Treating One of Our Own: Tammy's Story

In 2008, Tammy Norton, an active runner and mother of two, started experiencing debilitating pain in her neck that radiated down her right arm. She went from running 15 miles a week to not running at all. It became difficult for her to use her right arm and eventually she got to the point where it was a struggle to simply get through her daily activities. She couldn’t sleep. No matter what she did, she could never get comfortable.

Tammy had an epidural steroid injection at Emory Hospital, which relieved the pain for a long time. She was told the injection would probably only last a year, but it ended up lasting until 2014 when the pain returned.

At that time, Tammy was working at Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex as part of the front desk team. She started doing some physical therapy with Bradley Huff, ATC. She also had a couple of steroid injections and tweaked her normal routine to accommodate the pain.

My normal routine was to go to work, go for a run or to the gym after work, dinner then get ready for the next day. Going out with friends, working out, running or just hanging out with family all had to stop. Going to any kind of ball game was out! No sitting at a movie, riding bikes, shopping or weekend trips! No water skiing, lake trips or hiking!  No more anything!  It was all I could do to work a full day.  Sitting up, laying down, getting in the pool, nothing helped.

I finally decided it was time to see a doctor. Being an employee at Piedmont, I knew exactly who I needed to see. Dr. Kevin Stevenson.  Dr. Stevenson ordered an MRI and determined that I had to have Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion . A two level fusion was needed. Yikes!  I had never had a major surgery.  I have watched my mom have three major neck surgeries. It never crossed my mind I would be having the same procedure one day.  I was healthy! How could this happened? I was nervous. I was exhausted from being in pain for so long … but surgery?

I met with Dr. Stevenson and he answered all of my questions and explained everything. Surgery was scheduled Thursday, June 16, 2016. Dr. Stevenson came to the holding area to see if I had any more questions or concerns before I went to the operating room. When I got into the OR I remember seeing everyone getting ready to start. One of his team members was standing beside me and told me good night right before they put me to sleep. I felt like I only slept a few minutes but surgery lasted about three hours.  When I woke up all the pain that I had been experiencing was gone. The first thing I did when I woke up was stretch out my arm. I couldn’t believe it! For the first time in such a long time I had no more pain. I was able to go home the same evening.

I was out of work for two weeks and I’m still recovering. Dr. Stevenson and his nurse Logan continue to answer any questions that may come up.  If I feel uneasy or have concerns they are right there.  I feel 100% better. I can do pretty much everything I use to do.   Running again will come in time but for now I am very happy with how I’m feeling now. I couldn’t have asked for better care. 

Thanks to Dr. Kevin Stevenson and his spine team at the Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex for giving me back my quality of life.


posted 05/01/2017 in Blog

Tags: spine surgery, fusion, spine fusion, kevin stevenson, back surgery, spine surgery, back pain, neck pain, tammy norton, patient story, testimonial


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