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Update – 3.5 weeks after cervical spine surgery

December 13, 2013

It is now three and a half weeks since I had my surgery on my neck. Compared with all the drama of the jaw surgery this has been pleasingly uneventful. I have had some days where I have been in a lot of pain and others where it has been sore but not excruciating. It can be a bit disheartening when after a few days of progress I find myself exhausted and unable to do anything but I am just going with it.

My body has been through a huge trauma, I have had metal attached to my spine and my throat cut open so it is hardly surprising it hurts! I need to remember that though in pain it is not as sore as when I came out of hospital. Then even standing to do my teeth hurt and I could hardly be hugged. As my mum pointed out they don’t sing you off work for 2 months if they think you will be ok 2 weeks later. Also my grandad died on the 1st December which has been emotional so some of my sleeplessness is probably connected to that as much as the operation. Operations and deaths are both fairly stressful! But my grandad was 94 and what has been lovely has been talking through memories with my mum. If I make it to 94 and people love me like they loved him then I will have done well. It is also useful to remember that it is the little things that you do with people that people remember – my favourite memory is eating an ice cream one father’s day. 

I have been really impressed by the speech and language after care – they have phoned twice to check how I am getting on. Luckily I haven’t suffered too much with loss of swallowing or my voice. It sometimes hurts or I get breathless if I talk too much and sometimes eating is tiring but it’s not too bad compared with only eating mush with the jaw surgery!

I think the hardest thing about all this has been not being able to do anything. I can’t lift a kettle so can’t make myself tea. I can’t drive so rely on other people to take me anywhere (I don’t have the energy to walk too far). When I go shopping I can’t carry anything so my parents or friends or Alan have to carry everything. I feel so self conscious walking along side some one else carrying bags of shopping when I don’t even have a hand bag! When I have carried something  light sensibly in front of me at home it has hurt so I know I shouldn’t do yet. I feel like I need to wear a sign that says “I had surgery on my spine. I am not lazy.”

The surgery has worked though – I no longer have the numbness and pain in my left hand plus the numbness in my face has gone. Weirdly most of the post-op pain is in the right hand side of my back and shoulder. I have no idea what they did to me when I was under but my shoulder wasn’t very happy!

Today I am writing this at home in Epsom. It was one of my aims to be home this weekend and I am glad to be here – not least as I can spend time with Alan. I am heading back to Eastbourne on Sunday, we have my grandfather’s funeral on Monday but also I get to see my friends and family. Not being able to drive means I would be quite isolated up here in Surrey. 

One of the things that came out of my jaw surgery was realising what amazing friends I have. I have again been reminded this time, all my lovely visitors and cards have confirmed that I am very lucky. 

Of course one big thing has changed since the jaw surgery, this time I have Alan who has been an absolute rock, even humouring my more outlandish wedding suggestions. Pinterest and wedding blogs when you have a lot of time are dangerous …

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