As a nurse, I know how to help my patients. But when it came to getting help for my own debilitating back pain, I had no answers, until I found Dr. Good at Virginia Spine Institute.
My nightmare started with a relatively innocuous accident during parents’ weekend at my daughter’s university. It had been a great day at a football game. We were leaving the game, crossing a field, when somehow I tripped and sprained my ankle. The injury didn’t seem like a big deal until it eventually developed into sciatica. And it didn’t stop there. It would later progress into highly intense back pain.
As a busy mom of three kids, I was on the move, with no time for this. But inevitably, everything came to a halt. I sought out help from anyone who would see me. I went to a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and doctors … several of them. Each one had different advice; one encouraged surgery, another suggested fusion, yet another said to steer clear from surgical procedures.
Now I was no longer just in pain, I was confused. Meanwhile, I learned I had disc degeneration and my pain continued to get worse.
Over the next six months, things got so bad, I got to the point where I couldn’t stand for more than two minutes, I couldn’t shower or wash the dishes. I cried and screamed like I was on a battlefield every day. My sciatic nerve was pinched, I had arthritis. And I knew physical therapy wasn’t going to solve it.
I started researching other options and that’s when I found Virginia Spine Institute. I called Dr. Good and he got me in immediately. The following week, I had surgery. In fact, Dr. Good told me if I had waited much longer, my future may have looked very different.
Today, just a few weeks out from surgery, I am feeling little to no pain. I am immensely grateful to Dr. Good, and my boys are so happy to have their mother back!
It’s like I have my life back! I have to give props to my children who supported me while I was crying and screaming and carrying on every single day. I think I’m a pretty tough cookie, so to not be able to do anything - I couldn’t cook dinner, I couldn’t go to the store because I couldn’t stand up for very long - it was getting progressively worse. I was really worried about permanent nerve damage and really felt like I was going to be paralyzed or something was going to happen.
Sadly, Christine’s scenario was a common scenario during the pandemic, no one really knew what to do. Other medical practices were shutting down and patients were left without being able to get care. We worked very hard to be very cautious and move to telemedicine because we know that people have spinal problems, nerve damage, spinal cord issues where time is of the essence. So, we managed to stay open with very cautious measures. Christine dragged herself into my office in tears, leg falling out, crawling around her house, these are people who are in misery! When I saw her, the nice thing about her situation is we knew that there was a relatively small, safe surgery we could offer, even with everything going on with COVID. We could get in, do something small, get her out of trouble, stop the nerve damage and for her, we were even able to avoid coming into the hospital. Obviously, at that time we didn’t even know what the future was going to hold with COVID. We knew something had to be done, she was at the point of misery where you almost stop thinking straight, and people’s lives are in danger with some of these kinds of problems.
I know a lot of the people who were taking care of her. It was a challenging time and other medical systems just said “no” to her care. We really felt that what we do is really important – especially in situations like this. I always think that patients need to advocate for themselves. Especially when it comes to the spine. Lots of times you’ll get a couple different opinions and it’s hard for patients to figure out why one person is recommending one treatment versus another. The great thing is Christine’s a nurse, so she was comparing, researching and she didn’t stop. She got dropped and abandoned at the last minute by someone who was planning surgery and then refused, and she kept looking. For people like Christine, if you are absolutely miserable, your leg doesn’t work and you’re falling, that is absolutely the time to get treatment and we’ve been lucky we’ve been able to take care of people throughout all of these.