Idiopathic Scoliosis Patient – “Dr. Anand gave me a second chance at life and a new beginning with hope and promise”.
After a series of failed neck surgeries in the late 1990's and early 2000, I began experiencing back pain. At that time, I was in my mid-40s and the symptoms continued and the intensity increased. I scheduled a consultation appointment with a doctor and was taken aback to learn that I had idiopathic scoliosis.
At that time, I felt as long as I could manage my pain, I would defer any treatment and explore other options.
I visited a chiropractor to see if there was anything he could do to help. I questioned whether chiropractic care could correct and/or lessen the problem. He looked at me like I was crazy and explained that no amount of chiropractic manipulation would improve the stability of my spine. I even consulted with a personal trainer who came just short of guaranteeing me that within six weeks, the stability of my spine would improve to the point where surgery would no longer be necessary. I decided that was much too big “a pill to swallow” - an absurd notion.
The pain continued, increasing in intensity and duration, making it more and more difficult to carry out my daily activities. I spent much time in bed, feeling thankful if I was able to accomplish one errand or chore a day. It got to a point where I would do one thing one day and the next day I spent in bed. I became more and more fatigued and the rare times I was able to go out in the evening, after about an hour I had to make my apologies and excuse myself to go home to bed. I could no longer stand up straight - always bent over to the side requiring I use a cane (the purchase of which, in and of itself, was a traumatic experience). The pain and physical disability I was experiencing was exhausting, to say the least.
Aside from the pain and disability, I was unable to commit to any plans whether it was with family or friends. Since I could not know if I would be able to do anything, it was easier to reject all invitations than to accept and then later have to make excuses. You can’t imagine how lonely I felt and sad that I was letting others down all the time. The pain was bad enough but dealing with life itself in the direction it was going, I knew I was in trouble and I had to get help.
I consulted with the neurosurgeon who performed my last successful neck surgery. He explained that my condition had progressed so significantly that I would need open surgery to correct the scoliosis deformity or I would eventually end up in a wheelchair! To say I was scared doesn't begin to describe what I was feeling. There was no way I was ever going to entertain the idea of undergoing an open surgical procedure, let alone face the likelihood of another failed spine surgery.
I realized then that I had would have to begin to face the very real possibility of spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. In preparation for my fate, I began taking the necessary steps which included remodeling my home.
A friend of my father's told me about an article he read in the newspaper about a surgeon named Neel Anand, M.D. who pioneered and performs minimally-invasive procedures to correct spinal deformities, with a specific expertise in scoliosis. Although cautiously optimistic, underneath it all I felt a glimmer of hope that I might be able to change the wheelchair bound future I was facing.
Soon thereafter, I met with Dr. Anand who reassured me and felt confident that I was a candidate for the minimally-invasive correction procedure for my scoliosis.
Though I was scared, Dr. Anand’s procedure seemed like a very real and hopeful possibility as opposed to the egregious wheelchair path I was facing - an unacceptable option. I realized the option of doing nothing was not an option at all!
I made the decision to put myself and my faith in Dr. Anand and go ahead with surgery.
My minimally-invasive curve correction and spinal fusion procedures took place in November 2009. I am fortunate that I heal quickly and that I strictly adhered to Dr. Anand’s post-op, discharge and therapy instructions.
After I healed, I began walking slowly at first, and then working my way up to three miles a day in my neighborhood with my assistance dog Jack at my side. Presently, I am virtually pain-free from my pre-surgical symptoms and as a result, no longer have the need for pain medications. This summer I will be taking my first ever cruise and upon my return, look forward to entertaining my entire family for the holidays.
I cannot say it enough - without Dr. Anand, I would be facing a very different life. A life consumed and riddled with pain, unable to stand or walk.
Without Dr. Anand, I would never have even considered the surgeries. I will be forever thankful and grateful to Dr. Anand for improving my quality of life and for the gift he gave me - a second chance at life and a new beginning with hope and promise.