Karen, a former patient of mine, had been suffering from back pain for over 10 years before I met with her. As the years rolled on, Karen experienced muscle spasms and severe pain from degenerative discs. She had never had an injury and couldn’t pinpoint the problem. She worked on pain management with some physical therapy, but after a bit of weight gain, her situation wasn’t getting any better.
In January of 2012, Karen joined a gym to try and get in better shape and build up her core strength. To her dismay, this only made her pain worse:
“You know what you feel like when you’re sore from the gym? This was the opposite. The pain would go from feeling regular to ‘I can’t deal with this.’ It got to the point where I had to ask myself, ‘Do I want to just pop pills to make it go away, or do I want to take a risk and do something better for myself?’”
Karen went to see a back specialist, who sent her for an MRI. When the results came back, she was given three options: Surgery, pain management, or physical therapy. The “gut punch,” as she likes to call it, was listed first. Karen had never met with a spinal surgeon before, and came to see me through a recommendation from her back specialist. When I looked into the situation at hand, I found that Karen had two degenerative discs that needed to be fused, which for some can be a scary thought at first. The below x-ray shows how we replaced her 2 lower disks with cages and put rods in to hold everything stable to allow the fusion to heal.
As with all of my patients, Karen’s recovery and level of comfort is important to me. I want all of my patients to feel at ease and know that they’re in good hands before and after surgery. Here’s what Karen had to say about her experience:
“When I first met Dr. McCance, he was very straightforward, as most doctors are. He basically said, ‘This is what it is. This is what’s going on.’ He broke it down very granularly for me, explaining what exactly the problem was, what I needed to do to make it better, how many disc fusion surgeries he’s done, expectations for recovery, and even some downsides of surgery. My back specialist said he was probably one of the best surgeons I could have working on me, and she was right. He was very open, very clear, and very honest, which is something I value when it has to do with my health.
Before the actual surgery, I did extensive research on Dr. McCance and back surgeries. I made my decision to go through with the surgery with Dr. McCance based on his track record and, patient success stories, as well as speaking to some of his patients myself.
Ultimately, the decision to have surgery is not one to be taken lightly. I weighed all my options and this was the best one. Did I want to live in pain? Or did I want to improve my quality of life? Dr. McCance gave me my life back, and for that, I will always be thankful. He is the best in my book.”
Karen remains healthy and pain-free since her surgery over a year ago. The day after her surgery, Karen got up and walked through the hospital, and gradually progressed her activity level for the first 3 months after surgery, until her fusion fully healed. Since then she has returned to the gym and hopes to complete a half marathon in the near future! Her confidence in me, and her wonderful personality, made this experience memorable for both of us. Thank you, Karen, for your trust – it was wonderful working with you.
If you have a similar experience you’d like to share, contact us on our Facebook page today. I would love to hear from you!