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!