Shaun Stevely, 44, from Hornchurch in Essex had spine surgery for a prolapsed disc at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood, Essex in 2010.
"The operation gave me my life back"
Shaun Stevely, Hornchurch
Shaun, who works for a large rail company in London, had suffered with sciatic pain for several years but had always kept active with regular gym visits and coaching his local under 10’s and under 15’s football teams. When he would get pain he would take anti-inflammatory drugs that initially had worked well. However, in May 2010 things got much worse, Shaun explains more:
“One day I had terrible pain down my buttock and leg and I literally couldn’t move. I did everything I could from taking the anti-inflammatory tablets and pain killers to physiotherapy and acupuncture but nothing worked any more and it started to impact on my life.”
Shaun was unable to coach his football teams properly and he was taking increasing amounts of time off of work. “It got to the point in the September of last year that I was laid up for a week, curled up into a ball and my foot went blue where I just couldn’t move it and get circulation to it. I was in tears and felt miserable with all the pain. At that point we called an ambulance but I was not a priority case. It became a cycle of pain, pain relief and more pain because the cause was not being treated.”
Eventually Shaun decided to use his medical insurance to pay for a private consultation. His friend, also a GP, provided names of possible consultant neurosurgeons and Shaun went online to research. He continues: “I went onto the Spire Hartswood Hospital website and looked up consultant neurosurgeon Mr Karoly M David, one of the names given to me. I knew it would ultimately be my decision to choose who I went to, so I wanted to know more about the consultants. I read Mr David’s consultant profile and also a case study of one of his previous patients and I knew he had the credentials I was looking for.”
Shaun went for his consultation with Mr David at the end of September and was impressed with his visit: “ He showed me a model of a back and explained what was happening to mine. He showed me pictures and talked me through my options. Although I am relatively young for the surgery option, Mr David decided it was appropriate considering that I had tried alternatives that had repeatedly failed to cure the problem.
“So I decided to go for surgery. It wasn’t frightening because I had enough time to ask questions and Mr David was very honest about the risks involved. I felt confident in his ability to help me and I realised that I felt relieved that I would finally get the cause treated rather than just the symptoms.”
Mr David performed a microdiscectomy on Shaun to relieve the pain caused in his leg and buttock by the herniated lumbar disc in his spine. Shaun stayed in hospital for three nights and received physiotherapy on the ward and for a few weeks after surgery. “The physio really helped me understand how to look after my back. Everyone looked after me. I left the hospital after surgery with painkillers but didn’t take any and have not needed to since the operation which is now over four months ago.
“The operation gave me my life back. I’m back at the gym and coaching the football team and have even lost a stone in weight because I’m active again. My advice to others would be don’t wait. You know your own body. Tablets treat the symptoms but if you have pain anywhere you need to find out what is causing it and get it treated. I have my quality of life back.”