A Decade of Misery: Surgery for Diana

When we first met Diana, she had been fighting chronic back pain for over a decade. Throughout that time, she explored numerous treatments options, none of which worked. It was only in 2007 when she finally resorted to back surgery. Although this temporarily helped, her pain returned with a vengeance not long after.

Eventually, she again became fed up with the pain and decided to take action. This time, she sought treatment from a chiropractor instead of opting for another surgery. But spinal manipulation only made her situation worse. Not only was the treatment ineffective, but the persistent and painful side effects also resulted in Diana’s inability to work a steady job.

To help ease her pain, she tried epidural steroid injections one after another, but these treatments did not address the root of her problem. Her back became more painful with each day, which made her ability to function normally increasingly difficult.

Over the summer, the pain reached a new height of severity. She was constantly being woken up at night from the pain, and new symptoms of leg cramps, muscle spasms, and weakness developed. Diana’s quality of life was decreasing rapidly and she felt that she had lost control over her own life.

One morning, Diana woke up and was alarmed when she could not get out of bed—she was unable stand up. Her legs were so weak that they could no longer support any weight. She called 911 and had to be carried down her stairs and out of her doors. She was brought to the Emergency Room at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica where various avenues of treatment were attempted. Yet, after epidurals, steroids, nerve medications, physical therapy, and exhausting all other conservative options, her condition had still not improved. It became clear that she needed another surgery.

Without having the ability to work for the past few years, however, Diana did not have any health insurance and could not afford to undergo surgery. Fortunately, Diana then met Dr. Vokshoor, who was the attending neurosurgeon on her case.

“Dr. Vokshoor has been an incredible support system. He has checked on me often to see how my progress has been.”


After seeing Diana suffer for almost three weeks in the hospital due to incapacitating pain that was resistant to all forms for conservative care, Dr. Vokshoor offered to help her. He felt compelled to help Diana as she had no other options. That was when INI stepped up to the plate.

Without hesitation, Diana accepted with immense gratitude.

“I just want to say thank you. And I’m ready – I’m ready to be out of pain.”


After recruiting an anesthesiologist and x-ray technician, and securing an operating room at Saint John’s Health Center, INI was ready to move forward with Diana’s surgery.

On a Monday evening, a successful operation was performed by Dr. Vokshoor with no complications. This surgery freed up some much needed space for her spinal cord and nerve roots in her lower back.

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Three weeks after surgery, Dr. Vokshoor and Johny follow-up with Diana at clinic

“Dr. Vokshoor has performed what I would consider a miracle.”


INI has been closely following up with Diana since the surgery. During her last visit, she was able to walk around freely with little to no pain. Along with her pain subsiding, her other symptoms have been completely alleviated.

“After being in chronic pain for two whole years, I literally feel like a completely different person… I have a new look on life.”


INI will continue to follow up with Diana over the course of her recovery. She plans to return to work soon and we wish her the best of luck.

“Thank you to the INI foundation, anybody who has donated, and anyone who is passionate about this foundation. I want to say thank you so much. It is life changing. Thank you so much.”