Neurosurgical expertise ends risk for quadriplegia
End to back and neck pain restores Kent McEvers' quality of life and love of travel
Eleven states down, 39 to go.
That's Kent and Brenda McEvers' dream. After enjoying cruises for years, the couple bought a fifth-wheel camper and began to explore the United States and the many sights it offers.
"Cruises are fantastic, but we realized there is so much of our own country we've never seen," Kent says. "Our goal is to fill up a map with stickers of places we've been, to travel the nation and have a blast."
The Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls provided memorable sight-seeing for the Kansas City couple. But all too soon, the roadtrip adventures came to a standstill. Neck and back pain Kent had tolerated for years intensified, threatening his mobility and keeping him at home.
History of pain
Kent, a truck driver, had sought treatment for neck pain in 2003. He had several cervical epidural steroid injections that provided relief for some years.
"But in 2016, that pain flared up," he says. "I had pain any time I turned or looked up, and I found myself leaning forward all the time to try to ease it."
Kent couldn't locate the pain management specialist he'd seen years before, so he visited a new doctor at a different pain management clinic.
"I wasn't too concerned," Kent says. "I knew what to expect. Or so I thought." Unlike the steroid injections he'd previously received to the neck, this time the epidural was applied in the middle of his back. "It was terrifyingly painful. And unlike the previous shots that gave instant relief, this one did nothing for me."
Kent lived with the pain as long as he could, until he started to lose motion in his right arm in the fall of 2017. Soon, he felt numbness in the fingers of his left hand, and then he began to lose feeling in 1 leg, dragging it instead of lifting it with each step he took.
He returned to the pain management center he'd visited in 2003. The new doctor he saw there ordered an MRI. Upon seeing it, he advised Kent to see a neurosurgeon right away.