Jane Lokken, a now retired Wisconsin attorney, injured her back for a second time. The two injuries, ten years apart, caused a vertebra in her low back to slip forward about half way. The result was a very narrow spot in the spinal cord, acting like a pinched nerve and causing a great deal of pain. Despite acupuncture and physical therapy, Jane had to give up much of her physical activity due to the pain. About ten months after the injury, a second MRI showed clearly that the vertebrae were out of alignment, and Jane was referred to Dr. Thapar. “That injury really changed my life,” recalls Jane.
Of her initial appointments with Dr. Thapar, Jane says, “You just always felt when he was explaining things he was really telling you how it was. As a matter of fact he was explaining it so well before the surgery and being so matter of fact that there was a point where I said, ‘Now do you really think I should be having the surgery?’ I almost thought he was trying to talk me out of it. He wasn’t. He was just trying to explain it without pushing it.”
In a two to three hour operation, Dr. Thapar pulled the vertebra back in line, relieved the pressure on the nerve and fused the vertebrae at L4/L5. “He has the most wonderful bedside manner,” Jane says of Dr. Thapar. “I remember right after the surgery he came in to check on me in the morning with his assistant. He walked in and there weren’t any chairs in the room where we were. He looked around and didn’t see any chairs so he just came right over to the bedside and knelt down so that he was right at my eye level so I could see him and talk to him – just without a thought. Just wonderful.”
Jane was discharged and was at home for about six weeks wearing a brace much of the time. She was relatively comfortable and was able to do a lot of walking and was soon able to resume spinning as long as she sat up straight and just pedaled. She recovered rapidly. “I haven’t had any pain since the surgery. I had stopped doing a lot of aerobic classes I used to take before the surgery because my leg was bothering me if I did anything and plan to resume many of those activities. I was able to go back to a step class. And I just got the OK to golf again in February!”