Patient Testimonials, L1-S1 Lumbar Surgery, Cheryl Thornton

“I brag about Dr. Spann to everyone!  He changed my life!”

My Story:

My name is Cheryl and I am no stranger to pain.  For many years, I suffered with the debilitating effects of untreated scoliosis, arthritis and degenerative disc disease. Prior to my lumbar surgery, I would have ranked my daily pain scale between a 7 or 8.  Some days I hurt so much that I couldn’t even get off of the couch.   I consider myself to be pretty tough, and I don’t like to complain very much.   However, living with chronic, long-term pain changed me.   I felt tired, grumpy and uninterested in doing activities because it seemed like everything increased my pain.

I followed a very typical course of treatment with a pain management doctor. I feel like I tried everything under the sun.   It was important for me to try conservative methods first, and for a while they did provide some relief.   I really wanted to avoid surgery.  But, I also hated the thought of living on medications to get through my day.  However, all of those treatments stopped working.  In fact, the last steroid injection treatment that I received actually increased my pain, rather than eliminated it.  I was fed up with living in pain and knew that I needed to “treat” my medical condition rather than just put a band-aid on it.  I had all the pain I could handle, and was ready for a permanent fix.

My office visit with Dr Spann:

I did not have a hard time selecting an Orthopedic Spine Specialist. Dr. Spann has such a positive attitude, and because he’s been a patient himself, he truly understands what the patient has to go through.  I also trust Dr. Spann because he had already performed one surgery on me.  In 2011, I had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) after getting whiplash from 5 rear-end car accidents.  I had excellent surgical results, so I knew that Dr. Spann would be the one I’d go to for my lower back evaluation.  Dr. Spann is very thorough in diagnosing his patients.  He spent a lot of time with me, explaining the anatomy of my spine and the treatment options available to me. Let me mention that his support staff is fantastic too!  They’re all very knowledgeable and have worked with Dr. Spann for a long time. They sent me home with information about the type of surgery that I needed to repair my back and what type of results I could expect.

My Surgery gave me back my life!

In December 2013, I had a Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion from L1-S1.  According to Dr. Spann, that is a big procedure.  He did my surgery in two parts, the anterolateral portion on Monday and the final portion on Thursday.   My recovery was nothing short of a miracle.  Although, I had some surgical pain, it was very well managed with medications.   It was truly a miracle; the day-to-day pain that I lived with was gone immediately!

Successful results

There are many parts to having a successful spinal surgery.  First, picking the best surgeon (which I did) and then being a good patient!  What does that mean?   It means that as a patient we have a responsibility to our success.  Prior to the surgery, I lost weight (nearly 20 pounds).  I got myself in the best condition that I could prior to my surgery.  I also followed Dr. Spann’s post-surgical protocols.  There are many pieces to the success of one’s surgery and I do physical therapy 3 times a week, participate in water aerobics, stay active throughout the day (I set a timer so I get up every hour). I also wear my brace religiously and I made a chart so that I would take my medications on time (I didn’t want to get behind the pain).   Dr. Spann did his part and I did mine.  I did what Dr. Spann asked of me and I know that’s why I feel amazing!

I’m thrilled with the results of my surgery.  I have almost no pain whatsoever and am living my life again!   I’m actually doing things I couldn’t do before! In fact, I just got back from having lunch with a friend without having to cut it short due to pain. I haven’t been able to enjoy doing something so simple for years.  Dr. Spann helped me regain my love of life and it shows in everything I do.  I’m proud to say that I have continued on with my healthier more active lifestyle!  I’m only 3 months post-surgery and am thrilled with my results.  I can’t wait to give you an update when I am a full year out.   I know that every person has to go through their own journey and make their own decisions about when it’s time for “surgery”.   If I can do anything for you by sharing my story, it’s to let you know that you don’t have to continue to live in pain.   Dr. Spann is a fantastic surgeon and you can have excellent results!  I brag about Dr. Spann to everyone!  He literally changed my life.

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