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Old 09-29-10, 10:57 PM   #1
lhbernhardt
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Spinal Surgery

I've been losing a lot of strength in my right arm for the past year. Sometimes I have trouble shaving or brushing my teeth, it's almost like I've had a stroke. I had three MRI's done at various intervals, and I met with the neurosurgeon yesterday. He showed me the MRI images of my cervical vertebrae on a neat computer display - he moved a line across a side view of my spine, and the cross section top view would appear in the adjoining window.

The images showed some impingement on my spinal cord by the disk in the space between C5 and C6, as well as some more problems at C4-C5. He was able to do a computerized measurement of the spinal cord at two different MRI's. The earlier one showed 7mm, the later one showed 6.2mm at the same point. He said that he recommends surgery when the cord gets to 6mm, so I signed off on the order for the operation. He's going to try to schedule it in mid to late October, after I get back from my week of holidays in Orlando, FL.

Probably this condition is a result of my position on the bike, the racing position I've used during my entire career, and the one I'm still used to. But after 4 to 6 weeks in a neck brace, I should be back on the bike and feeling more comfortable. In the meantime, I'll have to stick to the rollers, since I won't be able to turn my head.

The operation will involve drilling into the spinal bone and calcified disks, and adding some bone material from my hip, so it's a pretty serious operation. Any comments from any of the doctors on this list?

The neat thing about all this is that I live in Canada. The operation plus the two days I'll need to be in the hospital are free (unless I want a private room)! The issue of cost never even came up in the discussion with the specialist. (Of course, all three MRI's were free too.) What a great country! You need medical care, you get it!

Luis
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Old 09-29-10, 11:36 PM   #2
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Good luck and a quick recovery to you. I don't have any spine issues to relate to. I did have my left ankle fused last Dec 1st which made the ankle stiff as a board but pain free for the first time in 15 years. Once again, I am a sprinter and with out pain! I was back on the trainer in 30 days, rollers in 45 days and did my first race on March 3, two weeks before the doctor gave me the OK to begin riding again. You know your body better than anyone, use you head and you will be good to go.
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Old 09-30-10, 04:33 AM   #3
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Good luck Luis. My brother had the same procedure done a couple of years ago. He said the worst part was the hip. Aspire Velotech has the Italian Bar end Mirror. It may help out while rehabing the neck.

I don't want to be an alarmist but perhaps pay for the Factor V Leiden test to see if you are prone to clotting. Consider compression stockings for the hospital stay as those of us with lower than normal heart rates can be prone to clotting. First hand experience with that one!

Last edited by jdon; 09-30-10 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 09-30-10, 04:36 AM   #4
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Sounds like the very same surgery my father had at age 82, including the lack of strength in the arm and hands, taking material from the hip... the whole thing. The surgery did provide the relief he was seeking, and all and all was, according to him, "Damn well worth it." Good luck, enjoy your holiday, then heal qucikly.
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Old 09-30-10, 05:48 AM   #5
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This type of surgery is possibly in my future too, after knees. Good luck with it, and speedy recovery. Have a great vacation!

Frank
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Old 09-30-10, 06:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post

The neat thing about all this is that I live in Canada. The operation plus the two days I'll need to be in the hospital are free (unless I want a private room)! The issue of cost never even came up in the discussion with the specialist. (Of course, all three MRI's were free too.) What a great country! You need medical care, you get it!

Luis
At the risk of politicizing this thread, I have heard this sentiment many times from our neighbors in the frozen north either in person or on a forum.

I have a friend from Toronto, a conservative political cartoonist, said that the conservatives, himself included, fought the "socialization" of medicine tooth and nail at the time. Now he thinks the Canadian system is the best!

Good luck with the surgery, Luis.
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Old 09-30-10, 09:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdon View Post

I don't want to be an alarmist but perhaps pay for the Factor V Leiden test to see if you are prone to clotting. Consider compression stockings for the hospital stay as those of us with lower than normal heart rates can be prone to clotting. First hand experience with that one!
Most 50+ people hospitalized for surgery are at risk for blood clots. Medications (like enoxaparin or heparin) are commonly/routinely ordered as a preventive measure on admission. Stockings may not be needed if on medication. Something to ask about on admission or before.
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Old 09-30-10, 09:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
At the risk of politicizing this thread, I have heard this sentiment many times from our neighbors in the frozen north either in person or on a forum.

I have a friend from Toronto, a conservative political cartoonist, said that the conservatives, himself included, fought the "socialization" of medicine tooth and nail at the time. Now he thinks the Canadian system is the best!

Good luck with the surgery, Luis.
I have friends who emigrated to Canada (BC) a few years ago. One of the reasons is because of the health care.

Best of luck to you, Luis.
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Old 09-30-10, 09:57 PM   #9
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First, good luck!

About the health care - It's not free, you've been paying into it all your life as a Canadian citizen. Unfortunately people(Sri-lankan Tamils to Americans) see a good thing and try to jump on our ship, of course we help but, lets hope we don't all drown.

BTW, what is this racing posture?
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