First some info about me:
I am a 35yr old male, 6'2" 175lbs in decent physical shape without any prior health issues.
I eat a balanced vegetarian diet and don't smoke, drink or use any recreational drugs.
My work is mostly outdoors, moderately physically demanding and I'm never at a desk for more than an hour at a time.
During the last week of June, 2014 I noticed a slight awkwardness walking down some stairs.
It seemed as if my balance was a little off but I had moved a couple days earlier and chalked it up to
fatigue from packing/unpacking and driving 500 miles within a span of 2 days.
By July 1st, I had started feeling a tingling in my hands and fingers and figured maybe some tight muscles
were squeezing some nerves. I had a deep tissue massage but that didn't seem to help any.
At this point my symptoms were annoying but not really affecting my daily life so I decided to give it some
time and se if it would resolve it's self.
On July 4th, I made the 1000 mile round trip drive back to where I had moved from to finish recording
some bass guitar parts for an album I had been working on before the move. Half way there, I stopped for gas
and when I got out of the car my legs felt unsteady and weak. I figured it was from the driving. I stretched
some and the got back in and finished the drive.
Once I got there and started recording, I was having difficultly playing the faster parts as my hands kept getting
tired and week. I had played theses same parts, multiple times, just a few weeks prior with no problem at all.
This is when it finally sunk in that something might be "wrong with me".
I got back home and for the next few weeks, I still had some tingling and a little clumsiness but it wasn't affecting
my work or personal life and it wasn't getting any worse so I just kind of ignored it and hoped it would go away.
Around the 1st of August things took a turn for the worse and the tingling turned to complete numbness in my hands
and major loss of strength in my arms and upper body. My legs became heavy and clumsy.
I went to a Chiropractor who did an X-ray that showed my C3 had moved forward and was more than likely putting
pressure on my spinal cord. He said that he may be able to relieve some of the pressure by manipulating further
down my spine but that he didn't want to do anything with my neck until the pressure was off of my spinal cord.
He also said that with excercise, stretching and manipulation that my muscles could pull the vertabrae back into place.
At this time I was in the "avoid surgery at all cost" camp so I figured I'd let him try. The process was supposed to take
7 months of twice weekly visits.
For the first few weeks things improved dramatically and I was hopefully for a full recovery. After a month progress halted
and I was left with a stiff clumsy gait and not much strength or feeling in my hands. Waking fast would cause me to
fall and something as simple as 1 push-up was impossible.
Over the next few weeks things became progressively worse. I could hardly stand from a seated position and had to take stairs one at a time placing both feet together on the same step before moving on to the next. I couldn't write with a pen and had difficulty dressing myself. I would have a severe jerking reaction whenever touching something cold. I also started to fall quite frequently and using the bathroom became difficult due to the inability to push enough to get started. My mid section, starting at my pelvis and going up to the bottom of my ribs, felt numb and "frozen".
On "bad days" lifting 5lbs above my shoulders was impossible and even the smallest of task toook a tremendous effort.
During this whole ordeal, I had absolutely no pain. Not in my neck or anywhere else. There was of course some
discomfort and annoyance from my symptoms but nothing that I would describe as pain.
Around September 20th, I realized things were only getting worse and like it or not, it was time to see a doctor.
I had some connections to the "medical community" and started asking around to see who would be the best Dr.
to see conidering problems that I was having. The same name kept coming up so I went ahead and made an appointment.
My first visit was Monday, I had an MRI Tuesday and met with the Dr. Again on Wednesday. We went over the MRI
together and he showed me were the pressure on my spinal cord was and what causing it and explained that in his opinion the high signal in that area meant we needed to do something sooner rather than later. I agreed.
He went over both anterior and posterior procedures giving the pros and cons for each. We decided that for my particular
situation and for the result I was hoping to achieve, a C2-C5 posterior laminectomy w/fusion and instrumentation was
the best route to go. We scheduled surgery for that Saturday, Oct. 4th.
I am 1 week post op today and I feel pretty good! My gait is back to normal and my strength has returned. My muscles had somewhat atrophied over the course of the last few months but what muscle I have left seems to be working fine. The frozen tightness in my abdomen is gone and my bladder/bowel function is back to normal. The only thing that lingers from before the surgery is a slight tingling in my hands but it's not enough to impair function.
I do have the normal post surgery pain but the medication keeps it at bay. Since I was released from the hospital on
Tuesday, I have been able to walk about a mile each day without any serious difficulty.
Sorry this is so long but leading up to my surgery, I was a nervous wreck and reading these forums often made it worse.
I know every case is different but I kept searching fo a "success story" from someone similar to me with similar symptoms.
It was always hard for me to make an accurate comparison because a lot of the posts lacked specifics that I felt may make a difference in the end result.
Anyway, that's my story. Hopefully it can be helpful to someone out there.
Please feel free to ask questions and I'll answer to the best of my ability within the forum guidelines.
CSM = C2-C5 Posterior Laminectomy w/Fusion and Instrumentation
Surgery Complete 10/4/14