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Spinal Tumor Advice

Started by HockeyMan96 on 01/25/2012 11:53am

Hi everyone! I'm new to the site and was pointed to it by a friend of mine that works for a Spinal-NeuroSurgical office.

Last summer I suffered a stroke, and then a TIA within a month of each other. During the normal brain testing (MRIs, CAT scans) a "tumor" was discovered in between my C1 and C2 vertabrae. It was initially thought to be a Schwannoma (Spelling?) but was eventually dismissed as such. Did not appear to be cancerous as I was told the dye did not attach itself to the mass like it would if it were cancerous.

Up until that time, I had no idea it was there. The doctors estimated it has been growing for around 10 years, maybe more, maybe less. It was explained that since it was not seen before, it was difficult to estimate it's growth rate. A Neurosurgeon met with me and it was his advice that the tumor should be removed immediately, and he explained that the surgery would be difficult because of the tumor's relative position within the spinal area - actually compressing the Spinal Cord at this time.

The medical team everntually came to the conclusion that it would be better for me to recover from the stroke, and then to see if the tumor was causing any issues as it had not been. In fact, a Neurologist I met with post-stroke told me that as long as there were no side effects (tingling, loss of power, mobility, incontinence) then best leave it because the surgery was potentially threatening in and of itself.

Fast forward to now, and, I have been noticing an increase in tingling and "pins and needles" sensations in my toes and fingers. The sensations do not last long, are not concentrated to one side or one appendige necessarily, and I don't lose power in that area. It basically comes and goes. If I didn't know I had a tumor, I would probably just think it was a circulation issue, shake my hand or feet, and go about my business.

I'm seeking advice as to whether or not surgery is necessary. I play recreational hockey as well as excersise normally and my fear is that just in the normal function of playing or lifting weights, I could somehow force the tumor further into the spinal cord causing damage. It was explained to me that theoretically, the tumor could compress the cord but that the cord could bend or give way and never do any paralytic damage.

Of course, I'd like to avoid that, so I would lean towards the surgery. However, since the surgery itself could be problematic and actually lead to spinal cord damage, I'm hesitant of that.

Can any health care practitioners or people who have experienced this themselves lend some advice? I thank you taking the time to read my post.

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