OAA Patient Ambassador: Meet Gregg

November 01, 2015

Meet Gregg – a history buff and former volunteer at two Allentown School District elementary schools. Gregg Photo of Gregg and his wife.is OAA’s November Patient Ambassador after having his spinal stenosis treated by Dr. Amir Fayyazi of OAA’s Spine Center of Excellence.
Gregg was fighting prostate cancer when one day his legs began to hurt so badly that he couldn’t take another step. He assumed this condition was related to his cancer or a side effect of the treatments that he had been receiving, but Gregg’s physician informed him that spinal stenosis was likely the culprit and referred him to Dr. Fayyazi.
Gregg was suffering from spinal stenosis, also known as spinal narrowing, due to degenerative disc disease and lumbar instability. As the result of the stenosis, he was suffering from low back pain, leg pain, and the inability to walk. He was initially treated conservatively. Unfortunately, non-invasive measures were not helpful. He underwent lumbar laminectomy, a surgery that creates space to relieve the pressure on his nerves. He also underwent a lumbar fusion at the level where the spine was unstable.
Prior to surgery, Gregg’s condition was significantly impacting his life. “I hurt so badly that I could not get my legs up to get in bed without help, I could only walk a few feet, and I could not pick up or hold my only grandchild” says Gregg. Dr. Fayyazi informed Gregg that his condition would likely only get worse without treatment. After conservative treatment did not alleviate his pain Gregg decided to go ahead with surgery. “I made the choice to have Dr. Fayyazi do the spinal fusion – I figured it could not be any worse than I was. Never, ever, did I guess how wonderfully it would turn out!”  
Photo of Dr. Amir FayyaziDr. Fayyazi, a board certified and fellowship-trained spinal surgeon since 2004, finds great satisfaction in helping his patients. When asked about his job, Dr. Fayyazi stated that “the most enjoyable moments in my job are when patients like Gregg come back and are happy about their surgery. It is exhilarating when you see how effective you have been in treating a patient.” Gregg enjoyed his experiences with OAA, but especially with Dr. Fayyazi – “Our Interactions with Dr. Fayyazi have been wonderful, friendly, warm, and professional at all times. I asked him to be up front with the issues and concerns with my spinal stenosis. He has always been completely open and honest with my wife and I.”
When asked what advice he would give someone with back pain Gregg offered this piece of advice: “See Dr. Fayyazi and have a good open conversation with him. Dr. Fayyazi did not want to rush into my surgery – surgery wasn’t discussed until all the tests indicated that was what had to be done.” Gregg is a firm believer in the old phrase “you get out of therapy what you put into it” and as a result, he worked very hard to regain leg strength after his surgery so he could try to return to his volunteer position at the elementary school. “The children were great and sent me get well cards.”  
“The way my legs hurt and handicapped me so badly I felt I had to try and do something, and Dr. Fayyazi offered my best hope for the help,” said Gregg. Dr. Fayyazi added that “Gregg was quite disabled prior to surgery and is now very happy to have regained his function.”