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Neck Surgery

November 16, 2013

On Monday I am going into hospital and on Tuesday I am having an operation to replace one of the discs in my neck. This is because it has ruptured and has been causing me considerable pain. It may or may not be connected a whiplash injury I had at 19, that probably weakened it but it may also be a genetic weakness.

At the moment it looks a bit like the one on the right:

To do the operation they will have to cut my neck open from the front, move all the bits in the way out of the way (windpipe, oesophagus , larynx …) to get to the disc. This means that amongst the side effects I might have difficulty swallowing and my voice might become a bit hoarse. I’ll also have a nice scar. I won’t go into the more dramatic side effects because I am trying not to think about them! Since the jaw operations I am all too aware that sometimes things don’t go according to plan. I still have no feeling on the right side of my face and can’t use that side of my jaw to eat because my brain just doesn’t know it is there. All I can say is that hopefully all my surgical complications came with that operation!

The spectre of that surgery is definitely on my mind but luckily I know of several people who have had disc replacements and are glad they had it. I know more people who had complications from jaw surgery so on that non-scientific evidence I am feeling reassured. Plus despite all the problems I had with that operation I would have it all done again for the benefits!

I am going to be in Hurstwood Park which is an amazing neurological unit in Sussex and the care there is reportedly amazing. The hospital stay will be 3-5 days and then I will be going to my parents’ to recuperate as they are around all day, my friends live there and my doctor’s is nearby. Alan will be there as much as he can be. It will be hard not seeing him every day but we have our wedding to look forward to and it is important I am recovered for that. I know from my jaw surgery that for me being close to friends is important as I need that social energy or I will get depressed (I also need a regular supply of tea and people to make it for me). Unfortunately Epsom is a long way from my potential tea making visitors.

I am nervous about Tuesday. It is a big operation. Unlike the original jaw surgery which was to prevent future problems rather than solve current ones this is to solve a condition which if I am honest has been pretty debilitating. I have hardly had a day since Christmas where I haven’t taken some sort of pain relief. The good thing is that if this goes well I won’t be in pain for our wedding and I won’t have to miss out on things because of the pain!

Maybe if I am really lucky I will give me an Inspector Gadget style neck …

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 18, 2013 3:50 pm

    Good luck Helen! It is known for being a successful operation with some instant pain relieving results. Considering what they actually do, the scar is relatively small, though it is in a prominent place and unfortunately I did find that some people will stare, but that is their problem not yours! Looking forward to catching up and to exchanging experiences – curious to see what brand of disc you get, if technology has moved on since I had my op.

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