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Just weeks before Skip Simonton's 81st birthday last year, she reached the five year mark of being cancer free of lung cancer. But, on her birthday – June 16, 2011 – things changed dramatically for the long-time Shreveport resident when a vehicle rear-ended her car. "I was stopped, waiting to turn left on Line Avenue, when a Lincoln Navigator ran into the back of my car; knocking me across two lanes of traffic."

The accident aggravated an existing medical condition involving her wrist and hand, and caused a host of new problems involving her neck. "An internist sent me to Dr. Cavanaugh," a neurosurgeon at the Spine Institute of Louisiana. "I had numbness and pain in my hand, pain in my neck, and pain radiating from my neck to my arm. I couldn't lift my arms up to put my clothes on."

She says Dr. Cavanaugh ordered a series of diagnostic tests, which included a nerve study, MRI and CT scan. The eventual outcome: endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery on her wrist and a cervical spine surgery to remove a cyst that was pressing on nerves in her neck. "It relieved the pressure and stopped the pain."

Throughout the entire process of diagnostic testing, pain medication, physical therapy and two surgeries; Simonton has trusted the integrity, knowledge and experience of her surgeon, Dr. Cavanaugh. "He's one of the best surgeons around here. It gives you a secure feeling. And, he is so nice; a happy person, which makes you feel good."

Since the surgeries, this mother of five and grandmother of nine has resumed her busy life – active in her community of friends and family. "There is no pain now. I haven't had any pain since the surgeries. And, I have not had any pain medication since 4-5 days after surgery." She credits Dr. Cavanaugh with the good results. "I've done well. I had confidence that he was going to fix it."

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