Neck Surgery

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Mendacity, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    I almost put this in Top Sekret but I'm not too worried about this going out.

    So, I was in a wreck a year ago or so and I've been fighting to get a doctor to actually help me with my sudden migraines and other issues. We're talking migraines so bad that I went to the ER thinking I was going to die, balance issues, speaking issues, memory, body function issues, shaking, and more. Generally it's been awful, coupled with fibromyalgia it's hell.

    I got an MRI a few days ago, and went to get what is called a DMX (Digital Moving X-ray) scan today. The DMX by the way, was cool as shit to see. Once I get my copy I might share some pictures because they are neato.

    Well, I also got to see my doctor today (Dr. Joel Franck). He looked over both my DMX scan and my MRI, and we saw what he was worried about.

    Let's take a step back, in the wreck I was hit from behind while at a full stop. The woman was going somewhere from 40 to 50 mph, I suffered from a rather violent whiplash of my neck. I blacked out for a brief moment when it happened, and my seat ended up in the back seat (completely out of the normal tracks of the seat). These forces lead my lawyer to think that I should go to Dr. Franck.

    Whiplash is pretty common in car accidents, but a lot of time there's damage that most people don't catch on traditional scans. The issue is that the particular problems that happen, and the ones that happened to me, are generally around your top two vertebra. C1 and C2 as they're called. They have a rather small set of tendons that hold them together, and while they're considered some of the strongest in the body they will snap or stretch under the right forces.

    C1 and C2 are super fucking important. C1 is often called the 'atlas' due to how it literally holds up the skull and brain. It sits on C2, and there's a bone protrusion that passes through the center of C1 to lock it to C2.

    The problem is this: When the tendons loosen, weaken, or snap it's much like steel cables that hold a bridge up snapping. Things begin to slide and float from side to side.

    I told you all of that to say that I have found out that this is what has happened to me. My C1 / C2 slides back and forth, which is never supposed to happen. Mine slide 4mm off on the left, and 3mm off on the right. This means that the brain stem / spinal cord gets squeezed in that spot. In me it has caused my entire neck to lock up to some degree, only 'joint' is flexing when I look up and down. Instead of having a slow curving bend my neck simply bends at one point. It has also gained an S shape instead of the C shape that your neck should have. That is, of course, bad news bears.

    But I'm lucky enough for it to be worse.

    When we looked at my MRI, beyond doubly verifying that my C1 and C2 are fucked it spotted the fact that my spinal fluid is being blocked. Where C1 and C2 are damaged, spinal fluid isn't being allowed full flow but it's worse... Higher up, within the transition from spinal cord to brain stem, there should be a giant pool of spinal fluid. It's not there.

    Well, I should say that it is somewhere but that area that it normally pools in isn't there. There's a rather sizable mass that sits there now, and that sizable mass is my cerebellum.

    When I was hit, the forces also snapped some of the tiny little tendons that keep my brain together. Thankfully it only seems to be the bottom of my cerebellum, which is now sinking down and impinging on my brain stem. Most likely it's cutting off blood flow and causing my terrible migraines, but the movement of it means that it's also being damaged.

    Simply put, they're going to have to quite literally cut a hole at the base of my skull to create room for the spinal fluid when they fuse my top two vertebra. I mean, on one hand that is horrifying and terrifying and I'm so fucking scared but on the other hand I know that if I hadn't gone to Dr. Franck they would have fused my entire neck to the base of my skull on top of cutting a larger hole than he plans to because of the fusion.

    So on one hand, top of the line surgery, on the other hand...
  2. Kaylotta

    Kaylotta Writer Trash

    ...shit, son.

    I'm really glad you got the care necessary to figure out what was going on, and that it can be managed. But also. Fuck.

    Vibes of encouragement and sympathy comin' your way. *hugs* if you are a hug person.
  3. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    eesh, that is terrible. Sympathy to ya, and hopes for good surgery.
  4. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    holy mother of shit that is terrifying

    but on the other hand it is kind of superhumanly amazing of you to have gotten through an entire year or more with this going on, and i'm sure that strength will make your post-surgery recovery all the smoother

    best wishes for your surgery
    • Like x 1
  5. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    holy shit

    that is ... well, i mean. nice to have a diagnosis and a plan but holy shit.
  6. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    dang, that's scary! you'll be in my thoughts, and prayers if those are ok with you.
  7. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    Thank you both <3

    It's actually funny, apparently most people go through about 20 doctors before getting to Dr. Franck. Like, most people take around 5 years after their accident before they find this particular doctor.

    Yeah all last night (and even today) I've been feeling 'spoiled' I guess because I wanted a diag and I wanted someone to say "Yes something's wrong" but then I was told this and wow... I didn't want it to be this scary.

    Thanks! And prayers are more than fine! (Not my religion but I appreciate good thoughts in any way / shape / form!)

    After sleeping last night I'm a little less anxious but still anxious SIGH...
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
    • Like x 1
  8. Mercury

    Mercury Well-Known Member

    Well, shit.

    Witnessing, and keeping you in my thoughts.
    • Like x 1
  9. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    Thanks man. I'll not lie that I'm tempted to just stand up on the desk and scream about this in class but I'm keeping quiet.
    Mostly I keep freaking out because today is one of my 'white spots flashing in vision' days which is caused by all this damage. Usually I don't get it during school but here I am going "okay am I going to pass out, that would suck."
    • Like x 1
  10. jaob

    jaob still not really grown up

    Sounds grim but you are doing a great job of being stoic about it. Hope surgery goes well and recovery is swift. btw C2 is called the axis and is the one your head rotates L to R on.
    • Like x 2
  11. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Yeah. Have they told you anything about prognosis, outcomes, etcetera? Sounds scary as hell.
  12. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Holy shit dude. Good vibes your way that's scary. We are all rooting for you here though.
    • Like x 2
  13. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    Yeah I should have full motion (though as Jaob pointed out it is rotation) besides some L to R rotation I'll have most of my movement. I've lost that rotation anyway due to the wreck, so no real loss for me atm.
    For the brain thing they just cut the hole to release pressure, but nearly 99% of people come out with a complete reduction of symptoms.

    I actually have my date now, the 24th. Wewt
    • Like x 5
  14. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

  15. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Sounds like a better surgery than when my dad had a similar one when I was a kid! Much less safe back then, hadn't developed as well. Sounds like you're in good hands at least!
    • Like x 1
  16. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    So, uhm. Survival rate? I know it sounds morbid, but I am always pretty afraid of spine/skull surgery stuff.

    ... btw you should totally tell Ray I bet he will care a lot and be very sympathetic. :P
    • Like x 1
  17. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    100% of his patients have survived! They use this REALLY COOL thing that includes radar + a moving CT scan.

    LMAO I'm sure he'd care sooooo much (then blame you for it)
    • Like x 9
  18. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Keeping you in my thoughts and sending positive vibes your way. That you've been dealing with this a whole year is really impressive, kudos for you keeping uh. Ok an inappropriate way of saying it but for keeping your head up.
    • Like x 4
  19. Lambda

    Lambda everything happens so much

    That is fucking terrifying, but at least you know the problem now and can take care of it? Sending good thoughts your way.
  20. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I dunno, Raire, that kind of pun is sorta sticking your neck out a bit, but I think doing it anyway shows you're not spineless.

    BTW, now we finally know Mendacity's favorite band: Spinal Tap.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
    • Like x 10
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