Taylor: “Laser Spine Institute gave me a new life”

TaylorEditor’s note: Taylor is a patient of Laser Spine Institute. This is Taylor’s authentic, first-person account of her experience at Laser Spine Institute.  

It was my senior year in high school, and it was basketball season — only a couple weeks before district play began. During a game, a player from an opposing team tried to push me out of the way in mid-play and we ended up falling. I landed on her foot somehow.

I knew instantly something was wrong. But both dad and my brother had suffered from back injuries, so I kept my pain to myself.

The pain was getting more difficult to hide. I was waking up multiple times a night. I couldn’t sit in class without pain radiating into my bottom and down my leg. My dad came into the living room one night at 2 a.m. because he saw the light on. I was on the floor having a muscle spasm and crying into a pillow to try to not wake my parents.

The next day we went to the doctor. An MRI was ordered. I had a ruptured disc at L5-S1. I was referred to a pain doctor and a pediatric neurosurgeon. I began physical therapy, also.

During the first visit to the pain doctor, I was told that I was “just going to have to hurt because I was too young to justify doing surgery.” My dad and brother both had been patients at Laser Spine Institute, so my dad decided to send my MRI to them. Unfortunately, the doctors felt that I was too young for surgery, at 18 years old, but encouraged me to keep doing therapy to get relief.

Fast forward a year, and I was a freshman in college. Between physical therapy, a combination of pain medications and several steroid injections, I had gained some relief, but still was miserable and exhausted. But then I slipped in the bathtub, and I ended up rupturing the disc even more than it was already. I had pain down both legs, numbness in both butt cheeks and my feet were constantly cold.

Again, we contacted Laser Spine Institute and were toldthat I was a great candidate for surgery at one year older. A week before Christmas, my dad came in and said, “Let’s go to Florida.” I thought he wanted to go to Disney World. But he said, “Lets go get your back fixed. I’m so tired of seeing you in pain.”

The week after Christmas, my dad told me Laser Spine Institute had a cancellation and we are going two weeks earlier than planned.

I was in tears of JOY. Not even four weeks from when we had decided to get my back fixed over my Christmas break, and I was on an airplane heading to Florida.

I had a pre-op appointment that Monday, where they did bloodwork and a new MRI. I met with the anesthesiologist on Tuesday and then met a physician assistant to review my MRI and surgical plan. I had my surgery on Wednesday and was cleared to travel home on Thursday. I flew home Saturday, returning to school a week and a half later as a completely new person.

I remember that when I woke up from my surgery, I could feel a difference. The pressure was gone, and my feet were warm. Dr. Flood, my (AWESOME) surgeon, laughed when I asked him, with tears in my eyes, if it was really fixed. I will never forget what he said: “Yes, it is fixed, sweet lady. Thank you for allowing me to help you.”

The nurses in pre-op, surgery and post-op that day will forever be so special to me. They wiped my tears and made me smile when I was scared and nervous. The last thing I remember before surgery was my pre-op nurse coming back to the OR with me because I was so scared. She wasn’t supposed to leave pre-op, but she made an exception for me. She called my dad up to pre-op to be with me as they got me ready. She talked to me and told me I was going to do great. She held my shaky hands and wiped my tears as I lay down on the operating table. The last thing I remember before waking up was the anesthesiologist rubbing my forehead and saying, “I promise, I’m going to take good care of you, sweetie.”

The service, love, respect and care I experienced at Laser Spine Institute made the two years of pain and waiting completely worth it. The time in Florida at Laser Spine Institute was better to me that going to Disney World. They gave me not just my life back; they gave me a new life. I am forever thankful for the family I have at Laser Spine Institute.

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