you who attended to the GPN Patient Seminar with Dr. Zeegers in November
Alica. For some reason, we feel much worse for someone so young.
At only 26 and in such horrible pain for so many years, Alicia's life
reduced to a 'worst of the worst' type of workmen's comp horror story.
Injured on the job more than 5 years ago, her WC medical team seemed
to ignore the pathology while they ramped her up to very high doses
of medication that left her barely functional. When things had progressed
to the point where they could no longer recommend against surgery,
they denied surgery because of the high medication levels that
had put her on!
Alicia and her family decided that system had failed her and they
must take the situation into their own hands. The system would be of
value if it didn't provide access to quality medical care, or
was not alive to use it..
Alicia's father contacted
GPN in early November, 2006. Her case was presented to Dr. Zeegers,
but with all the confusing WC issues and only email and telephone contact,
it was difficult to know which path to take. Fortunately, Dr. Zeegers
came to California for a GPN seminar on November 19th. What an opportunity
for Alicia! She was able to meet Dr. Zeegers, Mark and many patients
going through the same type of ordeal. She was able to meet successful
(and less than successful) patients who've had all types of spine surgeries
with surgeons all over the US and at many centers in Europe. She flew
in to Southern California just for the day of Zeegers' seminar. After
returning home and discussing it with her family, she was very comfortable
for surgery with Zeegers and to use Mark as her advocate there.
Alicias ordeal in Munich
was quite difficult and they asked Mark to extend his trip to help
out for a few extra days. Thankfully, everything looks great and Alicia
has a wonderful chance for a new life after many years of being functionally
disabled and in severe pain 24/7.
The day before surgery,
Alica and David consulting with Dr. Zeegers
In Munich, a pre-op trip for a CT scan brings you to beautiful places.
We also played hookey that afternoon to take in some local color. "Are
you Elton John?" Apparently, David gets that everywhere he goes!
All surgeries are over... toasting a good day's work.
Most of the AlphaKlinik staff has been there for many years. Mark's surgery
was over 4 years ago, but many of the people he sees when he goes to Munich
remember him as a patient. "THANK YOU" from Mark, Alicia, and so
many others. The facilities and staff at the AlphaKlinik are incredible!
L4-L5 Activ-L - Zeegers does wonderful work!
Up and around the day after surgery (with Dad's help!)
Alicia talks to her son on Mark's internet phone.
A short walk back to the hotel... Alicia is out of the hospital!
Alicia, David and Sandy
Just out of the hospital, we all breathe a sigh of relief and have a toast.
Unfortunately, unlike most ADR patients, Alicia's using a wheelchair. Even
so, we are pleased to be back in the hotel!
the AlphaKlinik, Dr. Zeegers' patients always have surgery on Friday.
Mark was originally scheduled to leave Munich on Wednesday, but extended
his stay until Friday. "It's
tough for me to leave while the patient is still struggling with post-op
Mark. Staying a few extra days allowed me to see the beginning of Alicia's
coming back to life. We got to go into Munich one evening and enjoy some
and a little freedom for Alicia after being cooped up in a hospital and
hotel. The Christmas Market in MarionPlatz was wonderful.
Palm trees and mission bells in Munich?
A Spanish fountain? Poppies and cacti in Munich in December?
Mark was able to get together with Alicia in San Juan Capistrano
in late February, 2007. Alica is 11 weeks post-op and Mark says, "I
can't believe how different she looks. I experienced this first
hand and have seen it before,
but there is such an incredible difference between the empty shell of
a person at the end of their rope and someone that has returned
Taking no pain meds, she is often pain free. She still has some low back
pain once in a while, but at very low levels compared to her life of
severe pain for years before the surgery. She no longer lives
in fear of a the
cough or sneeze that will put her in bed for weeks.
can't wait to learn to surf" says Alicia. In the past, she was
an avid snowboarder, but it's been years since she's been able to spend
time in the halfpipe. She says that she'll wait a few months
before hitting the snow and the waves.
to be talking about surfing and when we'll be snowboarding together,
instead of about medications, discograms, and how our lives are
impacted by our inability to work, pain, and depression." he says. "Getting
together with clients to celebrate their success is absolutely the
best part of what I do!"
thank you for a wonderful day and thanks to you and your family
for allowing me to participate in this incredible process!
the best... Mark
email from Alicia's
Thanks so much for the pictures of your day with Alicia. I
look at them and I still can't believe the difference in her
from just a few
short weeks ago. You are thanking us for allowing you to participate
in the process, but I want to take a few minutes and let you
know how important your help was to us.
When I decided that we had to take things into our own control,
away from Worker's Comp, my research led me to the same 2 names
over -- Dr Zeegers and Dr. Bertagnoli -- but there where so many
questions, and the logistics of launching a dialogue with them
seemed daunting. Another name that kept coming up in my research
was yours. When I contacted you I had a rather immediate sense
could be the vital link we needed. As it turns out, you were
that, and so much more. Your experience and understanding of
the issues we
face and the options we have were invaluable to us as we made
our way through the process. I'm not just talking about the spine
also the problems with depression, medication issues, etc. Your
ability to help us go from initial contact to evaluation complete
scheduled in a few short weeks was amazing.
In Germany, at times the stresses of the situation seemed overwhelming.
Your calm support through the process really held us together
and helped us get to through it. It always seemed that you knew
what was going
to happen before it happened. You always knew the next challenge
we would face and many times your input kept us on the right
times when I came to you with an issue, you had already had a
back-channel discussion with the doctors and already had things
When I asked you
to stay a few extra days, I could tell by the look on your face that
you were at the end of a long and exhausting trip and wanted to get
home. Thank you for staying! Those extra few days really made a difference.
Having you in our corner through this was so important to us.
I truly believe that things would have gone very differently
had you not been
there and I will be forever grateful for all you have done for
me and my family. As you described on Alicia's story page, she's
that empty shell to someone with a new beginning and a new chance
at life. You have a very big part in that and without your help,
that she'd still be suffering now. From the bottom of my heart,