Dear Dr. Saiz,
I don’t know if you will remember me or my case, but I remember you often. You and the staff who have been part of my care, I feel, have been instrumental in my recovery. You performed my spinal fusion surgery in December of 2007 after I sustained compression fractures from a car accident on the Friday of Memorial Weekend of 2006. In the initial months after my injury, I had several other doctors, and we considered several conservative treatments like physical therapy, pain medication, and spinal surgery among other things. I tried whatever I could, and continued with pain medication therapy, but I could not imagine going through spinal surgery. It scared me quite a bit, but I think there was something inside of me protecting me or holding me back because I had not met the right doctor. You sir were the right doctor for me. You didn’t cherry coat it to convince me to do it. In fact, you said I was too young — back then I was only 35-years-old. You advised me that people typically don’t decide on spinal surgery until they are much older and have been dealing with pain for many many terrible years. Although I was much younger, I couldn’t imagine living in pain for any moment longer because I had five children still raising. I couldn’t walk or stand for any period of time without excruciating pain, and I thought I would rather take whatever risk just to get some relief or die trying. Death would even be better than having such a poor quality of life is what I thought. You advised me not to consider surgery if I was expecting even 50% improvement in my condition. You told me that in some cases it’s only a small percentage like 10%. I decided on doing it anyway.
I have been wanting to send you a thank you letter for sometime, but I was waiting for a big moment to share. At this time, I want you to know that having you as a doctor has been great for me, and that having you perform my surgery was the right decision, and I THANK YOU for choosing this profession and being put in my life. You were correct in letting me know that the surgery would only help me some. I kept up with pain management for several years and my quality of life improved. I could never gauge a specific percentage of how much my quality of life improved, but it did. I kept up with pain management for a few years but just like you were a Godsend. God sent me another wonderful doctor who has had just as much interest in helping and treating his patients as you are. That other doctor is my chiropractor. He was able to help me continue improving my quality of life. He helped give me the support and courage to change my pain management. I am proud to say that I have been mostly pain medication free since December 2011. But you and your assistant still had a role to play. During the time I was relying on chiropractic care exclusively and natural pain management. I experienced a setback after a received a flu shot. The side effects caused pain in my surgery area. Eventually, I made my way back to your office because nothing helped. After going through some testing, it was determined that I would need to have surgery to remove some of the hardware that was the culprit of the new pain.
I had the surgery and continued with the follow up visits for the next year following the surgery. Removing the hardware and bursitis that had accumulated did the trick. During my final visit, I was so happy to be getting back off the temporary pain medication and to be released that I told your assistant that I was READY, I felt so good I was ready to go and even run a marathon. This statement was just a figure of speech at the time. Little did I know that it would become my life goal. Although I have not ran a marathon, I am happy to share that I have just ran my first half-marathon on January 9, 2016!! Yes, this person who couldn’t even stand in a line or take a stroll with her children or parents because of the pain just about 9 years ago is now in almost her two year training plan in running. I didn’t think I would ever really run a marathon but started with 5K goal. When I ran my first 5K I thought of you, as I have continued to accomplish more and more in my running and training, I have thought of you and my chiropractor often. I always recommend you to anyone dealing with back pain.
I may still feel pain and have certain limitations because of the injury and surgeries, but I feel like I AM recovered. I am a different person who has learned how to live again — doing more physically now than I ever did even before my injury. I’ve allowed my body to learn how to cope, and I have learned to understand and know my body to use it productively and live a rich and happy life again.
I’m not sure if you hear it often or ever or all of the time, but I wanted to share my experience so that you can be encouraged to continue the important work you do. Hopefully, you can share this success story with your patients so they know there is hope. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!
Angelica, A truly grateful patient.