My name is Gene Mason and I am 89 years old. I had three back surgeries 50 years ago and have been plagued with back problems ever since.
Two years ago, back pains had reached the point where I felt the need for some sort of corrective action. I had about a year of epidurals and physical exercises. They were effective at first, but only for a short period of time. The neurosurgeon in Williamsburg referred me to the University of Virginia for treatment. The surgeon there told me that, though I needed surgery, my age made the risks too high to perform. I was referred to a pain clinic in Charlottesville and after 6 months of treatment, I was still taking 2 tablets of oxycodone daily, when the doctor told me that he had done all he could for me and suggested that I look into treatment by Spinal Cord Stimulation. He said that a one week trial period would be required to determine if I would be a good candidate for permanent Stimulator implantation. I was told by the doctor who does trials here in Williamsburg, that he had reviewed my MRIs and had determined that I would not be a candidate for final surgery.
My family doctor knew of the work done by Dr. Raj Sureja of the Orthopaedic and Spine Center and referred me to his office. What a blessing! Dr. Sureja ordered new MRIs and determined that I could be a candidate for final surgery and proceeded to perform the trial period surgery. After one week, the results indicated that I would benefit from permanent implant of the Stimulator. Final Spinal Cord Stimulator surgery was performed by Dr. Sureja’s associate, Dr. Mark McFarland. That was 5 months ago. I wish I could say that I no longer have any pain whatsoever, however, I have some good days and some bad days, but the best thing is that I seldom take any medication for the pain I experience. I have read that a 50% reduction in pain is considered successful treatment. By that standard, my surgery has been very successful.
Dr. Sureja, his associates and his staff have shown themselves to be a very caring team, whose sole purpose is to make the patient as pain-free as possible. They have all been very professional, yet very friendly in interfacing with me, the patient. The same can be said of the technical representatives of Boston Scientific who do the programming of the Stimulator.
For others, who have been in a situation similar to mine, I heartily recommend consulting with Dr. Sureja and the Orthopaedic and Spine Center.
Ernest E. Mason
I have the highest regards for O.S.C., Dr. Sureja and Dr. McFarland. They have taken extreme care in seeing to my well-being, the latest, the installation of a spinal stimulator, which in the testing stage, was a godsend.
I am 39 years old. I’ve suffered from severe back pain most of my life and severe foot/ankle pain since birth. After going from doctor to doctor over the years, I was sent to a spine specialist who was able to diagnose the source of my back pain. Basically, I had been walking around with a fractured spine for most of my life. I had a spinal fusion. While the surgery remedied some of the pain, it did not help the majority of it.
A year later, after continuing to suffer severe back pain after my surgery, I was hit with the realization that this was just going to be my life. I was going to suffer excruciating pain for the rest of my life. Then I was referred to Dr. Sureja for pain management. I read reviews for Dr. Sureja on some doctor review sites before going to see him. There were some positive reviews and some negative reviews. I’m an anxious worrier, so I fixated on the negative reviews and was terrified. So much so, that I considered calling my doctor and asking to be referred to a different pain management doctor. On top of that, I tend to do better with female doctors. Male doctors have always intimidated me and made me uncomfortable. I decided that I should give him a chance anyway and told myself I could always switch doctors if I didn’t like him.
I can’t explain why, but the moment he opened the door and made eye contact, something told me to relax and that I was safe. He was just wonderful, very knowledgeable, attentive, and compassionate. I’m allergic to a lot of medications, including steroid injections, so my pain management options were already limited. He took the time to explain to me what was going on in my body, why I was feeling pain in specific areas, etc. He LISTENED to me and he HEARD me. You should always be informed, but remember to give your own experience a chance. It was one of the best first appointments I had ever had.
I’ve seen him twice more since, along with Kimberly Maigi, FNP-C who was just as attentive and easy to communicate with. While we’ve had to make a few adjustments, I am feeling much better since I’ve started seeing Dr. Sureja. From the ladies who work at the front desks, to the radiologists, to the nurses, and to the PAs and doctors, I know that I am in caring hands. It’s a wonderful thing to not have your thoughts clouded every moment by pain, to not feel so hopeless.
Dear Dr. Sureja,
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and kindness to me yesterday when I came in for an epidural. I was told last November I should have this done, but for some reason I was very frightened to follow through with that suggestion. I heard comments that ran the gamut from “there’s nothing to the procedure” to “it was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.” Quite naturally, I let my emotions follow the latter illustration.
I mentioned to you that my fear was heightened by comments I overheard from a lady who had just exited this procedure. I apologize if I led you or the technicians to assume she had directed those comments to me. She had not. She was talking with her husband who was sitting next to me and I overheard what she was saying. When I told her she was scaring me, she apologized and said she had had several of these treatments and this was the only one which had given her problems.
You, and the two precious girls who were assisting you, were so thoughtful and kind to me and I appreciate each of your efforts to ease my fears and make the procedure as painless and uneventful as possible. When making the appointment, I told the scheduler I needed a doctor who was patient and would talk me through this procedure. She assured me you would be the best and she was right.
If it becomes necessary for me to have this done again, I cannot assure you I will not once again be fearful of the “what ifs”, however, I can assure you that at the core of my fears will also be the realization that the right person will be attending to my needs. Please share (with the two technicians) my letter of appreciation and let them know how much their concern meant to me.
I am writing this letter to let you know what a wonderful doctor you have in your office. Dr. Raj Sureja has been so good in taking care of me and keeping me going. My little dog and I love to walk all around Port Warwick and thanks to Dr. Sureja I’m able to do that. I thank him every chance I get.
Testimonial for Dr. Raj Sureja
Osteoarthritis and pain – 2 simple words that cause serious bodily damage. Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint and pain is the sensory and emotional response to that inflammation.
When I was 27 years old, I experienced my first really bad backache due to a disc problem. Physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and a couple days of rest – I was feeling so much better.
The years pass – I now have 7 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. I’m presently 75 and some days it feels like all my joints are inflamed. It’s difficult to keep up with my family/to do housework and yes, it’s even hard to stand up straight. I need help! I made an appointment with Dr. Sureja. He took x-rays and said that I have spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, cervicalagia and other things I cannot pronounce or spell.
Dr. Sureja is very patient and knowledgeable. He listens intently to my list of complaints. He prescribes medicines/injections/treatments to help my pain. I don’t respond as quickly as I did when I was 27. With some of the pills/capsules, I’ve had strange side effects. The doctor would discontinue and prescribe another one. All this has been challenging for me and the doctor.
My pain is controlled at present and I am able to enjoy my family and even do a bit of yardwork. As I kneel tending my plants, I give thanks for Dr. Sureja – for his brilliant mind and caring personality.
Prior to being treated by Dr. Raj Sureja at the Orthopaedic and Spine Center, I was a patient at another pain clinic in the area. Over a period of seven to eight years, I had numerous injections in my back and I was on a variety of pain medications. By the time I was seen by Dr. Sureja, I was on ever increasing doses of morphine and hydrocodone. The physician at the pain clinic had asked me what my expectations were. I told him that, eventually, I would like to be able to discontinue taking pain medications. He told me that I was being unrealistic and that this would not happen.
After treatment with Dr. Sureja involving radio frequency denervation, I was able to gradually decrease and then stop the pain medications. I am forever thankful to Dr. Sureja and the staff at Orthopaedic and Spine Center for the excellent care I have received.
Sherry D. Neff