I’m just singing the praises of Dr. Fabi and TOPS™

Deb Eichler, Patient

It started about a year ago in September. I had lower back pain that then traveled down legs, around my ankles and across my buttocks. I’m a very active person; a very hard working person. Mowing lawns, walking, even going down to the end of my street and back, I couldn’t do that. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to walk. Everything hurt all the time. I was on heating pads and taking Advil 24/7. It’s terrible, I know, but I was in so much pain.

I went to my doctor who sent me to physical therapy. My son, who is a chiropractor, also gave me some techniques to help the pain. Nothing worked.

Next I had several X-rays done and then an MRI at Bronson Battle Creek. At this point, I knew that I needed to talk with a neurosurgeon. Bronson Neuroscience Center was recommended to me so I checked out the reviews for each neurosurgeon and ultimately chose Dr. Alain Fabi.

The MRI showed that I had lumbar stenosis and that I needed a laminectomy to remove the bony and soft tissues between my L4/L5 vertebrae. These tissues were pushing on my nerves, causing all of my pain. Dr. Fabi reviewed all of my information and thought that I’d be a good candidate for a research study called TOPS™ Posterior Arthroplasty System from Premia Spine. The TOPS™ device offers an alternative solution to spinal fusion surgery for patients like me, in intense pain from lumbar spinal stenosis.

My son was very concerned about me getting a fusion because it can limit movement and cause stress on other parts of your spine. When I told him about TOPS™, he researched it extensively and told me it was a great option for me because it addresses both of these issues: maintaining stability and preserving motion in my spine.

I started seeing Lorie Beckman who works on TOPS™ with Dr. Fabi. This surgery had never been done at Bronson. I went in for surgery on June 8 not knowing if I was getting a traditional laminectomy or TOPS™ (the trial uses a randomized selection process).

As soon as I came out of surgery, the pain was gone. After two days, I stopped taking pain medicine completely and haven’t had any issues at all.

One of the things I really liked about being a patient is using Bronson MyChart. I can check my past and present appointments and pay my bills. I just log in and can see how much I’ve paid and when my next payment is happening. Bronson has been amazing about letting me use a payment plan that works for us.

Now? I’m just really happy. I was very depressed before my surgery. The pain really affects you physically and mentally. I never realized that chronic pain can change the way you live your life. It’s amazing the difference of the quality of life I have. I got two new grand babies, twins, a few weeks after the surgery. I don’t think I would have been able to hold them and enjoy them like I can now if I hadn’t had the surgery.

I’m very happy with Dr. Fabi and his team. I’m just singing the praises of Dr. Fabi and TOPS™.