In 2009, Debbie Ramcharan, 34, was working as an airline baggage handler when she began experiencing lower back pain. She attributed her pain to lifting heavy luggage. The pain intensified, however, and toward the end of the year it became so severe that Debbie sought treatment at the emergency room.

An MRI of Debbie’s lower back revealed the cause of her pain — a large, destructive metastatic lesion involving the L1 vertebra. Debbie was scheduled for back surgery. Just days before her surgery, though, she fell, losing all function in her legs (paraplegia).

Multiple surgeries for multiple problems

Mount Sinai’s Arthur Jenkins, MD, performed a minimally invasive procedure on Debbie’s spine — an L1 bilateral two-stage decompression and cementvertebroplasty. Chemotherapy and radiation followed. After weeks of rehabilitation, Debbie regained nearly all of her neurological function and was walking again.

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