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Simone Lafollete – Disc Fusion Surgery


 Two pictures of Simone LaFollete, Disc Fusion Surgery patientA car accident in college left me with a bad back. In an effort to resolve my discomfort I had two surgeries. My second procedure was a double laminectomy which is usually a day surgery. I thought I would be leaving later that evening, instead I woke up in the ICU with tubes all over me. My first thought was “Oh no! this isn’t a good.” Nurses were scrambling around and I was in intense pain. The doctor told me when he attempted to remove scar tissue, the sac of fluid around my spinal cord ripped.

I was in excruciating pain after that, every time I tried to move it was like fire behind my eyes. The doctor refused to do any reparative surgery because it was high risk and simply advised me to give my back time to heal. The pain was unbearable in my legs. For a solid month it felt like someone was stabbing me with needles. I had a headache that lasted for months. Eventually I was able to function again, but I was still very weak.

My doctor had no solutions. He said this was my new body and I need to get used to it. When my problems persisted he suggested that I may have a neurological disorder. So I spent 6 thousand dollars on testing to find out there was nothing wrong with me neurologically.

I began a new job back in March that included gym benefits. In an effort to take my doctor’s advice to heart and get used to my new body, I started working out regularly, but noticed I wasn’t getting any stronger. I was actually getting weaker and weaker. It became a struggle just to do the elliptical as a warm up exercise. Progressively, it became challenging just to walk from work to my car in the parking garage. The pain was extreme. Even standing was difficult because of poor balance. My legs were getting so weak that eventually I fell.

Again, my doctor at the time told me that essentially, this is my life now and I would need to get used to living this way. It was really scary for me to hear this because I’m young and I have two children. My constant back pain was severely limiting what I could do with them. As a mother, I felt like I was letting my children down.

Around that time I noticed that my neighbor, who is 30 years older than me, go from being active in her garden to being stuck in bed with back problems. Then one day I saw her back in her garden and she looked really great and happy. She told me she had an operation done with Dr. Kushwaha. As much as I didn’t want another surgery I just couldn’t continue the way I was headed, and thought that it couldn’t hurt to talk to him.

Dr. Kushwaha has a calming manner about him. As I was explaining my condition to him during my initial consultation, he would say “show me”. That’s when I knew he was truly listening and investigating and not just dismissing me as another grumpy back person, which is how I felt when meeting with my other doctors. He ran a series of tests on me, many more than I had before which was very eye opening, and informed me I was losing 90% of the nerve signal capacity in my spine due to compression and tissue growing improperly.

Dr. Kushwaha said he could clean up the tissue and fix my compression issues with a double fusion. He even said his wouldn’t be a complicated case for him. After hearing that there was no solution for my misery for so long, I was incredibly excited to hear that he could fix me!

Based on my previous experience, I was expecting to feel like I had been hit by a mac truck after surgery, but it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, my pain upon waking was reduced, and what I remember most vividly is noticing immediately that I had more strength in my feet than I had felt in over 7 years. I stayed at the hospital for about a week and took low dosages of pain pills only when I needed them.

I had my surgery at Houston Orthopedic & Spine Hospital, a beautiful facility! The people at HOSH are wonderful and so helpful. They are really responsive. I didn’t experience that level of service during my previous surgeries. at HOSH, people checked on me frequently and if I hit the call button, they were in my room immediately. It was a great experience.

It’s only been 3 months since my surgery with Dr. Kushwaha and I’m in significantly less pain than before. I no longer have to worry about accidentally losing my balance. I can go up steps without any fear and even my colleagues have noticed I can keep up when we’re walking. Instead of getting weaker, I’m getting stronger day by day. I’m just now starting physical therapy and the opportunity to be able to regain my strength has completely changed my path.

Dr. Kushwaha is a brilliant doctor. If I ever meet someone with back pain I would most definitely send them to Dr. Kushwaha.

Simone LaFollete

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