The last few months had been going great. I had gone on a diet and exercise, and had lost over 30 pounds. I was feeling very good with myself.
Two and a half weeks ago, the day after I had returned from a business trip to London, I woke up with an intense pain in my neck, shoulder and left arm. I immediately knew what was causing that type of pain. This had happened before.
You may remember five years ago, I got a herniated cervical disc, C5-C6. It came on gradually over a few months, so I didn’t get a proper diagnosis immediately. But once it was identified, I had surgery. Recovery was a success, and I thought it was behind me.
This time I wasted no time. It happened on a Monday which was a holiday, so I found some old Vicodin to quell the pain. I called my neurosurgeon on Tuesday, got an appointment for Wednesday, they were able to get me an MRI and x-rays that Saturday, my doctor reviewed the results Monday, and Wednesday we scheduled surgery for the next Monday, for a total of two weeks.
Last time it was C5-C6, which puts pain on the neck, shoulder, bicep and makes you lose sensation in part of the hand. This time it was C4-C5, which puts pain on the neck, shoulder and deltoid, which lets you raise your arm. Within a few days, I had completely lost the ability to raise my left arm.
The surgery was a success in that the primary pain is gone. But I’m still recovering, and very sore and weak. And my deltoid has not recovered; I still cannot raise my left arm. The doctor says it may recover on its own, but now it’s looking more like I’ll require physical therapy.
(You’ll never appreciate your deltoid until you lose control of it. Things such as putting on a shirt or applying deodorant become complicated tasks, requiring you to brace against a wall and “walk” your arm upward with your fingers and your other functioning arm for a brace.)
And to kick me while I’m down, while in the hospital, they took blood tests and found my fasting blood glucose level is 177. So I have diabetes. I’ve been ordered back to my GP to start dealing with that.
But hey, life was good for awhile.