Former nurse Maria Pikulski had already had to cope with a major life change after losing her eyesight and being registered blind.
Maria, 51, of Fox Lane, Leyland, lost her vision 10 years ago after being diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy and can only make out indistinct and blurred shapes.
At first Maria struggled to cope but through her determination she learned to live as full a life as possible.
When she suffered agonising back pains a couple of years ago which worsened, Maria was devastated.
Maria, who used to be a nurse and is now an eye clinic liaison officer, said: “The discs in my back were squashed and were pressing on my nerve and I had terrible pains in one leg. I had an operation and it was OK for a few months, but then the pain started again and it began affecting both legs and I was in such agonising pain, I could barely move.”
Maria, who previously served in the Army, is a keen mountain and fell walker but her back and leg pains left her hardly able to leave her house.
But now Maria is back to full strength after undergoing spinal repair surgery under the NHS by surgeon Manoj Khatri at Fulwood Hall Hospital in Preston.
She says the successful operation has given her her life back.
Maria said: “Before the operation, I could not walk at all. I used to be in tears because the pain was so bad.
“But now I can walk any distance I want and I regularly walk to Chorley and back from my house.
“I set myself a goal of doing a wing walk and I did it and found it so exhilarating. It feels so wonderful to be able to do everything I want again.
“I am so grateful to Mr Khatri for giving me my life back.”
Mr Manoj Khatri, consultant spinal surgeon at Fulwood Hall Hospital, said: “Maria had a trapped nerve in the spine and it was putting pressure on the nerve going to her leg causing her leg pain. Because she had wear and tear to the spine, she was also suffering from back pains.
“We put some titanium screws and robs in place to stabilise the spine and take the pressure off the nerve.
“We used a microscope to allow us to do the surgery with greater precision. It is great to see the difference in Maria and how much better she is.
“I was amazed when I saw the photographs of her doing the wing walk!”