Maverick ADR - 2005

Spinal Cord Stimulator - October 2006

Maverick Explantation / fusion - April 2007

Posterior decompression and Coflex - May 2007

Mobi-C C6-7,
May 2007, Munich, Germany

July 2007. Mark here:

Lorna first contacted me for help in February 2007.  She was 2 years post op from the Maverick ADR and had been completely disabled since her accident, over 3 years ago.  In the years since her failed ADR surgery, her doctors in Australia had been telling her that her unrelenting leg pain and other problems were due to nerve damage that was already permanent and she had no surgical options.  She was considering going to the Alpha Klinik for a work up and potential revision surgery with Dr. Zeegers.  I had seen too many cases of so called "permanent nerve damage" that was ultimately resolved by a decompression surgery that I told her “They don’t know.  They’re just telling you that to make you go away.” (I was pleased to discover months later when her Aunt Esther told me how important it was for Lorna to see and hear about my other clients who recovered from so called “permanent nerve damage.” She told me that "her mood changed after she spoke to you!")

She was scheduled to be in Munich at the end of April. I could not be with her for the surgery, but kept in close contact. She told me about recognizing another patient from my website. She approached him in the waiting room and said, "I know you... your Sam Perroni from Mark's website!" She and Sam became fast friends. Most days that Lorna was in the hostpital, Sam brought her flowers.

Lorna's words: I walked into the Alpha Klinik with both a sense of excitement and apprehension. Here I was on the other side of the globe for major surgery but then... I spotted a familiar face! It was Sam from Global Patient Network!! I introduced myself and told Sam my story, (I already knew his!!!) Sam spent the next half hour reassuring me that I had done the right thing. Sam was no longer just a story on the computer but a real success right in front of my eyes! Sam was inspirational to me and after that first meeting it was 'HERE I AM ALPHA KLINIK, DO WHAT YOU WILL"!

In early May, after the spine meeting in Berlin, I was fortunate enough to get to see Lorna there. When I arrived in Germany, we had been communicating almost daily for a couple of weeks.  She’d had the Maverick explanted and fusion with STALIF cage.  The surgery relieved her leg pain for a few days, but when she became active again the leg pain returned.  A week later, Dr. Zeegers performed a posterior decompression surgery and implanted a Coflex for additional stability.  That surgery again removed the leg pain and Lorna was a different person.  Before coming to Munich, she was unable to stand up straight or walk normally because the pain was so intense.  She was deformed.

Although she could stand up straight, she still had balance problems, and difficulty walking.  She could not have a cervical MRI because of the spinal cord stimulator that had been implanted in a failed attempt to deal with thLorna with Dr. Baumbache leg pain.  She had a lumbar puncture in order to rule out other causes for the balance and coordination issues.  Unfortunately, the lumbar puncture generated a CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) leak that had her hospitalized with severe headache and nausea for almost two weeks.  After that was resolved, the decision was made to remove the spinal cord stimulator so that an MRI could be performed.  Unfortunately, the MRI results were not clear.  While there was some pathology demonstrated, it did not seem to rise to the level that might be causing her symptoms.  After a great deal of discussions and arguing between the entire team, it was decided that a single level Mobi-C ADR at level C6-7 would be performed.  By this time, I was back at the Alpha Klinik with another client and was fortunate enough to watch Lorna come through this process. The picture at the left with Dr. Baumbach was taken on the night of her surgery.

I have to say that I believe this could not have happened anywere else in the world. The efforts of Doctors Zeegers and Baumbach, and the entire Alpha Klinik staff was amazing. Read Lorna's words about this in her iSpine post, here.

The picture of Lorna balancing (on the video below) was taken two days after her surgery. She is standing on one foot, which was completely impossible before the cervical surgery.  Just a few short hours after her surgery, the balance and coordination issues were resolved and there was again a spring in her step. We had just finished a neurological exam on my client, and Dr. Baumbach had to go check up on Lorna.  I think this demonstrated the level of involvement and commitment the entire team at the Alpha Klinik had, and the support that Lorna received during her eight-week ordeal. Lorna's ordeal in Munich had started over eight weeks ago, but it really had been going on for over three years.  With four kids ages 4-16, she had been unable to pick up and hold her four year old.  I suggested that having been through so many ups and downs through the years, and many ups and downs just in the past few weeks, her family probably didn't even believe that she was doing so well.  I asked her if she wanted to create a short video message and put it on the internet so they could see that their mom really was okay.  We took just a few minutes to shoot the video below...one take... 30 seconds of video.  A couple hours later, it was up on YouTube and off to her family with some pictures.

Later that day, Lorna, her Aunt Esther, and I walked to Arabella Park for dinner.  It was an amazing walk, as Lorna could walk looking up at me instead of looking down at the ground. (Before her surgery, she needed to watch where she placed her foot for each step as the balance and coordination issues were so profound, she would stumble if she didn't.) On my last day in Munich, I got to see Lorna as she was in the Klinik for her final check up before she returned to Australia. 

Lorna and her father, RobertThe picture at the right of Lorna with her father, Robert, still brings tears to my eyes.  He stayed with her the entire eight weeks.  His tireless support is what gave Lorna the strength to get through the ordeal.

What an amazing transformation to see. To Lorna and her family... all the best. Enjoy every minute of your new lives. To Doctors Zeegers, Baumbach, Blome and all the Alpha Klinik staff, THANK YOU for the work that you do. Your willingness to go the extra mile for your patients provides so many, like Lorna, Sam, AND ME a second chance at life!


Lorna's words (11/7/07): My family was an inspiration to me throughout my ordeal, especially my husband Allan and my Dad, Robert who accompanied me to Munich, absorbed alot of my anxieties and brightened my spirits when I was at my lowest. I was fortunate to have my Dad there for the whole 8 weeks. As chief wheelchair pusher, vomit bucket holder (thanks DAD!), clothes washer and all round cheerer up-erer. My wonderful husband, Allan, was able to be with me for the first major op but then had to return to OZ to care for our brood. Allan is the sort of man that you could only hope your daughter would marry. He endured 3 years of being my carer, masseur, housecleaner, chauffeur, babysitter, counselor and best friend, without ever complaining. EVER!! WHAT A MAN! LOVE YOU AL! Big thanks also have to go to my mum for holding the fort in OZ, looking after my four little ones and being of immense support to us all. More Big thanks have to go my sister Victoria and Aunt Esther who travelled from Bahrain and Scotland to lend their support to us in Munich with much needed laughs and hugs. To my ever suffering children I say a HUGE THANK YOU! Mummy was a bit cranky for 3 years and you were all so patient and you all loved me anyway! LOVE YOU GUYS!! As all Spineys out there know, the spinal surgery road can be a very long one and you can't get through it without support and (sometimes) tough love from your family. Mine are the reason for my Alpha Klinik success!!!

I won't lie and say that I am completely pain free, I still have leg pain that hangs around but it is pain that I can live with. It can be annoying but it does not interfer with my life the way it did pre-Alpha Klinik. I will always need to care for my spine, but now i can partake in life and not just view it from the sidelines (or couch as it were)!!!

From: Lorna
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 9:13 PM
To: Mark S. Mintzer
Subject: Lorna!

Hi Mark

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you but I haven't been near my computer, I'm too busy living again!!! You will be pleased to know that I am still doing well and guess what? I WENT OUT DANCING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still cannot believe that I have transformed from the little old lady with my walking stick to a vibrant young woman again!

I went to see my GP a couple of weeks after I got back from Munich. He took one look at me and said, "Lorna I am SO glad you didn't listen to me!!" He is a really supportive doctor but he was advised by my Aussie Neurologists that I was basically a hopeless case and that "I needed to accept my disability and get on with it," so he didn't hold much hope for success in Munich. Now he knows differently! I think that he will be more inclined to mention the magic word "ALPHA KLINIK" the next time a "hopeless case" walks through his door!

Since my return, my children and Allan have started to reap the rewards of the new me! I have finally been able to take my little girl for a walk to the beach (for the first time in her 4 years of life!). My boys can't believe that they don't have to help mum get off the lounge, walk up the stairs or bring a constant run of hot water bottles to me. Allan tells me that it feels like we're newlyweds all over again! After 3 years of having to help bathe and dress me he finally has the woman he married with a permanant smile on her face instead of that "pain face"...I know you know what I'm talking about, Mark!

I thank God that I didn't listen to the naysayers over here that thought a 35 year old mother of four should accept permanant disability without a fight! Chronic pain is such a horrible thing. It eats away at your insides and make you question your worth. I have realized that I have so much to offer now. I am not in pain all the time anymore, so I have patience to deal with those I love, and an amazing appreciation of my ability to contribute as a mum, wife and community member.

Mark, THANK YOU for your support during my stay at the Alpha Klinik! You are an amazing person to link people up with the brilliance of Dr. Zeegers and Dr. Baumbach!! If only we could bottle their patience, knowledge, expertise and commitment to their profession and give a dose to all the doctors of this world!

Take Care!

HEY I'm going out dancing again tonight!!!!!!!



GPN Guestbook entries from Lorna's mom, Sandy

My daughter Lorna, had spinal surgery after an awful accident at work. She is 34 years of age and has 4 children. Every day is a battle for her to get around. She had a Maverick prosthesis inserted which has not been successful. She is virtually a cripple and it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain. She is going to have further surgery in October to have a spinal stimulater inserted and I pray that she will get relief from pain to have some normality in her life. She was a registered nurse, a very vivacious girl, full of personality who loved and lived life. She was always very active in her community and nothing was a bother to her. But now she cant sit for more than 10 minutes or stand for more than half an hour without being in terrible pain. I feel so frustrated that they can send people to the moon but cant give my daughter some quality in her life...Sorry just had to vent my frustrations, hate seeing my girl suffer so much.

Hi Mark, I just want to say what an absolute miracle Dr Zeegers and his team have performed on my daughter. When she left Australia she was in such a bad way. She had been in excruciating pain for 3 years. She'd had surgery and was on a myriad of drugs. She was told by the doctors here THAT NOTHING MORE COULD BE DONE FOR HER and that she HAD TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH HER PAIN AND GET ON WITH HER LIFE. Thank God she found your site on the net. I know that her case was a very difficult one and she was in Germany for 8 weeks but you should see her now!!! It's all been worthwhile. The children have mum back, her husband has his wife back and I have my beautiful daughter back as she was with her beautiful relaxed smile. No longer does she have that very strained look. So from the bottom of my heart its a great big thank you for letting us all know that there is help out there to be painfree.

GPN Guestbook entries from Lorna's aunty Esther, 9/4/07
Hi Mark, Remember me? I am Lorna's auntie Esther, I met you in Munich. Just been reading your bit about Lorna. I have been in contact with her since our return from Munich and each time I speak to her she always is able to tell me about something else she can do that, if not for her surgery and the wonderful support from both the Alpha Klinic and yourself, she would not have been able to do this time 6 moths ago. She tells me of going out with Alan, walking with Lily and supporting the boys in all their activities, its wonderful. As her Scottish aunty I feel overjoyed to hear her tell of her achievements, I can only guess what her mum and dad feel, nothing can express our joy. So, to echo her mums words, thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

9/16/2007 - (Mark Here) I spoke with Lorna on the phone. She was delighted to tell me about an outing to her 'Chemist'. (That's Aussie for pharmacist.) It seems that she'd been going to the same Chemist on a monthly basis for years. He'd only seen her as a woman unable to stand up straight and always in serious pain. She's been talking to him for some time and felt that their discussion was somehow distant or disconnected. Finally, she said to him, "You don't know who I am, do you?" He about fell over when he realized that the smiling, normal person in front of him was really Lorna.