Kim Chetuck, a 42-year-old mother of two boys, suffered from back pain and discomfort in her hip. Used to an active lifestyle, she was limited by a loss of motion and was experiencing difficulty in walking. A normally healthy person, she started to feel physically ill and emotionally drained. Wanting her life back, Mrs. Chetuck was determined to discover the cause of her pain.
For years, she searched for answers. Various physicians and specialists concluded that she would just have a “bad back” forever. Some even went as far as saying that she was imagining her symptoms. The cycle of misdiagnosis continued for approximately seven years. Mrs. Chetuck, though, was adamant about finding the cause for her condition.
Finally, she visited a Good Samaritan pain management specialist. He investigated beyond the back problems and focused on the pain in her hip. After being referred for an MRI, Mrs. Chetuck was diagnosed with a neurofibroid tumor located off a branch of the sciatic nerves by the femur. The tumor was so large (10.5 cm), that it was both causing sciatic pain and not allowing her to rotate her hip or to lift her foot. The only option was surgery.
Mrs. Chetuck was then referred to Borimir Darakchiev, MD, a Good Samaritan neurosurgeon. When she was heading to her first visit at his office, her pain was so excruciating that her leg began to buckle as she exited the car. Her husband brought her directly to Good Samaritan’s Emergency Department. She provided Dr. Darakchiev’s name, and he was immediately called. Without even meeting Mrs. Chetuck, Dr. Darakchiev remembered her unique story. He reviewed her records and acted fast, scheduling her surgery for the very next day. After her previous experiences, Mrs. Chetuck was gratified by the attentiveness of Dr. Darakchiev and the speed with which he acted. She felt as if she instantly had become a priority to him.
Dr. Darakchiev successfully removed the neurofibroid tumor during a 4 hour demanding micro-neurosurgical surgical procedure. The pain, which had led to a loss of muscle tone and an inability to walk, was alleviated. Damage done by the tumor, however, has left Mrs. Chetuck unable to lift the front part of her foot, but she feels grateful for her overall health. Dr. Darakchiev said, “I felt a personal responsibility for Kim. Her years of misdiagnosis and struggle were very difficult on her. The next step is to find a way to help her walk easier.”
Today, Mrs. Chetuck is able to perform many of the activities that she had previously lost the ability to do, including keeping up with her children. “Dr. Darakchiev did everything he could to minimize the damage left by the tumor. He was very meticulous. I immediately felt better with the tumor out. At last, I got my health and life back. Being pain-free is the best gift I could get.”