For those of you that have known me for more than a year, you know I hsve been in a battle with my own body since August 20, 2012. I woke up in horrible pain one morning, and from that point on, the war was on. I have been on an array of drugs ranging from muscle relaxers to nerve-blockers. "What does it feel like?" Well....
Let's start with the actual problem. As near as we can tell, somewhere between my late teens and early 20's, Something bad happened to my neck, and the disk between C6 and C7 began to bulge out.... very slowly, but gradually, none-the-less. After some searching, the first image, here, is "the culprit."
Now, to understand this image, imagine me laying on my back, with my head pointing away, so that you are near my chest, looking up; then this slice is taken about an inch above my shoulders. the big black area at the top, nearly centered, is the spine. Or more precisely, it is the disk between C6 and C7. A bit lower, you see the relatively bright white "V" shape. this is a group of triangular tent-shaped pieces that go down the back that provides a protective shell over the spinal chord and the spine. The white filler inside the "V"is the spinal nerve, itself. There is a membrane that also protects the nerve, appearing as a dark "wrapper" between the nerves anf everything else. Now for the fun part. I used the really cool "measurement tool" in the software to mark 3 points. Number 1 is the "normal" nervewidth, 0.69cm, which is about the size of a normal wooden pencil. The #3 measurement is 0.42cm, so it is "mildly compressed." But #2 is the bastard that is causing all the trouble. The nerve is compressed to 0.05cm.... only HALF a millimeter, or the with of a mechanical pencil's lead.
That being said, when someone asks how this feels, the easy answer is, let's take your pinky finger and smashi it in the car door and see what funny noises you make; THAT's how this feels. In a way, that's not quite true, because the entire arm hurts, but it makes the point.
OK, want to see something scary? Here are some pictures... First, me in uniform. this would have been 1988:
Now... the regalia of graduations use colors to represent all kinds of things like degree, field of study, and school attended. Here is a picture of me at a graduation, wearing my regalia. The black robe is standard for professors, except for PhD professors, who wear robes of the coloras of the school they graduated from. CTU's colors are maroon and silver, which are the colors of the stipes inside the hood. They are only visible from the back, so you can't see them in this picture. (Sorry!) The orange stripe, representing "Engineering," is the top of the hood. So, here it is... (Would be around 2006 or so.)
As a result of the pinched nerve, I was not able to shave for a while. OK, fine... I'll just let the beard grow out for a while. I actually got a lot of compliments on it. Even other professors referred to it as "distinguished." I did enjoy it, but at least once per night, I woke up chewing on it... EW! So, it went bye-bye when I was able to lift my arm enough to shave again. This left me.....
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