least sound confident, and know what you would expect. I am going to check if I can recommend books in this forum, to recommend you some.

Really I have think about what you said, that people that post here are the ones that did not went well for them, that was one thing that made me think not to be afraid to have the operation. But there are to many people, to many. A forum for people with femur operations, and pace makers, I even look for amputees forum, and obviously I may be bias but the thing is that there were less forums, and less depression.

I need to take my mind off this, believe me I try, I try, doing things, watching a movie, going to the beach, visiting my nephews... but is too much dealing with wanting to hug them, carry them without fear.... my present constantly reminds me of who I was before this. I understand that patience, acceptance, and time will be the healer. Also time could make me end up with more surgery. I know I need to change my perspective, it will take time though.

Thanks again and sorry if I am not that enthusiastic,


How is your pain? Does it radiates to your legs? Hope you don't have to have surgery and if you do hope you get better. I heard a lot of people that get better. My dad had surgery in the 80's a time were they just took the disk out, he stay with bone to bone, but with time a cartilage or a bone took that space.


I had a cervical implant with a peek vertebridge, LDR medical. I think you should get several opinions on your symptoms. I still am recovering from the symptoms. Ask how many they performed and the percentage of outcome. Also, expectations after surgery and tie frame. Talk to his patients. Get feedback on what they qwent through. Ask the dr who did the surgery if the issues you have are common. It does not seem to me that you should go throught this. I still have other back issues, but am coping with it.

Don't give up, but check and keep checking til you get answers. If there is one around, check with Cleveland Clinic. Also check w/your state board for doctors and any complaints.

Good luck and let me know how it comes out.


You nailed it on the head! And not do we only get pushed out of office cause their done w surgeries on us, (leaving us helpless) our families thinkk the pain is in our head,mine ask why is it one minute u could b walkn around n next hour ur screamin in pain? for me anyway,I could b fine one minute then BAM, its like a bat hits u an u get this excrusiating pain from waste down,and what it is is Radiculopathy,(inflammation of nerves n endings around or discs n spinal cord. Thast were our pain stems from, so its all about finding a correct anti-inflamatory to help control the inflamation and I BET YOULL HAVE MORE GOOD THAN BAD DAYS. :) If it hasnt been said from ur surgeon as part of ur diagnosis, ask him if he agrees ur suffering from radiculapathy, all us spine sufferes complaining of pain are experiencing this..Have u tried celebrex, ( works 4 me) or did u find something else thats workn 4 u? If ur still in pain, ur surgeon should b playn w ur meds evry one-two months till u find the right combo, includung ur narcs.Im an out of work,(since DEC) orthopedic Nurse. And I highly encourage psychotherepy,(THE DEPRESION IS AWFUL) So it has pulled me out of that hole that we all struggle to get out of, ur shrink would prescribe a benzodiazapine (xanax, klonopin, atian,valium) not only do they help mentally they relax body, not to cause us to be tense and stressed wich also causes inflammation.I call them the HAPPY PILLS. :) I wish u well,feel better and beat this. U have to beat the doctors too. until they hear ur plea.Go bak to your orthopedists or primary if ur finished w surgies,just keep ur follow-ups w surgeon and ur pain mngmt with ortho or primary,whomever u find to be the nicest with his time and compassion.( hard to find but their out there)..AND YES WHAT A LIFESTYLE CHANGE WE HAVE TO ADAPT TO, sucks. Because im in healthcare and worked in hospitals, yes Surgeons think their god,they are there to make $ and yes fix n save lives, but they carry an heir about them. Thats why I suggesst goin back to original docs, as long as u like them otherwise change, go through word of mouth,ask around for refferals..Good luck RENE :)