Wendell Williams’s Story

Before the surgery, a simple thing such as putting on my pants or standing up from a chair was difficult. Now, I’m able to walk, I run. I even go kayaking.

Wendell WilliamsOne evening, while vacationing in Aruba with his family, Wendell Williams woke up to find that he couldn’t feel anything below his waist. Terrified, Wendell visited a local hospital. Here, staff supplied the father-of-three with painkillers and sent him on his way. Soon enough, Wendell realized this was only the beginning of a long bout of mysterious and severe back pain.

“After they sent me home from the hospital, there was a tremendous pain in my back area,” recalls Wendell. After returning home to New York, the pain continued. “For the next two or three months after, the pain just kept getting worse.” Wendell’s ability to walk was declining, and he had numbness throughout his legs and waist.

“I went from being able to walk to having my steps slow down, and eventually I began falling,” says Wendell. “It was tough because in my mind my legs were moving normally but in my body, my legs are slowing down.”

Finally, Wendell’s wife urged the 53-year-old Trinidad native to visit the specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine for help with his back pain. Wendell arrived at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine in a wheelchair, only able to take a few steps with a cane, and even that was difficult. A team of spine specialists prescribed numerous tests, including an MRI and EOS X-rays, to help find the root cause of Wendell’s pain. The tests showed that Wendell had damage to his spinal cord, and required spinal correction surgeries including a posterior spinal fusion, posterior column osteotomy, and posterior thoracic decompression.

Only a few weeks after receiving his results, Wendell underwent surgery with expert surgeon Dr. Zeeshan Sardar. Dr. Sardar specializes in spine surgery.

“Wendell had a very severe condition where he was rapidly losing control of his leg function and had become wheelchair-bound,” says Dr. Sardar. “We needed to operate very quickly on his upper and mid back to allow his spinal cord to heal.”

Wendell underwent the surgery on November 10, 2020, and immediately went to rehab following the operation. Now, Wendell is attending outpatient physical therapy and is walking well without the help of a cane. “Thanks to our surgical expertise, the team at Och Spine, and Wendell’s determination, we were able to help him make a quick and successful recovery,” says Sardar.

Wendell is grateful for all the care and treatment he received at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine.

“Before the surgery, a simple thing such as putting on my pants or standing up from a chair was difficult,” explains Wendell. “Now, I’m able to walk, I run. I even go kayaking.”

Wendell thanks his recovery to Dr. Sardar and the spine health team and staff who helped take care of him during his stay at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine.

“I got my life back,” says Wendell. “To anyone considering spine surgery, Och Spine is the place to go.”


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