The doctors remain perplexed. Yes, they agree, the 1/30 MRI doesn't look any better than the 12/2 & 3 MRIs did. If anything, they look a little worse. The spinal cord remains inflamed & swollen from about C3 down towards C7. (The steroids should have reduced that!) But there's nothing obvious in the image that we can point to as the cause. It could still be three or four very different things.
But the patient (that would be me) continues to improve.
The consensus is to wait. There are some diagnostic procedures that could be done, but they all carry their own risks of making things worse. Personally I'm not that eager to figure out the cause that I want to risk getting the spinal cord nicked by some probe. The doctors agree. So we'll schedule another MRI for the end of March. Maybe by then the swelling will have gone down and we'll be able to figure something out.
In the meantime, my body continues its amazing self-healing process. On any given day, I still can't tell if I'm better or worse than the day before. But if I look back a couple of weeks I can see the progress. Walking is easier -- and a little faster. I have full range of motion with my left arm. The grip of my left hand is much stronger. My fingers remain tingly and numb, so the frustrations of typing, guitar and buttons haven't lessened much. The biggest problem now is muscle soreness from months of over-compensating and not using the muscles properly, particularly in my left shoulder & arm. So I've got a referral for a physical therapist -- if I can get a decent daily exercise routine I should be able to reduce some of the muscle ache.
Explaining this to people is still a conundrum. When I was at the PSP meeting in DC the week before last I carried my walking stick with me -- not so much because I needed it, but because it gave people an excuse to ask me what was up. I'd say that the simplest description is that I've got a short-circuit in my spinal cord.
Lynn prefers the more evocative, "His spinal cord blew a fuse." Accurate enough for the non-neurologists, I think.