QC Grandfather’s Journey from “Zero to a Hero”


If age 60 is the new 40, then one Milan grandfather says he feels more like “30” following successful lumbar spine surgery. Barnard Walker, who weight-lifted, practiced martial arts and maintained his active profession as a contractor, suffered so much debilitating and excruciating low-back pain, that his 8-year-old grandson asked how he could help.

“My grandson, Quincy, lives with me full-time. My wife died a year ago, and we were raising him together. He is all boy. He’s got a 4-wheeler and dirt bike. I spoil him rotten, but I couldn’t even lift him.

“Quincy would never ask me to do something that might bring me pain. He’d ask, ‘Grandpa do you need help or can I help you?’

“The pain in my legs and lower back was so terrible, I had to lay on the floor. There were days I would come down the stairs, sit in my recliner, and just cry.”

Barnard enjoyed a physically demanding life, but realized as the years progressed, his strength weakened. “I was always on my feet and able to meet the physical demands of my work. But through the years, I was deteriorating. I had pain in my lower back, a hip replacement in 2014, and a second in 2022, and then my sciatica became intolerable.

Orthopedic surgeon
Dr. M. Hussain, ORA Orthopedics

“I couldn’t walk a block. I couldn’t lift a bag. I couldn’t ride a bike. I couldn’t drive very well. It was hard to go grocery shopping. I slept in a recliner.

A visit to ORA Orthopedics’ Spine Surgeon, Dr. Mohammed Hussain, changed Barnard’s life. “Dr. Hussain looked at my case. I told him I have a grandson to raise and I was helpless.  He said he had a solution.

“He’s a miracle-worker and a life-changer,” affirms Barnard.

“He had a challenging problem,” explains Dr. Hussain. “There were two issues going on: he had nerve compression and a deformity in his spine that shifted his body forward.

“I performed a procedure called an ‘Anterior Lumbar Fusion.’ We lay the patient on his back and operate from the front, where we are able to correct the spine and to decompress the nerves, and all while minimizing muscle damage to the spine.

“I inserted a spacer made of titanium in his lumbar vertebrae to create more room for the nerves in the back of his spine. We are able to do this without cutting away muscle, which improves recovery.

“Over time, the titanium graft fuses to the bone to provide more support and correct his spinal deformity. We achieved both goals: to improve his leg pain and allow him to stand up straighter.”

“Well, I’d say Doc Hussain straightened me out pretty well. I tell people I went from a ‘zero to hero,’ thanks to him!,” says Barnard.


“When I came out of surgery, I had no pain. By the end of the first week of rehab, I was able to walk almost a mile! By the end of third week, I was walking two miles. Now, I can walk 3-4 miles after about three months!”

Dr. Hussain says he is very pleased with his patient’s progress. “Barnard had a phenomenal result. He’s made a significant improvement compared to where he was before. Overall, everything about him is just great.”

While still under light restrictions, Barnard is back and now Quincy will have to keep up with him.

“I’m painting at home and doing yard work. I can raise my dogs and grandson. It feels so great to be back to normal activity. I feel like I’m 30 with the new hips and less pain.”

Barnard also has plans. “Oh yes, we’re going to camp, hunt, fish, and ride our dirt bikes. We’ll do it all. Life is fun again.

“Dr. Hussain is a beast. I have told him, ‘You are the Man!’”

Dr. Hussain says those who are suffering from leg and back pain should seek a consultation. “Back pain is common, but it’s time to see a physician when it’s hard to use your legs, or if you suffer from continual arm and neck pain or have trouble sleeping. There are many therapies and procedures that can help restore your quality of life.”