Patient Stories

Kidney Cancer With Spine Metastases | Sue's Story

Human resources executive Sue was shocked to find her pain, weakness and broken bones were the result of cancer that had spread from her kidney. The complexity of her situation led her to Johns Hopkins. After removal of cancer metastases from her spine followed by radiation, Sue had surgery to remove her left kidney, and treatment with immunotherapy and targeted therapy. In February 2022, Sue got the news that she had a complete response from her treatment and is now resuming her active life.

Advances in Neurosurgical Spine Surgery | Paul’s Story

Paul had mobility challenges and back pain for 30 years due to bulging disks in his spine. He found relief after a consultation with Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Nicholas Theodore, who used the latest technology in spine surgery — intraoperative CT scans combined with robotic guidance — to safely and accurately install new hardware in Paul’s back. Paul is back to fully living his life and is able to move unencumbered by pain.

Life After Illness | Keturah's Story

Neurosurgeon Nicholas Theodore reconnects with patient Keturah two years after her spinal subtraction surgery, which was performed to help resolve spina bifida and tethered spinal cord symptoms. Before the surgery, she was in excruciating pain and had difficulty standing up. Now, Keturah is a mother with a photography career and an interest in pursuing nursing.

An Innovative Approach to Nerve Repair | Santi’s Story

Santi's sciatic nerve was severed in a boating accident, paralyzing his right leg. He and his family traveled from Texas to Baltimore, where they met with neurosurgeon Allan Belzberg and orthopaedic trauma surgeon Greg Osgood. Together, the two surgeons collaborated to offer a novel way to repair Santi's leg and get him back to the water.

Spine Surgery at 95 | When Patience Pays Off

When chronic leg pain from spinal compression started interfering with her active life and overall happiness, Vivian sought relief. She was turned away by several surgeons who saw her age as a risk factor, but Johns Hopkins spine neurosurgeon Ali Bydon thought otherwise.

Spinal Subtraction Surgery | When Less Offers More

Born with spina bifida and tethered spinal cord, Keturah had a childhood of multiple spinal surgeries, many hospital stays and severe pain. As a young adult, she did not expect to find a specialist who could offer a novel solution — and essentially change the course of her life.

Schwannoma Tumor | Roderick Ball's Story

Diagnosed with a schwannoma tumor (schwannomatosis), Roderick Ball Jr., and his family came to Johns Hopkins to have the tumor, which had grown through his abdomen, lower back and spinal column, treated.

Spinal Cord Tumor (Schwannoma) | Aaron's Story

Aaron was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor pressing on his nerves, and was at risk for paralysis. Spine neurosurgeon Ali Bydon met with Aaron and together they chose a strategy.

New Augmented Reality Technology Guides Spine Neurosurgeon to Success

Kay suffered from debilitating muscle cramping and lower back pain due to spondylolisthesis, a common condition in the lumbar spine. When nonsurgical treatment options failed, she turned to spine neurosurgeon Timothy Witham for help. He used a new augmented reality technology to accurately place spinal instrumentation in her back. Seven months after surgery, Kay has resumed her daily pursuits without pain and is enjoying life.

  • Kidney Cancer and Chordoma | Craig’s Story

    When Craig was diagnosed with cancer, he and his wife made a trip to The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Specialists in urology, oncology, neurosurgery and other areas collaborated to treat two separate tumors.

  • Schwannoma Tumor | Arrington’s Story

    After turning in bed, Arrington heard a snap and felt instant pain. MRI results showed a broken neck ⁠and a large spinal tumor. Arrington and his fiancée sought out spine neurosurgeon Timothy Witham at Johns Hopkins for care.

  • Degenerative Disk Disease | Jan’s Story

    At 78, Jan Greer wanted to stay active and athletic. Herniated disks, stenosis and other degenerative back problems were causing him unbearable pain. When the pain became too much to bear, he turned to Dr. Ali Bydon at Johns Hopkins.

  • Thoracic Disc Herniation | Pedro's Story

    Pedro was hardly able to move before he came to Johns Hopkins. His thoracic herniated disc had calcified, turning to bone, causing excruciating pain, weakness, numbness and even paralysis. Other doctors told Pedro he might never walk again. Here, the message was different.

    Pedro poses with his wife at a wedding
  • Complex Spine Reconstruction | Danica's Story

    After an accident, Danica was left with metal rods stabilizing her spine. A fall left those rods broken and floating dangerously close to her brain stem. Danica and her family traveled from Ohio to Johns Hopkins for complex reconstruction surgery.