I am so thankful for the professional care and treatment that I have received from Dr. Stark and his staff. The results that I am having from the SI fusion surgery Dr. Stark performed on me are miraculous. I have been shuffled from doctor to doctor in the Iowa Workmans' Compensation system for the past four and a half years and continually heard "we have done absolutely everything that we could possibly do with regard to your care." I have suffered through a back surgery, months of physical therapy, four years of taking painkillers just to get through the day, as well as appointment after appointment with "specialists" all across the state of Iowa. I had given up any hope that I would ever enjoy the quality of life that I had enjoyed prior to my fall at work in December of 2000.
After only one visit with Dr. Stark and his staff, I was assured that the problem was not my back at all and that the pain I was experiencing came from my SI joint. The symptoms that Dr. Stark sat and discussed with me before he even knew what I had been through convinced me that he knew exactly what he was doing. These were the same symptoms that I had shared with numerous other doctors to which I was told everything from "it's all in your head" to " you are just trying to get more money through the workers' compensation system." Dr. Stark's patience to sit and talk to me about my condition and to explain the procedure he would need to do was priceless. As I said, I had given up hope that anything could be done to help me. I decided that I didn't have anything to lose, since my current condition felt like it was worsening day by day. I couldn't even walk to the end of my driveway to pick up my mail from the mailbox without experiencing pain so severe that I would spend the rest of the day taking pain pills and laying down. So the SI joint fusion surgery was scheduled.
It was the best decision I have made in years. The relief from pain was immediate. I had some pain from the surgery itself, but it was different from the excruciating pain that I had experienced daily for the past four and a half years. I was up on crutches the very next morning and working with physical therapists on getting around on them. My surgery was on Monday morning and I went home to Iowa on Wednesday evening smiling. My wife and I cried with each other because we knew that I had been given a new lease on life. The miserable pain that had made me feel helpless was gone. My wife said that the sparkle had come back in my eyes and that the man she had married was back. The mean, grumpy, and miserable person that she had lived with and cared for over the past few years was gone.
It is now six weeks from the date of my surgery and I am still getting around on the crutches. I have not taken any pain medication—not even Tylenol—for over three weeks now. I am getting stronger and stronger everyday and am looking forward to the day that I can put the crutches away for good and get around without them.
I still have a long way to go to get back to the person who takes long walks, hikes, and dances the night away, but I am getting closer everyday. I can't thank Dr. Stark enough for his expertise, his patience, and the care that he and his staff provided me. Through it all I have gained back the strength and hope that I had long ago abandoned.
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