Spine PatientMy name is Amy, I am a mother of three boys and a nurse. Being on our feet all day while lifting patients & heavy items are very taxing on a nurses’ back, especially mine. In 2000, I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis, which can make some medical treatments difficult. In 2005 I had a total disc replacement in my L5-S1 spine. In 2017 I woke up in excruciating pain where I couldn’t move. My family needed to call 911 and I was taken to the hospital. The doctors and nurses did everything they could to help my pain, but due to my MS it made treatments difficult. While I was in the hospital I found out that the hospital spine surgeon (Dr Tantorski) was away for the weekend and his associates were taking care of me. My 3rd day in the hospital he arrived to my hospital room and was very compassionate to the amount of pain I was in. He immediately changed my course of therapy. From that day forward I improved and left the hospital after 5 days. He immediately organized my 1st round of treatment. When I left the hospital I was to go to the surgery center to get an epidural steroid injection and later begun physical therapy. He understood that with my MS surgery was my last option. After 2 years of on & off again treatments & therapy my pain became unbearable. I had pain across my lower back with pain & numbness shooting down my leg. Now my only option was surgery. Dr Tantorski explained that the surgery I needed what is called a “Direct Lateral Interfody Fusion with 4 screws & 2 rods” (DLIF). His reassurance to my recovery was very comforting. The morning of my surgery I was positive that my surgery would be successful. After my surgery I can remember waking up in recovery room and just kept saying “the numbness and pain are gone in my leg”. When I was discharged from the hospital the next day he told me if I had any question to call him. I was back to work 3 months later. A year later I am still pain-free! Dr. Tantorski‘s excellent surgical skills saved my quality of life and my career as a nurse. I can now play soccer, basketball and ride bikes with my three boys which I haven’t been able to do for years. Thank you Dr Tantorski you are the absolute BEST!!!!
Holly Goodroad, P.E
Spine PatientThe reason why I contacted Dr. Tantorski and his Team was because I was experiencing extreme pain in my neck and left arm. My left arm was very weak and most of the fingers on my left hand were numb. This pain, numbness, and weakness was constant which affected my day-to-day life activities and also my sleep schedule. It was tough for me because I am an active person and enjoy doing sports and activities such as golf, paddle boarding, running, swimming, skiing, etc. Since I was in so much pain, my activity level was very limited. Even playing Wii golf or bowling was challenging. I tried everything (stretching, going to the Chiropractor, using Lidocaine patches, taking over-the-counter pain relievers), but nothing seemed to ease the intense pain to a point where I could stand it. When I met Dr. Tantorski, I immediately felt confident that he could help me out because of how he conducted his examinations. He was extremely thorough and also had a nice way of communicating his thoughts. He answered all of my questions and did so with kindness and patience (because I asked a lot of questions). After the first visit he diagnosed me with the herniated disc issue. It gave me relief to at least have an idea of what was causing me such intense pain.
Then when I had my second checkup after getting my MRI results, he was honest and confident about how to most effectively treat my herniated disk issue. He explained the whole procedure to me, which was great because I have anxiety about surgical procedures. Dr. Tantorski and his amazing Team have changed my life. I had not realized it, but I have had some level of discomfort in my neck for roughly the last 10 years. It was not excruciating during that duration, only within the last year, but the surgery he has performed has gotten me back to my normal self. I am enjoying playing sports and all of my other favorite activities pain free. The only thing that reminds me of my surgery is a small scar across my neck. But that is vanishing as time passes and I continue to heal. Every time my friends, family, and coworkers see me, they make mention of how tiny the scar keeps getting. I am very happy with Dr. Tantorski and his Team and would recommend them to anyone! Great group!
I grew up with scoliosis and was braced while I was in middle school. In my 20’s, I started to have significant pain which resulted in having a microdiscectomy when I was 26 and 30 years old, however I had avoided the need for a fusion. Prior to meeting Dr. Tantorski, I was facing chronic pain and limitations due to scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. I had been working with a physical therapist, had injections and had been participating in triathlon however was no longer able to run or ride a bike due to my pain and limits.
This had been a lifelong problem and I was frustrated that my body was changing, pain was getting worse and it was impacting all areas of life including work, social as well as physical activity. I have a job that I love, that requires travel and long days and it was incredibly painful to get through the day. On my days working from home, I would often work from my bed. I began to cancel plans or no longer make plans with friends because I never knew how I would feel. I became more and more isolated and became depressed. I was not hopeful about my future.
When I first met with Dr. Tantorski, we did not discuss surgery, we discussed my quality of life and worked on conservative treatments. He listened to my concerns, what I wanted out of my life and answered all of my questions. It was important to me to be treated as a person, not only as a patient. As time went on, and I continued to struggle and decompensate, we began to talk of surgery. Leading up to surgery, we did every test, tried all options and took careful time and discussion in planning.
Now that I am 2.5 years post op from a staged spine fusion, Dr Tantorski continues to be supportive, giving advice and suggestions when asked and always encouraging me to stay active. At our most recent appointment, I asked if there were any limits placed on my activity. He responded that I am doing well and that my fusion is strong and that I don’t have limits; the goal was to not have any limits.
Today, my life is better than I could have imagined. I still work for the same company and recently received a great promotion, am very active with my friends and family and I continue to get stronger each day. Life is not without struggle but mostly from muscle soreness or managing my body’s imbalances. I do not live in pain. I have competed in long distance open water swim events, triathlon relays, runs and even compete in an obstacle course races. Our decision to move forward with surgery had to do with quality of life and he told me that this would be a life altering surgery. Yes, it was life altering in so many ways even giving me the courage to make some major life changes. I truly have a life that I could not have imagined. – Tamie Ganglof