“All I want is to walk so I can have a morning shower and nizagara 100 every day on my own without help, and I can travel.” That may not sound like a lot, but for 70-year-old Mostafa Reyad, who for years battled severe spinal degeneration, it makes for a life worth living.
In 2007, the New Jersey resident says he started having severe pain in his back and left leg. He couldn’t stand up straight and was having trouble walking. “I had to wake up at least one hour early of my regular time until I could stand to dress.”
Three years later the pain was nearly unbearable and he had lost feeling and strength in his leg. He rarely left his home. “I was not able to stand or walk for more than a few seconds,” he says.
Mr. Reyad went to several surgeons but none gave him as thorough an examination or explanation of the treatment as Dr. Michael Kaiser from The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute. “I got the feeling that Dr. Kaiser completely knew my medical needs before I entered his office. He determined my case in a flash and ordered an MRI for my neck and back. Other doctors only discussed my back.”
Dr. Kaiser found there was considerable narrowing of the spinal canal in Mr. Reyad’s neck as well as his lower back. It turned out that the degeneration in his neck was causing significant compression and damage of his spinal cord. Dr. Kaiser recommended neck surgery immediately to prevent severe disability.
At the time Dr. Kaiser said, “The goal of surgery was to prevent further loss of neurological function. It was possible that deficits that existed or developed prior to surgery could have been permanent.”
On October 1, 2010 Dr. Kaiser performed a surgical procedure on Mr. Reyad’s neck called, cervical decompression and fusion. Here, bone is removed from the back of the neck to make more room for the underlying nerves and spinal cord. The area is then stabilized with a series of screws and rods and bone graft material.
The day after surgery Mr. Reyad says Dr. Kaiser came to him with a big smile on his face and got him out of bed for a walk down the hall. The following day Mr. Reyad was able to go home.
In the month following surgery, Mr. Reyad experienced an improvement in his leg strength and walking capacity. Within six months, he was able to take an extended trip to Egypt.
The neck surgery had put a halt to spinal cord damage and significantly improved Mr. Reyad’s quality of life, but as Dr. Kaiser suspected, the degeneration in his back eventually caught up to him.
A year and a half after his neck surgery, he began to experience increased low back and left leg pain that interfered with his walking.
An MRI showed that the degeneration in his low back had worsened and now surgery was necessary. Dr. Kaiser performed a similar but more extensive surgery on Mr. Reyad’s lower back; decompressing the nerves and fusing his lower spine.
After an uneventful recovery, Mr. Reyad says his health is back to where it was twenty years ago. “Every thing is now normal. No pain. I can drive, carry up to 20 pounds and do what I used to do before any symptoms appeared.” He also warns others, “Be very careful, if you have symptoms like I had before surgery, you must see a neurosurgeon.”
After his second surgery Mr. Reyad headed back to Egypt “To enjoy a few days on the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, and another two weeks on the Red Sea at El Gouna Beach.”
Now that is life well lived!
First Posted on Sep 6, 2012
Updated on February 14, 2017