Friday, January 4, 2008

After publishing the last message, I went over the new post for a final edit. My eye was caught, off to the right, by that fascinating picture from the 3D CT scan done in NY in January, a year ago.

And I looked at it for only a second when it hit me. Aha! THAT is what is hurting on the right side of the back of my skull. I've re-posted that picture above.

Looking at the base of the skull, you will see what looks like a long-ish vertical bone (it's actually dipping downward to the left). That is the posterior of the C1 and that is the vertebra I broke in 4 places.

Now, you can see the pointed middle of that vertical bone and how it is pretty much digging into the center/bottom of the skull. To get that image, I was lying in the CT machine with my chin tucked down as far as I could make it go while lying supine. Thus, this is as FAR APART as my C1 and the suboccipital part of my skull will get.

Yet, my neurosurgeon pointed this out to me and said that there should be the width of my pinky finger between the two.

Next, I looked immediately to the right of that pointed part of the upper edge of that vertical C1, and I could see that is exactly where my head hurts. Because, suddenly, I'm noticing a point coming down from the bottom of the skull and pinching into the C1. And it must do this even more so when I'm in a normal position with my head and it is also moving in several directions throughout the day.

And this imaging only shows the bones, so what is between the skull and C1 that is also being pinched, like nerves and ligaments?

DUH! I'm not surprised. This is what I figured was going on. I've had this pain back there for almost four years now.

This also reminds me that when I was in the physical therapist's office last Thursday, there was the best representation of the skull and upper Cspine that I have ever seen. It was somewhat larger than real life. But not that much larger. It was held together with rubber bands. While I waited for the PT guy to show up, I really looked that over. What I found really blew me away.

I tried to make the occipital/back part of the skull "rotate" backwards onto the posterior of the C1 like I was told (and can see in the 3D CT) is the situation with my skull. And I noticed that the vertebra (C1) and the bottom of the skull are perfectly meshed, all the way around, like cogs in a wheel. In order for the skull to migrate backwards, it would have to break free from the C1. Because it would have to rock upwards and off of the meshing parts of the bones. That is the only way to make the skull come back onto the C1.

And I couldn't even make that model go into that position. The bands holding it together were stretchy and not that tight, but I could not make the skull come backwards onto the C1 like I (and you) can see in the 3D CT image above! This rocked me!

This, then, was the "atlanto occipital dislocation" that I recently learned occurred over 3 and a half years ago at the time of my Jefferson Fracture. I'm looking at it right here! The ligaments holding things together had to break loose in order for the skull to reach this position. This just floors me.

The other thing I learned from the model is that the C1 is a much thicker bone than I imagined. I thought it was probably a thin, little ring of bone prone to break easily. But the model displayed a thickness of at least half an inch in life-size, I'd estimate. A pretty darn thick piece of bone!

Again, I looked at that and all of my imaginings fell and shattered onto the tiled floor. That bone looked stout enough to hold up the world (hence the name "Atlas Bone" is given to the C1 in anatomy). And somehow it broke into four pieces, and I walked away. Albeit, I had to hang my head down while bending over because I had nothing to hold it up, but I did walk and even led a horse!

God, Jesus, His Angels, His Saving Grace and Healing power, it's all completely unfathomable!

All I know is, I sure do thank Him!

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