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Patient Testimonial: Roy Lester’s Life-Changing Spine Surgery

Roy Lester on his tractor.

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After more than 50 years of chronic back pain, Roy Lester had had enough.

As a hardworking, lifelong Central Florida citrus farmer, Roy had lived with chronic back pain for nearly his entire life. Roy’s family established their roots in Apopka in the early 1900s, and at one time, they owned over 300 acres of citrus trees. Roy is a third-generation citrus grower and has dedicated his life to farming.

After enduring more than 50 years of back pain, Roy decided he was ready for a change and a chance to feel whole. He scheduled a consultation with Dr. Chetan K. Patel, Medical Director at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health and Executive Medical Director for Spine Surgery at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Patel examined Roy, listened to his story and determined he’d be a good candidate for spine surgery.

Roy’s Spine Surgery

As Roy’s surgery approached, he received some helpful advice: “Several of my friends told me that going into surgery, you want to be as stress-free as possible,” Roy shares. “I’m lying there the morning of surgery, petrified. When Dr. Patel walked into the room, seeing his smile and his confidence helped me find relief. When he left the room, I said, ‘OK, I am ready for this.’ The smile on Dr. Patel’s face calmed me right down.”

“Pinched nerves and spinal instability were the cause of Roy’s severe lower back pain, and he needed an L4-S1 laminectomy with a right L5-S1 TLIF and a L4-S1 posterior spinal fusion,” shares Dr. Patel. “He enrolled in a clinical trial we’re currently participating in, where we are testing a biologic that helps the spine heal correctly after a spinal fusion. His surgery was successful, and he made an excellent recovery.”

Before surgery, Roy could not stand for longer than 20 minutes without feeling a stabbing, knife-like pain in his back and right leg. He would be in the middle of work and suddenly have to lay on the ground flat on his back until the pain went away. Then he’d resume work, and the process would repeat its course throughout the rest of the day.

After enduring decades of this debilitating pain, Roy’s spinal surgery was life-changing.

“I did not need pain pills after the procedure, which totally surprised me but was wonderful,” he shares. “That same evening, two nurses helped me up, supported me one on each side and helped me take my first baby steps.”

Roy had a supportive, caring recovery team throughout his two-night hospital stay who encouraged him to begin moving soon after surgery.

“Roy has made an excellent recovery,” shares Dr. Patel. “He was walking the day of surgery and experienced rapid improvement and function throughout his recovery.”

Recovery and a New Life

It took Roy a little time to adjust to his new normal after surgery. During his recovery, he noticed the importance of taking softer steps and not making harsh or jarring movements. But Roy is pleased to have experienced a complete recovery and is now back to working on his farm – this time, pain-free.

“I can’t thank Dr. Patel enough,” Roy shares. “He gave me my life back. I had experienced severe pain for so long; I even walked with a limp for decades, which I thought was normal until now that I’m no longer limping.”

“We’re so pleased to have been able to help Roy back to better health,” shares Dr. Patel. “He’s had a smooth recovery and a spectacular outcome with his spine surgery and can now tend to his citrus trees without any pain or lingering issues.”

A Pain-Free Life Is Possible

Chronic back pain doesn’t have to be your new normal; lasting pain relief is possible.

“I thank Dr. Patel every day that I’m out walking around, and I have my life back,” Roy shares.

If you experience chronic pain, there is a road to relief. Dr. Patel and his team of compassionate spine experts can help you.

“Don’t delay seeing a spine specialist for any condition you might be experiencing,” says Dr. Patel. “Many people are hesitant at the thought of having surgery, but we’re pleased to say only ten percent of our patients end up needing surgery to find relief for their condition. Nonsurgical treatment options are available.”

Schedule a consultation and learn how Dr. Patel and his team can help ease or eliminate your spine pain.

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