By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – A long time voice and dialect coach is singing the praises of her spine surgeon. She spent months suffering until he solved her debilitating pain.

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Kathy Maes (R) (credit: CBS)

For nearly 30 years, Kathy Maes has been the Voice and Dialect Coach at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

But about two years ago, pain that started in her spine led to sciatica, excruciating pain in her right leg.

(credit: CBS)

“It was a burning, it was a throbbing, it was a radiating pain that simply would not go away if I were standing or walking,” Maes told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Kathy Maes. (credit: CBS)

According to Maes, neither physical therapy nor epidural steroid injections helped.

“I was at the point where I thought I may have to live like this the rest of my life,” she said.

Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of her spinal canal, had put pressure on Maes’ sciatic nerve.

(credit: CBS)

“That occurs as a result of arthritis in the spine,” explained spine surgeon Dr. Mike Finn.

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On May 5, 2017, Finn operated on Maes at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“What we did was, kind of, for all intents and purposes, ‘roto-rooter’ this area out and this area out,” Finn said while looking at Maes’ MRI. “Taking that pressure off in there, the nerves then have the opportunity to function normally.”

(credit: CBS)

Maes says she woke up from surgery pain free.

“I lost my quality of life and he (Finn) gave it back to me,” she said.

Now, Maes takes pride in her stride and counts her blessings with every step.

Kathy Maes hugs her surgeon. (credit: CBS)

Spinal stenosis is a common condition that comes with the aging process. It is most common in men and women over 50 years old.

Sometimes relief from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves can come through physical therapy or medication. Some people, like Maes, have success with surgery.

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Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.