Germany - October 2005
My name is Helen Evangelista. At the time of my surgery, I was
41 with 3 children, self employed but was struggling and was barely able to
work. I remember not being able to stand in line to buy a cup of coffee. In
my past, I was very active... working out 5 days/week and always on the go.
In the years leading up to my surgery, I was in 'survival mode'. The demands
of being a wife, mother and trying to keep my business running were too much
for me. Mentally, I was exhausted from coping with the daily pain, meds
managing my life. I was done.... life had become more than I could handle.
Fortunately, in early 2003, my local doctor was advising against
fusing and had told me to wait for disk replacements - they were coming soon.
to Germany and had good things to say about the technology available there.
For the next two and a half years, I did everything... PT, traction, meds,
In early 2005 another doctor told me that I had to slow down
and stop smoking. After 28 years as a smoker, I quit smoking and went off all
pain meds. Being off pain meds made it clear how bad things really were and
I was ready to do anything. I had started researching online and found a clinic
in Northern Germany. They reviewed my MRI and scheduled surgery. Fortunately,
I discovered GPN and posted on the guestbook. Mark got back to me right away
and I told him my story. When he asked me, "how can they schedule surgery based
on a 3 year-old MRI", I knew that Mark's input was going to be valuable. By
now, we are in the summer of 2005. I got a new MRI and GPN presented my case
I did not want to live anymore, like I was living. Pain meds,
doctor's appointments, physical therapy, filling out paperwork had become my
life. I got a new MRI and sent it to Mark. Using GPN was the best decision.
He presented my case to multiple surgeons, both in the US and overseas. For
Years of chronic pain.... finally had to do something. Started
investigating ADR, but 3-levels were not possible in the US. How did I find
mark??? Calling GPN was a very important step. H
I think that the way I did the trip, using only Mark for the
first week, then having a friend come for the second week of recovery was perfect.
Mark's expert guidance and support was exactly what I needed to get me through
the stressful ordeal of approaching surgery and the very difficult first few
Now, at 21 months post-op, I'm doing better than ever. While
I'm not 100%, I am 90 to 95%. The memory of constant pain and how my life was...
I don't even think about it any more. I'm freeer. I don't ever stop to think
about what I can and can't do. All of the worries about how I would manage
an activity are completely gone.
Arriving in Bogen