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Dale Schindler

After a lifetime of back pain, woman finds relief with surgery

Dale Schindler, a lumbar fusion patient at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, has experienced back problems, including scoliosis, since childhood. “Through the years, it’s prevented me – especially as I got older – from doing the things I love, like riding a bike, dancing and activities with my children,” explains Schindler.

Her back pain worsened after she had children and throughout her adult years. When she began to experience frequent numbness in her legs two years ago, she sought medical advice. Schindler endured numerous procedures, including epidurals and facet joint injections, but found little relief.

One surgeon’s recommendations left her in tears. “He told me about a two-year process, four different surgeries and I couldn’t imagine doing all of that,” she says. “I just wanted a solution, but a second opinion didn’t tell me much more.”

Piedmont Spine Services

Schindler then went to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital to meet with neurosurgeon Regis Haid. “He explained everything, calmed my nerves and explained what we could do now to help,” she remembers.

After reviewing her medical history, Dr. Haid referred her to Kaveh Khajavi, M.D., also a neurosurgeon at Piedmont Atlanta, who specialized in minimally-invasive surgery for her condition. “I found it very rare that a surgeon would refer me to another surgeon,” she says. “I thought that was the most wonderful thing in the world.”

Schindler did not have to wait long before she was able to see Dr. Khajavi – and he had good news. “He said things to me that no other surgeon had said,” she says. “I didn’t know that nothing but surgery would take away the pain of scoliosis. I had been going for injection after injection and no had said it wasn’t going to help.” Dr. Khajavi explained the surgery to Schindler in detail and they set an operation date.

Schindler’s treatment plan involved a two-day surgery, with a 5-level lumbar fusion on the first day and surgery to straighten her spine the following day. By the third day, she was up and walking. “It was amazing,” she says. “I was shocked that I was even able to stand.”

A new lease on life

“You go in to surgery with all of these premonitions of bad things that could happen, but I was blown away by how good I felt,” says Schindler. Just a year ago, Schindler felt symptoms of depression setting in because her activities were severely limited by her back pain. Now, she has a brighter outlook. “I’m usually a happy, glass-is-half-full kind of girl,” she says.

While Schindler is still in recovery from the surgeries, she feels confident about the future and is returning to her active social life. “It’s changed my whole perspective – I just feel great,” she says. “I can’t even describe the freedom that you feel when you can walk again.”

For more information on lumbar fusion, visit Piedmont Spine Services.

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