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  • Patient: Terry Lee H
  • Category: Spine

“ If it wasn’t for my spine surgeon’s amazing skills and the fantastic care at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, I would not have been able to do what I love – hiking and races!”

Terry Lee Hester loves the outdoors and being active, whether it’s hiking, Half Marathons, 10Ks, or 5Ks. But a few short years ago, she noticed that her legs were starting to go numb, and experienced stabbing pains in her low back even for a short walk around the block.

“My mind wanted to go for that walk but my back and legs would not cooperate,” she shared “I had been so active and I wasn’t ready to stop all my walking, hiking, and races. My motto is ‘being active keeps you young’ and I refuse to grow up at least for another 20 years or so!”

Terry decided to seek medical attention for her back, and one of her coworkers recommended Michael Gordon, MD, a spine surgeon affiliated with Hoag Orthopedic Institute.

“I am so glad I saw him,” Terry said. “I made an appointment to see him, showed him my MRI, and he immediately knew he could fix my back and the numbness would be gone.”

So, in January 2023, Terry underwent a two-level lumbar spinal fusion at L4 5S at Hoag Orthopedic Institute.

“From the moment I walked through the door I received the best care I could have ever hoped for. Everyone of the staff I encountered was so nice,” she shared. “I felt like I was at ‘The Hoag Orthopedic Institute Resort and Spa.’ It couldn’t have been better. It certainly helps with recovery to have such a wonderful staff. It just makes the pain so much more bearable.”

After Terry was discharged home, she said that she got stronger each day and was no longer in need of the pain medication. She said that it helped that her friends would walk with her a little each day, and by her two-week checkup, she was walking up to 2 miles!

In April, just a few months after surgery, Terry said that she felt strong enough to go on a planned Hiking/Camping trip to Havasupai, Grand Canyon, that had been postponed for three years due to the pandemic.

“I had no trouble at all – thank you Dr Gordon,” said Terry, of the tough terrain including a 22-mile round-trip hike with steep switchbacks over the last 1.5 miles climbing out of the Canyon.

Since returning from the Grand Canyon, Terry has continued her walking and hiking routine around Orange County as well as running the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon in Townsend, TN. Up next for the outdoor enthusiast will be two Half Marathons in June 2024 – the Grand Tetons National Park Half Marathon and Yellowstone National Park Half Marathon – along with some hiking in both National Parks.

Terry states, “If it wasn’t for Dr Michael Gordon’s amazing skills and the fantastic care at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, I would not have been able to do what I love – hiking and races! Thank you and kudos to Dr Gordon and Staff at HOI!”