In early Spring I began to suffer from pain primarily located in my right calf and lower back. Quite quickly the pain became extreme. My mobility was significantly reduced. Sleep was difficult and much of my night was spent on the floor with my legs in a chair or in a variation of a fetal position. Over the next six months, I visited doctors at Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell. I traveled to Princeton for additional surgical advice, had acupuncture, private rehabilitation sessions, swim therapy, and a foray into the administrations of a natural path doctor. After over six months, no one was able to ascertain a diagnosis for my condition. Moreover, I was given incorrect leads and even told I was a mystery and turned away without even the possibility of a referral.
My first appointment with Dr. Stuart Kahn was on September 11. At that first meeting, Dr. Kahn promised my husband and I that he would not abandon me, that he would stay with me as my doctor until an answer to my ailment was determined. With his recommendation, I underwent additional treatments and numerous tests until a diagnosis of a pelvic herniated disc became evident. At this point, I was beginning to require a wheelchair for movement.
On October 27th, Dr. Kahn arranged a conference meeting with Dr. Hecht and Dr. Jenkins. At one point during the meeting, there were at least four doctors and additional support staff all conferring and brainstorming on my condition. As a result of their collective discussions, it was determined that Dr. Jenkins would operate on me with his own, as yet unnamed, procedure on an essentially unreachable area of a disc and bone spur. Dr. Jenkins’s inspiring confidence and his belief in the outcome of my surgery became my beacon of hope.
Permit me to acknowledge the degree of my suffering. Heretofore an active woman and traveler, for the last six weeks of my illness I was confined to a wheelchair when not bedridden. Painkillers were my slight refuge. The spiral of my decline was relentless. At times I was an invalid, more often than daily questioning what quality of life would be left to me. My operation with Dr. Jenkins was scheduled for November 3. My anxiety was extreme upon entering the hospital that day. But it was short-lived. Numerous staff including the anesthesiologist were ever-present, professional, and caring. I relaxed with a sense that this special team had a mission to deliver me to a positive outcome.
Such is my miracle: I walked home. Actually partway home. My relief from a life circumscribed by pain, fear, and doubt immediately took hold. My health continues to improve. I get stronger. My pain is minimal. I am recognized to be who I so confidently had been. I have returned to life.
I can not overstate my indebtedness and gratitude to Dr. Kahn, Dr. Jenkins, and Mt. Sinai hospital.