Eighteen years ago, Laura Price was injured in a serious car crash.
“I was told that I had injured my spine,” Price recalled. “The neurosurgeon said I needed surgery.”
At the time, Price was pregnant with her youngest child, Madison. She was reluctant to proceed because of the risks involved.
“I said ‘no.’ There was too much uncertainty,” she said.
Before leaving, the surgeon warned Price that if she didn’t take care of the injury, one day, she would fall down paralyzed. Still, Price declined to have surgery.
In the years after the crash, Price experienced headaches and had increasing numbness in her arm, which she attributed to the injury to her spine. But she just lived with the symptoms.
Then on Jan. 28, 2018, the surgeon’s prediction came true.
Price, now 55, was on vacation and having lunch with a friend at a restaurant in Yachats. She stood up to walk to the restroom, she collapsed, paralyzed.
At first, Price thought she was having a stroke.
“Can you understand what I am saying?” her friend kept asking.
Price was rushed by ambulance to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. An MRI showed it was the old spinal injury that had caused her paralysis.
Daniela Alexandru-Abrams, MD, of Samaritan Neurosurgery, sees patients at the coast, and received Price’s MRI. Dr. Alexandru-Abrams told Price she needed surgery to repair the spinal canal that had deteriorated over time and had completely collapsed and pinched her spinal cord.
In the years since the crash, there have been many advances in neurosurgery. Price decided the risks were worth taking if she wanted to walk again. She agreed to surgery.
After a nine-hour operation at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, her spine was repaired successfully. Within days, Price was up and walking. She used a walker as a precaution for the first month to avoid falling.
Price was referred to a new program called Movement, Mindfulness and Pain Science, offered at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. The program includes physical activity in a group setting. In September, Price completed the eight-week program. She continues to practice yoga and tai chi to improve her strength.
Price’s headaches are gone, her arm is no longer numb and she’s living pain-free. She hopes to return to full-time work soon.
She hopes that her success story inspires others to seek treatment that will immensely improve their quality of life.
“I do feel blessed,” Price said. “I’ve had absolutely no neck pain.”
Dr. Alexandru-Abrams specializes in minimally invasive brain and spine tumor removal, skull base surgery, endoscopic pituitary and anterior skull base surgery, third ventriculostomies and complex hydrocephalus. She also practices general spine neurosurgery and instrumentation including treatment for spinal stenosis. For more information on Samaritan Neurosurgery, call 541-768-4501 or visit samhealth.org/Neurosurgery.