Patient Success Story: From Bedridden to Mobile, Overcoming the Odds

At Coastal Health Spine & Pain, we take pride in helping our patients recover their lives and live as pain-free a life as possible. We’d like to introduce you to Pamela F. and her amazing recovery and personal inner strength.

Pamela started having pain in 2012 that began as annoying and quickly progressed to excruciating. Pamela began a long journey to find the cause of her pain. At first, she was diagnosed with a rare disease and flew to Texas for surgery. During the pre-surgical tests, her neurologist found a nerve affected by spinal fluid. Pamela was prescribed pain meds and started on a long, six-year course of pain meds. However, her symptoms continued. One doctor after another was baffled by the varied and odd symptoms. One misdiagnosis after another followed, with medication that seemed to make her condition worse.

A year after her diagnosis, Pamela began using a walker in 2013. Her symptoms and pain were so bad that she eventually progressed to a wheelchair. Even that was unable to help, and Pamela found herself bedridden for three years.

Pamela came to Coastal Spine and Pain Center for yet another diagnosis. Here, she was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, an extremely rare condition with poor outcome. She began treatment for this, including a caclofin pump, a muscle relaxer that counteracts the severe muscle cramping associated with Stiff Person Syndrome. Pamela was now under the direct care of Paul Duff, PA-C with our Spine & Pain division.

This time, Pamela’s diagnosis was correct. With the aid of the pump, Paul’s patient management skills, and medical care from Coastal Health, Pamela is on the road to managing her symptoms and pain.

Within a year, she has recovered enough to be up and about and no longer using a wheelchair. Pamela drives and is off all pain medications. Pamela has already beat the prognosis for Stiff Person Syndrome and looks forward to living each day.

Pamela offers words of encouragement to anyone with excruciating pain. She says, “Take it one day at a time…The most important thing is to be positive. Your thoughts become your actions. If you think negatively, you’re going to be negative about everything. …My faith …carried me through. The Lord took my test and made it into my testimony. He took my mess and turned it into a message. Keep believing there’s going to be an answer. Don’t focus on the pain, focus on something else. I want to share (my experience) and give people hope.”

The doctors and staff of Coastal Health are proud to have been able to help Pamela overcome her pain and live a more balanced life. We look forward to helping you.