I'm Dave, and my story may be a bit different to many of yours.
In 1969, aged 23, as a result of the unpleasant combination of a muddy road, a Beetle, a bend and a tree, I ended up in the middle of the road with two badly smashed and dislocated vertebrae ( t9 & t10 ).
After a rebuild and 8 horizontal weeks I walked out of Bretby Ortho Hospital. I lived a fairly normal life for the next 26 years, I swam, I motorcycled, I canoed, I could walk 20 miles and generally enjoyed life. Then about 1995 I started getting pains in my arms and shoulders, and my hands became bit stiff and slow. I was finally referred to Mr John Firth at the QMC in Nottingham who confirmed Syringo-myelia.
Since then I've had one op to relieve the pressure on the cord and four attempts to drain the syrinx; two by cutting/burning holes in the cord at c2/c3 level and two by sewing drains into the cord. Each time I've come out worse than I went in- but hey, you've got to give it a go!
Now I'm completely chairbound and, I guess, slowly deteriorating, but I can still stand for transferring.
My lovely wife has retired early and we have moved to a super bungalow in Lincolnshire, we enjoy every minute and I focus on how lucky I am.