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  • Successful Back Surgery Returned Him to Work and Family Life


Peglow, Bob

Bob Peglow

Emergency Services Manager, Husband and Father Who Loves Being Active

Vestaburg, Michigan

“Since my back surgery, I’ve recovered about 99 percent of my mobility. I’m able to work without pain, and my family and I are back to doing the things we enjoy.”

Successful Back Surgery Returned Him to Work and Family Life

A disaster drill in October of 2008 almost led to a personal disaster when Bob Peglow of Vestaburg tripped and fell off a curb, seriously injuring two discs in his back.

An injury like this might have caused 42-year-old Bob to leave the work he loves and change his active lifestyle. But Neurosurgeon Mark W. Jones, M.D., saw things differently. The neurosurgery he performed on Bob’s back enabled him to continue his job and the cherished activities he enjoys with his young family.

“I could be a poster child for positive outcomes for back surgery,” said Bob, who is the manager of Emergency and Outpatient Cardiac Services at MidMichigan Medical Center–Clare, where the disaster drill took place.

As the Emergency Department manager and a registered nurse, Bob regularly pitches in to help move patients and do other physically demanding tasks.

“A back injury, if it can’t be corrected, would mean that I could not do my job. In addition, my wife, Marcy, and I and our two boys love being outdoors. I hunt and fish. We go boating, waterskiing and tubing. My two sons are school athletes, and I enjoy working out with them in the gym.”

Bob remembers feeling a sharp, stabbing pinch in his back when he fell, but he was able to get up and keep going. After a few days of increasing problems, though, he spoke to Emergency Medicine Physician Roger Beaudoing, D.O., who sent him to the Medical Center’s imaging department for an X-ray of his lower back.

The X-ray looked normal, but the back of Bob’s left leg, and then his foot, became numb, and the numbness and pain increased over the following month. When an MRI ordered by Bob’s family physician showed two injured discs, he recommended consulting a specialist.

Bob decided to work with Dr. Jones a board-certified neurosurgeon affiliated with MidMichigan Medical Centers in Midland and Alma. “Overwhelmingly, people I called for advice said Dr. Jones was the physician they would go to for this type of problem,” Bob said.

Dr. Jones had a conservative approach to treatment that Bob appreciated. “He was very supportive when I said I didn’t want surgery. I felt once he understood that, he went the same route,” he said.

During their first appointment, Dr. Jones told Bob that one of his discs was more severely injured than the other, and they talked about other approaches besides surgery that might give him relief.

“He did a nice job walking me through all my choices,” Bob said. “He was very straightforward and very clear on options and possible outcomes, and he didn’t give me any false hopes. I appreciated his being honest upfront.”

While combinations of alternatives like rest and medication, physical therapy, and pain injections often provide relief from pain and a chance to heal, in Bob’s case, they didn’t. Surgery was the next step, but Bob still hoped he could get better without it.

“Dr. Jones was very understanding,” Bob said. “He told me to let him know when I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. I only lasted a few weeks.”

In May of 2009, during a two-hour surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland, Dr. Jones repaired one of the damaged discs and removed part of one of Bob’s vertebrae. He was discharged the next morning.

“Things went extremely well after that,” Bob said. “I was off work for three weeks and then had two or three months of specialized physical therapy, but since then I’ve recovered about 99 percent of my mobility.”

“Now, I’m able to work without pain, and my family and I are back to doing the things we enjoy. I’m especially glad to be coaching baseball and football after missing a year. In the summer of 2010, the boys and I even ran two 5K races.”

Bob says he is careful about not lifting heavy weights, and once in a while, if he’s been on his feet too long or does too much, he might have a little achiness; but other than that, he has no problems.

During his own ordeal, which lasted nearly a year including recovery and rehabilitation, Bob spent some time wondering whether he would be able to get his life back. The experience helped him better understand people who have injuries and made him even more sensitive to the patients he cares for at the Medical Center.

“Sometimes we tend to downplay what an injury can do to somebody’s life. This kind of situation can have a serious emotional impact,” he said. “The stress of wondering how you will make a living and support your family if you can’t function can really beat you up.

“I couldn’t work at full capacity and I couldn’t enjoy any personal activities until my back was fixed,” Bob said. “I’m just so grateful to Dr. Jones. He helped me restore my life.”

Advanced spine surgery is just one of many state-of-the-art options MidMichigan Health offers for treating back and neck pain. For more information, visit