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Nancy E. Kopman

Forest Hills, NY

For the past ten years I experienced pain in my thumb when I bumped it. Over time, the pain increased until it became constant and a red line developed under the nail. Having banged my thumb many times on the faucet while washing my face, I simply passed this redness over as a small collection of blood, or a bruise. However, a growing intensity of pain alarmed me. I could no longer place my hand in cool water and I needed to wear two gloves on my right hand in the winter. The turning point came when even lightly tapping my thumb against something caused agonizing pain. This happened frequently as I am a pre-school teacher. At times I wanted to scream out loud, but of course I couldn't in a classroom of four year olds. Fed up with the pain and the constant awareness that I had to protect my thumb, I researched my problem on the Internet, and was surprised to find others with similar symptoms, two of which being paroxysmal pain and sensitivity to cold. Reading further, I concluded that I had a glomus tumor. I knew that it had to come out and that I needed a hand surgeon.

When I read about Dr. Lee, I felt a sense of relief, but I also felt that my "little thumb" was too small a task for a man with his expertise in performing complex surgeries. I was afraid that he might not even see me. Boy was I wrong! Dr. Lee treated me with seriousness and concern. Having seen glomus tumors before, he understood the intensity of their pain. A date was scheduled for surgery, but shortly after the initial visit, when the pain made it impossible for me to sleep, Dr. Lee offered to do the surgery sooner rather than later, even after normal working hours. However, this became unnecessary because of another patient's cancellation. The operation itself went very well. The large glomus tumor was removed and for the first time in years I was free of its horrible pain. It has been seven weeks since the surgery and my thumb is returning to normal. I am so grateful to Dr. Lee. I also wish to commend the staff at HSS for their professionalism and attentiveness. This includes the people who work in Dr. Lee's office as well as the pre-op and recovery room staff. At the Hospital for Special Surgery I was always treated as a person and not simply as a patient.