Age: 59
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Surgeon: Nova Neurosurgical, Eden, NC
Procedure: Procedure: eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF®) and Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
Surgery Date: November 13, 2013

Life Prior to Surgery: Lori suffered from flat back, which caused intense back pain for many years. She had her first spinal fusion procedure in 2007 and sought further relief with a spinal stimulator. Unfortunately, the pain continued, and Lori’s active lifestyle continued to suffer.

After taking a bad fall in 2012, Lori had to have another fusion. However, the pain persisted, and her back remained in an extremely hunched over position. After her surgeon recommended her for the minimally disruptive XLIF procedure, Lori was eager to receive guidance from someone who had had the spine surgery. Once she heard about the positive outcomes from an XLIF Patient Ambassador with The Better Way Back program, Lori made the decision to have the surgery.

Situation Today: In November 2013, Lori underwent XLIF and TLIF procedures. She was walking within a few days and stayed in the hospital for eight days. For weeks following the surgery, she wore a back brace and restricted motions such as bending, lifting, and twisting. Nevertheless, Lori is pleased to report that she is finally walking like a normal person, which is a surreal experience after spending so many years hunched over. “Being able to walk upright makes me feel like my heart has opened up,” Lori says.

Lori enjoys exercising, stretching, and participating in physical therapy for post-op treatment. She has to really think about what she is doing because she does not want to overdo it. “You really have to listen to your doctor and take care of yourself—take baby steps,” she says.

“I feel substantially better, and I’m no longer letting my pain define me,” she says. There are some tips and tricks she would like to share with new post-op patients that will help them ease into the recovery process. For example, Lori says the “grabber” is a great tool to use around the house when you cannot bend or pick things up easily. Lori now feels it is her mission to get better and help others do the same. In fact, she likes to call herself an “AmBACKador”!