Russell W. Shurts

Dr. John Nichols

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Let me start the topics in this new forum with something I wrote for Robert Tracinski's excellent TIA Daily a couple weeks ago praising Dr. John Nichols:

This past week my daughter Amy got her life back through a surgical procedure performed by Dr. John Nichols. Amy, who is 24 years old, has routinely suffered from intense pain throughout her body but particularly in her neck, shoulders and spine for the past 5 to 6 years. It got so bad two years ago that she had to drop out of a Masters Degree program in Physics to come live with us.

We spent those last two years searching for answers to the problem, and through the efforts of a team of doctors discovered that she had fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain about a year ago. She received excellent treatment for these two conditions which helped a great deal, but she has still regularly experienced intense pain in her neck and shoulders.

Because of this, one of her fibromyalgia doctors decided to have an MRI taken of her upper spine. The MRI showed a slight deformity in one of her disks, and her doctor recommended she have it looked at by Dr. Nichols. We subsequently learned that the problem she was showing on the MRI would not normally be recognized or treated by most doctors in the field (the physician reviewing the proposed procedure for my insurance company initially denied coverage for it), but that Dr. Nichols was skilled enough to understand the significance of the deformity when put in the context of my daughter's overall physical problems.

Because of this skill he recommended she have a spinal discectomy, essentially removing the deformed disk and replacing it with a bone plug reinforced by titanium. This surgery was performed last Tuesday, and a young woman who had had pain in the 7 to 8 range (on a scale from 1 to 10) in graduate school and in the 5 to 6 range for most of the last year, had pain in the 3 to 4 range immediately after the surgery and has continued to improve significantly in the days since.

Our biggest problem since we got her home from the hospital has been in trying to keep her quiet and resting from the surgery, because she feels so good she wants to start doing things.

I'm not sure they even had such procedures when I was Amy's age (25 years ago), but I am simply amazed at the daily 'miracles' modern medicine can pull off these days. I will end this by telling you what Amy's first words to me were when I first saw her in the recovery room, "Dad, I just LOVE technology," and she had a big smile on her face :-)

I would like to commend Dr. John S. Nichols and the Intermountain Neurosurgery and Neuroscience Group for giving me one of the best days of my life by giving my daughter her life back.

As an update on Amy's condition; she is still doing just terrific with only a couple of bad days this month, and she can take the protective collar off next Tuesday. If she has no pain, she can slowly start resuming normal activities and a normal life :o:D

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Congratulations to Amy and to her pain free future. Cronic pain is one of those things that can make life seem like it's not worth living. For years I had sporadic migrane headaches until the doctor suggested I stop all intake of caffeine. WOW. No more headaches!!

If ever there was a valid use of the term "miracle" then it would have to apply to medicine and to doctors ability to diagnose problems. If life and death are the alternatives we face, then the ability to go from a condition where life is full of pain to a condition of normalcy truly seems like a valid use of the term "miracle."

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