Spondylolisthesis

Patient Stories – Max


First Name: Max
Age: 43
General Occupation: Health Care
Diagnoses: L5-S1 Spondylolisthesis/Stenosis and L4-L5 Herniated Disc / Radiculopathy
Type of surgery: L4-L5 and L5-S1 Laminectomy with Fusion
Time after surgery: One year and Three months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Extreme lower back pain, sciatic pain, and instability.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I could not even carry my little girl’s bookbag. I was not able to walk without great discomfort and pain. I felt worthless.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “100% better. I am working out at the gym again, walking, and leading a normal life.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “100% difference, no pain.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes, working out with weights and doing cardio.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Yes, I would have the surgery earlier, rather than suffering for so long.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “If you are in considerable pain and discomfort for a large portion of the time and you cannot function properly, and if a good surgeon says that he may be able to help, take it!. Yes, there is some risk. What if you choose not to take the risk and you continue to suffer? Is life even worth living without trying the surgical option? Will you wonder if you could have enjoyed the time you let slip away without trying an option that can help you?”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson is easygoing, honest, and practical. He told me upfront that there were no promises that this would cure me, but that he felt that the chances were good that he could help me. I am in his debt. He is an outstanding surgeon and a really nice guy!”

Patient Stories – Gene


First Name: Gene
Age: 56
General Occupation: Office work and some warehouse work
Diagnoses: L4-L5 Spondylolisthesis with Foraminal Stenosis Radiculopathy and severe radiating leg pain
Type of surgery: L4-L5 Laminectomy and Fusion
Time after surgery: 1 year and 6 months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Right leg hurt, could not walk long distances. Pain when sleeping.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Major reduction in activities in work.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Excellent.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I can now do about 90% of previous activities/workout/exercise.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “All except basketball and tennis.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “No, all went well.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “The operation was nothing compared to the constant pain/restrictions.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Excellent in caring, follows up well, concerned about his patients.”

Patient Stories – David


First Name: David
Age: 64
General Occupation: Construction/House Painter
Diagnoses: Spondylolisthesis L4-5, Stenosis and Radiculopathy
Type of surgery: L4-5 Laminectomy and Fusion
Time after surgery: 1 year and 3 months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “24-7 pain going down my right leg for 10 years. Pain level was always 2 to 10 on a scale of 10.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I had to work with this, I lost sleep and my appetite. I was a grouch.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “99.9% great very, very happy.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “My sleep is good, eat well and feel good.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “I have retired, but am able work without pain.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes, to activities and some sports, fishing, etc.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “My treatment was right on. I waited for years for a surgeon that could perform the surgery I needed and gave me confidence to proceed. That surgeon is Dr. Mark C. Nelson.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Get three opinions. Dr. Nelson explained in detail what was needed and the procedures. I had complete faith that he could repair my spine and relieve my pain.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson is a regular guy and has extensive experience and knowledge. He is there when needed, before and after surgery.”

Patient Stories – Sophia


First Name : Sophia
Age:45
General Occupation: Freelance Writer
Diagnosis: Lumbar Spondylolisthesis / Stenosis / Radiculopathy
Type of surgery:
1. L5-S1 Laminectomy with Fusion
2. Hardware Removal/Decompression
Time after surgery:
1. Three-and-a-half years
2. One-and-a-half years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Pain in left hip radiating down left leg/constant. Numbness, tingling. Exercise of any kind flared it up. Difficultly walking, sitting, and standing. Couldn’t lie on my left side at night.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Was impacting work. Couldn’t do anything I enjoyed doing – no walking, hiking, yoga, dancing, travel, or even much socializing.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “So much better. Still some limitations, but so much better.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I can walk a mile a day, socialize, work almost full time, and do short plane trips – most days I am 80%.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Nearly full-time work, although I work from home and still write in a recliner.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “About one mile walk per day. Able to do some strengthening exercises. Not yet back to yoga, but that is my goal in 2007.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “No, just wish I’d been diagnosed earlier – I think I would have recovered better. I would absolutely have the surgery again.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Be realistic for what to expect, especially during recovery time. Prepare/organize your house. Meditate and do healing visualizations. Be 100% confident in your surgeon. Know that you will never be the same as before your injury and accept that.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Fabulous, quietly confident, detail oriented, very good at describing a realistic outcome, confidence – inspiring, compassionate (especially rare in surgeons).”

Patient Stories – Louise


First Name : Louise
Age: 59
General Occupation: Homemaker
Diagnosis: Spondylolisthesis / Stenosis / Facet Cyst L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5
Type of surgery: Laminectomy and Fusion L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5
Time after surgery: Nine months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Extreme lower back and leg pain.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Couldn’t stand or walk (pain medication did not ease the pain).”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Wonderful, can walk and stand for long period of time. Only take medication once in a while.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “100% better. I have my life back. I though I would never walk, I walk without pain.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “I am still careful. I do not want to overdo. I am a little afraid.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I would have this surgery. My pain was unbearable before surgery.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “Have Dr. Nelson do your surgery.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson is wonderful. I thank God for sending him to me, my stitches and everything healed perfect. I cannot give Dr. Nelson enough praise. He gave me my life back.”

Patient Stories – Faith


First Name: Faith
Age: 77
Diagnoses: Spinal Stenosis at L3-4 and L4-5
Type of surgery: L3-4, L4-5 Laminectomy and Fusion
Time after surgery: One year

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Before surgery, I was experiencing severe pain in my lower back.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “My normal activities were curtailed…walking, gardening and traveling.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “I feel much better now that I am free from that terrible pain and I am enjoying my normal activities.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I am free from that extreme pain now.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “I am retired…and enjoying my retirement much more.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “I have returned to all my normal activities.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I would certainly choose to have the surgery.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. Each person has to make his or her decision. For me, it has been a blessing.

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson was always honest with me. He is very competent and if you need to talk with him, he will get back to you in a timely way. I think very highly of him.”

Patient Stories – Louisa


First Name: Louisa
Age: 78
General Occupation: Retired
Diagnoses: Lumbar Stenosis
Type of surgery: Lumbar Laminectomy with Fusion
Time after surgery: One year

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Severe pains in both legs. Pain in buttocks, neck, shoulders and arms, headaches, too.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I was almost immobilized. I could only walk one-half block with increasing pain. When I tried to step down or up a curb, this was very painful, even to lie down in bed or sit down to watch TV did not my relieve my legs and back pain.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Life is great again. I go to swimming classes, take two-mile walks some mornings with my husband and I am virtually pain-free when I sit down, or lie down in bed, sleep better also.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I was almost paralyzed with pain before surgery. Now, I am 95% pain-free. I can continue most normal activities.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “I am taking beginner computer class and I am doing most of my regular normal activities at home.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “I hiked and played with my grandchildren in Yosemite for three weeks, and I do water aerobic exercises three times a week. I can do just about everything.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I first took cortisone injections, acupuncture, chiropractor and exercises, which did nothing for me. I would choose surgery again and get rid of the pain.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “For me the two surgeries I had, finally gave me relief from my excruciating pain. Because, I am unable to take pain medications, I had some great pain and discomfort after the surgery, but I gradually felt better and now I am virtually pain free. Hurray!!! Thanks to my God, my husband, and my Dr. Nelson and staff.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “It took almost five years of prayers and going to doctors, until one, blessed one, sent me to take an MRI, and I found that my problem was in my spine and my husband and I started to look for a surgeon. We interviewed three surgeons. The first was patient with us and listened to our plight. The second met with us for maybe 15 seconds and basically said the surgery would work, but was very busy and could not spend time on an interview with us. Dr. Nelson was very patient and attentive. We listened to what he said and received good information. He asked who our other surgeon was and wanted to send him the results of his inspections and his opinions. When we left, we could see Dr. Nelson in the records section and he was diligently recording the visit and inspection. We felt he was completely thorough and extremely caring and competent. I felt well informed; comforted with him and the fact I needed a surgery. I was now sure, I wanted to go through with it.”