Six years ago, at the age of 47, Debbie Cunningham suddenly started to experience terrible body pain, particularly in her back and down her left leg. At first, her doctors thought she had over exerted herself while preparing to run a marathon. But the pain never abated. It got worse—so much worse that within four months Debbie was using a cane and then a walker for support. “My entire life changed and so did my family’s because I couldn’t do the things they were used to me doing,” Debbie recalled.
In the process of trying to resolve her pain, Debbie estimates she saw anywhere from 25 to 30 specialists. At one point, it was believed her pain was due to fibromyalgia, but her rheumatologist eventually suspected that her chronic pain was caused by something else, so he referred her to Dr. David C. Levi, an interventional pain specialist at Pain & Spine Specialists of Connecticut.
He diagnosed Debbie with lumbar spondylosis and degenerative disc disease. But he did more than that: he gave Debbie hope. “Dr. Levi told me, ‘We are going to do whatever it takes to get you better. You’re too young to be in this much pain and using a walker.’”
“The day after the injection I got up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, could it even be possible that I am not in pain?’”
The successful treatment required extra care, since Debbie suffers from a life-threatening rubber latex allergy. Dr. Levi made sure her procedure was scheduled as the first of the day to avoid any possible latex contamination from later procedures. He also took special care with the actual injection syringes to avoid any contact with rubber that could endanger Debbie. “He could not have been kinder,” she said. “He cared enough to go around the obstacles for someone who really needed help.”
Debbie now reports that she is basically pain-free for the first time in six years. She is able to go places again and do things like walk up and down stairs without thought. And even though she had not used her walker in months, she just recently let go of the painful memories and took it out of her car. “When your health is pulled out from you like that, you take every pain-free moment as a blessing,” she said.