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Nancy Levine

New York, NY
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MIRACLE Surgery At Hospital for Special Surgery With Todd J. Albert, MD And His Amazing Team

I am so happy to have an opportunity to share with the world my wonderful experience with my initial consultation, my meticulous medical care and rehabilitation towards recovery under the care of Todd J. Albert, MD and Natisha Ross, PA-C, for Dr. Albert.

After 17 years of neck pain and limited range of motion I was referred to Dr. Todd J. Albert and my diagnosis was finally made.

MRI, x-ray results and medical reports showed the following:

Retracted 2.5 cm Hamstring tear

Myelomalacia at C4

Spinal Stenosis

Severe cervical myelopathy

Loss of cervical lordosis, and some kyphosis in the mid-cervical spine

Severe spondylosis C3-C4, C4-C5, and C5- C6, congenital stenosis

Snake eye appearance of the spinal cord

Positive bilateral Hoffman's

Spinal cord compression at C3- C4, C4- C5 and C5- C6

Severe osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis

Limited range of motion accompanied with neck pain for 17 years

No motion volitionally in extension, lateral bending or rotation

Decreased range of motion of the left shoulder secondary to neck pain

Hospital for Special Surgery May 19, 2015

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion [ACDF C3_C6 with instrumentation]

It is important to share such an Amazing MIRACLE Surgery with the world about Todd J. Albert, MD, his Amazing team, Dr. Albert’s staff and Hospital for Special Surgery.

A picture is worth a thousand words. My collage as displayed was created by me as an expression of my sincere gratitude for Dr. Todd J. Albert.

In February 2015 I had a hamstring tear and was referred to Bryan T. Kelly, MD, Chief of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service as well as Co-Director for the Center for Hip Preservation at Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Kelly is a very knowledgeable doctor with sound judgment who addressed the problem and thus my medical care and treatment began. I am thankful for Dr. Kelly. At the same time I was referred to a physiatrist. My chronic neck pain of 17 years was worsening so an EMG, lumbar, and Cervical MRI were ordered. The results came back that my spine was compressed. My spine was failing! Doctors I consulted told me I was facing a high probability of living my life in a wheelchair. How could this be with only symptoms of neck pain for so many years? At this time the hamstring tear became secondary due to the noted condition of my spine.

Working in the health profession for almost 28 years in a hospital I had many doctors to consult. I had doctors all wanting to take my case but to tell me my prognosis was poor and reinforced complications and paralysis. I had come to realize my spine and other medical especially the Myelomalacia at C4 was very serious. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama friends called to tell me they were able to set up an appointment with two spine surgeons at Andrews Orthopedic Hospital. I was told they are considered amongst the best.

Dr. Kelly was treating my hamstring tear at Hospital for Special Surgery. My hamstring injury was very painful and my sports were restricted. I was having physical therapy for my hamstring tear at Hospital for Special Surgery and would talk as well as showed my MRI reports to my assigned physical therapist as well as clinical supervisor at the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, HSS rehabilitation. I had a lot of respect for him as well as trust. He insisted I speak with Dr. Kelly about my MRI results both cervical and lumbar. My PT also recommended Dr. Albert. I never thought I would be able to get an appointment with Dr. Albert, the Surgeon-In-Chief and Medical Director at Hospital for Special Surgery. After physical therapy that day I went by Dr. Kelly’s office and without hesitation, Dr. Kelly wrote down Dr. Albert’s number and he insisted Dr. Todd J. Albert is the doctor you need to consult.

Living a healthy and active life I could not believe my life was making a right hand turn to facing a high probability of living my life in a wheelchair. I taught aerobics for almost 10 years, I danced ballet from the age of 5 to 17 years, high school and college years on the swim team, loving to run around the reservoir in Central Park and my true joy, hiking in the National Parks especially The Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Yosemite National Park, and Vernal Fall.

I called Dr. Albert’s office, my MRI reports were faxed and after review by Dr. Albert’s staff, a cervical x-ray was ordered and an appointment was set up ASAP. I thought to myself Todd J. Albert, MD, Surgeon-In-Chief, and Medical Director and I have an appointment set up so quickly; how great is that! This was impressive.

I consulted my thesaurus to find words that would accurately describe my appreciation and gratitude for Todd J. Albert, MD and Natisha Ross, PA-C for Dr. Albert. So far there are no words adequate to describe my true feelings. Additionally, I would like to recognize Betsy Reyes and Justin Deleon, Dr. Albert’s medical secretaries. All of Dr. Albert’s staff is outstanding, not only proficient in their work and so very kind. The human touch goes a very long way.

Natisha Ross, PA-C for Dr. Albert on my initial consultation, met me in the waiting room and escorted me to the examination room. By this time most medical professionals I had consulted did not offer me a positive prognosis. I must say I had lost hope, my spirit was low and I was feeling discouraged. My spine was failing and the clock was ticking.

Dr. Albert walked into the examination room. To my amazement not with doom and gloom but with answers, confident, pragmatic and so very wise. His expertise and knowledge in his field was so very impressive. Dr. Albert brought back hope to my worried soul. My case was very serious certainly not without complications and risks. Dr. Albert instilled trust, confidence, and outlined his goals of care for me. His assessment was very detailed and well thought out. A patient can only feel admiration and respect after a consultation with Todd J. Albert, MD. He was very positive in his belief that he could help me. I was now hopeful. I thought to myself, embrace life. Hope is now knocking at my door. Dr. Albert and Natisha will always be lifesavers who rescued me when I was drowning. I was sinking with spine problems with no answers and no hope. My cry for help was heard!

After my initial consultation with Todd J. Albert, MD and Natisha Ross, PA-C my mind was made up and I was convinced that Dr. Albert would be the doctor to bring me help. We all make decisions in life and my decision was made. Spine surgery is very serious and no joke. Hospital for Special Surgery was my hospital of choice. Dr. Albert, my surgeon of choice. I knew Dr. Albert could bring me back to life.

One could describe Dr. Todd J. Albert as a gentle giant, yet a doctor and surgeon who is so very proficient, a talented surgeon, confident, with sound judgment and compassionate about his work. One could say Dr. Todd J. Albert is an Amazing Doctor, nothing but perfection, a doctor with honor, and integrity who takes pride in his work, and I continue to say truly a genius.

Natisha Ross, PA-C is such an Amazing human being. She always keeps me on a straight path when I am concerned or have questions before my scheduled surgery as well as my recovery and healing time. She has been my guiding light since March 11, 2015, my initial consultation with Dr. Albert. When in need Natisha is only a phone call or e-mail away. Not only is Natisha honorable and kind, she is very proficient in her work. Natisha handles a situation and never panics. This is so very important for a patient scheduled for spine surgery as well as for recovery. Natisha’s confidence and compassion always alleviated any of my concerns. With her help, I was always made to feel my medical care was being given 110%. She continues to always be a phone call or e-mail away.

My spine surgery was successful as I continue to say truly a Medical MIRACLE. Dr. Todd J. Albert is an Amazing Doctor and a very talented and gifted surgeon. He brought my spine back to life. A true lifesaver describes Dr. Todd J. Albert. Sometimes we just need a “LIFE SAVER” to help keep us afloat! I always say to Dr. Albert, “You are an Amazingly talented surgeon and you will always be a surgeon who appeared in my life as Superman does when no one else can handle the job.” What is a quote most often used in superhero movies? “This is a job for Superman,” and Superman takes over for the rescue. For all of those patients who have had a consultation and/or surgery under the care of Todd J. Albert, MD you understand my analogy. Dr. Albert gets the job done and we are all thankful to him for giving us back quality of life. I now can truly say that “I AM BACK IN THE GAME.” I was back to work in less than four months.

I will never forget my outstanding medical care at Hospital for Special Surgery, and will never forget my feelings of hope and spirit regained. At Hospital for Special Surgery I say, “Hope is served fresh daily,” and I continue to carry hope and spirit in my pocket. The aura at Hospital for Special Surgery is welcoming and a positive environment. The aura I felt, my initial consultation with Dr. Albert, and Natisha Ross, PA-C was so refreshing after so much doom and gloom from others I had seen. I was overwhelmed with fear being faced with an abundance of possible complications. I thought to myself I must embrace life. Dr. Albert and Natisha never let me lose hope or spirit.

Thank you Todd J. Albert, MD and your Amazing surgery team, Natisha Ross, PA-C, for Dr. Albert, Dr. Albert’s staff Betsy Reyes, Justin Deleon, medical secretaries for Dr. Albert, Brion Reichler, MD, the neurologist monitoring my spine, Michael Ho, MD and Mary Chisholm, MD, anesthesiologist assigned to my case, Alex C. Simotas, MD, physiatrist, referral from Dr. Albert, specializing in spine and sports medicine, Bryan T. Kelly, MD, doctor for my hamstring care, and my referral to Dr. Albert, my physical therapist prior to my scheduled spine surgery, and also my referral to Dr. Albert,  and C. Ronald MacKenzie, MD, staff HSS Internist assigned to my case. Of course, the entire 6 East staff, the HSS brace department, case manager, chaplain, x-ray department and admitting department at Hospital for Special Surgery for providing outstanding medical care. My privacy and dignity were always respected and honored.

I am feeling much joy, proud, doing well, and, of course, thankful and grateful. I was beginning to feel like a broken down old mountain. Vacations are now being planned. I am going to Alabama in April on vacation, and I am planning a trip back to Yosemite National Park and Vernal Fall this summer to participate in outdoor activities which I love so very much. One of my favorite quotes from John Muir, “THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO.”

My story is about my second chance in life, quality of life given back to me by Todd J. Albert, MD, and Hospital for Special Surgery.

I wanted to share with the world that MIRACLES Can Happen! Never lose hope or spirit. I am feeling happy. Doom and gloom no longer knocks at my door.

A toast to Dr. Todd J. Albert, Natisha Ross, PA-C, and Hospital for Special Surgery. Simply The Best, Roll Out The Red Carpet. I am BACK IN THE GAME and for me, this is a True MIRACLE! I now live life as a journey and not as a destination.

Embrace the journey!

Nancy/NYC

ACDF, May 19, 2015 MIRACLE Surgery At Hospital for Special Surgery With Todd J. Albert, MD And His Amazing Team.