I had a lunchtime team meeting yesterday. It wasn't terribly arduous, but I was sitting slightly to one side of the flip-chart we were using, and by the end of the 90 minute session, I had a bit of a twinge in my neck. It didn't seem too bad or anything much to worry about, but about an hour later my neck had completely seized up.
I popped a couple of Nurofen and hoped it would go away, but it worried me for one very simple reason: it was a pain like this, in exactly the same spot that signalled the development of a lesion on my cervical spinal cord and the start of the pins and needles, loss of sensation and ultimately the muscle wastage that I know at the Weirdy Tingles (although my neurologist prefers to call it something else).
My last MRI scan was back in February and revealed that there had been "diffuse changes" in the lesion on my neck, meaning it had begun to dissipate. The damage to the sheath around my spinal cord has been done and will never fully heal, and nerve signals down my body will always be disrupted to some degree, but crucially no new lesions had appeared, and so I do not have MS - at least, not yet. Clearly this was good news.
I had just come through a bit of a bad patch when I was scanned, but since then I have had a pretty good run and haven't been troubled by my symptoms too much, touch wood. Sure the numbness and pins & needles are all still there, but I've been religiously doing my exercises to keep my upper body muscles from wasting, and I have generally been able to get on with my life as normal.
Some mornings I wake up with a slightly stiff neck, but I've always seen this as a gentle reminder of the mark that has been left on my spinal cord and I try not to let it bother me.
Yesterday was different though. The pain was in exactly the same place - on the left hand side of my neck and slightly behind the line of my shoulder - but this time it was much worse and much more persistent. By mid-afternoon I was in quite a lot of discomfort and wondering whether I should go and see a doctor.
In the end, I decided to wait, and although I woke up several times during the night, I chewed my way though some more ibuprofen, and although my neck is still stiff and sore, it feels now as though the worst is over.
The thing is though, when this first happened to me back in 2005, it was only the beginning. I went to the doctor with a stiff neck some months before I started to experience any neurological symptoms. I'm trying not to worry, but let's hope that this time it's just a sore neck, eh?
Speaking of doctors, I now have all of the information that I need to decide if I want to take the plunge and get phakic intraocular lenses surgically inserted into my eyes to correct my myopia. I've done the reading. I've consulted the best surgeon I could find and he thought I was a good candidate. I know the risks and the odds. I want to do it.... and yet somehow I've sat on this information for the best part of the last two months and I still haven't pulled the trigger. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. It's a leap of faith; a step onto an invisible bridge... only I don't think Indiana Jones is in front of me with a handful of pebbles to show me the way on this one.
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