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Patient Stories

Nella Smith
Nella Smith, RN

Nella Smith’s Story

“I truly appreciate Dr. Neubardt and Dr. Stern so much.”

Diagnosis: Chronic Low Back Pain from Degenerative Disc Disease with Spinal Stenosis, L5 S1
Treatment: Interbody Lumbar Fusion with Pedicle Screws, Rods, and Cage, L5 S1

Nella Smith, a registered nurse, tried many different approaches to treating her back pain following a rear-end auto collision. “I was so afraid of surgery. I found pain relief with acupuncture, but was also being treated with strong pain medications, even an epidural injection, as well as physical therapy. I was in misery.” Her acupuncturist, Dr. Jean Shen, recommended that she see Dr. Neubardt. “After three and half years of pain and numbness, to the point where I could hardly get out of bed in the morning, I knew surgery was what was needed.” Both Drs. Neubardt and Stern reviewed Nella’s MRI with her, revealing the degenerative disc disease. She appreciated their input and confidence in being able to help her.

Nella’s whole life has changed since the surgery. “Drs. Neubardt and Stern performed my procedure and they have given me back my life. At my three-month follow-up visit, Dr. Neubardt looked at me and said I looked like a different person. He told me I had looked stoic and unsmiling before surgery, and now looked cheerful and happy. I gave him a big hug and asked God to bless him.”

Nella tells the story of how one night after surgery, while still walking with a cane during recovery, her husband treated her out to a fancy dinner. They had taken a shuttle bus to the restaurant and afterwards it had begun to pour buckets of rain. “I didn’t want to get wet, so I took off running towards the bus. I ran and ran, and behind me I could hear my husband yelling, “Nella! What are you doing running? You just had surgery!” We sat down on the bus and I think we were both in shock. Here, I could hardly walk before surgery and now I was running! It happened before I realized I was running. I didn’t want my new hair style to get wet. I guess that tells you where my priorities are!”

“I truly appreciate Dr. Neubardt and Dr. Stern so much,” Nella says. “I actually look forward to my follow-up visits with them!”

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