The neurosurgeon was somewhat reassuring. He said he’s willing but not eager to operate on me: I meet the criteria for surgery in that my discs are dead and dessicated and bulging into my spine (they would go in through the front of my neck and do discectomies at C5-6 & 6-7, a laminectomy to address the bone spurs, cadaver bone grafts between my crumbling vertebrae, fusion of C5-7 with a plate and screws), but the degree of stenosis is not yet endangering function (the measurements on the report are godawful, but on film you can still sort of see where the nerve roots go through). Basically they’ll operate if/when I am desperate enough from the pain and numbness/weakness to go for it (NOPE), but despite having a 70-year-old spine I’m young enough that the 1-2% yearly cumulative risk of re-op over time would eventually bite me in the ass, and they would therefore prefer to wait unless I can’t live with the pain (plus once I have hardware I’d probably be limited to CTs, which carry a highish burden of radiation, and with all the ones I’ve had already plus countless x-rays and floroscopy-assisted procedures...my cancer will have cancer at some point). So I am hearing GOOD news: as long as this doesn’t get worse I can avoid surgery for as long as I remain as stubborn as I am, and I’ve maintained an unrelenting thirty-nine-year streak, so I’m feeling like ain’t nobody slitting my damn throat now or hopefully ever (I know, I know, it’s controlled, surgical throat-slitting with a low risk of death, and that is fine and miraculous if we are talking about someone else’s throat)!
The REALLY good news is he doesn’t think I have ankylwhatchamacallit, just regular old degenerative spinal arthritis exascerbated by the beating in 2/17? This means a better prognosis with surgery, and that staying active is my best shot at preserving function even if it hurts like hell (until the surgeon weighed in no one could say whether exercise was good and necessary or liable to paralyze me for life).
So: damn the torpedoes, yoga time, bitches!