Kim RS

ProDisc-C with fusion revision
Bogen, Germany - January 2006

AnnC's mother Barbara, Kim's husband Dan and Kim RS at Oberalteich

I’m not as good as I once was (as Toby Keith sings in his Country tune); but, I’m better than I thought I’d be. With Mark’s intervention, I had ADR surgery at C5 with Dr. Bertagnoli in Bogen Germany in January, 2006.

Since the surgery, I take less medication, can walk for longer periods, and have increased range of motion at C5. I attend physical therapy, yoga therapy and occasionally have acupuncture. For the first time in nearly 2 years I have hope that I will continue to make progress. I have accepted a new normal and am grateful for things I previously took for granted. I continue to battle my own impatience, lack of moderation, the long term disability carrier, and the Social Security Administration.

Let me back up for a moment to explain my story. Prior to a being diagnosed with degenerative disc disease at C6 and C 7 in 2004, I was in a leadership role for a Fortune 20 Company. I worked long hours in a frenetic environment easily spending 55-60 hours per week sitting at a computer, on the phone, or in meetings. Six months of physical therapy, epidural injections, and drug therapy failed to alleviate the symptoms or the problem. My neurosurgeon gave me one option, Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion of C 6 & 7 which was performed in August 2004.

Some problems were alleviated, other significant ones were created. I wouldn’t know for 1 ½ years the original surgeon placed the end plate improperly resulting in further rupture of an adjacent disc. Various specialists in the US could not find the source of the clonus or pain which developed post surgically. I was just another malingerer.

When I finally contacted Mark through Global Patient Network, I was relieved to find someone who believed my story. Mark’s advocacy, experience, knowledge, extensive network of care givers, and sincere desire to help were instrumental in my story of healing. He facilitated immediate turn- around from his contacts in Germany and helped put useful details on my medical profile. When I talked with him and couldn’t remember the conversation due to medication, he patiently spoke with my husband to explain the details.

My husband the engineer, fact finder, and skeptic grilled Mark on one particular occasion when I was trying to convince him to pay for Mark’s in person help in Germany. My husband couldn’t understand the need or worth of having a stranger involved on our journey. He was convinced Mark was probably taking kick-backs from the doctors, which of course, he is not, did not, and would not.

It was only when Mark met my husband in person at the hospital that he began to appreciate Mark’s capability. Mark ably explained my problem, drew pictures, talked physics, mechanics, and mobility. Once surgery was completed, with Mark having scrubbed in, my husband was a total convert. Mark described in detail the unanticipated problems Dr. Bertagnoli encountered and was able to overcome with the skill of a master artisan. Additionally, Mark ran interference with the other docs on my behalf relating to pain, comfort, and condition. During recovery, I asked my husband whether he thought the fee for Mark’s services was worth it. He sheepishly agreed.

Mark continues to stay in touch and monitors my progress. He has been a gift to our family and regardless of what the future brings; we will hold him close to our hearts.

10/14/06 - I just bumped into this picture and absolutely had to add it to Kim's page. Here she is with Alphonse. He works for Dr. Bertagnoli as a scrub-tech and physical therapist. If you had surgery in Bogen or Straubing in the last couple of years, he probably was in on your surgery. The patients love him!

I think Kim wins the award for best post-op smile! ....... Mark

PS. I couldn't resist calling Kim. She's 10 months out and her neck is doing great. She's doing yoga for PT and says, "You wouldn't believe the positions that I can get into. It's not that they positions are so incredible, it's the process of going from being unable, to being able!" She's returned to a more normal life and is attending classes and studying for a test now. She promises that after her test, she'll provide more of an update!

Peter is an amazing help for spine patients traveling to Straubing or Bogen. He's much more than a cab driver, he's like a concierge. He'll help you with so many details that you can't even imagine. If you let him help you, by the time you leave, you'll consider him to be a dear friend! She told me how much she treasured this picture. Kim, I hope it's OK for me to put it here.