Lacy's Story

Lacy in a dark jacket using a walker to stand in a hospital hallway.

Lacy Wright is a 52-year-old office bookkeeper, born and raised in Slidell, Louisiana where she lives with her mother, Kathy. In her free time, she enjoys attending local festivals and spending time with friends.  Lacy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Following surgery to have a tumor removed, she was relatively healthy until she began experiencing back pain.

As days passed, the pain progressively worsened and caused lower extremity weakness, numbness and loss of balance. Her ability to walk quickly declined. She went from using a cane for assistance to a walker, and eventually into wheelchair. Because of this rapid decline, Lacy headed to the emergency department at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.  Neurology was consulted, and an MRI revealed a mass surrounding Lacy’s upper spine, along with a fracture to the spinal canal caused by the mass. The following day, Lacy underwent spinal surgery to place corrective pins and rods in her spine.

A few days later, Lacy had recovered enough to transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. The team at Ochsner Medical Center presented her with several options, but she said, “I chose Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital because I heard good things about it from friends and family in the medical field.”

Prior to surgery, Lacy did not require assistance with getting around or self-care activities. After surgery however, she suffered from reduced mobility in both feet and legs, and needed assistance to complete most daily living activities. She states, “When I first came to Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, I couldn’t move my left toes or knee, and my right leg gave out during my first therapy session.” Hoping to regain confidence and progress back to her prior level of function, Lacy set a long-term goal of regaining her independence by Christmas, knowing that she will continue to improve steadily as she gets stronger and the inflammation subsides.

In physical therapy sessions, Lacy participated in strength building activities such as the arm bike, stair stepper and resistance band exercises. She also practiced walking on various surfaces and increasing walking distance.

In her occupational therapy sessions, Lacy practiced transferring from one surface to another, performed hand/grip strengthening exercises and worked on getting dressed and showering with greater independence.

When asked about her progression at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, Lacy stated, “I’m able to get in and out of bed, and my walking has progressed from 25 feet to over 400 feet. I’ve progressed tremendously with self-care activities using the tools provided.”

As she neared the end of her stay, Lacy recalls reaching a major milestone. “Even though I made progress continually while I was there, in the beginning I felt like my leg was freezing up. But recently, I walked from the gym to my room without that happening at all.” Lacy’s family was encouraging and supportive throughout her recovery. While she was able to talk on the phone and text with her mother, father, brother and sister daily, she feels she has benefitted most from their in-person visits.

After 15 days, Lacy returned home to her mom, excited to enjoy a home cooked meal. She will continue with home health therapy services.  Although her doctor anticipates that it may take up to a year for full recovery, Lacy is optimistic about the future.

During her recovery process, Lacy learned a lot about herself.  “I’m thankful that my therapists pushed me, it gave me the confidence to go home and continue to do the exercises on my own. I’ve learned that I’m a little bit stronger than I realized, and I’m so thankful that I made the choice to come here.”