Polymyositis Disease Survivor Agnes Ringstaff

Mercy Stories: Polymyositis Disease

Jan 5 2017

Receive neurology treatment close to home; learn how Mercy Health helped one patient heal from spinal stenosis.

Like many people, Agnes Ringstaff had a job that required her to lift heavy objects, squat and be on her feet all day. While she loved her job as a nurse aide, she didn’t like the pain it caused her back.

Agnes developed polymyositis disease, an uncommon inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness affecting both sides of the body.

“My muscles were always sore because of the polymyositis disease but things went south one day when I was planting tomatoes,” says Agnes Ringstaff. “I got down and I couldn’t get back up. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain level was a 20. That is when my neurologist, Dr. William Hogancamp referred me to Mercy Neurosurgeon, Dr. Johnathan Couch.”

Dr. Couch said Agnes had spinal stenosis and needed surgery.

“Ms. Ringstaff was in severe pain when she came into my office,” says Dr. Johnathan Couch, Mercy neurosurgeon at Lourdes Hospital. “She could barely walk. It was even a struggle for her to just get out of bed. The surgery was a success and I am so happy she is back in the game again.”

After rehab and physical therapy, Agnes’ back is continuing to heal. She’s thankful she didn’t have to leave the area for her neurology treatment. Fortunately, she was able to receive it in Paducah, KY.

“I feel like a different person,” adds Agnes. “I can stand up and walk instead of stooping over. I tell everyone about Dr. Couch and what a wonderful neurosurgeon he is. I told him that God has given him a talent to heal people.”

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