While performing a task that she had performed countless times before - folding up a comforter - Jill Newland found herself in excruciating pain. The pain resulted from a herniated disk in the lumbar spine and radiated down her left leg.
So severe was the pain, Newland, who lives in Woodward, made an appointment to see spine specialist Lynn Nelson, M.D., of Des Moines Orthopedic Surgeons. In developing a course of action to address her symptoms, Dr. Nelson put Newland at ease immediately.
"He was very conservative in his recommendations," Newland recalls of her initial consultation with Dr. Nelson early in 2009. "He was always open with his advice and told me straight how it was going to be. I trusted him right away."
Dr. Nelson recommended an MRI followed by a series of spinal injections to try to heal the disc, which was making contact with a nerve and causing the pain. She had two injections and after not experiencing much relief, Dr. Nelson recommended surgery. Newland had surgery at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in March of 2009 and says the pain was gone as soon as she woke up in the recovery room.
"It was instant," she remembers. "I didn't have pain in the leg at all. And on top of that, I had a quick recovery. I was back at work in only four weeks."
Despite the successful surgery and quick recovery, Dr. Nelson was open with Newland in sharing the risk of the repaired disk herniating again. And just more than a year after having the disk repaired, Newland was again in excruciating pain.
"Dr. Nelson gave me several case scenarios after the first surgery and he was clear that there was a possibility that it could herniate again," Newland says. As soon as she started experiencing pain again, she knew who to call.
"Dr. Nelson's office was able to get me in right away," Newland says. "Within days we got the MRI done, tried an injection - which didn't work - and then got scheduled for surgery."
On July 21, 2010, Newland had a second surgery on her spine, this time at the newly opened Methodist West Hospital. She again had immediate relief from the pain and says the experience was remarkable.
"Everything was on time and everyone was so friendly and informative," she says of her experience at Methodist West. "Everyone explained things to me clearly - from the moment I walked in, right through when they were wheeling me into surgery.
"My care and treatment at Methodist West was outstanding."
Her outcome was to her liking as well. Newland was again back to work for the Department of Human Services at the Woodward Resource Center in just more than four weeks. And today she is back to her regular schedule of walking a couple miles each day.
"I can't say enough about Dr. Nelson," Newland says. "He is just so knowledgeable and personable. He is an excellent physician."