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Groom undergoes back surgery so he can stand to say ‘I do’

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 5:14 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - In just over a week, a Brown County man will stand at the altar to say “I do.” A few months ago, the otherwise healthy groom-to-be didn’t think even standing for more than a few minutes was a possibility.

He’s now encouraging others with severe and sudden back pain to get it checked out right away.

“Very excited, all set, ready to go. Everything’s all planned, and so far, no bumps along the way,” says Dan Boushka.

But five months ago, Boushka faced a huge bump in the road, unsure if he’d be able to physically stand long enough to say his vows to his bride-to-be, Debbie.

“It was affecting my sleep, driving, day-to-day activities,” he describes.

Boushka’s back pain was so severe, he couldn’t even walk to his mailbox without stopping.

The Department of Corrections employee, who’s used to being on his feet, had never had back issues, but the last few years back pain hit him hard and fast, growing progressively worse by the month.

“It’s almost like you have two steel rods going straight down the middle of your legs, all the way down, complete numbness of the feet,” says Boushka. “It’s been nothing but continuous pain. I’ve tried all different types of procedures. I’ve done chiropractic care. I’ve done physical therapy. I’ve tried different types of medications, creams, everything else and never got any relief.”

He finally went to see the BayCare Clinic Neurological Surgeons in Green Bay, who gave him two options: Cortisone shots, not guaranteed to work, or surgery.

“There was L4 and L5, and what had happened was one of them had dropped down and it was pinching the nerve,” he says.

Boushka hates needles and knew surgery was his only option.

In early December, BayCare Clinic neurological surgeon Dr. Richard Harrison performed a lumbar fusion on Boushka.

“There’s a couple of screws that are holding everything in place, so the bones are actually where they’re supposed to be, and therefore, the nerve was able to settle down and relax,” he says, explaining the work doctors did to get him pain-free.

It’s not a new medical procedure, but revolutionary to people like Boushka, unable to function normally with lower back pain.

“If somebody is out there and they’re having that type of pain where they can’t walk around anymore, (they’ve) got the numbness going down the legs, you need to go in and get it checked out,” recommends Boushka.

BayCare Clinic says patients have shorter hospital stays and are back to active lives much faster now compared to years ago.

Boushka was up, walking pain-free, hours after surgery, quickly setting his sights on his wedding night first dance.

“There are times where we would dance at night in the house, and halfway through the song, I was in so much pain, I had all I could do just to finish that dance. Now, I’m ready!” he says, smiling.

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