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Just got the news - need C2/C3/C4 fusion... trying to figure it out

guitarjimgguitarjim Posts: 3
edited 08/09/2014 - 5:01 PM in New Member Introductions
I'd love to have some input from those of you who are more experienced, because I'm having a hard time sorting through the cloud.

I'll keep this as short as possible. I am 50 years old. About 18 months ago, I started experiencing some numbness in my left hand. Additionally, I found that when I hit a bump on my motorcycle or when someone gave me a strong hug, I would have shooting numbness (kind of like an electrical charge) down both arms for 30 seconds or so. Then the numbness started to show up in my right hand periodically.

The symptoms weren't (and still aren't) severe at all and I probably wouldn't have pursued the matter, except that I'm a guitar player so I am terrified of losing dexterity in my hands.

At first, they thought I had a pinched nerve, so they prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and I went through physical therapy. This helped but did not eliminate the problem. Then, in December of last year, I suffered a small stroke and that kind of distracted me from the hand issue. In my followup appointment with my neurosurgeon regarding my stroke, I discussed the hand numbness with him because when it flared up, I was always worried that it was the onset of another stroke. He thought it was carpel tunnel and I wore braces for 3 months. It helped a little, but not much. He then did a nerve conductivity test and that was negative.

Finally, 18 months after the first diagnosis, I got an MRI that shows "severe cervical stenosis". I posted a pic of the scan here:


I then met with an orthopedic spine surgeon who is recommending fusion surgery. I am balking at it, because my symptoms are annoying but not debilitating. His response was that he is amazed my symptoms are not more severe given my scan and that he believes that when they do start to get worse, they will degrade quickly, possibly leaving me with permanent damage. He said that as a musician, I should get the surgery done as quickly as possible to prevent any long term deficiencies. He also stated that the condition puts me at a much elevated risk of paralysis should I have a slip-and-fall incident, minor traffic accident or some other type of trauma.

I'm kind of dizzy from all of this as spine surgery is a terrifying thing. I've been researching the condition on the Internet for a couple of weeks now, but there are so many varying opinions out there, it is impossible to get a clear direction.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had a similar type of issue or has a thought on what I've been told. I'm very concerned about making a bad decision, one way or another.





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