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Patient Testimonial: Tammy Fowler Finds Relief After Spine Surgery

Two surgeons wearing masks in the operating room

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Chronic spine issues can be a real pain in the neck — literally. Statistics from the National Institute of Health show that eight out of ten Americans will experience back pain at some point. And if you’re part of that 80%, you know all too well how debilitating it can become.

Chronic Pain With No Relief

After dealing with chronic, severe neck pain, Tammy Fowler was searching for relief. She had tried physical therapy, massage therapy and even medications and injections for pain management, but, unfortunately, nothing seemed to alleviate the pain she experienced in her left arm and neck.

Tammy’s pain was greatly impacting her daily well-being, physical activity levels and quality of sleep. It became so severe that Tammy had to stop exercising entirely, first giving up running, then weight training, and finally even Pilates. “I became very sedentary due to the pain,” says Tammy. “I woke up exhausted each morning because I could not sleep well, and I was exhausted all day long as the pain built throughout the day.”

Tammy had had enough and yearned for some form of relief. “I was unable to find joy during these painful months. My daughter was getting married in November, and I knew I didn’t want to be in pain during her wedding. I wanted to focus and enjoy the special day; it was very important to me.”

Tammy’s Spine Surgery

Tammy scheduled an appointment with Dr. Chetan K. Patel, Medical Director of AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health and Executive Medical Director for Spine Surgery at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, to find out if spine surgery would finally give her a chance to feel relief. Dr. Patel worked with Tammy to create a personalized care plan, including surgery to relieve her pinched nerves.

Leading up to surgery, Dr. Patel’s team provided Tammy with guidance and support, including a guidebook on what she could expect during and after her procedure. The office also offered a 1:1 virtual class where an educator detailed the surgery process and the post-surgery recovery experience.

On the day of her surgery, Tammy was surrounded by a caring team of nurses who comforted her nerves before the operation began. “The pre-op nursing staff were amazing, and when I started to cry from fear as they were about to take me back to the operating room, the three RNs and the nurse practitioner all stopped and prayed with me together,” Tammy shares. “It was so comforting and still brings tears to my eyes every time I talk or write about it. I was surrounded by love and care.”

The Road to Recovery

“Tammy did extremely well after surgery and experienced immediate symptom relief. We’re pleased that she’s completely pain-free and has regained her quality of life,” shares Dr. Patel.

Tammy is overjoyed to finally feel relief as she regains her full movement and strength post-surgery. “I was PAIN-FREE from the chronic nerve pain from the moment I woke up from anesthesia. Yes, there was some discomfort and swelling from the operation, but the surgery was a complete success and the best choice I could have made,” she shares. “I was well-informed, and as I experienced the variety of emotions and discomforts [after surgery], I knew what to expect, and it kept me from becoming concerned or fearful.”

As with any major surgery, recovery can take some time, and the process will look different for everyone. “The length of your recovery will vary, depending on the type of surgery you need,” says Dr. Patel. “We’ll create a care plan tailored to you, with specific restrictions and guidelines as your body heals following surgery.

Tammy was enthusiastic to share her positive experience when asked about her recovery process. “I am living a joyful, full life again and completely enjoyed my daughter’s wedding in November — with no distractions from pain or discomfort. It’s not an easy decision to make, and it can be very scary, but it was my best and only option to remove the chronic pain and allow me to live a fully active life again without pain. I would do it all again if I had to and would only trust my care to Dr. Patel and his care team.”

Your Journey to a Pain-Free Life

For people with chronic back and neck pain, spine surgery may seem like an extreme measure, and the thought of it can lead to some uneasy feelings and hesitation. “When choosing to have surgery, we recommend you take your time in researching the experience and access to technology that your surgeon has and ask them questions to make sure you get the best results possible, says Dr. Patel. “Often, people are afraid to see a spine surgeon because they don’t want to be told they need spine surgery. At AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health, only 10% of our patients end up needing surgery to find relief for their spinal condition. We’re thankful for the ability to help many patients get better with non-surgical treatment options.”

If you experience chronic neck or back pain and haven’t found relief, Dr. Patel and his team can help. Visit AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health to learn more and schedule a consultation. If surgery is required to resolve your spine issue, you can rest assured that you’re in the best hands.

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