When I was 22 years old I fractured my spine playing football in a sand lot in South Bend, Indiana. The activity that I had done a thousand times over the years growing up in that small town suddenly put my life on a different course. Over the next 20 years I had a total of FIVE spine surgeries. I changed from an indestructibly strong young man to a patient with chronic pain.
I went to the University of Colorado to study engineering and to ski. I got a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering and then took a job with IBM in New York where I was a process engineer making DRAM chips. During my stay at IBM I wrote two U.S. patents and won several awards, but after 5 years I decided that I wanted more. At the age of 29 I applied to medical school and was accepted to the Indiana University School of Medicine. It was there that I decided that I wanted to treat people with chronic pain.
After finishing my residency in Anesthesiology I was accepted to the World Pain Institute at Texas Tech University, which is recognized world wide as the technology leader in this field. I had the privilege of training with Gabor Racz M.D. and Prithvi Raj M.D. It was at Tech that I was taught the most advanced techniques for treating spinal pain. I also learned that using chronic opiates to treat spinal pain doesn’t work.
I moved to Alaska in 2003 which has been a dream of mine and my wife’s for a long time. We love it here and hope to retire in Alaska. Today, after all the surgery and the long road I had to travel, I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I can snow-machine, boat, ATV and fish. I can’t do everything, but I can get close on most activities. I never would have made it this far if I had gone down the path of chronic opiates to treat my pain. There’s a better way, and my passion in life is giving patients the same opportunities that I had to get better and move forward.