Ester Marsh column: Back to work after neck surgery

  • Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 12:23 a.m.

It pays to be in good shape! Friday was my neck surgery, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion of C4-C6 with plate removal of C6-7. In plain English, surgery where Dr. Roy went through the front of my neck, taking the bad discs out from C4 and 5 and C5 and 6 and removed the old plate from a prior fusion of C6-7 and put another plate and screws covering C4 thru C7.

Well, it was a great success. Dr. Roy did an amazing job including the incision, which looks beautiful. Dr. Vaugh Nelson, my anesthesiologist, was awesome, and I didn’t have one second of nausea. (I typically get quite sick from anesthesia and pain meds). My overnight stay at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center was first class, including the wonderful nurses who took care of me. As I said, it pays to be in shape, soon after I got into the room, I was up and around.

It does make you feel good when the nurses brag to the next shift how great a patient you are.

Now, of course, I can tell I had surgery. I do feel so good that it’s hard to slow down sometimes. But, the neck collar does make you aware at all times that I had major surgery. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and, as you are reading this, I am back at work at the YMCA.

I had a great report this past Friday, and Dr. Roy told me that lots of people at the YMCA are watching me so that I don’t overdo it. Darn, I can’t get away with anything. That is OK — so many people have shown so much support and caring and I really appreciate all of it, and many who are facing the same surgery have asked all kinds of questions. As I mentioned in previous columns, you need to be in tune with your body, in close contact with your health care provider and ask questions. Too many times, people go into surgery and are clueless to what is being done.

Listen to your doctor and try non-surgical options first. If you do, the surgery will be a success. Also, at post-op, listen to what your doctor and nurses say and stick with it. After surgery, your body is going to need to recover. I know I have to tell myself this all of the time. Do the exercises or physical therapy you are supposed to do and you will be fine. Being in shape does make everything heal up faster.

I wish everyone who is dealing with back/neck pain good luck and a speedy recovery. To the ones who are facing surgery, check with your doctors and ask lots of questions. Dr. Roy answered all questions and concerns I had.

Once again, kudos to Dr. Roy and his staff, Dr. Nelson, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and all staff. I have only had great positive experiences, and I am thankful for having such great healthcare locally.

See you at the Y!

Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt

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