Drug-Free After 30 Failed Back Surgeries and Parkinson's Disease

Stephan Daniel has been through agony, battling Parkinson's Disease that would cause neck and back surgeries to fail. He found a surgeon that got him off pain medication, now flexible and active.

Running five days a week after back surgery

I’ve had quite a few back surgeries and neck surgeries, been through an awful lot. The results I got from Dr. McCord have been tremendous, from when I first came and met him. I had some really hard times, couldn’t move, couldn’t walk. My lower back, middle of my back and neck, couldn’t hardly mess around with it. He did lower back surgery on me, was very successful. Of course we moved up to the T-levels, very successful there as well. I have Parkinson’s disease. After my first neck surgery I was having some problems, shaking so bad. I actually tore out the screws in my neck from shaking so badly at the time. Dr. McCord worked on it, fixed it again. I drive seven hours to see Dr. McCord, he’s amazing to me. I trust him awful lot, with my condition.

I’ve been through a lot, I’ve had over 30 failed back surgeries, but I keep going. With him, it’s just a special bond I have with him. But I will start off saying this. If you do have surgery, he tells you to move, you get up and move. I’ve been through an awful lot. You get out of the operating room, you go back to your room, you wake up, and you start moving. The more you move, the better you going to be. I don’t sit for long. If I could, I’d walk off the operating table. You have to listen to him, exercise. That’s what starts the healing process. So listen to him, if he tells you to walk, get up and walk.

I’ve had over 30 failed back surgeries, but I keep going.

[Question] “Do you regret any of your surgeries that your Parkinson’s affected?”

[Answer] Oh no, I don’t regret doing anything. No. Course I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but I don’t have any regrets. The surgeries eliminated a lot of pain that I was going through. Who wants to walk around holding your head like this?

[Question] “Could you have waited a year for your screws to heal before back surgery?”

[Answer] No, I had to do something then. I couldn’t wait. The pain that I was going through, the suffering, I can’t help that I have Parkinson’s and it shook the screws loose. To wait for a year to go by, that’s unacceptable. It has to be fixed. You have to rely on someone with Dr. McCord’s expertise. Also to let me know that this is bad, of course I’ve seen it on the film [MRI]. To wait a year that’s very unacceptable, very necessary.

Today I can hold my head up, I can move it back and forth. I still have pain, but you’re going to have pain to begin with.

[Question] “What if your insurance company told you surgery was unnecessary?”

[Answer] I don’t see how an insurance company can tell you that it’s not necessary. They’re an insurance company, you’re a doctor. I have faith in you, but I pay insurance so therefore they shouldn’t dictate to me...if something needs to be fixed, I’ve gotta wait three months or six months? I’m the one going through the pain and agony.

[Question] “If another doctor’s second opinion told you to wait a year to fix your surgery screws...what would you say?”

[Answer] I’d tell 'em to go jump in a lake. Seriously, if the screws are out, and they’ve come out, what is a year going to do? The severity of my neck with screws dangling in it and me moving it, could hit something and wind up paralyzed. I don’t buy that. Just because I have a condition that a lot of doctors don’t even want to touch me because of my condition and the stuff I’ve been through. A lot of surgeons after 20 something surgeries...not many doctors want to mess with you, or even help you. Back when I started getting sick, basically, several years ago I was in a wheel chair for two years. I couldn’t walk, I had to have help with everything. My hometown doctors told me to, more or less, go home and die.

I couldn’t walk, I had to have help with everything. My hometown doctors told me, more or less, to go home and die.

I got with my pain management doctor, and he sent me to the hospital in Gainsville. Four or five months later I was out of a wheelchair walking again, where other doctors told me to go home and die. Give up. With the Parkinson’s it’s caused me to have a lot of problems with my back and neck, but I keep going. For someone to tell me that I need to wait? That’s unacceptable. Because if I did wait, like they wanted me to in the beginning, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be dead.

[Question] “If another doctor in authority at a hospital tried to prevent patients like you from being treated, without even knowing you...what would you say?”

[Answer] He can’t assess me without meeting me, for one thing. If he’s never looked at me, or talked to me, or test me. To me that doctor has got an ego problem. He doesn’t care about his patients like Dr. McCord does, and treated me...there’s more of a personal problem than a professional problem. You can’t judge somebody without looking at them, you just can’t do it.

I have all the faith in you. You got me this far. I had a pain pump, morphine in me all the time, a lot in me all the time...since you treated me all that’s gone. You’ve really helped me, that’s the reason I drive seven hours, just to come and see you. I live in Albany, GA and I drive seven hours to see you. I drive another 3 ½ hours to Gainsville, FL to see another doctor. Then I drive another 4 hours to go to Atlanta. Then my other surgeon is in Portland, OR! Lucky I hadn’t had to go see him recently (laughs)!

I want professional care, and the doctors I go and see are professionals, and they care.

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