Patient Report - Karen Wallis


Written by Karen Wallis

When I first met Mr Knight in February 2007, I had just about lost hope of finding anyone who could help me. I was exhausted by pain and lack of sleep. I was finding it hard to imagine a future worth having.

I am 49 years of age and live in France, high up in the mountains of the Pyrenees. I have had back problems all my life as a result of Degenerative Disc Disease. Following difficult and unsuccessful medical interventions in my early twenties, I pretty much ignored the problem for many years. I lived with the pain, exercised a lot, and took aspirin when desperate.

Last year, when things became worse, I couldn’t cope any longer, and I embarked on a long round of investigations, treatments and therapies. These were all efficiently and professionally provided in France, but had almost no effect on my quality of life. The doctors, including two consultant neurosurgeons, told me that my situation was too complex for surgery to be effective, and that I must learn to live with it and ‘just do less’. Then, thanks to a friend sending me a cutting of a journal article, I came across The Spinal Foundation, made an appointment to see Mr Knight, and, within a week, had my operation.

That was three months ago and my life has changed beyond all recognition. Most importantly, I can sleep, all night, every night, and the fog of exhaustion has lifted. My energy and enthusiasm have returned, along with hope and optimism for the future. I can ride my bike, go walking in the mountains, and stand up long enough to cook a meal or saunter around the local market. In another month I will be back at work. It has been (and still is), quite a commitment to learn and maintain the muscle balance physiotherapy programme, but it is really worth it, as I am getting stronger every day and am almost pain free most of the time.

I am hopeful that the physiotherapy will help slow down the rate of deterioration in my spine and avoid the need for further surgery. When I first found this website I was unable to read the Patient Quotes as they reduced me to tears within a few seconds. I simply couldn’t believe that such a miracle could happen to me. But is has.

Thank you Mr Knight.

May 2007