Hello everybody, I'm Mike I'm 43 and from London in the UK. Have been having issues for a couple of years with a buldging neck disk at C6 / C7 after throwing a punch in boxing and a short while later going over the handlebars of my bicycle making the problem worse when I realised I couldn't lift my left arm without extreme pain for a week. Additionally I have a herniation in my lower back - but that's something for later in life.
I realised I had a neck buldge when I had an MRI in late 2010. About 3 months ago I had another MRI (2012) thinking my neck was now alright (though a little crunchy and some numbness etc) and was more concerned over my lower back which I occasionally pinched in boxing when ducking and leaving me laid up in bed, sometimes for days. I was put into 7 weeks of physio on specialist at a place in London Bridge. It worked if only to make me a bit more core stronger but ultimately the neck isn't all that.
Periodically I have 'pinched' my neck by some light activity such as diving into a pool and the next day I can be rendered to pain and have difficulty turning my head to the left, mainly, and to the right. I still get to work with regards to the neck but people can see I am having neck issues.
Anyhow, boxing isn't likely a good idea.
So, I have taken the option of surgery. Though I am not in pain, apart from aches and occasional numbness, and if I fall asleep with my head falling forward both my arms go numb, I feel the situation won't go away and will come back to haunt me. I'm pretty rugged in terms of dashing about and still quite active. I really don't want to go through with it but my gut tells me that this neck disk can easily slip out more and I could be in trouble. Between MRI's my lower back and my neck disks have both got worse, not better. Have been told between scan my spinal cord has altered shape.
Am having this Friday an ACDF using a (peek ?) cage but without the plate and screws. Am due to be in for 2-3 days. Synthetic bone material is Atrax (?) Apparently I won't need a collar at all and I need to rest for a week from work.
I hope to god my faith in the surgeon is accurate ! - I don't do hospitals, pain or the anxiety well at all.
I guess I am typing this just to reach out ! I haven't informed my family as theres not many of them around and don't wish them to worry, especially my Dad who has terminal cancer and a sister who lives abroad. Not sure how I will cope afterwards, not sure how I will get myself discharged from the hospital either but will cross that bridge when I come ot it.
What would be appreciated is if someone can just re-inforce my decision to have this op in that it's probably the right thing to do. Consultants leave the decision to the patient - but coupled with cowardice, the downtime of missing owrk and not being able bodied this decision has been a relitively tough one to make. . I think it's the right thing to do (???????) but I'm no expert - just someone who dosen't want this disk to get worse in the future and considering the disks have within only a year the likelyhood could be possible.
I will try to upload a pic of my recent MRI or will put it on my profile pic avatar. Two physios that saw it said it was probably the worst they had seen in 18 / 13 years of physio where I am not experiencing major issues as expected. My consultant surgeon was most impressed as well.
Your thoughts please guys? I'm under the knife 2nd November. It's the anxiety I am more afraid of, the build up and waiting around - oh and of course the pain lol