Lukeyseya L. Olatunja – Mindfulness for Chronic Pain

I was in a car accident 35 years ago. I died several times on scene and several times at the hospital. All of my bones from my waist down were broken and they said I would never walk or talk, if I lived. Thankfully, that was not the case. I am also an 18 year survivor of Stage 4 Inflammatory Cancer.

I struggle, but God and this Mindfulness class has helped my mind see the real point of life. I have learned how to help others, as well as myself, with this pain. Knowing this is something that I will always have to help me with the injuries I have had.

Lukeyseya L. Olatunja

Brian Wilson – Lumbar Fusion Surgery

On December 21, 2016,  I had a decompression/fusion surgery done on L4 & 5, S1 by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at Mary Immaculate Hospital.  I never felt any pain, the whole team was 1st class,  including the staff that comes to your house for a few weeks and the rehab folks  (Personal Touch Home Care and Physical Therapy).

I started walking within a few weeks and go do a couple mile walk with my dogs any time. Once in a great while, I can feel a minute amount of pain in my back, but most times walk my way out of it. Before the operation, I could walk .25 miles and my right foot would go numb and I would have to sit down till it went away.

There was lots of things I was not doing anymore because of back pain. The operation fixed more than my back. It helps if you get off the painkillers as soon as you can, then constipation will not be a problem.

I had two excellent chiropractors over the years, but the last 4 months before surgery, they could not help much. I had a doctor in my family tell me this operation was the end of the line and he thought a lot of these big back operations didn’t go well.

I’m a little shy of 3 months after surgery . I am 68 and going to start a new business. I wouldn’t doubt that Dr. Carlson may be the best one out there.

Brian Wilson

Willie J. Senegal – Knee Replacement, Neck, Hip & Back Care

I would like to thank OSC (especially Dr. Mark McFarland, Shelly and the rest of his team).

I have received nothing but the best care from the moment I began seeing them for my neck, back , hips and knees.

My “KNEES”, oh my Lord – the incredible, bone grinding pain is gone!! Dr McFarland is an extraordinary doctor. He was patient with me during my “decision-making” process. He allowed me to become comfortable with the idea of knee replacement surgery and when I was ready – so was he.

It is so wonderful to no longer have excruciating pain with every step I’d take; to be able to stand up without assistance (a cane); to be able to take a walk with my granddaughter – it is an amazing feeling; one I had not felt for a very long time! All I can say again is THANK YOU (Thank You All)!!!

Willie Senegal

Denise Riley – Hip Replacement

Hello, my name is Denise Riley, A Celebrity Chef from the heart of the “BRONX” and this is my story!

My story is no secret .. those who know me, know my mom died about seven years ago. She was diagnosed with Cancer, and later died from a Hip-Operation in New-York City. I was not sure how she died, whether from the Cancer, or the Hip-Operation, once they opened her up.
So NOW .. about a Year ago .. I’m in need of a Hip-Operation!!! .. I was Terrified and Petrified!  For over a Year, I’ve been in fear, walking around this Earth.. IN-PAIN! .. ( believing that I was going to Die like my mom)

Until I read a Quote about Fear .. and it says..
FEAR has 2 Meanings ..
“F”orget “E”verything “A”nd “R”un
“F”ace “E”verything “A”nd “R”ise!

So after several counseling sessions from Dr. Boyd Haynes, who convinced me, time, after time, after time again,  I decided to get my surgery done.

IMMEDIATELY, after my surgery, … I felt RELIEF in my hip!  The pressure was GONE, and NO MORE EXCRUCIATING PAIN AT ALL!  I kept asking the Doctor’s and the hospital staff at “Mary-Immaculate” if they were finished, sooo many times, … They wanted to put me back to sleep to Shut-Me-Up! (lol)
But in Reality,.. The Operation was a Quick Success. It did not take long!

So NOW, I can walk again, without the use of a Cane. Thanks with the help of the staff at “Bayada” Home Health Care Team. And just to think, .. This ALL Could have been done and over with a year ago.  I even thought that my body, would have felt a “Void” once my bone would have been removed, But I don’t even feel that way, AT-ALL! My Body feels so Superb, and my surgical leg feels waaay better than my regular leg! .. It almost feel “Bionic” .. Talk about a Super, Human, Being!

I almost wish my Mother was alive, so she can be able to see how “SUCCESSFUL” my surgery went. However, I KNOW my mother is in a better place, smiling upon me from Heaven now with the Angels, saying.. “Very-Well my daughter” .. “Good-Job” “You did the right thing”!
It’s almost like I can feel her saying that .. because we we’re just that close! So I hope this touches someone who has a Mother who’s alive now, for she is your Creator, who was Blessed by GOD, who carried you in her womb, and gave birth to you. Send your Mother LIVE flowers Today, .. Because she cannot smell them Tomorrow.

And by the way .. I chose to “F”ace “E”verything “A”nd “R”ise! .. TODAY! :’)

Denise Riley

Judy Bryan – Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery

Dr. Boyd Haynes performed rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder January 5, 2017.

I dreaded the surgery because I had heard the recovery process was extremely painful and uncomfortable. However, I found the recovery to be much faster and less painful than I expected. I followed Dr. Haynes’ orders to the letter, working with a Physical Therapist and exercising as directed at home. In less than two months, I had regained full range of motion with my right arm and, at this point, have very little pain.

I currently attend exercise classes and exercise at home. Some days I have no pain and some days I have just a small amount of pain. Although it will take approximately nine months for my shoulder to heal completely, I am extraordinarily happy and satisfied with the results. I am very thankful to Dr. Haynes for his excellent surgical skills and care.

Judy Bryan

Click for more information on Rotator Cuff surgery and Dr. Haynes.

Karen Levy – Direct Anterior (Jiffy) Hip Replacement

My name is Karen Levy and I am 66 years old.

I had pain in my left hip for about 2 years.  Based on the description of my symptoms, my Primary Care Physician sent me to an Orthopaedic Specialist.  He treated me for bursitis, gave me a cortisone injection in my hip bursa and sent me to Physical Therapy.  None of that treatment worked and the pain persisted.

I had seen Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC before and loved him.  I made an appointment with him to get an opinion on my pain and what might be wrong.  He ordered an MRI.  During my follow-up visit, he said my back was fine and that I needed to see someone for my hip, as I did not have any cartilage left in my hip joint.  Dr. Carlson walked me down the hall to see his partner, Dr. John Burrow.

Dr. Burrow suggested getting a cortisone injection directly into my hip joint to see if that would help the pain and confirm my diagnosis. Now, my hip pain was not the typical ache that people who usually need a hip replacement describe.  My pain was more like hip bursitis pain, and was higher up and to the side, not groin pain that is so typical for most people.  I had an injection in the procedure room and it helped relieve the pain for a while.  But, it came back, worse than before.

Dr. Burrow recommended anterior hip replacement surgery for me.   I had the surgery and after the surgery, I did great.   I had PT at home for two weeks and then continued PT at an outpatient clinic for another few weeks.  The difference in my pain was like Night and Day, the relief was so great.  A 26 year-old would have had a hard time keeping up with me!

Dr. Burrow is tops in my book.  He is kind and he listens to what I say.  Professional, yet very caring at the same time.

Karen Levy

Click for more information on Hip Replacement and Dr. Burrows.

Deborah Gaeto – Hip Replacement

I was in a car accident that left me with non-stop pain in my back, hip, leg, groin ….my active, quality life was gone.  I have too many stomach & esophagus problems that I’m not able to take pain or anti-inflammatory drugs…the pain got so bad, I was not able to sleep. I was very sad and miserable. I was not able to walk far without having to stop and rest all the time.

Dr. Boyd Haynes tried every possible treatment to help me. When he told me I was at the point of needing a total hip replacement, I thought “I’m too young for a hip replacement. That’s for real old people.  I’m 57 years young, there must be some other way to stop this pain.”  But I scheduled the surgery anyway, then I went home to research alternative methods.  But, it just was not for me. I was in way too much pain, so I set my mind on getting a new hip.

I cried off and on the week before surgery, not sure I was doing the right thing. Well, the day of surgery, I felt very confident I was going to have a very successful outcome. Dr. Haynes words stuck in my head…he told me the key to recovery is to get moving right away, starting the day of surgery…….He was right. It felt good to move. I was able to walk up and down the hall, with a walker.

I was very happy I had the surgery, it takes some time to fully recover and I’m still on that road, but with a lot less pain. But ya’ gotta keep moving, the worst was not being able to pull my leg in bed, but you have to keep trying, it gets easier each week.

If you are not enjoying a good quality of life due to pain, please take care of yourself, the total hip replacement could be your answer to getting your life back too.

I can never thank Dr. Haynes enough for his expertise and caring about getting me out of pain. I know he can do the same for you too.

Deborah Gaeto

Click for more information on total hip replacement and Dr. Haynes.

Brian Carlsen – Cervical Spine Fusion

I suffered complications (severe numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain) from bulging cervical discs for about three years. During the year before cervical fusion (C6/C7) surgery, I was calling out sick from work, missing family events, and not sleeping well because of the pain and discomfort. I had gone from doing 50 push-ups in one minute to not being able to do a single push-up at all.

After several medication trials with my PCP, we found a combination of two that managed the pain (one was a low level narcotic that required a “pain contract” with Riverside for re-fills), and reduced the numbness and tingling, but no amount of working out and medication allowed me to regain my strength. My PCP and I decided that though the pain was managed, the weakness and atrophy were concerning enough that surgery should be strongly considered.

Several people at my place of employment, as well as colleagues from other agencies, had been to see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson for similar issues and spoke very highly of him and OSC as a whole. He is also highly-rated by several entities when searching his specialty and the Hampton Roads/Tidewater areas on the internet. I therefore saw no need to re-invent a wheel that was already rolling wonderfully and made an appointment.

At this point (03/02/2017), I am about 4 months out from surgery. I have no pain, only about 10% of the numbness and tingling I had before, and my strength is increasing steadily (I’m up to 10 push-ups before failure, but have only been cleared for exercise for about two months).

All the staff at OSC are very professional, efficient, and personable. I never felt pressured toward any decision and was always given the straight facts about my condition, and what could and could not be expected with and without surgery. Scheduling of the surgery was at my convenience and paperwork for my employer (FMLA) was coordinated with ease via e-mail and phone calls. This last part was about the best part of the entire experience, 2nd only to dealing with Dr. Carlson about my condition, as I have had many surgeries and absences from work requiring FMLA paperwork and it has always been most difficult and stressful trying to get a third party to do things the way your employer wants or will accept.

As a result of my experiences with OSC, I will continue to use their services for all of my spine and orthopaedic issues and will recommend them to anyone seeking care within the entire realm of their services.

Brian Carlsen

Click to meet Dr. Jeffrey Carlson or to contact OSC.

Bill Busby – Lumbar Fusion Surgery for Spinal Stenosis

I am an active 74-year-old male with good overall health.

My first back problem occurred in 1974 when I was 31 years old. I was building a deck and twisted around putting a stairway landing in place. The next thing I knew, I was down on all fours and had to crawl to the front door of the house. An osteopath performed a gentle manipulation treatment that was almost miraculous, and I was almost immediately as good as new. He was to be my savior for many years.

Between 1974 and 1999, I had problems every couple of years. These were sciatica in my right hamstring or, less frequently, back spasms. (For a long time, I mistook the sciatica for a recurring hamstring problem.) After the osteopath, these were treated mainly by chiropractors. I had been an active runner since the mid-1960’s. I adjusted my daily running routine according to my back problems. But I managed to compete competitively in occasional 10K races. In the late 1980’s, a chiropractor I saw when having problems on vacation advised that I should stop running. After that, I switched to bicycling and other low impact exercises.

In late 1999, after moving and starting a new job, I missed two weeks of work after a business trip with extended sitting in airline flights and meetings. Based on X-rays, a chiropractor advised the disks in my lower back (L4-L5) were quite thin and suggested I was headed for problems. I don’t know if the causes of my early back problems and those that were being identified 25 years later were the same, but the effects were.

From 1999-2012 I had relief from occasional chiropractic treatments, usually with electrical stimulation, and very rarely doctor-prescribed Prednisone 6-day packs.

Despite the preceding focus on back problems, I should emphasize that the incidents that began in 1974 were sporadic and unpredictable. Most of the time, I lived a normal pain-free life.

In mid-2012 I experienced severe lower back pain and spasms. While waiting for my appointment with a spine specialist, out of desperation, I even tried acupuncture. It did absolutely nothing to relieve the pain.

By the time of my appointment with the specialist, my wife had to push me into the office in a wheelchair. X-rays showed the disks in the L4-L5 area were very thin and there was also some disk bulging. The narrowed gap between the vertebrae was putting pressure on the nerves. I was scheduled for lumbar fusion surgery several weeks later, with the option of two epidural shots prior to that.

I went to my family doctor for a second opinion. He recommended that I take the epidural shots and have physical therapy. He gave me a referral to a therapist that had done good work with backs. Even though I was in a lot of pain, he recommended against surgery until I had exhausted the other options.

He said the success rate of back surgeries was very “iffy”. I followed his advice and after the second epidural shot and several months of therapy, was feeling good.

I also needed two epidural shots and physical therapy each year from 2014-16. The periodic primary pain I experienced was sciatica in my right hamstring when I walked or stood. I had to reduce the frequency of my daily 2+ mile walks and other activities. Only very rarely did I again have back spasms and they were minor.

The 2016, epidurals were not very effective. There was the complicating factor that right after the shots, we moved from the Richmond area to Hampton Roads. I am sure the physical activity associated with moving compounded my problems. At times, I seriously questioned whether I was going to survive the move without surgery.

After our move, I asked my daughter for recommendations for a spine specialist. She has lived here for numerous years and has a best friend who is a surgeon. After discussion with his colleagues, he gave her two names. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson was one of them. I made an appointment with Dr. Carlson first. This was based mainly on his reputation for a conservative approach and his experience with minimally-invasive surgical techniques.

Based on his examination of me and X-rays, Dr. Carlson recommended six weeks of physical therapy and then a follow-up appointment. The physical therapy did nothing. I had the follow-up appointment and he scheduled an MRI on my lower back. At the MRI follow-up appointment, Dr. Carlson said I had severe spinal stenosis. I had two options, epidural shots or surgery. He said shots weren’t usually very effective for someone with a problem of my severity. I told him I had already been down that road and could personally attest to what he said.

Regarding surgery with his techniques, he said many people returned to work about two weeks after surgery (No! I’m retired!). I would wear a back brace for six weeks. Also, I would wear a harness-type electrical stimulator two hours a day for three months to speed healing and bone growth.

Based on being “surgeon-recommended”, Dr. Carlson’s extensive resume, the huge number of surgeries he has performed, his experience with minimally-invasive techniques and a reported 95% success rate, I scheduled surgery for about a month later. I elected to not even get a second opinion. There was absolutely no pressure on me to have the surgery. The doctor said it was up to me how long I wanted to continue living with my existing condition.

The month before surgery was an emotional roller coaster for me. There were good days and bad days for the level of my sciatica pain. Also, the pain was worse in the mornings, but diminished during the day. A minimal dose of Ibuprofen most days helped, but I wasn’t supposed to be taking it or any any other NSAIDs, due to a history of ulcers.

When the pain was bad, I thought I couldn’t get the surgery done fast enough. When the pain was less, I had thoughts that maybe I could continue to avoid surgery. Complicating this was my inexperience with surgery. My only surgery was over 50 years ago. My family doctor’s 2012 caution about back surgery also continued to ring in my ears. Testimonials and information on this Website plus some videos by Dr. Carlson on YouTube helped reduce my concerns during this time. I especially recommend his comprehensive “Management of the Deterioration of the Lumbar Spine” at the following link https://youtu.be/oJTX4Tcz0Gw

Dr. Carlson performed a fusion of L4-L5-S1 in mid-January 2017. The surgery took about two hours, which was 45 minutes longer than estimated. I went home in the evening the day after the surgery. I used a walker in my home for a day or two and then switched to a cane (which I occasionally forgot to take with me!). A nurse and physical therapist did home follow-up every couple of days for about two weeks and then both released me. After three weeks, I was up to my goal of daily 2+ miles, 40-minute walks. I no longer had any leg or back pain, except near the incision. That pain was very minor. After tapering off, I stopped taking any pain medication 2-½ weeks after the surgery. After my six-week follow-up appointment, I no longer wear the back brace. Healing is progressing nicely. I have no restrictions. As originally planned, I will continue to wear the electrical stimulator 2 hrs./day for another 6 weeks. I will also have physical therapy 2x/wk. for six weeks to strengthen my back muscles.

In conclusion, based on my surgical outcome, I cannot recommend Dr. Jeffrey Carlson highly enough. The good doctor definitely knows what he is doing and has the skills to support the knowledge. Moving to the Hampton Roads area and having him recommended as a surgeon has been life-changing for both me and, indirectly, for my wife. Kudos also to the doctor’s staff, including nurse Kaye Dame, the staff of Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital and the Personal-Touch nurse, Margaret, and physical therapist, Julie, who did home follow-up. They all were instrumental in guiding this surgical-newbie through the process.

I hope that some of this information may be helpful to others who are considering similar surgery.

William Busby