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Your experience tells the story

While awards and accolades speak volumes about a medical program's services, we recognize the best reassurance and support for our patients care and outcomes comes from stories shared by patients themselves. Watch our videos and read the patient's own stories below to see how the Inova Spine Program's care team has made a difference in the lives of people, which is what we strive for each and every day.

VIDEO: Mark McChrystal faced back pain so severe he wasn't able to walk or drive well any longer. He underwent a spinal surgery procedure using augmented reality and is now walking again and planning international travel.

VIDEO: Mark Mildorf faced severe back pain and reclaimed his athletic lifestyle, even completing a 100-mile bike ride just 90 days after spinal decompression and fusion surgery.

VIDEO: Brad McFarland trusted Inova's spine experts to help him overcome severe spine pain and reclaim his life.

Spine Surgery to Repair Damage from MRSA Infection: Will's Story

An MRSA infection had eaten through several of his spinal bones, severely pinching the nerves and causing intense pain.

Recovered MRSA patient doing better after spine surgeryWill Elwood, age 78, recovered from an attack of the deadly MRSA bacterial infection and finally found help for his extreme back pain with surgery at Inova to repair his badly damaged spinal discs and nerves.

When Inova's Dr. Andrew Fanous ordered diagnostic imaging of Will’s spine, the answer to the mystery of Will’s back pain became clear. "Dr. Fanous looked at the scans and said, 'Oh my goodness, three of your spinal discs are gone,'" recalls Will.

Read Will's story >

Herniated Disc Surgery: Jennifer's Story

After seven years of pain, Jennifer's life now runs smoothly after spine surgery at Inova.

runner victorious on the Great Wall of ChinaJennifer Fraczkiewicz Taylor is always on the go. Between activities with family and friends, traveling, a range of hobbies that include training for triathlons and half-marathons, and her full-time work as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, Jennifer isn’t one to sit still. But a spine injury changed everything, derailing her quality of life for years – until Jennifer had spine surgery at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.

Read Jennifer's story >

Mobi-C Disc Replacement: Mark’s Story

An Ironman triathlete gets back in the race with help from Dr. John Hamilton and Inova Neurosciences.

man riding a stationary bikeMark Fostek, 49, has been an athlete all his life. A former college baseball player, Mark took up running in his late thirties. In 2015, he discovered the triathlon, a sport that combines swimming, cycling and running – and he has never looked back.

Mark quickly progressed to Olympic distances, then set his eye on the Ironman: a grueling race that combines a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon, all in 17 hours or less. Between 2016 and 2019, he completed four Half Ironman races – a distance of 70.3 miles in total – and celebrated the completion of his first full 140.6 mile Ironman in October 2017.

In late December 2018, Mark began to experience troubling symptoms. “I know my body pretty well, and when something doesn’t feel right, I tend to know what it is. After a bike ride one day, I felt something I had never felt before – tingling on my right thumb and forefinger,” Mark said. “It was similar to the sensation you get when you hit your funny bone, but it never went away. After the third day, I knew that this wasn’t normal.”

Read Mark's story >

Back from the Brink: Teamwork and Quick Action Save a Life

Larry Black's frightening symptoms were the result of a lumbar spine and brain infection.

Larry Black walking his dogLarry Black looked forward to a quiet retirement – playing golf, spending time with his wife, and enjoying his large brood of children, grandchildren and new great-grandchild. But just 13 days after stepping down as Chief Magistrate for the 20th Judicial District of Virginia, Larry was in the Inova Loudoun Hospital Emergency Room (ER), fighting for his life.

An infection had invaded his lumbar spine and had spread to his brain. Only the quick action and expertise of a collaborative team of Inova nurses, emergency physicians, intensivists, orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons averted a tragic outcome.

The 76-year-old from Leesburg, Virginia doesn’t remember much about this shocking turn of events.

He’d been battling debilitating back pain and was scheduled for a lumbar fusion with Ali Moshirfar, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in spine care. He is also the Medical Director of the Inova Spine Program at Inova Loudoun Hospital, a program of Inova Neurosciences. As the pain intensified, Larry began to feel other, odder symptoms. “I was lethargic and disoriented. I felt like I was walking around drunk,” he recalls.

When the symptoms progressed to acute delirium and a high fever, his wife, Cheryl, and Larry’s daughter, Danielle, rushed him to the Inova Loudoun Hospital ER after his oldest son, Dayton, was emphatically telling him over the phone that he needed to go to the hospital. “To this day, I have no idea how we got this 250-pound man down the stairs and into the car,” Cheryl says.

Read Larry's story >

Share your story with us

Would you like to share your experience? Link to our submission form and email us your story. Once received, a representative will contact you to learn more about how Inova Spine Program helped get you back in action.

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