The Eric Factor: Time for a life announcement

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You probably haven’t noticed, but I have been undergoing a health issue for a few years now. What started out as a crick in my neck a few years ago has turned into something that only surgery can fix.

Next Tuesday, I am undergoing a procedure to replace and fix part of my spine that is pushing against my spinal cord. Three opinions from surgeons have all told me the same thing: if you don’t do it, any trauma could put you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.

When a doctor tells you that you’ll become quadriplegic with a 30 mile-per-hour car accident, it really makes you careful.

But it’s not just that: I am slowly losing the ability to grasp my right hand. I’m told this is caused by an interruption on the nerve in my neck. It’s also causing nerve pain down my right leg and arm…things that won’t go away without the surgery.┬áNerve pain is weird that it comes on strong and goes away without any change in movement or posture.

I’ve got to get rid of this so we can have more fun in the mornings! These days, it’s a challenge to hold my cup of coffee, turn a key, button my shirt, shampoo my hair, click a mouse, type a keyboard, and use the gear shifter on my car.

So a week from today, we’ll say goodbye for a while. The surgery is complete in a few hours with one overnight stay. I can’t say I’m not scared, but rather more excited to have the pain go away and have me doing what I love again.

The recovery will have me off the air for at least a month. I may be gone longer if I have difficulty talking. That’s a possible side-effect. A very small number of people having surgery this far up into the neck have long-term voice issues. That’s because surgeons have to move the esophagus in order to reach the spine. But there’s physical therapy to get that back to normal.

As I work to keep positive while contemplating the struggle ahead, I am reminded of the people who have it much worse than me. I know I’m not alone and am so blessed to have people who help me physically and emotionally. This isn’t going to end my life, just another bump in the road.

I will post updates on my Facebook page and always look forward to your comments and love.

Thanks again for your well wishes!

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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