I woke up one day in the middle of May with some pretty bad neck pain. My PCP ordered an X-ray and those results caused her to send me to a specialist asap, who ordered an MRI.
1. Moderate cervical spondylosis with multiple levels of disc desiccation, generalized disc bulging along with more focal areas of disc protrusion and spurring as described above.
2. Moderate central canal stenosis and C4-C5 with ventral cord flattening.
3. Mild to moderate central canal stenosis at C5-C6 with perhaps a mild ventral cord flattening. Moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis at C5-C6.
4. Small left paracentral disc protrusion at C6-C7 with mild ventral cord flattening.
5. Tiny central disc protrusion at C7-T1 without cord flattening.
The specialist pretty much told me that I wasn't "doomed" yet, but that I need to see a neurosurgeon right away and he would decide whether I should have surgery or some other form of treatment.
My surgeon is not one to do surgery right away. He would rather use any and all other forms of treatment first. But after reviewing all of my test results, he says "Let's get that surgery scheduled" I was having limited symptoms at this time. Right arm weakness and some tingling/pain in the same arm. Otherwise, no pain. So I was shocked that I was going to have this major surgery...certainly I would have had to have more symptoms than THAT!
After some fighting with my insurance company, my surgery was done on 7/29/14. I stayed in the hospital for 2 days and honestly I don't remember much of that except throwing up from the anesthesia (WITH the neck collar on, which requires skill not to get it all dirty) and that dang aide who made me WALK when I was so tired. LOL I'm glad he did though, after the fact!
So now I am a little over 4 weeks post-op. I wear the hard collar 24/7 with the exception of my showers. (per the doctors orders). I am still off of work and not really doing much of anything except sleeping, reading books, and binge watching Netflix. My arm weakness and numbness/pain is pretty much the same. I get these sharp pains on the inside of my arm and in my shoulder once in awhile to where it hurts to the touch. I can pretty much sense it's coming though, and usually if I change the way I am sitting it isn't so bad. My neck muscles hurt if I overdo it or sit wrong for too long as well. Sleeping is better, and I can actually sleep more than 3 hours in my bed. If I had any advice for anyone, it would be to GET A RECLINER! That thing has been the best thing since sliced bread for me. If I am in too much pain in my bed, I move to the recliner and can usually sleep the rest of the night. As far as my boredom, I have 3 kids who drive, so I make them take me out to eat or to the movies....something to get me out of the house for at least a little while.
I have my post-op appointment on 9/2 and I hope he lets me at least go back to work. I work from home, so there would not be any driving involved and my schedule is super flexible so I can take breaks if I need to. Other than that, I don't expect to be driving soon or getting out of wearing this collar. I just will continue to do what he tells me to do so that I heal properly no matter how long it takes. I don't ever want to go through this again, although from my DX's above I wonder if it's just a matter of time before some more area's need surgery.
Thanks for reading, and I would be happy to be anyone's support or PM buddy. I don't know anyone who has or is going through this and it's been great reading all of these posts!