Todd’s Story – Back Injury
In his own words, Todd Oosting, shares about his injury, his experience with Generation Care therapist, Leonard Van Gelder and his RECOVERY! Thank you for sharing your story, Todd!
“On June 30th 2016 while water skiing I suffered a severe disk injury. That day I felt very little pain. Two weeks later could not walk. I started with a chiropractor on the recommendation of a friend. Severe left leg (what I know now) to be sciatic nerve pain. Shooting pain. I did not know what was wrong. I had been Heliskiing in British Colombia the previous March and when I returned I had complained about left leg pain and numbness in my foot and tingling. That pain slowly went away. I consider myself to be in great shape for a guy my age. (Just barely 50) But I don’t look it. I work hard to stay active. I train with a professional trainer 2 days a week and I enjoy outdoor sports. Skiing, hiking, golf, hunting, fishing etc. So this was a very big deal for me. I was very worried.
So back to the pain. After realizing it was getting worse and not better the chiropractor I was seeing recommended I go see an Orthopedic Surgeon. First, they tried the ‘shot’. No relief. I was then scheduled for an MRI. It’s now late July and I am barely able to work or function because of the pain. I am terrified by this as I was worried I was not getting better and I would not be able to enjoy all the things I loved to do. Back to the Ortho guy for the reading of my MRI. Sitting in front of the computer monitor he pulls up the MRI. As he is clicking around I hear him say, “ouch you must be in an incredible amount of pain.” The MRI clearly showed my burst disk, and the disk material pushing hard what he told me was my left sciatic nerve. He then proceeded to explain that I could have an operation which should relieve my pain, or in 9 months or so my body would maybe repair itself. At this point, I cannot imagine this pain for 9 more seconds let alone 9 months. I begged for the operation.
August 5th operation day. The surgeon came in after the surgery and explained that everything went well. As I was coming out of anesthesia, I still was noticing pain in my left leg. I was not sure if it was any better because of the pain meds or the surgery. I did exactly as the surgeon suggested. I did not pick anything up, I walked a lot and still terrible pain in my left leg and now my back hurt where the incision was. At this point, I am terrified of the lack of success from the operation and am now fearful I will not be getting better. Questions in my head were, how can I live like this? I cannot function. I did not want to eat. I could not sleep. I did not want to go out. Basically, all I could do was lay on my stomach and whimper.
I had many appointments with the surgeon and he kept saying that it may take more time. He was sorry it did not give me the immediate relief. I begged and was allowed a post-op additional MRI, six weeks after surgery. He read this as inconclusive. He said there may be still disk material pushing on my spine or maybe not. The MRI did show a lot of scarring in that area. (I have a copy of it if you want to see it.) At this appointment, 7 weeks after surgery, he suggested Physical Therapy.
I am feeling a little better at this point, but not by any means good. I was feeling very hopeless. I was very much hoping that the latest MRI would show what the problem was and that he was going to operate again and that would relieve the pain. He suggested I try some PT. I said I will try anything. I, of course, wanted to find the best of the best for this. I thought this was my last and only hope of pain relief and getting my life back. At this point, I am still taking Motrin, Prednisone, and Norco to manage the pain with little success. No way to go through life. I was depressed.
My trainer and massage therapist recommended I try Generation Care, some guy named “Leonard” who specialized in this type of pain. They said great things about you and they had known several people that you had helped. Athletes and the type of folks I considered myself to be. You know the rest of the story so I will simply tell you how I felt then and now.
When I first saw you, I was terrified I would not be able to be “me” ever again. I was trying to convince myself that I am just going to have to live with being old and crippled basically. I will never forget our first appointment together. I have had many surgeries in the past and have had PT at numerous other places.
Usually, PT was me stretching and exercising in a huge room with the therapist overseeing me and 5 other people. You took me into a room and talked to me about what was wrong and what my pain felt like. You then proceeded to explain how this pain occurs and why the body does this. I was very interested. This was not what I expected.
You were very reassuring and very confident you could help me. You explained how we were going to fix me. You also explained that I may have setbacks. As you know it did indeed. If you had not told me to expect a setback when it actually occurred I would have gone to the hospital thinking I re-ruptured the disk. I cannot explain how in that time of pain your words helped me.
The pain takes away your reason and your confidence. Because of what you said I was able to calm down and get through it. You kept telling me it was going to get better. Together we have accomplished this goal (well 90% as we are not done yet). You spoke directly to me explaining how nerves work, the psychology of it all and how we were going to work to fix it. No Dr. ever talked to me like this. They were full of maybes and could be’s, and never said anything about the mental part of this process. I truly am very thankful for your thoughtful approach to PT. You explained my situation to me very clearly. I want credit for coining the phrase, “bad design” but give you full credit for your process of explaining what was going on with me that started me on the road to recovery. The drawings were especially helpful in understanding the “bad design” of my ticked off nerves as well.
I truly want to thank you, Leonard. You made me feel welcome, relaxed and I actually looked forward to our appointments. Your process and approach are wonderful and very effective. Each week I progressed and the pain has lessened and I am now no longer afraid I will not be Todd again.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
– Todd G. Oosting