Alice has helped others her entire professional life. As a Social Services worker making home visits in her rural community, she fell on a nasty piece of ice and injured her knee. What happened after that began to frighten her. She was in constant, unbearable pain, the kind Alice describes as “cruel pain”. “I consider myself a pretty tough person but the pain was all day, all night and one can only take so much.” After two surgeries, nothing improved and her hope was fading.
Her surgeon referred Alice to Dr. Pragya Gupta for help. “I had no clue what to expect but I knew when I met him, Dr. Gupta was interested in finding the answer.” The diagnosis was a difficult thing to hear. Alice has RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, which is a debilitating disorder and a chronic condition thought to begin with nerve injury. The trauma from her fall had changed her life. “Dr. Gupta gave me a thorough exam. He never rushed and he was considerate when answering my questions. He recommended that I have a spinal cord stimulator implant and of course, I was worried.”
That was 10 years ago. Since then and now at the age of 71, Alice has had spinal cord stimulation implants for both legs with great success. “I have a life now. What pain I have is bearable and I don’t know what I would have done without Dr. Gupta’s help. “He went beyond his duty to get to the bottom of my problem. Even though he has many patients, he would talk with me on the phone when I called him with a question or concern.” Alice comments, “Dr. Gupta will take the time to solve the problem right away when something is wrong.” That was the case when Alice fell last year, on ice coincidentally, for a second time and complications arose. The impact of her fall had displaced the “leads” of the spinal cord stimulator. Dr. Gupta performed surgery that succeeded in restoring the placement of the leads which are the very thin cables that deliver electrical pulses to nerves near the spinal cord, relieving the pain. Alice reflected, “I am so grateful that Dr. Gupta is the type of doctor that will help anyone, anyway he can to make you better. He is sincerely interested in you.”
After thirteen years of marriage, Jeanette and her husband were blessed with the unexpected happiness of three children. But over those years, Jeanette struggled hard to live a normal life. She had been diagnosed with degenerated disk disease and after two surgeries, was unable to get out of bed. Jeanette reflects, “I was finally a mother and I couldn’t take care of them. It broke my heart.” Her sister’s two teenage children, who were living with Jeanette at the time, stepped in to help. “I couldn’t have made it without them. I couldn’t stand up, couldn’t get my son dressed or on the bus for school.” The constant pain and the emotional toll that it inflicted had changed her from the active, tennis player of her past. Jeanette explains, “I was bent over like a 90 year old woman.”
How did someone who could pound tennis balls for hours become unable to lift her young children? How could doing the laundry take everything out of you? Jeanette describes her condition: “I had my first surgery to repair a herniated disk and it helped for a couple of years. But it herniated again and later collapsed. This led to the second surgery where they fused the spine. This actually caused more pain.” Jeanette continues, “The surgeon did warn me that the surgery could go in one of three directions; it could help, not help at all or make it worse. I felt desperate enough to take those odds.” Throughout this time, Jeanette did physical and aquatic therapy but the pain persisted. She lost the activities she so enjoyed including being active with her small kids. Riding a bike with her children or playing with them became impossible.
After the unsuccessful surgery, Jeanette saw a pain management specialist. “He loved to prescribe pain medicine. I had to take a handful of pills to relieve the pain just to get up and help my son get dressed.” Jeanette was very concerned by the situation she found herself in. “Children are taught to stay away from drugs. It’s very confusing to young children and teenagers to see Mommy taking pills. I knew I had to do something different and soon.”
Jeanette found Dr. Pragya Gupta and the Advance Pain Treatment Center after years of struggling with chronic back pain. She relays, “I had researched a procedure, Spinal Cord Stimulation, and went to Dr. Gupta to discuss it. He was very receptive and spent lots of time answering my questions. When you go through the pain and suffering I had, you ask everything. Dr. Gupta answered my many questions in a way that was not all technical but was very understandable.” Jeanette explains, “I had a spinal cord stimulation implant that has eliminated 100% of the terrible pain that traveled down both my legs and kept me from walking. The lower back pain is much better where the fusion surgery was done. I’m back to about 98% normal routine.”
“I found that Dr. Gupta understood how concerned I was about overmedication. He was very professional but very approachable.” Jeanette goes on to say, “He took the time to listen and see my problem. He studied my history and understood not just the procedure I needed but gave me the confidence that he understood my need to take care of my children.” Dr. Gupta performed the procedure for Jeanette’s week-long trial which is standard with a spinal cord stimulation implant. The trial answered the important questions that Jeanette needed to know. It was a good option to treat and manage her pain. Jeanette said, “I was so sad when they removed the temporary implant. I felt so good and the relief was unbelievable. Now I have my permanent implant and I’m feeling hope. I don’t take any narcotics for pain or depression medicine. Dr. Gupta has helped me return to a normal life. I have a 9, 4 and 2 year old who rely on me and now I’m up with them in the morning, getting everyone ready for the day.”
Jeanette had her 47th birthday last week. Her husband bought her a new car to celebrate. Driving was never comfortable with the chronic pain she suffered for years. Dr. Gupta has helped restore her health and happily, Jeanette is on the road to recovery. “I would recommend Dr. Gupta to anyone who has debilitating pain. He gave me confidence and I knew he cared about me” Jeanette concludes. Now she can enjoy driving her new car and looks forward to a better year.