If you knew Andrea Colombo, you might know that she is a wife, mother of twins, nurse, avid equestrian, certified personal trainer and exercise enthusiast. You would also know that unrelenting pain, while terrible for anyone, would be especially difficult for her to deal with in light of her extremely active lifestyle.
In December of 2003, when her twins were four, Andrea, a Sayville resident, started experiencing leg pain. Andrea recalls hoping it was something that would resolve itself, but becoming concerned when the pain only got worse. “I had heard people complain of ‘sciatica,’ or how they had pain that would run down the back of their leg. As my pain got worse, I thought that that could be what I was suffering from. It became more and more difficult to get through the day, and I knew I had to see a doctor right away.”
Because Andrea was an OR nurse at Good Samaritan, she knew whom to see. Dr. Salvatore Palumbo ordered an MRI of Andrea’s lumbar spine, and saw her right away. According to Dr. Palumbo, “Andrea had a herniated disc in her lumbar spine. Commonly this can compress a spinal nerve and cause considerable pain and numbness that radiates into the leg. This is what was happening to Andrea. As disturbing as these symptoms are it is really a very common problem in the adult spine.”
Andrea considered all of her options, and decided to try a series of three pain medication injections. She knew that many people have success with pain management, and are able to avoid or delay surgery, and was hopeful that the injections would enable her to resume her daily activities.
Unfortunately, Andrea did not get the relief she was hoping for, and called Dr. Palumbo to discuss again the possibility of surgery. “While no one wants to have surgery, I was at the point where I didn’t have any other option. The pain was so bad that not only was I suffering, but my family was as well. I could barely move. I knew this was no way to live.”
Andrea’s surgery was scheduled shortly thereafter. In March of 2004, Dr. Palumbo performed a simple microdiscectomy to remove the source of the nerve compression that had been causing Andrea’s pain. After the successful surgery, Dr. Palumbo explained to Andrea that it might take up to a week for her to feel complete relief, as the ruptured disc was quite severe and the area would need time to “cool down.” After an overnight stay in the hospital, Andrea headed home and looked forward to getting her old life back.
“After that initial recovery period, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get back to the things I loved. Of course I was cautious as I wanted my back to heal properly, but I couldn’t believe how great I felt.” In April Andrea was able to travel to Aruba for a family vacation, and was soon back to doing all the things she loved most, including taking care of her family.
“Because I worked in the hospital and knew of Dr. Palumbo’s reputation, I was confident that he would be able to help me. When I was really down, his sense of humor made me smile, which I felt I hadn’t done in months. He really spent so much time with me explaining everything, discussing all of my options, and answering every question I had. I always felt that I was in control of my treatment plan. He explained all the options that were available to me, but let me know that it would be my decision as to how we would proceed. I really appreciated that.”
Andrea also remembers how impressed she was with Dr. Palumbo’s office staff. “I’ve worked in the medical community for years, and I can honestly say that Dr. Palumbo’s office is the most competent and organized I have ever come across. Everyone I encountered at his office was polite, respectful and kind. Things like that really make a difference.”
Today Andrea is back to leading her busy and fulfilling life. “I want people to know that there are options out there. You don’t have to live with chronic pain. I am proof of that. Whatever your treatment is, whether lifestyle modification, physical therapy, pain management or surgery, you can get relief. I have recommended Dr. Palumbo and his partners many times, and I do so with absolute confidence. I am so grateful.”