Updates on “Patrick, you are officially my sickest patient”

Posterior Cervical Laminectomy & Fusion surgery - POST-OP Update 3
Update posted by Patrick Franc On Apr 21

Something unbelievable happened to me yesterday morning. I was alone at home, and I decided that I would sit at the kitchen table to eat my breakfast rather than in the living room where I usually sit. I was going to sit in my usual spot, but I changed my mind and sat on the opposite side of the table so that I could see outside and admire our funky psychedelic cat poster.

I removed my neck collar, as I always do when I eat. I was sitting there, eating, while holding an ice pack to the back of my neck, when suddenly, the chair collapsed under me and I fell on my right side (thankfully) on to the tile floor - without my neck collar! I was in shock. I could not believe that the chair had just suddenly crumpled beneath me! These are wooden chairs that I purchased with a kitchen table at IKEA seventeen years ago when I first moved into my apartment shortly after becoming a bachelor. Since developing Cushing’s Syndrome 2 years ago, which causes the body to store excess fat, I’ve gone from my average weight of 155lb to 195lb. But I never thought a chair would collapse beneath me!


Thankfully, I was not seriously hurt. Other than some mild scraping on the inside of my legs, a twinge in my right knee, and some soreness around my hip and shoulder that bore the brunt of the fall, I’m fine. My neck did get a jolt though, and I did feel some discomfort in my spine after falling.

So what is the take away from this experience I asked myself? Well, two things: 1) I could have been injured or done damage to my new fusion, but I walked away unscathed. And 2) I’m so glad it didn’t happen to mother-in-law, who is coming here on Monday for Easter despite being almost housebound now due to health complications. Who knows what could have happened? A broken arm, tailbone, wrist, or hip?!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here is the latest update on my recovery.

Friday, April 19th, marked precisely three weeks post-op. I’ve got another three weeks to go before being set free from the collar! My wife drew a numberless artsy calendar on our chalkboard for me to keep track of the days and mark them off as I go along.


Last week was tough; I found myself more than once breaking down emotionally because I was so overwhelmed with multiple symptoms from the various illnesses that I have. I do not just have to deal with the recovery from surgery, which in and of itself is quite difficult, but also dealing with chronic IBS, hip pain, Sjögren’s syndrome (dry eyes and mouth), neuropathy, joint pain, etc. Having said that, the last 4 days have been much better. I’m having less and less pain it seems in and around the area of the surgery, and my neuropathic symptoms have improved as well. Although, I continue to have an intermittent burning sensation in my neck and shoulder blades and on-and-off weakness and tingling in both arms and hands. Following an email I’d sent out the week before to my doctor sharing my concerns about the symptoms I was having, the pre-op nurse called me last week to see how I was doing. I had an appointment on the 30th, but, based on our conversation and the concerns I have, she moved me ahead to the 23rd. So I’ll be posting another update next week after I’ve seen my surgeon!

I want to close this update with a positive tidbit. Last Thursday, I was able to attend “Alegria,” the Cirque du Soleil Show in the Old Port that has been resurrected due to its popularity. I had seen the original version about 20 years ago and remembered how fantastic it was. My wife and I were joined by another couple and a close friend of Sherrie’s, and we all were mesmerized by the show. I’m so grateful that I had a “good day” that day which allowed me to attend and enjoy the majesty and wonder of this magnificent show. I’ll be dedicating my next chapter to it on my BLOG at www.beinginvisible.ca.

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Great perspective on the chair breaking incident! Love the numberless calendar. I have to build that into my life somehow!

Monique Franc

Update posted by Apr 21

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