I have been truly humbled by the outpouring of love, support, care, and concern that has so freely been given to me in the past several weeks. About a 1 1/2 months ago, I noticed some neck pain, but thought I just slept wrong on a pillow. I tried to ignore it, but it persisted. My husband, being the great physical therapist that he is, began stretches and light traction. Shortly thereafter, I had serious neck pain. I literally was crying and unable to move. I went to a doctor, who prescribed muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and pain killers. The pain in the neck continued. Then it worsened. I began having shooting pains, tingling, and numbness in my right arm and hand. The pain traveled down my arm. This past Monday, I woke up screaming in pain and my right arm was paralyzed. I couldn't raise my right arm. Michael tried to give me pain meds. I literally couldn't hold the cup with my hand because I had no motor function. I went back to the doctor who then ordered an emergency MRI. The MRI was bad news. A completely ruptured C5/C6 disc, stenosis, bulging discs, etc. My amazing neighbor is a medical director for the ER and said that if I was in his ER with my symptoms and that MRI, I'd immediately be admitted to the hospital and have emergency neurosurgery on my neck the next morning. What?!? Scary stuff. The other doc confirmed I needed a neurosurgeon STAT. My neighbor just called up the best neurosurgeon in town (I seriously adore my neighbor) and the neurosurgeon saw me on an emergency basis yesterday. He confirmed the MRI. Said that I had no bicep reflex, minimal tricep reflex, and had right arm weakness. The scary part is that once your motor function is gone, it doesn't come back. So this is an emergency. As I write this now, I can't feel my right thumb. The neurosurgeon said that I will most likely have to have emergency surgery on my neck; a neck fusion or a newer procedure a disc replacement. (I'll spare you the details because they aren't pretty. It starts with slitting my neck!) He said that because I'm young, there's a possibility that a series of epidural injections in the C5/C6 disc would be able to decrease the swelling and we could avoid surgery. The good news is if it works, no surgery! The bad news is that it works about 50% of the time, mine was a bad rupture, and even if the epidural helps reduce the pain, if my motor function doesn't improve, we will STILL have to have surgery right away. He also said that usually the epidural injections are a series of 3 injections over a 3 month period...but my motor function on the right side will be gone at this rate so we can only do one injection and see if it works. If not, surgery is our only option. So, yesterday, I had a lovely big needle injected into my neck in hopes that this will help me avoid neck surgery. Good news is that for the first time in weeks, I slept all night! The pain has been less today, too. Unfortunately, my motor function isn't improved, and my right side is still so weak. The doctor said we will give the injection a week to see if it works. We should see the neurosurgeon next Tuesday. If the epidural works, no surgery. If not, I'll be having a pretty serious neck surgery next week.
I have been so amazed at the outpouring of love and support. I'm truly humbled. My husband, Michael, is my rock. He has done all the work with the boys...without complaining...taken care of me...packed lunches..taken the boys to school. He is my soft place to fall and I can't imagine my life without him. My family has offered to help with taking the boys after my surgery because I won't be able to move much for about 4-6 weeks. Not holding my precious boys is the toughest. That's really the only time I've really cried about this situation. I feel blessed. I feel blessed to find out this condition now rather than later after there was more damage. I feel so blessed that my neighbor got me to a great neurosurgeon so I avoided going to the ER. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing husband who picks up all the slack and takes care of us all. I'm so blessed to have a job with insurance and PTO/sick time so I won't go completely broke while I'm off work. My boss told me today, "You're irreplaceable. Do whatever you need. We're here to help." My friends, Judge Clark, my neighbors...everyone....has been so supportive and uplifting. I'm truly humbled. I cannot thank you enough for your love and prayers. I DO have a special prayer request. Please pray that this epidural works, and that it restores my motor function. I would much rather take a series of shots than have my neck cut open! Of course, if it doesn't work, we'll do the surgery an that will be fine, too. Thank you so much for the outpouring of love. I am truly, truly blessed, and I deeply appreciate your prayers.