GPN Guestbook 2004 Archive

Archive 2005 2006

Current Guestbook.,   12-21-2004 - I'm a 2-level(L4,5&L5,S1) Prodisc Trials Patient out of SantaMonica,Ca....and still coming on strong since 07/02. Thanks to DocDelamarter. I'm his 2nd 2-level and Mark and I know his 1st & also a success. Under The Trials(i'm in it now 4 life) my surgeon released me for the next 12 mos,no restrictions!

Chuck Dobovsky   12-12-2004

With Marks Help (actually he did all the leg work) I have a January surgery date in Straubing with Dr. Bertagnoli. No Insurance coverage from Kaiser, but they have done my current MRI, Bone Density test, Extention Flexion Test, Treadmill, Current blood workup, EKG and about all I could Think of for preop preparation.

I asked Mark if he would Travel with me for the surgery and for a very reasonable fee he will attend. It makes me feel much more at ease having a very knowlegeable person who speaks (doctors language)at my side. Thanks Mark for taking a big load off my mind with your help.

Chuck Dobovsky

Mark Mintzer - GPN   12-8-2004

Rick, Please!!!! Traveling home at 8 days post op and back to work on day 10 after a 2-level? You have every reason to look forward to success, but please be careful. Ramp up your activites slowly! Don't do any lifting or twisting until Zeegers says it's OK. Keep up the healing and please, keep us posted.


Rick Houghtaling   12-8-2004

Well, I'm Back from Germany having had a 2 level ADR 11 days ago. I went back to work on Monday and everything is going as I had hoped. I'm doing great! On Friday will be 2 weeks and I have Mark (and Dr. Zeegers) to thank. After 4 surgeries yes, ADR is the only way to go.


RON HATCHER   12-8-2004

After having a surgery in March and one in July I had my last one on DEC 23,03 I had L5-S1 done by DR. John Regan. On Dec 25 I was home with my family for Christmas. Within a month I was walking the neighborhood two miles a day. By the second and third month I was walking up to five miles a day. In May I was hiking the trails of Yosemite. In August I water skiing on the Colorado river. ADR is the only way to go. The hell with fusion. Thanks to Dr. Regan. Ron Newbury Park, Ca

Kathy Steinberg   12-3-2004

This message is a little late. I attended the luncheon in Fountain Valley with Dr. Zeegars. It was so informative and I truly enjoyed meeting everyone there. The day after the luncheon I met with Dr. Delamarter in Sanat Monica, CA. He confirned that I was a candidate for the ProDisc. I was able to get in on a cancellation for surgery on October 14, 2004 in Santa Monica. The surgery went perfectly. Dr. Delamarter and the assisting surgeon Dr. George Brau are truly professional and talented surgeons. I have flown back to Santa Monica for my six week check up and things are going well. The ProDisc is perfectly placed and is the exact right size (something I learned about from the luncheon with Dr. Zeegars).
Once I get past my 3 month check up, then I will be able to train for skiing in March with Mark!! Keep positive thoughts and hang in there everyone.

Tony /ADR2002 on BPSG   12-2-2004

Mark, Thanks so much for your help in getting my XRAYs reviewed by Dr. Bertagnoli. His review pretty much confirmed what you were concerned about when you saw them. It helps to know what your condition is, even if it's less than encouraging. I truly wish that I had met you, metaphorically speaking, before I had the artificial disc surgery. Even though my failed disc is not currently revisable, I haven't given up hope and will continue to seek relief from the pain resulting. Who knows? Maybe the EU docs will come up with revision surgery for my condition soon.

Again, many thanks.

Rick Houghtaling   11-9-2004

Well, thanks to Mark and all the assistance he has given me, I have a date with Dr. Zeegers on Thanksgiving Day (of all days)for an ADR. I am very excited! I will arrive on Wednesday, pre-op on Thursday and Surgery on Friday. Thanks for all your help Mark.


Dori   11-9-2004

WOW - for the first time in a LONG time, I see light at the end of this dark tunnel! I'm gonna keep reading...

Wendy   11-8-2004

Dear Mark, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me yesterday. Your clear understanding of the situation and accurate information will really help me to sort out my options. Today, I'll start gathering my films and reports for my online profile. Thanks again! Wendy

Catherine Bradley   10-28-2004

Dear Mark and All: I created a Yahoo! Alert re: Charite and was so happy to see in the news today that the FDA has approved the Charite, and there's a new website devoted to info about it by the Texas Back Institute. If you didn't know already, everyone, please check it out. Perhaps we won't have to go to Germany after all, and can get Work Comp. to agree to Texas... Aloha,
Catherine Bradley

Mary Ann Loconte/3 disc fusion?   10-25-2004

I have a question, is there a type of surgery available for a patient with stenosis, degenerative disc disease ion 3 levels. L3-4, L4-5 and herniated disc at L5-S1 (site of laminectomy 27 years ago).
I'm hearing regular fusion, but since I've been on line I know there are other alternatives. The ortho said the fusion (3 hr surgery -4 month recovery)
If I have this I won't be a candidate for artificial discs. Help!!

stanley6415 or just Patrick   10-14-2004

Thank you for the quick response to my e-mail and I did go to your website and I am tremendously glade for you and your husband as well as your daughter that you may return to somewhat active lifestyle. What is your prognosis as far as being able to work? Can you believe that about one year ago I went to one of the best medical universities in Iowa here, The University of hospitals and clinics, and the doctor there told me that the pain med that I was on should only be reserved for termally ill patients and that I should go join the YMCA ! I darn near went bisirk and my wife was pretty hot under the collar to say the least. Anyway, I hope that you continue to improve and keep us up to date. I will hang in their as long as you can keep sending imformative information and good news. Sometimes like I told my wife, It is easier to talk with a person who has been through it rather than her because they know exactly what to expect and what not to.

Sue Dotterer (Poncho) - BPSG & MGH   10-12-2004

Mark, what you are doing now seems to be your true calling in life!

I remember not so long ago that there was minimal information out regarding ADR and potential candidates like ourselves had to really dig to find information regarding ADR and other spinal technology. It was so difficult to find any information until one day I came across your case on MGH right before you went to Germany. I followed your case closely and through you I was able to make contacts and obtain information needed to help me change my life. A life full of pain and darkness at that time.

Since meeting you through the forums, phone calls, and finally in person at one of your conferences (with Dr. Bertagnoli), I did as much research as one could possibly do to make sure that this procedure was right for me.

I am now 5 months post-op from a 2 level Prodisc procedure at L4-5 & L5-S1. The outcome of this procedure has turned my life around! Before this procedure, I was in chronic pain 24/7 for over 3 years. Now, I am like 90-95% better and still improving. I can now look at my future in a more positive light, plan ahead, & set goals in my life instead of only being able to plan my future on a day to day basis.

Thank-you Mark for your support, friendship & fellowship during one of the most difficult times of my life!

Sue (Poncho)
- Successful 2 level Prodisc ADR recipient performed by Dr. Bertagnoli, May 22nd, 2004 at the Rudolfinerhaus Hospital - Vienna, Austria.

C Bradley   10-11-2004

Dear Mark:
Thank you for your message, which I didn't see until today. My husband has had DDD pain since August 1999 and we're so grateful there is support and help from yourself and others. I will get back to you soon. Thank you very much. - Tom & Catherine Bradley, Kailua, Hawaii

GPN - Mark Mintzer   10-10-2004

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bradley,

Workers Comp can really cloud the issues. I suggest that you go to (ADR forum). There has been much discussion about insurance coverage and WC issues. Some people are getting ADR approved through WC and some are even getting overseas surgeries paid for. Stenum is one of many European clinics. Contact me via email if you want more information.


C Bradley for T Bradley 10-8-2004   10-8-2004

Dear Mark and Other ADR Patients: I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you but I've been doing extensive research about ADR night after night here in Hawaii, and found your stories on the Internet. So far, not ONE Physician in Hawaii is courageous enough to try ADR. Dr. Leon Liem, a prominent Neurosurgeon that my husband saw on 10/04/04, knows about ADR and the Charite implant. Our problem is Workers Comp. and getting a primary physician to approve the procedure. Looks like we'll have to wait and save the money for ADR at Stenum, because Los Angeles costs too much. Thanks for any advice you can give us. Sincerely, CMBradley

JennyM (bpsg ADR forum)   10-4-2003


I just heard from UCSF and Iíve been approved for a 3-level ProDisc to be done in just a couple of weeks. Now the nerves come in of course, and the anxiety. Itís really going to happen. Hopefully Iíll be a great success and help advance ADR.

You are a big part of this, without your help I would have given up on the possibility of ADR and now be the victim of 3-level fusion. Mark, there are no words or amount of money to repay you for what youíve done for me. Thanks so much for all your help!


Jeff Deal   10-4-2004

It's been over a week, and I'm still digesting all of the information that I learned at the luncheon with Dr. Zeegers. Thanks doesn't begin to express my gratitude for putting this meeting together. I'm now on the ADR road, and will keep you informed as to future developments. You were instrumental in bringing this to pass.
God bless you and your family,
La Mirada, Ca

brad   10-3-2004

Mark, This luncheon was one of the most important things I have ever done. I would highly recommend any person who is considering ADR to attend these meetings. Thanks!

Rick & Carla Houghtaling   10-3-2004

Dear Mark,

A week late, I wanted to take the opportunity to formally thank you for the luncheon that you put on last Sunday. I was looking to cure four levels of problematic lumbar discs and after meeting with Dr. Zeegers, was delighted (and so was my wife) to be informed that there is a very good possibility that I may only need to address 2 levels. Hooray! I discussed my options with the Dr. at the luncheon and am taking steps to fly to Munich in November.

Regardless, I would have never had such an opportunity if it had not been for your attention and consideration. I was certain that there was no other avenue to take and I was doomed to hobble through life with a 90 year old back in a 36 year old body. Thank you for your help from the bottom of my heart.

I will keep you abreast of my progress in securing a time/date for surgery as I am looking forward to holding my son again.

Thanks again,

Rick and Carla Houghtaling
Temecula, California

Melanie Daniels, BPSG, Chemong 932   10-3-2004

Dear Mark:
Just wanted to send a short note to thank you again for everything. Through your own suffering, you have found a way to profoundly touch the lives of so many people.
I now have the opportunity to pursue life goals that seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago.
Wishing you and your family all the best. Also, sending a special thanks to Dr. A. Yeung and Dr. R. Bertagnoli.

Melanie Daniels

Angela Fice - daughter to Melanie   9-28-2004

Hello all!!

Well a very special thanks to all those who supported my mother.

Mark, I do not think that works could express how I feel. You love and support has been truly incredible. I know that the phone calls to my mother in the hospital were exactly what she needed.

I watched my mother do an Irish gig (well.. a very special little dance) the day she was discharged from the hospital. I am amazed at her recovery.. My mother actually outwalked my father and I in Germany.

There is still a lot of work and recovery ahead, but I have total faith that she will be better than before.

I am so proud of my Mother. She has been through so much and has shown so much courage through everything.

Thank you to Dr. Yeung and especially Dr. Bertagnoli.


Ed & Jo F.   9-26-2004

Dear Mark,

Sorry we had to leave the luncheon early today. Jo's back pain became intolerable there near the end of Dr Zeegers' presentation and was more than she could bear. Nevertheless, we learned a lot and were pleasantly surprised with Dr Zeegers' candor and honesty. There aren't too many doctors who discuss the failures and admit making mistakes as Dr Zeegers did. He's a man we would readily trust.

Mark, since Jo and I first met you less than a month ago you have done so much for us that we are at a loss for words kind enough to express our gratitude. You have placed Jo's MRI's, CT Scan, Discogram reports, patient history, pain graphs and other stuff on the internet for doctors anywhere in the world to access at their leisure. As a result, we have already received email diagnosis' and recommendations from 3 prominent doctors. You have opened the door for us to correspond with these doctors and then at today's luncheon we met Dr Zeegers who has done more ADR procedures than anyone in the world!!! What's next, dude?? Do you have a magic wand too??? A miracle drug??

Mark, we thank you for sharing your experiences and extensive spinal knowledge with us in your typical impartial fashion. It would have taken us many months or years to accomplish what you have accomplished for us in less than a month. There's no way we could have become better informed than we are now without your efforts.

Thank you for everything, Mark. We'll be in touch. Ed & Jo

gary/feelinFine on backpainsupptGroup   9-26-2004

again many Thanks to you for hosting the Luncheon today Sunday 9/26,and your family for putting up with us later in the day,and of course
and a huge Thank You to DrZeegars for being so kind to all of us. He has quite a sense of humor,and his honesty,well it's something not found in his counterparts here in the U.S.I always learn so much more from these luncheons than my almost 30yrs worth of past orthopedic doc's. to those spineys who missed the days event, there is nothing like is priceless!! being able to experience the best of the best at work,explaining the rational
behind their decisions,and diferences with surgeries,implants and procedures. Again a very informative experience for me, and nice to meet a few Spineys i have emailed and put a screen name and sometimes a voice with a face!! Kudos to
you again Mark!! great job!!

Kathy Steinberg   9-23-2004

I am seeking a one level ADR at L5 S1. I am trying to decyfer all of the varying amount of information out there. I have been approved for the US Clinical trial in Denver at the Center for Spinal Disorders. Their experience with actual surgeries using the ProDisc on the lumbar spine is only 15 patients. I am scared out of my mind. Ihave booked a plane ticket to attend the luncheon that Mark is hosting in Orange Cty, CA on Sunday. I hope to get closer to my goal of more knowledge after that seminar.
I wish all of you fellow pain sufferers the best of luck. God bless all of us.
Kathy, Steamboat Springs, CO

Amanda Skalski - BPSG Stormy   9-22-2004


I just wanted to say thank you for helping me. Your advice is not something to be taken lightly, and we both know that you are probably the only and best patient advocate out there for spinal patients who want an ADR. You are the best.


Bill Baker (BPSG WBaker68)   9-18-2004


I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for all the efforts you have put forth over the past year and half that I have been researching ADR. Without the knowledge I have gained from your plight and research I would not be where I am now. I am now 6 weeks post-op from a 3 level by Dr. Bertagnoli. Surgery went well, although it did take almost 7 hours, 3 longer than they thought it would.

I have returned to work 1/2 days in office and rest of day from home. Mainly because of being tired, not because of pain. Started PT on week 5 and all is going great there, flexibility has increased in first week alone. Still no pre-op pain, just some pain on left hip and central back ocassionally but usually only noticeable during/after sitting. Walking 4 miles daily. Prior to surgery, walking would cause right leg pain and right foot numbness almost immediately.

If I had not run into you on Healthboards and MGH early in 2003 I don't know where I would be right now. Thank you and keep up the good work you are doing.


GPN - Mark Mintzer   9-11-2004

Amanda, I have updated the patient services page with pricing. Let me know if I can help.


Amanda Skalski - BPSG Stormy   9-10-2004

WOW. I so wish I had the money to go to Germany right now.

But Thank You, for this wonderful man who is the keeper of knowledge for us all!

Wowza. Honestly. I'm completely impressed on the file you can produce. What does it cost to have a file like that made onto a CD?

garyfeelinfine of backpainsupptGrp&a few others   9-10-2004

your the best in my book! I look back at the first time 3 of us ADR's got together at our 6month mark,you and Mo on the tennis court,and i was wondering if i'd ever feel that good{:--) the 1st luncheon with DrBertignoli, i learned so much about back problems,DDD and ADR surgery,than i have since my own 2levelProdisc surgery
in 7/2002. i am looking forward in meeting more spineys before surgery and after surgery. been feeling so much better myself, look forward in seeing you on 9/26........gary

Justin Brinker   9-6-2004

Mark, I am really looking forward to the upcoming luncheon.

Daniel   6-26-2004

I am a candidate for the charite III disc replacement in JULY- anyone who has had the procedure or could share more info, experiences, etc - I would appreciate it - (

Kay Coon   6-21-2004

When my husband was suffering I didnt know where to turn or how to get his records to Germany.It was such a relief to find Mark. As it turned out, my husband improved and we didnt need to move forward. But if anything changes in the future Mark will probably be the 1st person I call.

Thanks for everything!

John Engelhardt   6-14-2004

Congratulations on your great work in setting up The GPN. It is the shape of things to come. Power to the patient!


C4/5 Bristol ADR August 2002, Switzerland.

Cindy Brake/BPSG (Cindee)   6-12-2004

I am sorry I missed the luncheon, but so glad to have found you and all the other friends through you. You are amazing, THANK you!

Pearl4949/MGH Forum Originally   6-12-2004


It was an honor to be able to hear Dr. Yeung speak. Mark you have been such a wonderful support to me over the years. Thank you. Thank you to Dr. Yeung for the education. If you have not visited his website and read it, I suggest that you do. We have some wonderful doctors and Mark is making it possible that we have a chance to listen to them talk and for us to be able to ask questions.

Steve Kegel   6-10-2004

Mark, THANK YOU, and your beautiful family!! Thank you for being you and all that you do. The get together was fabulous. Dr. Yeung defines the meaning of Doctor, what a care giver, his kindness, patience, and the time he gave us spineyís will never be forgotten. It was great meeting the other spineyís, GOD BLESS YOU,and all the other spineys, continued good health.

Justin / BackPainSupportGroup   6-10-2004

Mark, Dr. Yeung was very informative and entertained all questions that were asked during the luncheon.

I am so thankful to have met you so long ago--you opened the doors to my second lease on life and you are a dear friend.

Keep up the great work!

2-level ProDisc
Dr. Bertagnoli, November 15th, 2004
***100% Pain-Free***

patti/BPSG   6-9-2004 and your family are truly wonderful people.I want to thank you for all your work putting together the meeting and the food was great.I am sorry I wasnt able to go to your house.I will send thanks to Dr. Yeung.You dont find many Drs. that will do what he did.

Kristen (CaliShyGirl) MGH/BPSG   6-9-2004

I wish to thank you for putting on and inviting all of us to listen to Dr. Yeung. It was also great to meet people for whom Ive been seeing online for 4 years now. I was thoroughly impressed with his demeanor, and calling himself a cowboy is truly a testament to how he is as a physician. For a man to call himself a cowboy, it shows that he has grit and great strength in his convictions and how...

Maria Azzarone/Back Pain Support Group   6-9-2004

Thank you for the wonderful organization of the June 5th luncheon for the BPSG forum members. It was really great to have been able to meet people in person as well as hear more of peoples individual stories re quest for pain relief, ADR and fusion outcomes and those of us that are still trying to figure which way to go!

The presentation by Dr. Anthony Yeung was very educational re SED...

John Walter (jwwalter) BPSG   6-8-2004

Mark, Thanks so much for putting the meeting and BBQ together. I wish I had known about Dr. Yeung 5 years ago ... or even one year ago. I really appreciated your (and your familys) hospitality. Meeting some other spineys face-to-face was great :-)

Yudit BPSG &MGH   6-8-2004

Thank you Mark for arranging for the Luncheon. It was great meeting so many people and Dr. Yeung.His presentation was so informative .His Minimal Invasive Surgery is definitely the way to go. I wish I would have known about him prior to my surgeries. I believe I would not be in the mess I am in if he would have done his procedure. I got a lot of information. I learned a lot about disc replacement ...

Elena (Lena246) MGH   6-8-2004

THANK YOU for all of your hard work. The seminar was an incredible success. I was very impressed with Dr Yeung and the extensive amount of time he gave to educate and inform us re current and future spine treatment options. I was equally impressed with the amount of time he took to answer so very many questions from the patient attendees. His patience never wavered. I am comforted to k...

Michele Murphy/BPSG & MGH forums   6-8-2004

The luncheon last Saturday was great. First, it was wonderful to meet in person the people I have met on the internet forums. Second, it was a wonderful opportunity to hear and ask questions of Dr. Yeung in an open forum setting. Finally, it was a great learning experience and an eye-opener to see what the future holds in store for us spineys. Great job, Mark!

JRJ   6-7-2004

Mark, THANK YOU!!! I had a wonderful time at your seminar. Dr. Yeungs presentation was fantastic. I learned so much. It was great to finally meet you. Swapping stories with all the other ADR patients was also very informative and enjoyable. Also, thanks to your wife and kids for their generous hospitality.


Alastair Hagues   6-3-2004

This is a great idea Mark. I can at least say one person is looking out for the spine sufferers worldwide.

Gary (feelinfine) BPSG ADR Forum   6-1-2004

as always Mark,great ideas,looking forward to the conference this coming Sat. in F.V.

Dr. Kevin Jon Lawson MD   5-13-2004

It was good to meet you in Vienna. Will be contacting you soon.

Andy Geppert   5-11-2004

Great idea, Mark

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