Here is my story. First, let me tell you a little about myself: I am 39 years old, healthy male, married, and father to a 5, 6 and 8 year old. Within the past 30 days I was playing basketball, swimming laps, softball league, lifting weights, jogging, running our small business of 11 employees, volunteering in Sunday school, just very active if you get the point. We all feel physical pain differently, and I don't remember having much pain this year, but never any pain in my neck. About 6 months ago I noticed playing sports that I was feeling radiating shocks through from my arm pit to my fingers when jumping or throwing certain ways. I thought maybe I had a pinched nerve, but I really had no idea. Later this past Spring I remember complaining about carpal tunnel (so I thought). I spend a lot of time on the computer so I dismissed the tingling and numbness from ulnar area of elbow to 4th and 5th fingers in both hands and decided to get a stand up desk, get ergo equipment, etc. Nothing changed with the wrists and fingers, but it was really never painful. In June I began waking up at night with hands that would fall asleep which was annoying and I started thinking about seeing a doctor. At the same time I noticed weakness in my right leg and feeling like was dragging the leg when I was sprinting. I went to my primary doctor for a check up who told me I had ulnar neuropathy and give it 6 months to heal, stop leaning so much on arm rests, etc. I told him about my legs and it was dismissed as complications of old knee injuries. He referred me to physical therapy and orthopedic. At my first and only physical therapy appointment I described how my legs felt while sprinting and they tested my reflexes. They found hyperreflexia and clonus. The whites of their eyes got big as they struggled to explain the symptoms with the assumed diagnosis. When I got home I read about clonus and hyper reflexes - from that point (8/15) I was consumed with fear and anxiety about neurological diseases. I went back to my primary doctor who nonchalantly said, "yea, maybe I should send you to a neurologist..." I found my own neurologist (thank you PPO) and saw him 2 days later. He diagnosed me with cervical myelopathy. He found things like babinksi sign, other areas of clonus, etc. Actually, I had no idea what cervical myelopathy was, but I had to lay down! HA! It sounded scary, and I had NO idea there was anything wrong with my neck. The next day I had an MRI, 8/22, and my neurologist referred me to a neurosurgeon for an immediate appointment. He said, drive carefully, if you get in a car accident you may be done. Nice. On 8/25 I met with the head neurosurgeon for a great hospital in San Diego and scheduled emergency surgery for 9/2. I had a large herniated disc at c5 that would require a two level ACDF. Reading about the surgery, potential complications, recovery time, was terrifying. The present symptoms were not that devastating to my lifestyle but I felt I had no choice but to take care of this or risk paralysis. My boys are just starting to play baseball and I just starting playing catch with them in the backyard. My daughter was starting kindergarten, ballet and just taught her how to dive and swim. I'm in my 30's (albeit for only another 4 months), how can this be happening? Thankfully my surgery was deemed emergency so insurance and everyone cooperated quickly. The anxiety and fear was replaced with courage and strength thanks to the praying and support of many. Exactly 7 days ago at this hour I was on the operating table. About 36 hours after surgery began I was able to go home. I have had almost no pain and have taken an average of 2 Norcos per day. Heck, my second meal after waking up was a cheeseburger! Yum and how nice it was to finally have some positive momentum. I felt great but was still ready and prepared for pain. It was been 7 days and that pain never came, thank God! I sleep through the night and my wife takes great care of me so I don't over due it. Unfortunately my symptoms are no better and that is hard to imagine for the rest of my life, but I am trying to be optimistic. And glad to have a life to look forward to recovering from ACDF.
Take what you can from my story. Just wanted to share...
6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.