Degenerative Disc Disease

Bill at the bowling alley

For Bill Lease, bowling is more than a casual pastime. It’s his passion. It’s his three-day-a-week activity with longtime friends and fellow league members. It’s how he met his wife Mindy. In fact, he asked Mindy to marry him at Clearview Lanes in Mount Joy back in 1999. They were married on lane 11 on October 4, 2004.

So when back pain started to keep Bill from bowling, it was much more than an inconvenience. His life was impacted in major ways.

“I couldn’t get through one aisle at the grocery store without stopping to rest because of the pain,” recalls the 71-year-old Bainbridge man.

Expert Spine Care

Bill decided to seek care at Lancaster General Health Physicians NeuroScience and Spine Associates. He had been impressed when he was treated at the practice in the past, and Mindy recently underwent back surgery with Dr. Christopher Kager—the same surgery Dr. Kager would ultimately recommend for Bill.

“Our care was fantastic,” echoes the couple. “Dr. Kager is very thorough and he tells it like it is.”

And tell it like it is he did, after looking at Bill’s imaging results.

“He said my back was a total wreck,” laughs Bill.

Diagnosis: Degenerative Disc Disease

Dr. Kager told the couple that Bill’s degenerative disc disease—an age-related condition in which discs between vertebrae in the spinal column break down, leading to pain—had progressed to the point of requiring surgery.

Bill agreed, eager to return to his active life. He was especially looking forward to two fall tournaments—bowling and golf—and wanted to be back in shape.

“I knew I had to be bowling again come August to get ready,” says Bill.

Surgery and Rehab

Bill underwent a four-hour surgery on Friday, January 25, 2019. Dr. Kager placed 12 screws and two rods in his lower back. By Saturday, Bill was up and walking, and returned home on Monday.

He began physical therapy and within three weeks was starting to feel like himself again.

“I had a little stiffness and tightness, but the pain was gone,” he smiles.

Back to Bowling

Bill was more than ready to return to his favorite sport. He took lessons to learn the best ways to adapt to a new bowling technique and put less strain on his back.

Now he’s back at the bowling alley three nights a week, happy to be coming close to his previous scores.

Gratitude and a Sense of Humor

Bill and Mindy are both grateful to Dr. Kager and the “great, friendly, helpful staff” at NeuroScience and Spine Associates.

With Mindy at his side, Bill exudes positivity as he shares his approach to life: “I try to make someone smile or laugh every day—either with me or at me.”

Thanks to the care he received, Bill looks forward to plenty of laughs—and hopefully many strikes ahead.

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