90 Adams Place
Delmar, NY 12054
530 Main St.
Bennington, VT 05201
“The compassionate and skilled folks at The Stram Center provided everything I needed...to recover so fully.”
In 2007, I was 52 years old and in the best shape of my life: a long-distance cyclist, a dedicated weightlifter, and recreational runner. I was at peak fitness and a thrumming vitality was my usual state.
One year later, I faced the prospect of extensive surgery on my cervical spine for a serious condition: spinal stenosis with myelopathy, a fancy way of saying that the bones of my neck were compressing the spinal cord and causing numbness, tingling, and weakness of both my arms and legs. My surgeon told me that the condition was progressive and could leave me wheelchair-bound, incontinent of bowel and bladder, and impaired in the use of my hands and arms. He also told me that the surgery would prevent further destruction of my spinal cord, but that I might be left permanently with the numbness and weakness I was already experiencing.
My journey with the healers and staff at The Stram Center started before my surgery. I think I've seen nearly everybody on staff through this ordeal!
I also elected to become a primary care patient of Jennifer Adams, NP, around the same time. I needed a primary care provider, and I wanted a holistic focus. Jenn is wonderful. She's seen me through this surgery, my protracted recovery, and now also provides care for my entire family in a skilled, compassionate and holistic manner. It's wonderful to see someone for your health needs that remembers your name and story from visit to visit!
I had the surgery in April, 2008. My surgeon had to do stabilize my cervical vertebrae from C3 to C7. I was in the hospital for a week. My postoperative recovery was complicated by the development of adhesive capsulitis - frozen shoulder. I was in pain now not only from the extensive surgery, but also from my left shoulder. The pain was debilitating. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't exercise----I couldn't walk more than 10 minutes at a time. I couldn't take the narcotics and muscle relaxers my surgeon prescribed because they made me ill. Ibuprofen, which helped some, irritated my stomach. I was running out of options.
Chris Reilly got me through several months of the worst pain with his acupuncture treatments. I would get significant relief from a session, enough so that I could function without drugs. He kept me moving and functional when it was critical for me to keep moving. Little by little, the symptoms of my spinal cord compression resolved. The numbness and tingling went away, and so did the weakness in my hands and legs.
I still had quite a bit of pain, though. So Chris suggested I consult Dr. Korey DiRoma and Sue Coughtry as well. Dr. DiRoma helped me by prescribing an anti-inflammatory herbal and dietary regimen so that I could heal and cope with pain without the drugs that made me so ill.
Sue Coughtry really turned the ship around for me. She provided a safe environment in which I could explore some of the blocks in healing and let them go. She worked with me in a truly mind-body-spirit fashion. Her skill in craniosacral massage and body work in general effectively sped up my recovery. She also helped me see the silver lining to the cloud of my ordeal: I have learned new ways of working with my body in movement that provide a new and different kind of joy than I had experienced as an athlete.
It's been seven months since my surgery. I am pain-free 95% of the time now. I have about 85% shoulder mobility restored. I am able to sleep at night! I have no symptoms of spinal cord compression. I am able to go to the gym again, and while I'm not lifting weights or cycling for 100 miles at a clip now, I take dance classes, and spin classes, and long walks. I feel restored to a sense of health and wellness.
I knew that some people come out of surgery like mine burdened with chronic pain and significant disability. I was very frightened at how difficult, complicated, and long my recovery was. My surgeon was skilled and compassionate, but his tools were limited. I needed so much more help to recover than any allopathic physician's office could offer. The compassionate and skilled folks at The Stram Center provided everything I needed----from alternatives to narcotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to therapeutic mental techniques to facilitate healing. I am very, very grateful to each and every practitioner who helped me feel so good and recover so fully. Thank you.Susan D. Rosenberg, MD