After spine surgery, life is back to normal

Amy’s Story—Glad to Be Back

Occasional back pain had bothered Amy DeJong since high school. The pain only got worse over the years as she raised kids and became more active. Eventually, the pain became intolerable.

“The pain would radiate from my lower back down my leg,” she says. “In the mornings, I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t walk. It also hurt to sit. I was pretty much unable to live my life.”

That meant missing out on doing things she loved to do, including family outings on their boat, walking her dogs, and enjoying activities with the most special people in her life.

“I couldn’t lift and carry my grandson,” Amy says. “I couldn’t even sit on the couch and hold him.”

A diagnosis—and relief

Amy tried physical therapy, chiropractic, cortisone shots, and other medications. Nothing worked. That’s when her doctor recommended a trip to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics to find out if surgery could help.

“I was praying that they would say, ‘You need surgery,’ because I had tried everything else,” Amy says.

She met with UI orthopedic surgeon Cassim Igram, MD, a specialist in spine treatment. After viewing the results of an MRI, Igram determined that Amy had a herniated disk and would indeed need surgery.

“I was relieved to hear him say that he could fix it with surgery,” Amy says.

Leaving the pain behind

The first thing she remembers about coming out of surgery was that her constant pain was gone.

“I had no pain,” Amy says. “I felt like a new person. I was ready to walk out.”

Recovery was swift. She needed to wear a brace for several weeks, and she avoided high-impact activities as she healed, but walking was allowed.

“I only took two weeks off of work,” Amy says. “My life is back to normal, and I’m so thankful for that.”

Ready to get back to normal?

While in the care of the professionals at University of Iowa Health Care, Amy felt special, like she was “the only patient” there.

“I felt like I really mattered to everyone there,” she says. “Anyone struggling with this particular problem, any back problems, I would send them to the University of Iowa and to Dr. Igram.”