I just found you and I'm happy there is a forum for this.
I'm 30. I was in a pretty serious car accident on Sept 5th, 2011 and have been undergoing treatment with a chiropractor and my regular doc since then. Things have been going pretty well but at the 60 day mark, I was still having pain radiating down my left arm, left hand numbness and weakness, headaches, pain in my left shoulder, and neck pain. My chiropractor decided to do X-rays of my neck to see what was going on and diagnosed me with "os odontoideum."
Apparently, I'm missing the top part of the C2 vertebrae which causes a pretty marked instability in my neck. This is more of a childhood injury or developmental issue but the car accident kind of jolted everything around and caused the pain. I've been prone to headaches and neck pain my entire life but I thought it was just tension and would take a tylenol or something. According to the docs I've seen, this condition puts me at greater risk for being paralyzed or killed in a minor accident. The only reason they think I did so well in this accident is because I saw it coming (I was rear ended) and braced.
Anyway, the X-rays were on Friday, Dec 2nd and since then, I've been to two neurosurgeons, had an MRI, more X-rays, etc, etc, etc. The car accident caused some problems with the space where the nerve (for my left arm) exits the C7 vertebrae so the neurosurgeon wants me to take an oral steroid for 6 days to see if it helps with the swelling. If not, then I get some sort of injections (steroid again?) and then move on to surgery. In 8 weeks I'm meeting with my neuro again to plan the fusion surgery for C1 and C2 as well as the possible surgery for C7 (they'd do it all at once).
Needless to say I'm scared to death. I've never had anything major like this. My work pays for time off for 30 days and then they pay something like 40% of my normal wages. My family is supportive but I'm getting quite a bit of "oh, you'll be fine."
I'm scared. I'm working full time and in school at nights and I just can't quite wrap my head around this yet. Has anyone else had something like this done? What can I expect for recovery time? My surgeon said 4-6 weeks but it sounds like that's on the low side.