Published by Fox 5 San Diego

Army Veteran Chad Cavanaugh is thrilled to be standing tall and pain-free.

A year ago, the 44-year-old married father of three’s life was much different. His 6-feet, 5-inches tall frame was stuck in a wheelchair and he blamed inefficiency at the San Diego VA hospital in La Jolla for his condition.

“I’m done being strung along. I’m done being told to go to another appointment, another consultation. Here take some pills. Here’s a crisp high five. See ya next time. I’m done with it,” Cavanaugh told FOX 5 a year ago. “I’m no longer a husband to my wife, no longer a father to my daughters and I am pissed.”

Cavanaugh’s interview with FOX 5 last year got the attention of the VA regarding patient care protocol.

“I got the help that I needed. I was fortunate to meet you. I was fortunate that you came in and took on my story and it got the ball rolling,” he said.

Dr. Sina Pourtaheri is the VA’s Director of Orthopedic Spine surgery. He said he’s grateful he restored Cavanaugh’s quality of life.

“I didn’t realize how tall and big Chad is,” said Pourtaheri. “When he came in and saw me right after the surgery, all of a sudden he’s standing up there like an incredible hulk.”

When Chad sees his old wheelchair he said it reminds him of pain and hopelessness, a bad time and a nightmare.