Patient Profile

Lana

Profession: Retired
Hobbies: Writing
Doctor: Kushagra Verma

Briefly describe your symptoms and the medical condition that brought you to see the doctor.

As a 76 year-old woman I had a deformed back due to multiple unsuccessful surgeries, old hardware, including spinal fusions and a pain pump that needed to be removed. I was bent over and in constant pain. I could not stand up straight and needed to use a walker and cane to walk.

Dr. Kushagra Verma, from the UWMC Bone and Joint Center, along with Dr. Rajiv Saigal, co-surgeon from Harborview, turned out to be my saviors. Dr. Verma took my complicated case and after a 12-hour surgery was able to completely change my spine in such a way that after three months of recovery my spine was straightened out -- I'm not kidding!!! I AM ABLE TO WALK WITHOUT ANY WALKER OR CANE. I have NO back pain, either.

It will take a full six months to completely recover because complicated spinal surgeries require time to fully restore the spine to a normal posture. That means I will not be doing any bending, twisting, or heavy lifting.

What one or two things stand out to you about your experience with your doctor and their team?

Dr. Verma went out of his way to explain exactly what the surgery would entail and all the possible problems that could happen during recovery.

Dr. Verma saw me through all phases of my recovery and he is a very caring physician. He knows his business and his business is straightening spines.

What can you do now that you could not do before surgery? Have you been able to return to your hobbies or sports at the same level as pre-injury or at an even higher level?

I can walk without my cane or my walker. I can play cards and host parties. I can go to my senior center and join my friends again.

I can now prepare dinners and go shopping with my husband. I can attend plays and enjoy others.

I can drive again...and that's a plus!

I gained 2" in height because I was able to straighten my back when being measured.

What advice would you like to share with a patient with a condition such as yours who is considering surgery?

Please make an appointment with Dr. Verma at the UWMC(Seattle) Bone and Joint Center. It's worth your time if you need your back straightened out because this physician is very adept and skilled in doing just that.

I cannot thank Dr. Kushagra Verma enough for what he has done and how he turned my life completely around from a bent-over woman to someone who is proudly standing up straight and walking tall.

My husband and I had to drive two hours for each appointment but it was worth it.

Please share any additional comments!

If you are overweight make an effort to lose some extra pounds because it will make your recovery even easier. I went to GNC and bought the vanilla LEAN protein shake and lost 20 pounds before my surgery. Protein is important even after surgery.

Get your household in order because when you get home from the hospital you will need to recuperate and not try to do your previous chores. Recovery requires rest and if you have anyone in your family that can assist you for at least a week right after you get home ask for their help.

I still get a bit tired from time to time and I am having some lower leg pain due to my total knee replacement surgeries. This pain will eventually go away.

Once you can shower you might need some medical assistance equipment to put on your panties/shorts, pants, and shoes and socks. Remember...you cannot bend over. You may need to purchase an appliance that will assist you with your bathroom duties. Again...you cannot bend over or you will cause problems with your full spinal recovery.