Since its inception in 2010, NuVasive’s the Better Way Back (TBWB) program has been committed to raising public awareness of spine disorders and educating patients, loved ones, clinicians, and healthcare providers about treatment options, including surgery. Changing patient lives and empowering patients to make informed treatment choices are the heart of the program’s mission. In this series, you will hear from some of our own TBWB patient ambassadors who are dedicated to sharing their stories of challenge and hope.
Hometown: Ventura, CA
Surgeon: Dr. Michael Dorsi
Procedure: XLIF at L4-L5
Surgery date: September 21, 2020
“I suffered from L4-L5 back pain for 20 years,” Wendy shared candidly. Her back pain originally radiated out to her hip, so she began a course of treatments for her hip. Eventually a physical therapist told her, “It’s not your hip, it’s your back.” Unable to get approval for an MRI, she never had proof of what was causing her pain until years later. Wendy had periodic success with epidurals, but since her pain was largely positional, she became an expert at avoiding certain movements and activities. Situations that required sitting were the most difficult. She couldn’t enjoy a movie in the theater, and had to constantly shift her body to make it through dinner at a restaurant. “Any purse I carried had to also double as a lumbar support cushion,” Wendy said. Her inability to tolerate even short car trips meant she sometimes had to miss social gatherings and special life events. “Over 20 years’ time, my world became smaller because of the things I gave up,” she shared. Weighing her fear of back surgery against her diminishing quality of life, Wendy met with Dr. Michael Dorsi and told him she couldn’t take it anymore.
Wendy attributes her successful recovery to many things: years of building core strength and physical conditioning, doing pre-habilitation therapy, her own determination, and without question, Dr. Dorsi’s care and skill. “It’s a miracle to not be in pain! I have to remind myself every day to remember where I used to be and to appreciate what a blessing this surgery has been,” Wendy said. Two months post-op, Wendy travelled to Hawaii to visit her new grandbaby. During those seven weeks, she walked five miles a day and swam freestyle in the ocean! Swimming had been a lifelong passion for her, but it was one of the things she had to cut from her life due to back pain. Now, Wendy celebrates getting up in the morning and not needing an ice pack to get moving with her day. She can drive to visit her grandson a few hours away, and she’s back to swimming twice a week for an hour in the pool. She adds simply. Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Dorsi, I recovered ridiculously quickly, far beyond my wildest expectations.”
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Each individual’s surgical procedure and recovery may deviate from what is described herein. This information is not intended to supersede or supplant the information provided by your doctor.
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