Patient Stories

B. Thomas Mazahery, MD

My Story:

On Christmas Eve, 2015, I lost the use of my right arm. I was wrapping up my final holiday errands when my neck and back muscles began to spasm and excruciating pain radiated through my body. I was sent to the ER and discharged on the basis that my MRI that evening, as compared to a cervical herniation MRI from 2010, leaned the neurosurgeons to believe I would be fine with non-invasive treatment. The holiday came and went and I still had no arm function. On the recommendation of my spine and pain management doctor, I was given an emergency appointment visit with Dr. Mazahery on 12/29/15. When Dr. Mazahery saw my MRI and condition, he knew surgery was my only option. With the magic of his staff and OR team, he was able to make room in his very full surgery schedule for a cervical spine discectomy and fusion from C4-C7 the very next week, 1/5/2016. When Dr. Mazahery saw my MRI he said, "You're doing a whole lot better than your MRI says you should be doing." He also said, "You have gross motor deficit dysfunction in your right arm and this is a quality of life decision, surgery is your only option, unless you want permanent nerve damage and possible lifelong loss of the use of your right arm." As a mother, coach, and school administrator, I had to choose for quality of life, longevity, and hopefully regaining the use of my arm. I opted for the surgical procedure, which was outpatient, and was back to work 1/19/2016. I was immediately relieved of all my pain and muscle spasm symptoms. While I don't have full use yet of my axillary nerve and it's function in my arm, I am able to begin my PT 2/8/2016. My scar is hardly noticeable, and my recovery has gone very smoothly (even digging out of the 2016 blizzard). This picture was taken 1/30/2016 at the Manhattan Classic Gymnastics Invitational in NYC with my two daughters. Because of Dr. Mazahery's expeditious diagno sis and surgical intervention, I'll have the chance to regain function in my rigjt arm and I didn't have damage to any of the other four nerves in my brachial plexus. I asked Dr. Mazahery to please listen to music while I was having my surgery. At my follow up, 1/11/2016, I became a new fan of hip hop BBQ, as those 'jams' pulled my surgeon and his team through this very delicate and time intensive surgery at the end of a very end of a busy surgical day.

Thanks to my care at OrthoVirginia, I can enjoy my job as a school administrator, and participate in my two daughters' very busy sports schedules in competitive gymnastics and soccer.