I have a screw loose

But Im sure you already knew that. You have to have a screw loose to do some of the crazy things Ive done over the years, despite my lungs.

Setting my questionable mental status aside, when I say I have a screw loose, I mean that quite literally. One of the screws that attaches one of the metal plates to the vertebrae in my neck, has loosened and backed out of the bone. It was discovered by one of the radiologists reviewing a recent xray of my cervical spine (below)

I was obviously alarmed when this was first brought to my attention, but my has surgeon assured me that it shouldn’t pose any problems, citing a study of others who had the same thing happen. We just need to keep an eye on it. As long as the screw remains visible on xrays, we shouldn’t have to worry about it. If it disappears, then we’ll have to figure out what to do next, if anything.

While the thought of a loose screw so close to one’s spinal cord can be a little unsettling, I’ve actually been dealing with a more pressing issue. This time it’s the sudden onset of severe pain that shoots down the entire length of my right arm. No numbness, just searing pain.

It started abruptly about 10 days ago and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The pain is intense at times and none of the anti inflammatories or pain killers that I’ve been taking seems to touch it. We don’t know yet what’s causing it. It could be radicular pain caused by a pinched nerve in my neck. Ive been favoring my right arm ever since my surgery, so it could also be some sort of repetitive use injury, like a tendonitis or carpal tunnel thing. It’s been difficult to pinpoint the exact location or source of the pain, as it seems to emanate from different areas. Sometimes the pain is more noticeable in my elbow area, other times it hurts more in my armpit or the back of my right shoulder blade. It also hurts more when I tilt my head back or look upward, which leads us to believe that it might have something to do with my spine.

Later this week we’re gonna do another MRI, CT scan and Ultrasound of my arm and neck to see if that might yield any more clues. All I know is that the pain is non-stop and makes using my right hand almost impossible, not to mention sleeping with it. I actually typed this entire blog entry using my left hand. I suppose I could have voice typed it, but my brain doesn’t work that way when Im writing these posts.

Other than the pain in my right arm, Im doing fairly good. Now 4.5 months post-surgery, my back and neck muscles, at least on my left side, seem to be finally healing. Assuming we can get to the root cause of this latest problem and can find an appropriate solution, Im hoping that by the end of the year things will be pretty much back to normal. I really hope so, because if I can get my spinal issues behind me and my lungs continue to behave, I might just celebrate by attempting to do another marathon in the early Spring 2023. It’s been 8 years since my last one.

Oh, and here’s last week’s xray of my big fat head. I circled the screw in question. Thankfully, I have 8 more of these screws holding all the hardware together. Most of it is on the right side of my neck, which you can’t see from this angle.

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