Hello, my name is Priscilla Munoz and I am a 59 year old who has suffered with back pain for more than 20 years. The last eight years I suffered with nearly unbearable chronic back pain, sciatica and sleeplessness due to pain (a sleep study done in 2007 found that I awoke 78 times in a six hour period!). This pain severely impacted my daily life -- at home, socially and at work. In an effort to alleviate the pain, I had been taking a combination of Baclofen, Ultram, Aleve and Tylenol several times a day, using a lidoderm patch and a TENS (electrical stimulation) unit in the evenings. I had been to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist and finally a pain management physician. Pain management included 4 epidural steroid injections, 6 facet joint injections and a radiofrequency neurotomy. All of this only provided only temporary relief and the radiofrequency neurotomy provided no relief whatsoever.
On September 6, 2007, Dr. Jonathan Raanan, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery here at Stony Brook University, performed a discogram confirming a diagnosis of severe lumbar facet arthropathy, lumbar degenerative disk disease, axial back pain and lumbar radioculopathy. On October 25, 2007, Dr. Robert Galler, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery here at Stony Brook University performed back surgery in a four and one-half hour procedure which included decompressive laminectomy, L5-S1; facetectomy, lateral recess compression, disketomy, posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L5-S1; pedicle screw instrumented fixation, L5-S1; intertransverse fusion, autograft and allograft in the form of Infuse sponge and intertransverse fusion, L5-S1. One-on-one meetings preceded both procedures with the respective physician who described and illustrated the procedure while relating the risks and benefits in detail. Dr. Galler and Dr. Raanan were professional, sympathetic and patient while addressing all my concerns.
When I first awoke from my back surgery, Dr. Galler was there to greet me -- he told me "your back was a disaster" but assured me that all went well. I fell back asleep and was later transferred to my hospital room. When I awoke again, the first thing I noticed was that for the first time in 20 years I was pain free. PAIN FREE! Naturally, there was surgical pain but this was minor compared to the pain I had been suffering.
It has been 10 months since my surgery, and I now lead a full and normal life, free from pain and free from any pain medication. I sleep and I even dream, I can clean my own home, I garden, I travel, I go out to dinner with family and friends and I am enjoying doing things I haven't done in eight years. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Galler (my guardian angel) for his skillful hands, knowledge and professionalism and to his professional staff: Rosemarie Mercandate who scheduled all my appointments, MRI's, contacted my insurance company, called in prescriptions, filled out all work related forms that needed to be submitted both pre and post surgery, and followed up after my office visits and surgeries with a personal phone call; William Dempsey the nurse responsible for my post surgery follow up who was patient and understanding, answering all my questions and addressing my post surgery concerns; and Elizabeth Bosler, Neurosurgery Administrator who was responsible for recommending me to Dr. Galler.
I thank Dr. Galler, Dr. Raanan and their entire staff for their professionalism, understanding, kindness and true concern for my well-being.
I have recommended and will continue to recommend Dr. Galler to friends and family.