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Agnes Smith

Saratoga Springs, NY

It’s perhaps a cycle you’ve been in!

I suffered for years with a back and spine condition that caused miserable pain in my left hip area and entire left leg. It got progressively worse and lead to my first spine surgery about five years ago. As that failed I was referred over to pain management where treatments for well over a year included numerous epidurals and full implant of a spinal stimulator. These were all ineffective. My condition continued to deteriorate leading to another surgery along with removal of the spinal stimulator device. It was quickly obvious this was not the solution. Again I found myself in the care of pain management specialists undergoing a variety of treatments and more epidurals all without relief.

It seemed I was spinning in circles. Life had deteriorated to the point where because of the severe pain, I was wheelchair reliant, couldn’t walk a distance of 15’-20’, or stand or sit upright for any length of time. Lying prone was the only way to avoid pain. Life was non-existent, I was losing faith.

The turning point was when my primary care physician made the decision to take a new tact and seek a fresh, totally new and ground up evaluation at HSS. When contacting HSS I found their systems for new patients well organized and easy to work with. There wasn’t a question or concern they didn’t have the answer for.

I had the good fortune to be teamed up with Dr. Darren R. Lebl. His assistant Jiselle provided guidance in setting up my first appointment. After that initial consultation with Dr. Lebl, I realized that it was the first time in all these years that I had a good understanding of what my underlying conditions were, the problems they caused and the reasons for my unrelenting pain. It was enlightening. Dr. Lebl’s subsequent report and plan of action was thorough and detailed. I felt so confident, I was anxious to get going.

My surgery was a rather involved. Dr Lebl removed old hardware and made repair to my old original surgery that had failed, addressed other issues and performed a spinal fusion with instrumentation.

The very next morning I was up and walking with no sign of leg pain at all. Post op care was better than I had ever experienced with every need anticipated or promptly attended to. Within two days I was taking exercise walks all around the entire hospital floor, within 3-4 days taking those walks several times a day, and on the fifth day eligible for discharge. The surgery was so solid, my recovery so good, that I was allowed to travel the 4hrs home in the comfort of our family car.

Writing this a just a few months after surgery I can say my life routines are already back to where they were years ago without any pain or discomfort. It’s an amazing transition. If only I’d had the insight to consult HSS first.

When my husband and I vacation on the NH shore, it will now include walking the beaches rather than my just viewing the scenery from a wheelchair. What an absolute joy this simple pleasure will be.

Thank you HSS! Thank you Dr. Lebl! You turned my life around and I will be forever grateful.

Agnes Smith – Saratoga Springs, NY