Sunday, August 07, 2011

Spinal Surgery

Uneventful flight to Philly, checked in to the Scanticon, lovely place, very quiet this week they tell me.

I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, the level that will most likely be operated on will be the level of C5/C6 with a possible Laminotomy and/or Foraminotomy.

I've had subtle numbness and tingling in my feet as far back as my 20's. I've always been a runner, daily stretching, I've always been very limber, I figured it was just minor sciatica.

I started to manifest numbness in my right hand maybe 4 years ago. I thought it was related to playing the drum set and too many aggressive rim shots and carpal tunnel issues.

Then about 3 years ago, while helping my daughter prep for the coming soccer season, I felt like I couldn't get my feet out in front of me. Later that winter I started having balance issues, especially with my eyes closed. I reported this to my doctor and he ordered MRI's.


So, what happened? Some drum corps people have asked if it was from slinging a contra bass. It looks to me to be the result of a 33 year old cervical trauma.

When I saw the MRI I noted the disc compression and was instantly transported back in time.

I clearly remembered a day on the high school Frosh football practice field. Scrimmaging against the JV, I was playing defensive line. My eyes on the ball carrier, at the last second I saw the blocker. Helmet to helmet contact and I felt like I was hit by lightning. I went to the ground. The ball carrier actually tripped over me and the coaches shouted, "Good tackle!”
I didn't move, flat on my back.
“Get up, Bermudez!”
The coach runs over, I say, "I hurt my neck.” He goes white.
“I can feel everything, move everything . .”
They back-boarded me, the trainer, John Manning, checked me out. They sent me home with a neck support. My father, a physician, checked me out. “You pulled a muscle.”
I played that weekend. There was no MRI, no CAT scan in 1976. There probably wasn't much to see anyway.

I've gotten to the point now where, with minor activity, my legs are so weak I can't stand. I have no significant pain. I look fine. But if you were to walk behind me you'd see that I meander.

Why PA?

People have asked me why not have it done in Boston. Laser Spine Institute are the big dogs, this is all they do. I am very fortunate to have good insurance and am fully covered.

Monday is evaluation, new MRIs. Tuesday is pre-op prep. Wednesday is the procedure. Thursday recovery. Friday post-op evaluation and they kick me out and I fly home. I should be able to be back at work on Monday.

My thanks to all for encouragement and well wishes. I'm an excellent candidate and am in great shape for this procedure. My physician is very positive and kind of excited about my prognosis.

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