Lori McKee walked, pain-free, back to her car, after her one-year check-up this past May. “I was just so thankful,” she says, “I had been in so much pain—bone on bone, my disc was pretty much gone. Dr. Borshneck gave me back my quality of life and for that I am grateful.”
A Program Manager for Christian Horizons and a part-time member of the faculty at Fleming College in Peterborough, Lori underwent L4/L5 spinal fusion surgery on May 22, 2018. She was met in the Operating Room by the man she calls a “miracle worker,” Dr. Dan Borschneck, an orthopedic surgeon at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and chair of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine at Queen’s University.
“I was over a year trying to get someone to take me as a patient,” she says, recalling the frustration of having to struggle with life-limiting pain with no treatment options in sight. Where other doctors had said ‘No’ she finally found one who said ‘Yes.’ “When Dr. B. got my MRI, he said ‘come see me.’ About three and a half months later I was in the Operating Room.”
“I was really nervous the morning of my surgery,” says Lori, “but my nurse really helped me relax. The surgery went extremely well. I had no complications and was walking the halls the next morning and was discharged that evening.”
Dr. Borschneck is a Kingston-based surgeon whose regional patient roster is growing. He says Lori McKee is not an outlier, “I get a huge number of patients from the Peterborough area because they don’t have a spinal surgeon.” For a time he operated a monthly outreach clinic in Peterborough, but space became a problem and he is currently working on a partnership with the Northumberland Hills Hospital.
Where Lori McKee is grateful for the surgical skill and expertise that restored her to pain-free living, Dr. Borschneck is grateful for the generosity of a previous patient who helped to make the minimally-invasive procedure he performed on Lori possible in the first place.
“The reason I was able to do that surgery was because of equipment—a high-definition camera and magnifying lenses—we were able to purchase thanks to a patient who made a gift to the Foundation to foster minimally-invasive surgery.”
In the past, says Dr. Borschneck, “an operation like Lori’s would have been done as an open surgery and by about six months, or so, my patients would be coming along.” Now, as a result of incisions that are “a tenth of the size of what they used to be” he must caution patients at the three-month mark to “slow down a bit, because they are recovering so much faster.”
Today, Lori McKee’s family and friends tell her she’s “glowing.” “They saw me suffering and they can see the difference. When you are in that much pain it really shows on your face.” A triathlete-in-training, Lori is steadily working back to her previous athletic routines. But what she appreciates most of all is that day-to-day activities no longer cause her excruciating pain, “Getting in and out of a car, rolling over in bed, sleeping, being able to stand up from a chair.”
“When I first met Dr. Borschneck I told him, ‘I just want to get back on my bike.’ And he said, ‘I’ll get you back on your bike in a couple of months.’”
With permanent rods and screws, Lori McKee is indeed back on her bike. On September 8, she and Dr. Dan Borschneck, and dozens of other cyclists, took to the roads on Wolfe Island in UHKF’s annual lifeCYCLE event. They rode to give back, and to pay it forward, raising more than $18,000 to make the future of healthcare that much better and brighter for others.