Take me to St. Mark’s: Where the right people do things the right way
When Dr. Teja performed a lumbar fusion on Peggy, he saw the deep extent of her damage – it was worse than they thought.
Peggy Vogel chalked up her back pain to a genetic predisposition to osteoporosis and a past car accident. Really, the reasons didn’t matter as much as the resolution. She had dealt with back pain for years and was tired of it ruling her life.
“Living in pain constantly is no fun … and it just kept getting worse,” Peggy said.
In 2015, Peggy and her husband moved from Maryland to Utah. But before unpacking, they departed on a 17-hour plane ride to Hong Kong to visit their son and his family.
“I wouldn’t tell anyone, but I was in such awful pain. At night that I couldn’t sleep. Medication didn’t touch it. I’d want to get up the next day and be active with my grandchildren … I knew I couldn’t keep this up,” Peggy said.
Finding the right neurosurgeon: It’s worth it!
Upon returning to the United States, Peggy pursued treatment at a large hospital in Utah, but something told her to get a second opinion. That’s how she met Dr. Sandeep Teja, a board-certified neurosurgeon at St. Mark’s Hospital with more than 20 years of experience.
“I just liked him so much. He listens, he’s personable and objective too. He gives the facts, presents all the options and then it’s up to you to decide how to proceed,” Peggy said.
After a few spinal injections and physical therapy, Sandy chose to have Dr. Teja perform a less invasive procedure called a laminectomy in 2020. During the procedure, he removed a small portion of vertebrae to ease pressure and reduce pain. Unfortunately, the technique only proved that Peggy needed a more in-depth surgery.
St. Mark’s Hospital: The doctor didn’t give up until it was right
At this point, Peggy couldn’t walk short distances or even stand at her kitchen island without radiating pain that forced her to sit down. She felt ready for a lumbar fusion extension, a surgical procedure to permanently connect multiple vertebrae, eliminating motion and pain.
Dr. Teja anticipated the surgery would last 4 hours, but the time doubled to 8 hours when he saw the extent of damage involved.
“He had to work long and hard to get to a point where he felt I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. I wanted to cry when thanking Dr. Teja for sticking with it all that time to get it where he wanted. I just couldn’t find the words to tell him how much I appreciated that,” Peggy said.
The right place for healing
Peggy said that right away, she could tell a difference. The lumbar fusion helped heal her debilitating back pain. In the past several years, she has also sought out advice and care from other physicians at St. Mark’s to address additional painful problems.
“In the last 18 months, I’ve had knee replacement surgery, hip replacement surgery and rotator cuff surgery – all at St. Mark’s Hospital. When people ask what I did during the Covid pandemic, I tell them I became half of a bionic woman,” Peggy said. “Every doctor I’ve met and every procedure I’ve had at St. Mark’s has been wonderful. The people are professional, kind and friendly. It’s always been a good experience there. I say ‘Take me to St. Mark’s’ because I have confidence that they’ll do things right.”