Kate introduces herself, discusses when she first knew she had a problem with her spine and the effect it had on her life.
Hi, I am Kate. I had a spinal fusion performed by Dr. Raiszadeh at Alvarado Hospital.
It was about four or five years ago. I started for whatever reason, I had an opportunity to get a free massage at a chiropractor’s office. So I went. I had the free massage, and then they encouraged me to have x-rays because during the massage they noticed some additional… or they said the tensed muscles was more than what they normally see. “If you don’t get the x-rays here please go somewhere else, but you need to be evaluated.”
And so I spent a couple of years at that chiropractor getting adjusted, but they did not know that this was the condition. They just, it was for lower back pain. They said that it would take care of it, and I am certainly not bashing chiropractors, but for a couple of years I did that with minimal to no benefit.
And then I just kind of let it go for a little while and then about a year, probably about a year ago, this time I went to my primary care physician at Scripps, and she gave me a referral to see an orthopedic doctor for the, because of the back pain. She wanted to get it checked out further because I hadn’t had any direct, targeted treatment for it.
So I went to see that surgeon, and I saw him for a number of sessions, and we tried a couple of different things. So I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, and I am not sure if that’s how you pronounce it, but that’s what I call it. It was basically I found out that my L5 and S1 were not aligning properly, which was then causing nerve pain or nerve, I guess, damage. I was getting a lot of numbness down my right leg.
So we decided to do a couple of less invasive ways of treating it. So we did some stretching, which was somewhat helpful, but I was still experiencing a lot of back pain. Also, medication, I wasn’t too fond of being on medication for so long because it wasn’t really solving the problem; it was just kind of numbing me, numbing me out.
What else did we do? I had some spinal injections. I was sent to another provider for those to help with the nerve pain at least, and then there came a time, I did that for a couple of months, and then there came a time that it was interfering with my life so much I was honestly becoming more and more depressed with the way that my life was going, not being able to do a lot of things that I used to do, and it seemed to be kind of rapidly progressing due to pain.
For instance, I went to ride a bike with some friends and because the pain was so bad, I ended up actually not being able to stay on the bike; I fell off the bike, which then caused more pain. But just I mean not being able to do simple things like that, it just started to really wear on me.
So I asked the orthopedic surgeon for a referral for a consult for potential surgery, and he gave me Dr. Raiszadeh’s number. So I called Dr. Raiszadeh. I was able to get in pretty quickly, and the second that I met him I just felt the compassion. I connected with him. He seemed extremely personable, very empathic, very understanding and just really onboard with my goal of being able to live a better life.
He was listening to how much this has interfered with my life. I mean, not just the pain component but just that the things that I wasn’t able to do anymore and how isolated I had become because I had been telling friends and family I can’t go and do these things with you because of my pain.
So he listened really well, and I think that was one of the most helpful things was his, I guess bedside manner, I don’t know. It, just extremely empathic, and I said, you know, “I am really considering surgery, and am I a candidate?” And he looked at my MRIs and all the other tests that I had done, and I remember we were sitting on the exam table, and he took out a pen and he was like, “Well, this is what we would do, and this is how it would help you.” And he drew the diagram and it all… he just explained it so well, and it made so much sense.
He was extremely… he instilled a lot of hope which was what I needed I think at that time. So he draws out the diagram, and I say, “Well, can I take this piece of paper with me?” And he’s like, and I had another notebook of my own for work kind of out, and he is like, “Let me draw it in here if you don’t mind so you can take that with you.”
So he made another drawing and kind of explained it and made notes to the side, which he took the extra time to do that, which is, I think, what I needed. So of course there were some skeptical friends and family. “Oh, you should shop around, you need to find a different doctor, you can’t just take this one opinion, he is just trying to get money or whatever or get more business.” But there was something about him and his team that I just really felt that they really truly cared that I could get the best treatment with them, and I really had no desire to look anywhere else.
So it was a pretty easy decision. I was able to get the surgery I believe about a month after that consultation. So they were able to get me in pretty quickly. Of course, I had to have all the pre-ops stuff done and get cleared, but it was pretty quick.
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