Well, it's been a long time between blog posts. I'm now a little over 9 weeks post-op and have been at a reasonably stable state for the last few weeks.
As per my previous post, I was struggling with mobility for a while. I didn't feel at all fluid while walking, and it took quite some time before I felt I could walk freely. I'm now fine walking (well, as fine as I was pre-op), but haven't gone back to running yet. The main reason for that is I'm still suffering from my "dizzy spells". The symptoms are a lot broader than dizziness, and also include dark vision, ringing ears, feeling like I'm falling, spasming arms/legs and pins and needles in my arms. I usually get a combination of these (very rarely all), and typically when I first get up in the morning. For example, this morning I was lucky and wasn't very dizzy, but my vision was quite dark and I struggled to butter my toast because I couldn't see it properly. The concerning thing is that I'm getting my spells with greater frequency (more days, more coverage throughout the day) and intensity (stronger symptoms) since my operation. The other post-op issue I'm having is with the strength and movement of my right hand. I'm about a 50/50 prospect of being able to button my shirt at the moment, my wife has been having to help me dress a lot more often than I'd like.
Because of these symptoms (mostly the hand I believe) my neurosurgeon sent me for my post-op MRI four weeks earlier than he typically would. He seemed pretty happy with the results - it showed that the technical/structural aspects of the operation had been successful. He believed my syrinx had collapsed a little, but hadn't completely collapsed due to the scar tissue holding it open. He didn't seem overly concerned, and asked me to come back in three months. Hopefully I get some improvement in that time.
There were a few other interesting aspects of my recovery worth noting. About 5 or 6 weeks post-op I tried having a glass of wine. Within a few minutes I was having a very strong spell, and not long after I got really tired and slept for about 10 hours. The next few times I tried having a drink the same thing happened so I held off for a few weeks, and then had more success. Now it seems to be a 50/50 proposition as to whether alcohol will floor me or not. The other interesting thing was my weight. For the first 5 or 6 weeks post-op I was losing weight unless I consciously ate more food / higher energy food. I thought it was great at the time and was having pastries every morning and dessert every night. Now things are back to normal and given I'm not running I'm starting to put some weight on.
Today I've also had my first post-op physio visit. I get a knot of muscle on the right hand side of my neck where all of the weak muscles and postural issues combine. It's been pretty sore for the last few weeks as I've spent more time driving and sitting at a desk, so it was good to get some massage to help, although I'm pretty sore now though!
This is where the patience and optimisim have to kick in. I need to remember that just because I was running 6 weeks after my second last operation, it's not going to be the same for this one. It's a different part of my spine/brain. I'm older. So hopefully the dizzy spells start dropping off, my hand picks up and life can get a little closer to normal (whatever that is).