Doc's Stenosis

Doc's Stenosis

Many have been asking what the team and Dr. Rao did for 10 hours and here is some general information: (in most cases these are not done within the same surgery)

Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)—the procedure is done from the back and includes removing the disc between two vertebrae and inserting bone into the space created between the two vertebral bodies

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)—the procedure is done from the front and includes removing the disc between two vertebrae and inserting bone into the space created between the two vertebral bodies


Doc continues to improve walking in the sandy beaches of Boca Grande with walking poles. It's tough but good therapy for him as he continues to get stronger and work on his balance. Lots of swimming as well and he hit three straight shots on the tennis court one morning!


The Vlaars had a wonderful visit to Elkhart Lake. They spent time with their cousins and Grandpa Doc and Nanny.

Doc is walking more - inside the house it's either cane, or, sometimes "freestyle". The Therapy is going well. Love our occasional swims down at Teddy and Monica's house. Had a boat ride last Saturday on Elkhart. Playing golf tomorrow - or at least riding along with a group. They enter this event at Quit Qui Oc Golf Club every year. Maybe a putt or two? Who knows?


Doc's is doing great and working hard on his rehab. Lots of balance and strength exercises with Nancy's help. Here they are at Teddy and Monica's house working out in the pool. The weather has been perfect for this!

Mia's kids and Hans are here visiting from Vail Colorado this week. Mia is back preparing for her big event the Vail Jazz Festival Labor Day weekend in Vail! The kids love to visit with Grandpa Doc and Nanny and LOVE Elkhart Lake! Swimming, sailing, horseback riding and the beach.


Today was Doc's first check up back at Froedtert and he got a good report card. The x-rays look good and the healing process is progressing as it was intended by Dr. Rao and his team.

His "spacer -implementation" in his neck is helping the nerves to get healthy again and fluid to pass through. He said it all looked very straight which of course is good. He is cleared to swim and will continue with the braces for 7 more weeks.

Three days a week with therapy and Nancy adding more at home. He is slowly adding the cane back in around the house instead of the walker. So he is to keep up what he is doing and see Dr. Rao again in September. We are so blessed to have had this result! Thanks to all our friends and family support.


Wow, what a homecoming in Elkhart Lake! Beautiful weather and all the fun of the 4th to keep everyone busy. Doc and Nance got a ride to the Fireworks and Parade in Andy's Pedi-Cab and it worked out just great. Perfect for watching and enjoying. 


Therapy started TUE and continues three days a week. Everything is improving without the pain from before the surgery. Strength is the focus for the work to be done but Doc already is moving better up and down the stairs.

Your cards and well wishes make this much easier for all and we thank you!


Great news, Doc got his staples out and has been cleared to go home on Wednesday!

He will be heading back up to Elkhart and continuing therapy with Nancy and in Plymouth. The progress he has made is amazing and we all look forward to his continued improvements.

The level of care he received from everyone at Froedtert is exceptional and we cannot thank them enough.

A day has not gone by that we haven't been thankful to all for your thoughts and prayers and we continue to keep all of you in ours.

We have a surgical report - wow- Doc's spine was quite "compromised". The spinal fluid had no path so the repair work was overwhelming, careful, and precise.

Rehab goes well. Dr. Rao says this is a two year process for recovery. He will come home with the walker with a goal of retiring it. Also various braces for the next six weeks.

Home on Friday in time for the fireworks and Sunday's parade at Carole Carters shop. Kudos and thanks to all our supporters out there- you've been grand!

Doc's therapy is going along well and he is working on stairs. Mom is by his side and keeping a close watch so she can take over when they come home. He is also back to his puzzlers in the newspaper and reading books.

They are talking about the 4th of July as his release date and should know for sure Monday. He is enjoying all the emails, visits, and cards and is so thankful to all for caring so much.

God Bless America and the Doctors and Staff at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Today Doc was feeling great and getting back to everyday life. Tom Damm came by and played balloon ball with him in therapy and took some calls from childhood friends. Dick Mullaney said "Mike and he sounded good--almost better than ever". 

He has some great nurses, Robert, Clark, Suzanne and others who are helping him get through his day. He has a torso brace and a neck brace to help support him.

He has lots of pictures in his room to keep him company and visitors are popping in to say hello. He and we are so thankful to all of you.

Doc is settling in to his new room in rehab and sleeping much better. He is able to wear his regular clothes and has had a couple of visitors. Yesterday his nurses from the Hospital 5NW came to say goodbye, as they are 7 days on and 7 days off. Of course they enjoyed him and will miss him and we cannot thank Jolene, Tracy, Mercy, and Noel enough for the care they gave him.

We have been able to get outside for some fresh air thanks to the beautiful weather.

He is in therapy 3 times a day now and working on strengthening and getting around. The prayers from you all have been a big part of his success so far and we thank you every day!


New day new room. Doc is now at Froedtert 5NE rehabilitation room 5. He has therapy scheduled twice a day now, they will up it to three times during the week. Church tomorrow morning and then hope to get outside for some fresh air!

The Doctor is very pleased with his progress as all of us are. It will build over time as it can take up to two years for the regeneration of the bone grafts. Nancy is getting to use her PT again and helping to stretch in-between sessions.

He gets to read your emails everyday and enjoys all the thoughtful words. Keep them coming! THANK YOU!

6/20/08 Doc will graduate to the rehab wing today due to his great progress. In rehab he will be working 3 hours a day in therapy for the next week.

He will miss his nurses Tracy, Jolene, Mercy and Noel who have done such an incredible job! Especially Trixie, who was a patient of his, who has been wonderful!

He had some visitors yesterday, including grandchild Madeleine and slept and ate which both he desperately needed.

He has been enjoying all of your emails and we hope he will be up to responding himself soon. Looking forward to the summer solstice and hoping for all to enjoy a long beautiful  and sunny day!


Today Doc will be up and about with the OT and PT therapists. He is doing better physically and wanting to get back to the comforts of home.

He has started to eat -oatmeal, ice cream and popsicles and is continuing positive progress.

He is more than likely there till Monday and then perhaps onto a rehab facility.

Nance will head back to the lake for the evening and catch up on emails. Aloof your kindness and thoughtfulness is so very much appreciated. He loves hearing from everyone and is anxious to see people. We'll report when they say he is able to see visitors.

And again we cannot stress how grateful we are to the staff and Doc's who are caring for him!


Doc is up and in a chair (with neck and torso braces) and doing very well considering. We are so very happy and the care he is receiving is awesome! He listened to the ball game last night and is wanting to read the paper.

There was a lot of pressure built up that Dr. Rao did a job on. His goal is to be golfing by August!

Nance is hanging in there and staying in Milwaukee. His room gives a nice view of the sunset and he asked about the full moon last night. We cannot thank you all enough for all your prayers and support.



Doc was out of surgery after 8 hours. He is in room 5NW rm 23 at Froedtert and already joking with the nurses. Dr. Rao thinks the surgery was successful and we thank him, his team, and you all for your thoughts and prayers. He is scheduled to be moving around tomorrow.


All continues to go well and they have checked in twice with regular progress reports. They hope to be done in the next two hours.


This morning went smoothly and Doc was very well attended to by the surgical team. Dr. Brethauer and Dr. Lauer (anesthesiologists) among many others. They got him all prepped and ready to go by 7:30am. Dr. Lauer happens to be a good friend of one of the 13 Malloy children, their father is a good friend and colleague of Dad's.


Dr. Rao came out and spoke to us and the surgery started at about 8:45. He hopes to keep it between 6-10 hours. They will try to update us every few hours.


Great Father's  Day - kids and grandkids were here except for the Vlaars who enjoyed a beautiful Colorado day on the river.  We attended our church picnic and a trip to Siebkens for ice-cream in Andy's Phat Cab carriage.  Got the Sailboat rigged and launched - super summer dinner enjoyed by all.  We're set for tomorrow, please check back for updates!


The surgery has been scheduled again: Tuesday June 17. The filter is in place. We'll see the anesthesiologist next week. Mia is here this weekend for a visit.


What is so rare as [the first day] in June? Steve and Mary Jo Knauf provided a boat ride on the lake, many friends and family visited. Julie and Rory made a peach pie. Wow to all! Today Suzy the barber stops in and then at 1:30pm at CSM Ozaukee the umbrella filter will be inserted into Doc's vein to filter clots and prepare for surgery.


Monday June 2nd, Doc will have the temporary umbrella filter put in so as to get the surgery back on a 'faster track'. That will be out-patient @ St. Mary's OZ @ 1:30.


Doc is resting back in Elkhart. He will be working on battling the blood clots for the next four weeks. In two weeks we'll check in with the Docs about rescheduling the surgery. Please use the form to the right to send him your well wishes.


Today Doc was admitted to Columbia St. Mary's Ozaukee with blood clots behind his knees found during his pre-op exams. He is in overnight and will be released in the morning. This will push the surgery back a bit in order for healing. He is in good spirits and will be getting back to physical therapy as well. Please check back for updated info!


Dad is scheduled for surgery @ Froedtert Memorial Hospital, the hospital of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The doctor does nothing but spinal surgery, is well trained , very personable, and of glowing reputation.

Dr. Rao 

He will be in the hospital for about a week, then discharged  either to a rehab unit, or to "home".

It will be an eleven hour surgery, approaching anteriorly the cervical spine and posteriorly for the lumbar area. He hopes to release the cord [arthritis, pressure, discs etc] and at least arrest the downward progression.