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Recovering from unexpected cervical surgery

TWynnBTTWynnB Posts: 265
edited 12/15/2014 - 9:45 PM in New Member Introductions
Hello all! I thought I'd join your community, since I know of no one IRL that has been in my shoes.

The big summary is, I'm a 43 yo Female that used to be in good shape...but over the summer, with my new job, I would be exhausted running 3 miles in the morning, and then working my normal shift. I have had waxing/waning neck pain (sometimes mild, sometimes severe) since the end of April, which was treated unsuccessfully by a chiropractor and a physical therapist.

In mid October, I noticed my legs felt weak, like I worked out too hard the day before. It then escalated, and my arms became weak as well. Next was the tingling fingers, then losing fine motor skills, and then stumbling. I was scared to death of MS, but it seemed too quick. My doc did all the routine bloodwork, lots of other blood tests, and an EMG which were all normal. I was starting to have issues at work, which is moderately physically demanding. To his defense, when I initially saw him on Nov 4th or so, none of my reflexes, etc. were abnormal, just my complaints. Since I'm a professional, and almost never at the doctor, gratefully he took me seriously.

I pushed him to proceed to the cervical MRI, which is what the neurologist who did my EMG suggested. He ordered brain and cervical. This was done on Tuesday, December 2nd. To my surprise, my doc hunted me down the next day at work, left his cell phone number (a bad sign!), and then finally got me to tell me my MRI had severe cervical spinal cord compression, with a contusion at C5. He sent me to the emergency room (to by pass precertification and get it done ASAP) that day. I did check out the next morning to get a second opinion, since the first doc graduated in July, and gave me a choice of surgeries. (really? A choice? ACDF vs. laminectomy....) Needless to say, my second opinion is the best guy in the area, I am so grateful two of my friends work for him. All my lower limb reflexes were crazy abnormal, and he said many times how bad I looked, and emphasized surgery was to stop the progression of cervical myelopathy, not to reverse it.

Surgery was performed one week ago on Dec 8th. I had a 3 level ACDF, with a corpectomy of C5 (if that's the proper way to say everything!). I'm honestly quite stunned - for taking a chunk of bone out of my neck and messing with it so much, it's not all that painful! I almost feel guilty so many of you have chronic pain and I skipped right to surgery (don't get me wrong...my neck has been messed up for years, just not horrifying).

I'm now at the stage of wait and see. I've read most of the journal articles out there telling me my chances of full recovery (0%), and hopefully will be at least average (70% improve at least 50%, and I'm quite young for this!!). I'm a weeee bit impatient, and between the medical leave and not knowing if I'll ever trail run again, it's killin' me!

Thanks for all the insight you have shared!

ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016



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