Jack Waterlander


Over the last 10 years, I have had many problems with my back, all stemming back from a freak accident moving a heavy fridge that I believe started all the pain. Before meeting Dr. Bradley Heiges and Dr. Krishna Gumidyala, I had had three surgeries on my back to try and fix the issues and had been on a lot of pain medicine to try and ease the pain. After my surgeries, I developed drop leg which was yet another problem that I was dealing with and was also having a really hard time standing up straight. Nothing had seemed to work until my last surgery performed by Dr. Gumidyala and Dr. Heiges in August of this past year.

My first experience with Optim was with Dr. Heiges. He knew about my history with surgeries and was hoping to be able to loosen some of the tension with stimulation and other methods rather than going straight to surgery. When the stimulation on my back didn’t do the trick, Dr. Heiges recommended that I go for yet another surgery. I was resistant since I hadn’t had much success with the last three surgeries. I asked Dr. Heiges to recommend another Spine specialist within Optim for a second opinion to be sure that surgery was indeed my only answer. He recommended I meet with Dr. Gumidyala.

Dr. Gumidyala had the same surgery recommendations as Dr. Heiges. He explained to me that in my previous surgeries the natural sway from my lower back had actually been removed, which was why I wasn’t able to stand up straight. To add to that, I didn’t heal all the way from a previous spine fusion (called Pseudarthrosis) which also needed to be addressed. I appreciated that he took the time to be thorough with his explanation. It made me feel comfortable with the idea of another operation. And so it was decided I was on my way to my fourth surgery.

August 16, 2012, I went in for the operation. It turned out that Dr. Gumidyala and Dr. Heiges actually had to spend about 10 hours on my back. They set fixation points in my pelvis to allow the Pseudarthrosis to heal and operated on my spine to give me more sway in my back to allow me to stand straight again. I was completely out of it for about 5 days after, and don’t really remember much, but I do recall being in a lot of pain. I had to wear a brace that kind of looked like a cage for about 6 weeks and had to start therapy very soon after. It was about 6-7 weeks of therapy when I transitioned from my wheelchair to my walker. Shortly after that I was able to transition to my cane. I am here today for my 6 month check up and am hoping that Dr. Gumidyala gives me the green light to get rid of my cane. I feel about 98% healed and it’s only been 6 months since he operated. One of the best things about it, is that I do not take anymore pain medication. I feel light and clear and don’t have to depend on medication to get me through the day.