Welcome to HW, so glad to have you. So sorry about all you're going through, I know it's rough.
Dealing with the C spine is tricky. It's high up in the spinal canal, so slipped discs, compression, inflammation, degeneration and arthritis of this area can cause problems. It's something that definitely needs to be addressed.
Now, just because you were reffered to see a surgeon, doesn't necessarily mean you'll go right to surgery. Seeing a surgeon who specializes in this is a great idea. In fact, see 2 surgeons! One for a second opinion. It's always good to get a second opinion if you feel unsure or when dealing with surgery. My previous employer just had successful cspine surgery in the spring, the discs were causing bad neck pain, movement problems and was pressing on the spinal cord. great recovery, no problems.
Regarding the RA. Exactly how do you hurt? Both sides equally? Just because you have a negative RF, does not mean you don't have RA. There are many tests, symptoms they take into consideration and as a whole when diagnosing RA. The elevated sed leads me to believe you do have some inflammatory process going on somewhere.
You've quite a few problems to tackle! Fibro, RA and spinal herniations can cause the body as a whole to completely go off whack! It makes sense you hurt all over....how could you not?
Seek a surgeon and spine specialist for an opinion. You do not have to jump into surgery right away (unless there is some threatening spinal compression that can cause breathing problems...have they said anything about the severity of the herniation?)
I applied for Dis/SSI back in June. Have severe active RA, CD and complications which hold me from normal mobility and working right now. The process is hard, but if you know you cannot work...then apply ASAP because it may take a long time for approval. I will not hear anything till december. But what else can I do? Ya have to take care of yourself right? I would much rather be working, it breaks my heart I cannot at this time...but I feel that my current state will not be forever and in the future I can and will be able to work again.
Stay strong and positive and patient.
Write back when you can.