Making a difference, here at home

4 Nov

When I think of what great is made of, I think of the team at Iowa Spine and Brain Institute. My journey with this incredible group of talented individuals began in October 2005 when I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, a disorder of the brain where the cerebellum is herniated through the foramen magnum and into the spinal canal.

Being a young mother faced with a fairly rare and often misdiagnosed brain condition, I looked to this team for education and answers. For the last four years, the medical staff has matched me every step of the way – providing counsel and support on my quest for relief of symptoms that left me struggling on some of my worst days. I’ve been a part of the ISBI family since the early days, getting to the know the medical staff during routine visits and monitoring of my brain condition.

It wasn’t until after the recent birth of my third child in March 2009 that my Chiari Malformation condition worsened to a point that I became a true neurosurgery candidate. This is where Dr. Tim Ryken entered my life.

He took on my case history and digested it until he understood every challenge I had been facing through the years. He met with my family, answered our questions, and made the preparations for my Chiari Malformation Decompression surgery on July 28, 2009. It needs to be noted that the team of professionals working with him in the clinic are best-in-class, assisting him in making sure this process was seamless for me.

There are so many people across our world struggling with Chiari Malformation. And, so many of these people have no voice and no hope in sight for relief. I am truly fortunate to have a team that understands my challenges and struggles and puts my best interests top-of-mind. Because my partnership with Dr. Ryken has been so incredibly rewarding, I have made it my mission to share my Chiari story with others.

Never once since those days in July have I questioned my decision to have neurosurgery, nor to have this life-changing procedure done right here at home, in the Cedar Valley.

From the bottom of my heart, I extend sincere gratitude to Dr. Timothy Ryken and his team at Iowa Spine and Brain Institute for making a difference in my life, and in the lives of others. I am forever your advocate.

Thank you Knudson and Team

26 Oct

After I crushed my knee joint in a horse riding accident, I was pretty sure I was never going to walk again. Being fiercely independent and physically active, it was a life changing event being told I would be non-weight bearing for 4-6 months, would spend 6-12 or more months recovering, and my knee would never be the same.

Dr. Knudson and PA Paula and RN Sandy, as well as anesthesiologist Dr. Lane, were wonderful with my many questions and concerns over 18 months of recovery. I had frustrations along the way, but each of them rose to the challenge.

Getting to know these people has inspired me to take on new challenges and make positive changes in my life.

I will always be thankful to Dr. Knudson and staff. I recommend him and his team to all of those with orthopedic needs. I know I will be back for future knee issues, an eventual knee replacement, and any other ortho needs that arise.

Dr. Knudson, once again, thank you for putting my knee back together!

The Best Nurses

5 Oct

I just wanted to give a special thank you for all the wonderful care I received from Melinda at Mercy Hospital in Oelwein. She made me feel comfortable and took the time to help me. Your nurses are the best. The care I received both times was outstanding. Going the extra mile is exactly what Melinda did, and I can tell she cares about her patients. Thanks for your kindness and wonderful spirit. It sure helps when you don’t feel well.

I Received Great Care

5 Oct

Last week I was a patient at the hospital and I received great care! The nurses, from the time that I entered the emergency room until I was wheeled to my car, were the most caring and concerned that I think that I have ever encountered.

I had to have surgery and the nurses on the fifth floor in particular, Betty were angels. They showed great concern for the amount of pain that I was in and worked very hard to keep me comfortable and happy.

I also felt very fortunate that when I went into the emergency room it was about 10 minutes from a shift change and instead of letting me sit in pain until the new staff came on Brandy immediately helped me get comfortable and got pain meds on board to help relieve the pain that I was in.

I can’t say enough of how impressed that I was with the care that I received and have told many people just that!

Thank you,


Treated Mom Great

5 Oct

My Mom took a pretty bad fall a week ago and had some relatively serious complications that involved surgery. She is in the intensive care unit at Covenant Medical Center and I just wanted you to know that all the nurses, doctors and support staff at Wheaton have been wonderful. Mom is receiving exceptional care. Our family is very grateful for the excellent care and treatment we have all experienced from the staff at Wheaton. Please pass our sincere gratitude on to everyone.

Thanks again,


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