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Nashville Man Hopeful For Recovery After Rare Surgery At Mayo Clinic

Jay Schubert dreaded the day he would be confined to a wheelchair. At the rate the 44 year old Nashville man was losing his mobility, that was where he was headed. For the past four years he has needed two canes to walk – in pain, at that.

Now, following back surgery Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Schubert is hopeful. “The primary objective is to relieve pressure on the spine and stop deterioration of nerve function,” he said. “If I have less pain and can walk without canes, that will just be a bonus.”

The Guillain Barre Syndrome Schubert contracted in 1999 likely caused the trauma resulting in the blockage of spinal fluid. The neurological disease, which a person typically recovers from, attacked his nerves and caused adhesions.

Schubert searched for answers. Physician Assistant Amy Stevens, of Nashville, referred him to Barnes-Jewish Hospitals. Neurologists there told him back surgery was too risky. The chance of paralysis was too great, they said.

Schubert’s next search for answers was at the Mayo Clinic. At Schubert’s evaluation in October 2019, Dr. Michelle Clarke said she would perform the surgery to remove the adhesions that blocked spinal fluid to a large part of his spinal column. The damage was so extensive that his spine had formed a syrinx.

COVID delayed Schubert’s surgery. He returned to Mayo last week, with his father, John, expecting it to be evaluation and testing. He had hoped to have the surgery after the late March graduation of his son, J.D. from Army Basic Training.

The surgeon said his surgery could and should be scheduled for three days later. “Have the surgery now, and you will be able to go your son’s graduation and also enjoy it,” she told the patient.

Read his full story in this week’s issue. 

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