Going to HSS, even as a child, was never a daunting experience. The imposing buildings were filled with staff that had a quiet confidence, that I believe, came from the knowledge that they were working in one of the finest medical facilities in the world. The first thing I noticed was how polite, efficient, and professional all the staff were. Their attitude showed a reverence for their surrounding and it, in turn, instilled a confidence in me - knowing that everyone at HSS was at the top of their game!
I have been a patient of HSS since 1988 when Dr. Sculco performed my first surgery. The minute I met Dr. Sculco, it's safe to say, I adored him. Even before the door to the examination room opened he would announce his arrival by saying my name in a bold voice. He'd then enter the room with a smile that never seemed to fade. I remember looking at his hands after he had completed my last surgery. I wondered how was it possible for two hands to change the lives of so many people? And that's exactly what he did. He changed my life - every time we met!
I was diagnosed at the age of two with rheumatoid arthritis. My first surgery was when I was 11, and at 14 years old, I was the youngest recipient of bilateral hip replacements in the United States. I went on to have two total knee replacements, followed by bilateral hip revisions - all at HSS. I've learned to walk again after every surgery with miraculous results. Every surgery has changed my life for the better - taken away my pain, given me back my mobility, and I can not express in words the gratitude I feel.
Now at the age of 40, I am a serial entrepreneur, using my patient experience to help others. I have recently launched a virtual reality company specializing in pediatric pain management - using self-taught techniques to cope with chronic pain. My time at HSS is inextricably linked to, what now feels like my destiny, helping kids in pain. I will be forever grateful to all of my friends, who feel like family, at HSS.