I'm sure everyone can appreciate how frightened I was when I was referred to a neurosurgeon. That's a certain level of 'holy crap' that's not fun. Impingement of the nerve, degenerative disc disease. I wanted to ask 'how much longer do I have, doc?'. I was horrified, frightened, and not at all willing to talk to a neurosurgeon. I had to do a project for work on the results of spinal procedures (I work for a healthcare cost transparency company) and lets just say, those numbers are not pretty. 40% of procedures aren't necessary? 18% are worse after the procedure? Those are not odds I'm cool with! And with multiple levels involved (C4 - C6 for those watching at home) and anterior and osteoarthritis, I was considered 'complicated'. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. NO.
Fast forward to me bringing a copy of my MRI images to the chiro. I didn't tell my neurologist, I just picked up the disc and brought it to the chiro. Fun fact, they must release your images to you and they don't get to ask why. They are yours and you can have them. Do not listen to anyone that tells you otherwise, this is protected by law. I filled out a form and they handed me a disc. I didn't even see my images before this, I just got a phone call stating that I was being referred to a neurosurgeon. I was frightened and not even sure my chiro would see me anymore. That scared me a lot considering she'd ended my SI pain and I really didn't want that to return. But who would treat someone that was so messed up that she might be paralyzed and needs a surgeon? I brought her my images so she could decide whether or not to continue treating me.
My chiro showed me my images and . . . I'm not dying. I have 3 bulging discs from C4 - C6. C5 is right on the line of 'bulging' and 'herniated'. It's pushing hard enough to deflect the sheath around my spine but my spinal cord is still traveling in a straight line. My spine is irritated but not crushed. She pulled up my x-ray and pointed to the bone spurs she'd spotted before around C5. My MRI was exactly as she expected. She's been doing this for 30 years, she's seen some things. Am I injured? Yes, absolutely yes. Is my spinal cord impinged? Yup. Do I have neurological symptoms? Sure. Do I need surgery? No, not yet.
Key word: Yet. One day I'll have to do something about this. But considering what's going on, they're going to want to fuse part of my neck. Which means I'm going to see problems above and below the fusion in the future. I'm not in pain, I'm fully functional, why would we start that roller coaster before we have to? So there's no surgery in my immediate future. It's just chiro, PT, and some Advil for the days where things flare up.
I'm still not supposed to do things that will accelerate the timeline. No sitting trot, no broncing ponies. BUT . . . things are looking up for my return as a h/j princess. I'll never be able to go back to being the one that gets on the naughty pony without a care but everyone has to retire from that role at some point. I can work toward loping around a 2'6" course with my butt out of the saddle. Yes, there's a risk, but a reasonable risk. At least it gives me something to work toward.
I do like to jump
Theo heads north in 9 days. It's going to be tough but at least I have some real hope. I do my PT, I let my chiro open up that space to take pressure off my spine, and I'll be able to put my foot in the stirrup again. I'm not done yet. It will be my jumping saddle but hey, that's not exactly a burden. I do love jumping.
I think my neck situation needs a name but I haven't come up with one. Wonky neck? Damn discs? There's so many options.