Dear Dr. Hope, First Letter

February 2010

Dear Dr. Hope,

I am sure you don’t remember me, but I was one of your patients back in the 1990s. You did a laminectomy on me in 1996 or 1997. As I was stuck in the house during Snowpocalypse 2010, I stumbled across your web page, and I felt compelled to write you well over a decade after the surgery.

With the surgery having been some 12 or 13 years ago, that period of my life is a long past. But, thinking about it, I was reminded of what my life was like leading up the surgery. At one point, my back “went out”, and the pain was so intense that I actually started dry heaving and went into shock. Following that, there was a six-month period where I was in pain 24 hours a day. For approximately two years, I could not bend over even the slightest bit. My work was suffering, my relationships were suffering, and my life was suffering.

After the surgery you performed at Fair Oaks Hospital, the recovery was slow, but steady. Some six months after the surgery, I had maybe 80% of my mobility back, with some slight pain. A later year, I could touch my toes again, with a slight twinge. Another year after that, I was effectively 100% recovered.

Since the surgery and recovery, it’s been a great decade or so physically. I’ve run a few half-marathons, I’ve bicycled 400 miles in five days, I’ve taken extreme fitness classes on a regular basis, and I’ve been able to carry and throw around my three-year-old son. I now work out every single day, including regular five-mile runs. It is no exaggeration to say that you gave me my life back.

At the time, you said you did 300 laminectomies a year. So, likely I came and went and, probably like most of a surgeon’s patients, you never heard from me again. However, I sometimes take the pain-free life that I now have pretty much for granted. So, I felt the need to make sure you know how your work has lived on in one patient 13 years later.

Thank you.



Dr. Donald Hope