Spine Surgery for Samuel

Samuel, my husband of 22 years, was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease nearly 4 years ago, but was having sporadic neck and back pain long before then. While serving in the USMC, he had multiple back injuries and began experiencing the affects in daily life years later as simple motions like stretching, lifting or throwing could risk several days of chronic soreness, muscle spasms, and eventually pain intense enough to  cause him to start missing days of work. (Samuel is on far left, the other two "jarheads" were his best friends and also in our wedding)

As the pain went from occasional to almost daily, sometimes for weeks at a time, we began turning to the conservative measures that were suggested: massage, physical therapy, ice and heat, muscle relaxers and hydrocodone, cortisone injections etc, all of which have failed to bring consistent relief. Most recently, after more than a year on hydrocodone(which brought its own complicationsant) and in daily discomfort, a sense of hopelessness took a significant emotional and financial toll on our family. Samuel quit taking hydrocodone and we began looking for additional options but he was denied assistance from the Veterans Administration, stating he did not have sufficient evidence to prove the condition was a direct result of his service and local physicians have been unwilling to take a more aggressive approach. He is currently experiencing degeneration in his C4,5,6 and 7 discs and between 12T and 2L.  This past July, a trip to the ER  revealed that he is now also suffering from spinal stenosis in his lower back creating numbness and increased weakness in his left leg. He immediately began looking outside of our geographical area for help.

He found the Laser Spine Institute. https://www.laserspineinstitute.com

They believe they can help him with a minimally invasive surgery-discetomy, laminotomy or cervical disc replacement ,if neccesary, and keep him from a lengthy recovery that traditional spinal surgeries create.



There must be an initial MRI which will cost $250 to determine the exact course of treatment and then a surgery date can be set. At that point, we will fly to Tampa, FL where he will have one of the above procedures  on his neck. It is possible they will want to address his lower back within a few days after the first, extending our time to possibly 14 days. We are fortunate his insurance  will cover the majority of the surgery cost, leaving us with:
*surgery co-pay
* 2 economy airfare round trip tickets from Norfolk, VA to Tampa, FL 
*transportation costs for taxi/uber 
*food ( 2 people x 3 meals daily x up to 14 days)
*lodging at a local hotel which negotiates discounted       rates with Spine Center patients (up to 13 nights)
*offset wages for time off of work for both Samuel and I (we have some paid time we will use, but it won't cover the entirity of this event)

We need the $250 for the MRI immediately so we can set the surgery date to be ASAP and travel expenses as soon as possible thereafter. This will allow us to get time off of work approved, make travel arrangements and have the surgery. Then we will need funds to cover time lost at work as he recovers and eventually to pay our portion of the surgery. He is on the cusp of a much needed promotion to General Manager with his employer and we would love to see God provide a solution to this prior to a promotion so that he can work confidently, consistently and with greater joy.

I have had a difficult time learning how to suppport him, chronic pain is not seen though its impact ripples through all of daily life. It is easy for me to forget and to misinterpret his behavior, or to lack empathy and offer grace when he "just can't". And I've witnessed that the emotional/mental struggle can be just as debilitating as the physical for people in chronic pain.

We have 4 kids- Aiyana 18, Malaya 17, Joey 12 and Gabriel 9, who are most deserving of a dad who can be more present, more whole, more hopeful and more joyful. 

We appreciate you even taking the time to look over our story, to offer as you feel led in your heart to, whether that be financial, encouragement, prayer or otherwise.

Our sincerest appreciation,
The Wilson Family

(We will gladly answer any questions to the best of our ability)

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  • Melissa Harrison 
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    • 29 mos
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Ruth Ann Wilson 
Newport News, VA
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