Post Surgery

I had decompression surgery 6-26-2013 so I am now 6 weeks post-op and have to return to work in 18 days. I still have major neck stiffness and pressure in the area they removed the piece of skull. I am an RN and don't feel as if I am ready to go back. If I don't return on my return to work date I will not have a job. This is in accordance with the union contract. Has anyone else delt with this? How long did it take for many of you to feel healthy and healed enough to return to work?

I have not had to deal with the choice between my job and heeling from the surgery, I can’t help you with that, other than to suggest you appeal to your union and supervisor with a special request. My surgeon told me I would be fine to go back to work after 4 weeks… Um, not the case! I wasn’t ready to go back until 11 weeks. I had so much anxiety while at home because of the the one month deadline I think I actually hindered my recovery. Now, a lot can change in 18 days as far as your recovery and how you feel. You may be feeling pretty good by then, but if not your going to have to make a tough decision, unless you can get your supervisor on board with helping you. How are you doing emotionally? This recovery process is tough, it effects your hormones and can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Let us know how you continue to recover so, at the very least, you don’t feel alone, or like your “failing” to hit your recovery milestones. Try to be relaxed and easy on yourself over the next couple of weeks.


I had my decompression and duraplasty on 7-11-13. I returned to work this past Thursday. I sit in an office dispatching ambulances though so it's not physically demanding. My neck still gets stiff and it's sore where my incision is and if I bend over or try to run it hurts my head. I alternate Tylenol extra strength and Aleve and stretch a lot. The stretching definitely helps with the stiffness and a break away from staring at the computer. If I were you I would try and go back to work and if you can't do it then at least you tried. If you don't go back on the appointed day you don't have a job so what do you have to lose if you go back and can't do it? I find that working takes my mind off the pain and helps me to feel better though.

Compared to others I had a fairly easy recovery and it was 8 weeks before I was ready to head back to my desk job! I would definitely see if you can get your NS to move up the date and then try to work with the union. It seems unfair to make you choose between your health and your job! Please keep us posted!

Hi. I really hope that your situation soon resolves. I am also a RN - I have not had surgery, but have had to take a break from work (with no pay), because my boss has said he has no work which has light duties.

I contacted my union who indicated that Chiari would be classified as a "Disability" and thereby changes my options. They tell me that I should be entitled to be given some work which is within my capabilties (e.g: lighter work). I would imagine & hope that things could be similar where you are?

Hoping this resolves soon & that you are able to get some good healing.