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In late September 2018 a neurosurgeon who has been following changes in Doug's neck ordered an MRI when Doug began to have increased pain. The MRI showed that what had been an insignificant spinal stenosis in 2016 had become very severe. The way this has presented in Doug is that his spinal bones, rather than encircling his spinal cord to provide space and protection for the cord, have disintegrated into bones which in a sense are free floating. Some pieces are pushing on and compressing the cord to the point where the cord is actually indented on both sides narrowing it significantly. Many of the cervical bones have disintegrated with parts of them no longer present and other pieces of bone are moving freely throughout the neck. He has bones out of place and others have fused together in dangerous locations in the cervical spine.
These destructive changes and narrowing of the spinal cord are mainly at the top three levels of the spine vertebrae, C1, C2 and C3. which are located at the base of the skull. These control breathing, function of the upper and lower extremities and other vital bodily functions. Doug has had rheumatoid arthritis for years and when that disease affects the spinal cord it typically does so at the C1-C2 levels. According to neurosurgery the seriousness of this condition is compounded by the combination of his rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease and his recent osteoporosis.
The condition became increasingly symptomatic around Thanksgiving. Since then his symptoms have progressed from a slight tingling in his fingertips to today's date (1/1/2019) when he basically cannot use his hands, has severe pain in his neck with any head movement, and needs assistance with walking, eating, showering and all daily routines.