One late August morning in 2010, I woke up with what felt like a knife stabbing me between the shoulder blades. Over the next few days, the obvious symptoms of a disc herniation manifested themselves, including the most frightening for me - 70-75% loss of triceps & chest strength in my right arm. After a few weeks of conservative treatments, which did not resolve the problem, I was ultimately referred to Dr. Bernard Rawlins at HSS by a friend who was not only a health care professional, but also a former patient of Dr. Rawlins.
I was diagnosed with a severe herniation at C6-7 that was impinging my spinal cord. Without surgery, I risked the loss of use of my arms and/or a continuing degradation of motor function. On October 11, 2010, I entered HSS, where Dr. Rawlins and his team performed ACDF surgery on me. Immediately upon waking, I knew I was better. My first question was, "When can I get back to the gym?" I was discharged the next day. I had to wear a hard collar for about 4 weeks, then a soft collar for a couple of more.
Close to six months later, I was happy to report that I regained what I believe to be 100% of my strength and function, and I am in probably the best physical condition of my life. I ran my first 5K, and trained for an extreme endurance competition in mid-April, a half-marathon in May and a sprint triathlon in July of 2011. Obviously, my surgery was a success, and I feel truly blessed to have been referred to HSS and Dr. Rawlins. I can't say enough good things about the entire HSS organization and it's employees. Everyone I came into contact during my pre-surgery evaluations and testing, my stay at the hospital, and my follow-up interactions were nothing short of outstanding. THEY are the true ambassadors of HSS, and for them, I remain grateful. The best reference is a good referral, and I have referred several of my friends to Dr. Rawlins and HSS for their spinal conditions, in the hope that they too may be blessed as I was by the spectacular people at HSS.