Patient Stories | Lisa LeMay

At what felt like the end of a very long road of trying to find a solution for a painful condition in her neck, Aspen resident Lisa LeMay saw an ad in the newspaper for the Brain Surgery and Comprehensive Spine Center at Valley View Hospital, and met Dr. Wade Ceola.

“Dr. Ceola was the first doctor to come in the room with still images from my MRI, hand them to me and show me exactly what the problem was, and that gave me so much confidence,” Lisa says. “He knew where the problem was, and the steps we’d need to take in order to repair it, and he went through my file and made sure we had exhausted every single option for treatment with surgery being the final option — that was so refreshing to hear a surgeon say.”

Lisa had a blown disk in her neck, as well as a bone spur in that area that was causing bone deterioration. There were times that if she had sat too long in one position her spine would seem to get “stuck,” and she had to pull her head back into place. Lisa had been to various doctors, including neurologists and orthopedists, received injections for pain, and felt nothing was helping before she was diagnosed by Dr. Ceola. Ultimately, the final treatment she needed was when Dr. Ceola surgically replaced the blown disk, removed the bone spur and fused her spine in that spot, leaving a tiny scar. From there, Lisa says her recovery process felt quick.

“Dr. Ceola highly recommends that you get out and get walking, instead of encouraging you to sit around — he wants you not to stop but to start life again,” Lisa says. “I was back to full activity — within reason — in two months. After that long of living in pain, I was shocked that my recovery time was so fast.”

Lisa is now back to an active lifestyle managing six retail shops in Aspen and Snowmass, traveling during the off-seasons, and is looking forward to a summer full of hiking, biking and trail running like she used to before the wear and tear on her spine caught up with her. It’s nice to know that the care she needed was right here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and didn’t require a trip farther afield for treatment.

“You shouldn’t look at our valley as a place where there are just small, ‘mom and pop’-style doctors — Valley View has doctors that were recruited from all over the nation to practice here, because Valley View is committed to bringing this valley the best they can,” she says. “The whole hospital is clean, fresh and super functional, down to the little detail of the people in valet parking who are so sweet and absolutely refuse to take tips. Everyone there was so cheerful and pleasant to work with.”

For Lisa, Valley View did end up being the end of the road when it came to neck pain, and the beginning of a path back to healthy, enjoyable living.