I am healthy and able to do so many things I couldn’t do comfortably before.

Karen Urban, Patient

For years, Karen Urban experienced pain in her back and legs. Despite the pain, Karen went on living her life, convincing herself that, with time, the pain would go away.  However, after more than ten years, she decided that she needed to make a change if she was going to continue to live the active lifestyle she enjoys.

In 2014, Karen was referred to Dr. Paula Kilmer at Bronson Neuroscience Center by her primary care doctor, John Lawlor, MD, at Bronson HealthCare Midwest Internal Medicine. Dr. Kilmer quickly found the source of Karen’s pain to be lumbar stenosis and right radiculopathy. In hopes of avoiding surgery, Karen had a series of spinal injections in her back. This helped ease the pain for a while, but eventually the pain came back. That was when Dr. Kilmer referred Karen to Dr. Gregory Wiggins, also at Bronson Neuroscience Center.

Karen was happy to hear that Dr. Wiggins would be able to help. She actually already knew Dr. Wiggins from a previous surgery in 2002, when he performed a spinal fusion for back pain in another area of her spine. “I trusted Dr. Wiggins because he had already performed surgery on my spine two years ago. He is very patient and helps me understand everything that is going on with my body,” explains Karen.  For this surgery, Dr. Wiggins sat down with Karen and explained the different options she had for repairing her spine. “He gave me three options,” Karen says. “Because my active lifestyle is so important to me, we were able to choose a treatment plan that allowed me to continue that.”

Before her surgery, Karen completed a required pre-surgery class at Bronson. The instructor helped Karen understand what to expect the day of surgery and throughout the recovery process. She appreciated being able to meet other people in the class who were experiencing similar problems with their bodies.

On the day of surgery everything went smoothly, and Karen’s surgery was a success. “My entire experience at Bronson was excellent,” she says. “Everyone I interacted with was helpful and truly caring.”

After surgery, Karen completed physical therapy to help her get back on her feet. She also had a nurse from Bronson at Home come to her house to check on her incision and monitor her blood pressure.

Karen also utilized Bronson MyChart, a secure online connection,  to access her electronic health information from her home computer.. “I have never been a ‘computer person’, but I love how easy it is to get online and quickly see all of my current and past medical information,” Karen explains. “I love being able to pay my bills, check my blood results, schedule follow-up appointments or find information from my surgery  that I have forgotten. It is also nice because I handle my husband’s medical care and I can see his information too.”

Less than a year after surgery, Karen is able to be active again. Karen credits Dr. Wiggins for helping her be able to walk a mile every day, and she is now working to increase her distance. “I knew going into surgery that I wouldn’t be able to play tennis anymore, but you have to look at the big picture,” Karen says. “I am healthy and able to do so many things I couldn’t do comfortably before.”

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