Sharon's story: GRATITUDE
Sometime in 2006 or 2007 I began having severe sciatic attacks in my left leg. I tried many alternative treatments for it, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, Svaroopa yoga, energy healing and massage, hoping beyond hope that it was a passing thing. Nothing relieved the pain, which my PT said was "structural," and so I finally, reluctantly, went to see an orthopedist recommended by a good friend, Dr. Gerald Becker. He ordered an MRI and laughed when I said I needed to put my glasses on to look at it. The "severe spinal stenosis" was clearly apparent, no magnification needed. Treatment was epidural cortisone injections, or surgery. Crying from fear, shock and chronic pain, I opted for the epidural and Becker's nurse was able to get me an immediate appointment at Jefferson Radiology. That's when I met Dr. Jack Foster, the interventional radiologist who is quite possibly the best physician I've ever encountered in my lifetime, aside from my own husband.
Unlike so many other doctors, Jack gets that his patients are whole human beings and relates to us as such. His kindness, skill and compassion blend together to offer treatment that was for me, so much more than just a shot in the behind. He explained everything, listened carefully, helped me to see the limitations I faced with the cortisone injections as therapy for the sciatica, but best of all really saw the dilemmas and conflicts I faced in trying to manage my busy and full life with chronic pain. After a year and a half or so of treatment he said, "If you were a little old lady in a rocking chair, I could probably manage you on these injections. But you're not. You're young (I was 65), you're fit, you have a wonderfully full and rich life--have the surgery. It will be successful."
When a person's life is colored with pain, they are extremely vulnerable, and can have difficulty with judgment and decision-making. Jack gave me the confidence, support and sense of security I needed in choosing to have a lumbar fusion, which I did in November 2008. He even came to visit me in the hospital after the surgery. To this day I am immensely grateful to him for encouraging me in this difficult decision, and for being right in his vision. I am fine, active, healthy, and continue to live the full and rich life he applauded me for. I write this to celebrate Dr. Jack Foster, Jefferson Radiology interventional radiologist, and to thank him again for all he did for me, medically, emotionally and spiritually.