I am a physical therapist who has worked for over two decades, but there came a fateful day when I began to experience severe lumbar pain. I ignored it at first, but as time went on, I realized that I needed help. I did some searching and found Dr. Russel Huang at HSS. I sent my MRI results to this doctor and he reviewed them before even meeting me in person, as this was during the time of COVID-19. I was impressed by this, as I knew that neither Dr. Huang nor HSS were receiving any compensation for looking into my case.
I received a call back from Claudia of Dr. Huang's office. I was thrilled to hear that this surgeon of great renown was willing to meet with me and offer a solution for my pain. On the morning before I entered HSS, I stood by the mighty Hudson River as the sun sparkled off the water. It was that view which gave me the boost to walk into the building and meet Dr. Huang. He entered the treatment room with gentle authority. In his crisp blue surgical scrubs and mask, the doctor told me that I could benefit from a spinal fusion of L5-S1. And because I have worked in healthcare and had tried so many alternatives, I knew that he was correct. A surgery involving screws, rods and a spacer would create a new foundation for my spine and allow me to work well for years to come.
Only two weeks after meeting with Dr. Russel Huang, I underwent a minimally invasive decompression and fusion of L5-S1. I recall being nervous in my hospital gown as I lay in a bed and waited for surgery on the morning of December 4th, 2020. Dr. Huang came to check on me before I was to undergo anesthesia. Yet once I saw him, all of my doubts vanished. "It's game day," I said. He nodded and smiled and we talked as friends who knew our team would win that day.
It has now been 8 days since I received my surgery. My low back pain is far less intense than it was pre-surgery and I can walk up and down my block to see the lights of the holiday season burst forth through the wintry air. December 4th was one of the most important days of my life. The faith that I have in the new foundation of my lumbar spine was given to me by Dr. Russel Huang and the people at HSS. Just as the sun bounced off the Hudson River on the morning which decided my future a few weeks back, the lights which sparkle to herald the coming of the winter holidays are that much more luminous. Sometimes we are led down a path of healing that we could never have imagined; and the sparkle in our lives returns, far greater than we might have anticipated. Thank you, Dr. Huang, the nurses Yelena, Kristy and Priscilla and the countless others who breathed light back into my body.