Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lori, Almost 14 years after T12 Burst Fracture I fixed Easter 1999 shows up doing well

A few weeks ago, I saw a former patient named Lori, who brought her mom in with spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.  I knew she looked familiar when she came in, but I couldn't quite place her.  She then went on to tell me her story, which she went ahead and emailed me today while her mom is in recovery room here at Duke Raleigh Hospital after I finished her spinal surgery.

I hope you enjoy it as I did.  Dr. Lloyd Hey, Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery http://www.heyclinic.com


Dr. Hey,
On April 2, 1999 the day started with cleaning the barn and preparing for certification at a therapeutic riding center.  After the work had been done we decided to reward ourselves with some riding time.  After about an hour into the ride my horse spooked and the next thing I knew I was on the ground unable to stand up.  I was able to bring my legs under me, however as I pushed up with my arms I could not bring myself to stand.  I laid down in the dirt and waited for the ambulance to arrive. 

The medics arrived and were unable to get me on the backboard.  After several attempts and excruciating pain I put myself on the backboard.  I was taken to a local hospital and told that I had broken my back, but there was nothing they could do for me and they asked me where I wanted to go.  The first hospital that came into my head was DUKE.  They arranged for transport and I was on my way.  After 110 miles I arrived at DUKE ER around midnight, Easter Sunday.  Dr. Hey heard my case arrive and decided to stay.

They explained that I burst fractured T-12 and I would need surgery.  Easter Sunday morning Dr. Hey and his team went to work.  My spine required extensive surgery.  My vertebrae was compressed by 60% and the spinal canal was compromised by 50%.  They had to decompress the spinal canal and remove all the bone fragments around my spinal cord.  After about 8 hours of surgery I was fused from T10 – L2 with complete spinal stabilization.  The recovery began.

I spent 5 days in DUKE getting my legs back under me.  I felt like I was “learning” to walk again.  I felt so fragile.  Dr. Hey and his team were amazing and along with my husband and family I gained not only strength but confidence.  I was glad to go home but I was also scared.  What could I do, would life ever be “normal”, would I always be in pain?  The questions were many but the answers were few.  I spent 6-12 months walking and trying to build my strength.  My husband and I had a larger goal, we wanted to start a family.  We had struggled for many years with infertility and we were ready to try invitro-fertilization.  I felt strong and ready to carry a baby.  The invitro was a success and we were having a baby!

The pregnancy was challenging and at times difficult.  I was sick for 9 months and as the baby grew the pressure on my back was excruciating. If I would lay on my back the baby would compress the blood vessels between the rods and I would pass out.  I was moving slower and slower. I was ready to have this baby but it wasn’t time.  In the last few weeks I spent most of my time resting and keeping my back comfortable.  3 weeks before my due date my water broke.  Our daughter was born 2 years to the day of my surgery. 

April 3 will be a special date for us for many reasons.  Dr. Hey gave me my legs back and our beautiful daughter was born.  Life is full of many blessings.

Thank you Dr. Hey.


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