By Marvin Ellis,
Tyler Morning Telegraph

A Southern Baptist missionary in Tokyo traveled halfway around the world to Tyler to have microdiskectomy surgery – which is day surgery or at the most a one-day stay in the hospital compared to three weeks in Japanese hospitals.

Ed Jordan, 51, has been a missionary in Japan for 15 years although he grew up in Tyler – attending Gary Elementary, Hogg Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School where he graduated in 1964. He also had a Tyler Morning Telegraph paper route, “around Robert E. Lee when there was very little in that area other than the school.”

He had the microdiskectomy late Monday morning in East Texas Medical Center. The operation was performed by Dr. Jon Ledlie. Jordan plans to recuperate at his mother’s home in Tyler, Mrs. Lois N. Jordan.

Jordan said his stay in Tyler could be up to a month, depending on when he will be able to travel 12 hours by airplane to Japan.

“In Japan, you stay in the hospital three weeks and all the nurse does is give you medicine. Your family has to care for you, including feeding, cleaning and changing the bed linens,” he said.

Jordan said he decided to have the surgery done after “one well placed sneeze and I was in bed for three days with a lot of pain.”

He picked Tyler for several reasons, but the main one was his brother Raymond Jordan is a doctor in Henderson and had the same surgery performed by Ledlie in 1985. Jordan said the lengthy hospital stay was another factor, while he had “great recommendations on Dr. Ledlie.”

The Troy State and New Orleans Baptist Theology Seminary graduate injured his disc last September in Japan and the pain became worse. He was in Texas in December for his son’s graduation at LeTourneau University and also had MRIs done in Henderson. Later he tried epidural procedures by Dr. Paul Dreyfuss, who also is in the office with Ledlie at East Texas Medical Center Neurological Institute, but it was not successful.

Another amazing fact about this surgery was the manner Jordan communicated with Ledlie and his office. After initial telephone calls, all communications were by E-mail on the Internet. “I know I got one answer in 15 minutes by E-mail. It’s the way to go,” he said.

ETMC Neurological Institute also has a web page at www.tylerneuro.com. Jordon used his computer to compile about 125 pages of information on the surgery.

But Jordan said late Monday afternoon, the pain had already disappeared from his leg from the surgery which required only a one-inch incision and no external stitches. Ledlie said it is one of the Band-Aid surgeries.

Ledlie said microdiskectomies are performed with a microscope to magnify, highlight and to see the injured disc to reduce damage to surrounding tissue. “We have been doing microdiskectomies since the early 1980’s and probably do about 500 a year in our office.” Ledlie said.

Jordan had been an air traffic controller in the U.S. Army for 12 years before he decided to attend seminary. He was 31 when he made the decision.

“I had a long battle with the Lord. He wanted me in my ministry but I wanted to pursue my own career. The Lord won,” he said. He is now the business manager in Tokyo for Southern Baptists, which has about 125 missionaries.

His wife Nancy is a missionary in Japan, and she wrote on the whiteboard in her husbands’ room in Japanese, “God is Love. Take care of yourself.”