I am 60 years old and live in Newport News, VA. Late 2013, I developed hip pain while sitting. The pain grew steadily worse and I could only sit for short periods. In December 2013, my problem was determined to be an arthritic hip joint. On February 19th, 2014, I had hip replacement surgery by Dr. Boyd Haynes at Mary Immaculate Hospital. The surgery took about an hour and I was able to go home that night. The pain in my hip immediately disappeared. Thanks to the quality of the operation and in-home Physical Therapy, I only needed the assistance of a walker for 4 days and a cane for 1 day. 6 days after the surgery, I was able to walk around my house, including up and down the stairs, without assistance. I was able to return to work 18 days after the operation. I can now sit for a long as I need at work or in a car.
I have never written a testimonial before, but feel compelled to do so, hoping that my hip replacement surgery and recovery story might allay some of your concerns and fears. This was not the first time Dr. Haynes operated on me. Previously, he repaired my meniscus and also operated on two of my children, once repairing an ACL and then operated on my other son’s ankle. So needless to say, I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Haynes!
I had been dealing with what I thought was a groin injury that I sustained while running however; it never got any better. My running was now infrequent and I was using an elliptical machine as my primary source of exercise. Eventually, the hip became worse and I was beginning to limp noticeably and was becoming more and more limited in what I could do. Dr. Haynes informed me that it would require surgery, which I put off for an little over a year after he gave me that news. I realized that it wasn’t going to get better on its own and so I decided to have it fixed.
What “sealed the deal” for me was that Dr. Haynes told me that I would be able to run again. I asked if I could have it done on an outpatient basis and he said I could. So, I was scheduled for January 29th, 2014, at Mary Immaculate Hospital. I had to go to the hospital for some pre-surgery tests and all the folks and staff at Mary Immaculate were great. They made it all very easy and comfortable.
On January 29th, I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM; went into surgery at about 7:30 AM; was in recovery a little after 9:00 AM and after some tests and some assessments from the Physical Therapists, I left the hospital at 1:00 PM the same day. Again, all the staff at Mary Immaculate were terrific! I’ve only been to a few hospitals but they, by far, have been the best!
I got home about 2:30 PM and was using a walker and doing exercises. Dr. Haynes called that evening and everything was fine. I attended several meetings via teleconference the next day and on the second day I physically went to work to attend a meeting. That following Monday, I was back at work for good. I felt better almost immediately. The only pain I had was surgical pain, which was not bad at all. I didn’t need Home Health, although they visited one time and I didn’t require Physical Therapy. I was back at the gym in 2 weeks and while not running, I was back on the elliptical.
It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and I’m getting stronger every day. I’m doing a hard 35 minutes a day on the elliptical and could probably start running again, but I don’t want to push it. My experience was truly amazing – I am 67 years old and looking forward to resuming my running soon. Thanks again to Dr. Haynes and all the staff!
Dear Dr. Haynes,
I want to thank you for all you did for me over the past few months. The therapy helped some, but the pain was still there. You ordered the MRI and that led to a CT scan which led to you recommending I see Dr. Rento. I met Dr. Rento on January 3 and he told me the large mass was 99% chance to be cancerous. Even if not, the kidney had to go. On January 22, the mass and kidney were removed. I came home on Friday, and on Monday, January 24, Dr. Rento called and said the mass wasn’t cancerous. I think back to you, and if you hadn’t scheduled the MRI I may still be walking around with a very large mass on my kidney. Since the surgery, the pain in the hip has gone and when I get up after sitting for a while my left leg isn’t stiff nor hurts. I hope that continues even though I know arthritis is pretty bad in the left knee. Again, I thank you for what you did!
Dr. Carlson is my hero! He has performed two surgeries on me. The first was to repair a bad surgery from another doctor for a herniated discs in my lower back. I could barely walk before the surgery. And I had suffered with back pain for over 20 years. Within two weeks of the surgery (with Dr. Carlson) all pain was gone and I was walking like nothing ever happened! To this day, I don’t have back pain and that was five years ago!
My second surgery was for a disc problem in my neck causing migraines. I had been having severe daily migraines for years. Dr. Carlson ordered an MRI after seeing issues on my x-ray. The insurance company denied the request. Dr. Carlson went to bat on my behalf and did a peer review to get the insurance company to reconsider their decision and they did! How many doctors would do that?!! Dr. Carlson saw where my spinal cord was being pressed by my disc and requested immediate surgery. After successful surgery, my migraines have almost disappeared!
These two surgeries have changed my life. I can’t thank OSC and Dr. Carlson enough!
Patient Name – Michael J. Noehl – Age 55 – Yorktown, VA
Date of Surgery – February 5th 2014, at Mary Immaculate Hospital
Physician – Dr. Boyd Haynes
Issue: Right Hip degenerative joint disease exacerbated by lower back spinal stenosis/spondylitis of L-5 vertebra
In 2012, I came to the Orthopaedic and Spine Center (OSC) as a follow-up for a second opinion of my back injury that I received while on active duty in the Army. I had been experiencing increased levels of lower back pain and had not received medical care since my retirement from the Army in 2000. I met with Dr. Carlson who recommended pain management and to monitor my condition.
Over the next year, I started to have pain in my right hip. I came in to OSC and met with Dr. Haynes who diagnosed my condition and recommended surgery. At that time, I was very concerned, in fact, averse to hip replacement surgery. I wondered how I could need such a drastic procedure being so young. I told Dr. Haynes that I would prefer to manage the pain and see how it goes. He understood and prescribed me pain medications.
Over the next year, the pain increased in intensity and began to merge with the pain from my lower back injury. I began to take more pain medication and more often. Well, in December 2013, I reached my pain tolerance, as well as my ability for any prolonged standing without intense pain, and I sought out Dr. Haynes. In my visit, he reviewed current x-rays and advised that it was time to fix my right hip. He also believed that he could straighten out my lower back some through the hip replacement, which he believed would help alleviate my back pain. So, I agreed and we scheduled my operation on 5 February, 2014 at the Mary Immaculate Surgical Pavilion .
Through the whole process, Dr. Haynes and his staff were very comforting and understanding of my apprehension and concerns. They went the extra yard to ensure my concerns were minimized. The entire process, from attending the Mary Immaculate Total Joint Classes, Hospital pre-operative admissions testing, hip surgery and recovery was superb. Dr. Haynes and the staff of Mary Immaculate were excellent and provided the best health care I could have asked for. Dr. Haynes met with me the morning of my surgery and again explain what I could expect and that he would be with me throughout the process. He assured me that I would be in good hands. That helped me a lot.
My recovery is well underway and although it is early, I believe through my hip replacement and adjustments I am experiencing less pain from my lower back. I will continue to meet with OSC’s Dr. Carlson for follow-up care should I need to have corrective action done to resolve my back pain.
I had been experiencing sciatic nerve pain in my left leg for over 4 months. I had tried all types of treatment to diminish or eliminate the pain, to include a chiropractor, physical therapy and finally, an neurosurgeon at another facility other than OSC. To my great disappointment, the neurosurgeon briefly looked at my MRI, made a few cursory remarks and said “try oral steroids and if that doesn’t work, get a steroid injection”. I did as instructed but without success. I had no follow-up from the neurosurgeon’s office. I found myself with undiminished pain and no plan to solve my pain problem.
At this point my daughter, who had a back procedure several years ago, suggested I see the doctor who has done her procedure. She highly recommended him. This was how I became acquainted with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. I personally met Dr. Carlson and his PA on Friday, 20 December 2013.
It was a pleasant surprise for me. Using my MRI, Dr. Carlson explained in detail what was causing my pain, clearly and patiently answered my questions and explained that nothing short of an operation would solve my pain problem. I fully understood this now, having seen my MRI.
Because of a previously scheduled procedure cancellation, I was able to have my operation three days later on 23 December. The OSC staff very efficiently scheduled the pre-operation tests needed to get me ready for my Monday operation in what must have been record time!
All went very well and my recovery and follow-up meetings with Dr. Carlson assured me I was healing properly.
I don’t remember the name of Dr. Carlson’s PA, but she was equally efficient and helpful and deserves recognition. (Tonia Yocum, PA)
Finally, I would recommend OSC and Dr. Carlson in particular, to anyone having issues similar to what I had experienced.
For me, it was my Christmas present!!
Coming from a long line of men who made their living on the water – his father was captain of a fishing trawler – Herman “Skip” Gibbs first injured his neck more than forty years ago when he dove into shallow water as a teenager. He went to the doctor after the accident and got muscle relaxers, he remembers, but because he grew up in a family where men weren’t supposed to be weak, he didn’t complain much when the pain didn’t resolve. “It wasn’t uncommon to just accept things,” he says, “men especially.” He’d talk briefly to his personal physician from time to time if the pain got worse, but by and large, he learned to accept it.
And after learning to accept the pain, Skip spent the next several years learning to adjust to it. He devised his own treatment: he’d double up a towel and wrap it around his neck when it got bad; then he began wearing a foam cervical collar whenever the pain became extreme. And he took over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. “I just didn’t push the issue,” he says.
But as he got older, and began to explore a series of strenuous occupations, it began bothering him more and more. “I’ve done a little of everything to earn a living,” he says, “all of it physically demanding.” He took a job with the fire department early on, working fires as well as the ambulance unit, where he even delivered babies. He liked the work well enough, but the pay wasn’t great, so he decided to go into “the family business” – to become a tugboat captain.
In those days, Capt. Gibbs says, there were no courses and no technology to teach an aspiring seaman how to operate a tugboat. He almost literally taught himself the rules of the harbor, doing a journeymanship for three years. “Coming from a family of watermen, I had a head start,” he concedes, “but we had no simulators. We learned on the water.”
Learning on the water may have been easy for Skip, but with his injury, life on a tugboat was far from it. He continued to use the collar and over-the-counter analgesics to ease the pain, but “…my neck would be aggravated by any little thing,” he says. “On the sea, if I was working on a boat with low hatches and bump my head, that would set it back again. It would flare up and become increasingly uncomfortable.”
That’s not surprising: a tugboat’s top speed of 6 to 9 knots may make the ride look gentle from the dock, but tugs move huge ships that are full of cargo – they move barges laden with heavy, bulk materials – often in rough seas that could jostle his neck severely. “At first, the pain was tolerable,” he says, “because I would just hyperextend my neck with one of those collars, and after a couple of days, it would start to improve.” He dealt with the pain for forty years, but it progressed, until “the last ten years were the worst,” Skip admits. And one day, it became too much to bear.
“I was working in New Jersey, longer stretches than normal,” he says. “It got so bad I didn’t feel I could use my arm.” The seasoned captain, who had learned early on to accept pain, finally told his boss, “You gotta get me off the boat – I’m in too much pain.”
Knowing the captain was no complainer, Skip’s employer took his request seriously, and referred him to his personal chiropractor. “She took one look at me and said she wasn’t going to touch me until I had an MRI,” Skip remembers. “That’s how I found Orthopaedic & Spine Center.”
He had the MRI and met with Dr. Carlson in September of 2010. “Capt. Gibbs had done all the regular things that people do to try to stay away from the surgeon,” Dr. Carlson recalls. “But by the time I saw him, he was having a lot of numbness and pain going down into his shoulder blade, as well as down into his fingers. The MRI showed that he had two large disc herniations in his neck. That explained the pain and dysfunction in his arm.” Dr. Carlson continues, “It’s no wonder he wasn’t able to perform his duties. You can’t even think straight when you have the kind of pain he was experiencing.”
At that point, Capt. Gibbs knew, a decision had to be made. Dr. Carlson had thoroughly explained his options: he could try medication, either pills or injections. He could continue with chiropractic-assisted therapy – or he could undergo surgery. “He gave me a DVD to look at and to discuss with my wife,” Skip remembers. “I asked a thousand questions, and we reviewed all the information.”
They were both apprehensive about the surgery, Capt. Gibbs remembers, “but Dr. Carlson impressed me. I appreciated his straight talk. He showed me on the MRI how my spinal column was pinched, almost completely closed. He told me I barely had any fluid in my spinal column running between the upper the lower portions – and he explained that if it closed off, I could have permanent damage.”
Skip’s case was further complicated by his medical history: years before, he’d been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, had been told he was borderline lupus, and had a bad thyroid. He’d also sustained a mild heart attack 3 or 4 years before the surgery. “I had a small stent,” he says, “and Dr. Carlson worked with my cardiovascular physician and my other doctors. He really went the extra mile to be sure I was getting the best result.”
His surgery was October 25, 2010. When he woke from anesthesia, he remembers, “all the tingling, the pain, the numbness, were all were gone. After forty years, it was all gone.”
Describing the surgery itself, Capt. Gibbs says, “Dr. Carlson put a titanium plate in there, with six screws. It was a new procedure – he went through the front of my throat.” In fact, he says, “Dr. Carlson is one of the innovators of going through the front of the throat to put the plate in. Formerly, he’d have opened the back of my neck and pried your muscles apart. But because he avoided doing that, the recovery time is cut down to about 10%.” And as for post-operative pain, Skip admits to some discomfort: “maybe a day or two worth” – and adds that he stopped taking post-operative pain medication on day three.
Today, he defies anyone to find the scar on his neck. “The surgical cut was so clean and so smooth that as it healed, it just looks like a normal wrinkle. I actually have to tell somebody I’ve had surgery.” Nearly two years later, he remains pain free.
For Capt. Gibbs, there was another bonus. “I had scoliosis, a curvature in my neck, something I inherited from my mother,” he says, “and just off the cuff, I asked Dr. Carlson if he could straighten my neck during the surgery.” Dr. Carlson said he could – and today, Skip notes, “My neck is as straight as it can be.”
At OSC, they call him ‘the bionic man.’ All told, Don Hollomon has had neck fusion, both knees replaced and hip replacement. As Dr. McFarland describes it, “Each of those procedures puts metal in your body – metal knees, metal hip and a plate and screws in his neck. He’ll be patted down every time he tries to fly.”
Despite having all those procedures, which also include a rotator cuff repair, today Don Holloman describes his physical condition this way: “When I was young, there were 600 things I could do – and I did them all, including marathon running. Now, with all these reparative operations, I can do 400. I don’t worry about the 200 I lost – I concentrate on the 400 I can still do and thank OSC every day for them!”
At 65, he includes running in the 200 things he no longer does; but among the 400 he continues to do are climbing up on the roof, cutting the grass – and zip-lining: strapping himself into a parachute harness and sliding down a line at a speed approaching 30mph, at a hundred feet above the ground. “It’s quite thrilling,” he says.
“Don’s one of those guys who’s always been very active,” Dr. McFarland notes, “and he’s worn out his joints because of it. He’s got a lot of arthritis.” His initial visit to OSC was for rotator cuff issues. “I was in really bad pain,” Don remembers. “I did some research and got a recommendation, and saw Dr. Coleman. He checked it out and did the repair.”
Some time after that surgery, Don began experiencing significant pain in his neck – so significant, he recalls, “that I literally thought I was going to die. I had muscles that weren’t working in my arm, numbness and tingling, and excruciating pain. I even began redoing my will, I was so convinced I wasn’t going to make it.”
Don admits he put off visiting any physician until he could tolerate no more, but when he saw Dr. McFarland in January of 2008, the surgeon described a procedure that would eliminate his pain: a bilateral cervical fusion. “He made it sound as simple as a tonsillectomy,” Don says. “He assured me it would take care of all my pain. And it did.”
Once his neck was resolved, Don was able to concentrate on the growing pain in his knees. “At one point, I couldn’t get my knee in the car without physically grabbing my leg. I went back to Dr. McFarland,” who immediately recognized the bone-on-bone pain syndrome and told Don he needed to have both of his knees replaced. Having heard what he calls “horror stories” about knee replacement recuperation, Don knew he didn’t want to go through that twice. He told Dr. McFarland he wanted both done at the same time.
Bilateral knee replacement is a very rare surgery, Dr. McFarland says. “We do it only 3 or 4 times a year. It’s really for patients who are medically healthy, and who will be aggressive about therapy. It’s a much, much tougher recovery, and there can be complications with bilateral knees if people aren’t motivated to do the work. But with Don, I had no doubts. He’s a former military man; he’s tough and he’s very strong – and he’s got a good support system at home. I had no doubt he’d push right through it.”
“I remember the most important thing Dr. McFarland said to me,” Don says. “He told me that after the operation, there’d be nothing I could do to break my knees. That took away all my limiting factors.” Following the surgery in May 2008, Don stayed in the hospital three days. He acknowledges the recovery was painful, but entirely manageable.
He very quickly returned to an active lifestyle, but by 2010, Don realized the pain in his hip had become an impediment. His visit to OSC resulted in another pioneering procedure: in August, he became the first patient in Virginia to undergo a hip replacement – as an outpatient. “The direct anterior muscle-sparing approach made this surgery possible,” Dr. McFarland explains. “The procedure had become so minimally-invasive, and our anesthesiologists so effective at controlling post-operative pain – and of course, considering Don’s recuperative history – that I was convinced there was no reason he’d need to stay overnight in the hospital.”
Don remembers the day well: “They put my foot in a boot, and put me on a special table so Dr. McFarland could go in to my hip through the front. He didn’t cut anything but skin – so much better going in through the back of the hip with all the muscles that would have to be cut. Afterward, I had zero pain in the hip.” And best of all: “Later that day, the therapist asked if I could stand and walk a bit. I hadn’t taken any pain medication because I wanted to see what it would feel like after the anesthesia wore off.” Don accepted a walker from the nurse, and headed down the hall to the nurses’ station, where he surprised them by lifting the walker over his head and taking several steps. “My hip never did hurt,” he says.
Fourteen days after the surgery, he sent OSC a photo of himself walking down a set of stairs, totally disregarding the handrail. Later, he posted a video of himself, defying anyone to tell which hip had been replaced. Even Dr. McFarland had to look twice.
Not everyone has Don Hollomon’s stamina – or bravado – but today, Dr. McFarland doesn’t hesitate to offer out-patient surgery to his hip replacement patients, if he feels their health, motivation and support systems are appropriate. “It was a natural decision for Don,” he says. “He’s got that great supportive home environment, and he’s a trouper.”
It may well run in the family: several months later, Dr. McFarland replaced Don’s 87-year old mother’s hip. Janet Hollomon had had hip surgery years ago following an accident, with a resulting 5/8” shortening of her leg. Not only did the surgeon replace her hip, he realigned her leg and corrected the shortening within 2-3 millimeters. Today, she walks without a cane, without a walker – and without a limp.
Dr. McFarland isn’t surprised at her result. “Each patient is an individual,” he says. “The procedures themselves are pretty straightforward – you go through the same steps as surgeons to implant the devices each time – but a lot of how patients recover is based on how they follows our directions after the surgery. Some patients don’t necessarily comply with everything we want them to do, and that can impact their outcome.”
He adds, “I typically don’t take patients to surgery unless I really feel that that they need surgery, and unless I really feel they’re healthy enough or compliant enough to have a really good outcome. At OSC, we want to see people do well – we want to see them happy. There are a lot of other options for patients we know aren’t going to have that type of outcome, so more than anything, I have a more conservative philosophy when it comes to surgery.”
As for ‘the bionic man,’ he has a message for anyone who’s been living with arthritic or orthopedic pain. “There’s no reason to suffer,” Don Hollomon says. “Don’t be afraid, and above all, don’t put it off.”
The first time Beverly Williams saw Dr. Coleman, she was in a wheelchair. “I was having tremendous pain in my left ankle,” she says, but that’s not why she sought care at OSC. Only in her 40s, Beverly has suffered from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis since the late eighties, so she attributed her ankle pain to RA. “I assumed it was part of the joint breaking down,” she says. It was a natural assumption: she’d already had all but one of her joints replaced – all but her left hip.
A former reporter with The Daily Press, Beverly had worked in the field for years, covering the courts, criminal and civil, in both Hampton and Newport News. She suffered the effects of RA, undergoing several joint replacement surgeries throughout her journalism career, until she ultimately took a less strenuous job with the communications department at Ferguson Enterprises.
It was in 2009 that her reporter’s keen eye caught a notice in the paper announcing one of OSC’s community lectures: Dr. Coleman was speaking about new modalities in rotator cuff repair and shoulder replacement. She’d had surgery on her right shoulder in 2000 in Richmond, and “…swore that I’d never go through that again, because they cut through my rotator muscle to get to the joint. That recuperation – the physical therapy – was so painful.” But her left shoulder had started to break down, and she was in constant pain. “I knew something needed to be done. Pain is something you remember, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through that again. But I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was. It was hurting to get dressed – I started wearing cardigans because I couldn’t get clothes over my head.”
With her reporter’s curiosity, she was also intrigued by the new technology. She attended the lecture and subsequently made an appointment with Dr. Coleman.
After examining her and reviewing her x-rays, Dr. Coleman remembers, “Beverly’s joint was destroyed and she literally had no rotator cuff. Ten years ago, when people like Beverly came to see us, we’d have to say, ‘sorry, we can’t help you, we can’t make you better.’ We would give them cortisone shots and they’d keep suffering.” He told her that a conventional replacement – putting a ball where the ball was and a socket where the socket was – could give her some pain relief but no function. She’d be unable to lift her arm, and worse, the repair could quickly fall apart, leaving her back where she started.
But that was ten years ago, he assured her, and then described the new procedure: a reverse total shoulder replacement, which relies on different muscles to move the arm. “The very clever French researchers who discovered this particular device realized that if you put it in basically backwards – that is, if you put a ball where the socket was and a socket where the ball was – then the outside muscle, the deltoid muscle, can do the work that the cuff used to have to do,” Dr. Coleman explained, noting that “It’s a mechanical issue; it has to do with the lever arm being better with that arrangement.”
At the time, Dr. Coleman had been doing the reverse total shoulder replacement procedure for about six years. “It was the Holy Grail of shoulder surgery,” he says. “Everybody had been looking for something like this. They’d tried dozens of different techniques – all kinds of things trying to solve the problem – but the French figured it out and it’s become the standard. Everybody now generally agrees this is the best way to solve a problem like Beverly’s.”
Shoulders are Dr. Coleman’s real focus, and he had adopted the procedure early on because he recognized its value, especially since he knew it would offer relief from pain as well as improving range of motion. They booked the surgery.
Of the post operative period, Beverly says, “It was totally different from the right shoulder. Instead of cutting through the muscle, Dr. Coleman was able to just move it out of the way to do the replacement. My healing time and physical therapy were so much better.” Today, she says, “I have more range of motion with my left shoulder, the shoulder Dr. Coleman did.” Naturally right-handed, she’s even begun doing some things with her left hand. She still protects her left hip, but realizes that it too might ultimately break down because of RA. “After the seminar and meeting with Dr. Coleman, I felt I was in good hands, really comfortable,” she says, and “after the surgery and the physical therapy at OSC, there was no doubt I was in the right place. If my hip becomes an issue, OSC would be my first option because of the treatment I received there.”
For someone who had suffered so much and for so long, such a good result would have been remarkable. But that’s not the end of the story, and not why Beverly remains grateful to Dr. Coleman and to OSC. Recalling her eighteen months in the wheelchair, Beverly explains: “At one of my appointments with Dr. Coleman, my mother asked if he knew anyone who works on feet and ankles. He immediately referred me to a local foot and ankle reconstruction specialist, who took one look at my ankle and said I had a ruptured tendon.” She had been walking on a ruptured tendon for about 4 years, until the pain forced her into the wheelchair. Her foot was already beginning to deform to the left.
“It was because Dr. Coleman referred me to the foot and ankle specialist that I got my ankle straight and got out of the wheelchair,” Beverly says. Able to walk without ankle pain, and move without shoulder pain, she was able to exercise, and has lost around 150 pounds. And the wheelchair? “I use it for a desk chair!”
She calls herself “literally, a new woman”; and in fact, when Dr. Coleman saw her at a community event – where she was a featured speaker – he didn’t recognize her. “She was out of the wheelchair, moving around comfortably, and she just looked terrific,” he says.
Today, Beverly devotes her time to working on behalf of patients with RA. As part of the Patient Ambassador Program with The Snow Companies, Beverly produces a monthly webcast, providing information and encouraging conversations about how to live successfully with rheumatoid arthritis.
“No one knows what causes RA,” she explains, “although it’s known that it can be hereditary. In my family, my paternal grandmother was diagnosed in her 70s. I’m the first one to get it so young.”
She still has RA, but before her first visit to OSC, Beverly would never have dared imagine the life she’s living today. “Everything is working, and I feel really good. I’m so thankful to Dr. Coleman, not just for getting my shoulder straight, but because he helped me get my ankle fixed. He started it all. I owe him so much.”
Physician Name(s) – Dr. Haynes and Dr. Carlson
My name is Charlene R. Small (retired teacher). I live in Mathews County, VA. My problem started in June 2012. It was like a “Charlie Horse” in my right leg, just below my knee. Dr. Haynes put me on muscle relaxers and then therapy. I had a MRI which showed a slight tear in one of the lower vertebrae. Things improved and I was released on August 20th.
Well on August 23rd, I reached to pick up something and I thought I would never get up. The next day, my husband and I went to SC to help our grandson celebrate his 6th birthday. When we returned home, I called and got an appointment with Dr. Carlson. The next week, I had the lumbar shot. I steadily got worse. I couldn’t get up and down without a pain level of 10+.
I returned to see Dr. Carlson on September 28th. Since I had tried everything, the result was surgery; and I said when! Surgery was on October 2nd. It was a good decision. (My lower vertebrae (3 & 4) were tied together for alignment and spaced with rods). The surgery went well and I came home on October 5th.
Being an active person, walkers, potty chair and shower chair were all new to me. I had never had surgery. I had Home Health Care (Personal Touch – wonderful) and returned to Dr. Carlson on October 12th for a check-up and to get my 17 staples out. He said I was doing well and to walk. I could get rid of the walker. I started walking. By the first of November, I was walked 1 1/3 miles a day. (Remember to wear your brace all of the time). I had not taken a pain pill since October 20th.
I returned to Dr. Carlson on November 16th. Things were looking good and I started Physical Therapy. I used the Sentara group in Mathews – excellent). I will complete therapy on January 7th. I return to see Dr. Carlson on January 4th. I believe I am steadily improving.
My advice to anyone is listen to the Doctor and talk to someone who had had your problem. I did and still listen to them.
Take baby steps, listen to your therapists and do your exercises. I returned to the YMCA on January 2nd, but took things slowly. Just because you feel good, one must not over-do! AND wear your bone stimulator.
The physicians and staff at Orthopaedic & Spine Center are truly dedicated people. They really want you to be healthy.