I called my neurosurgeon's nurse a few hours ago and got great news. Evidently the doctor has reexamined my last neck x-ray and determined that i should "wean" myself off the brace! No more tests. no consultation, no mention of surgery. So i am sitting here with the brace off and feeling pretty normal for two hours; tomorrow, four hours, etc, in six or eight days i will wear it only at night, then, if all goes well, be rid of it all together, happy, joyous, and free.