Category Archives: People who have healed me

Day 37 – Dr. Kobrine

Dr. Arthur Kobrine is one of my all time heroes.  Here’s the back story of how I met this amazing man:  While I was in Peace Corps, my back started hurting a lot and my feet started going numb.  Not fun.  Eventually (after drinking lots of hot liquids, gatorade, sleeping with the windows closed), I convinced the PC doctors to get me an x-ray.  They found that I had a mass inside my spinal column.  Pretty freaky.  They ended up sending me (with Jesse, thank goodness!) to the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington DC.  We packed up everything, said goodbye to our friends and family and headed back state-side.  By and by, PC hooked me up with Dr. Kobrine.

Now, you have to understand this:  Dr. Kobrine is the absolute best neurosurgeon in the world.  Understand?  Good.  He operated on James Brady when he was shot (apparently there’s a TV movie made about this in which David Strathairn plays Dr. Kobrine (which totally makes sense!  They totally look alike!)) and even performed back surgery on Heydar Aliyev’s sister or daughter or something (he had an Azeri carpet in his office… weird).  So, here I was, getting ready to have surgery by the best neurosurgeon in the world.  He explained the procedure like it was as easy as brushing his teeth.  I never, for a moment, felt nervous.  I knew I was in good hands.  Looking back, that seems kind of strange, I feel like I should have been nervous.

I was out for about 7 hours.  In that time, Dr. Kobrine completely removed the lamina from my T-8 and T-9 vertebra.  When he got that off, he could see that I had an olive sized tumor that was basically filling my spinal column and my spinal cord was being compressed to the size of a ribbon.  He removed the whole tumor (yay!), sewed me back up and now I can walk.  He later told me that I was probably a month or two away from being permanently paralyzed from the middle of my back down.  (phew!)

When Jesse and I left his office a week after surgery, we both had a very surreal feeling.  How do you thank and say goodbye to the man who essentially saved my life?  Well, that’s pretty much why he’s my hero.

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Day 22 – Dr. Pilar Bradshaw

I first met Dr. Bradshaw on my 19th birthday.  I was a freshman in college and I had been having really bad headaches.  I finally went to the health center on February 24th and the doctor there found evidence that I could possibly have a brain tumor.  She recommended that I see my primary doctor to have it further checked out.  My regular doctor, Dr. Roe wasn’t going to be in the office the next day, so I was scheduled to meet with Dr. Bradshaw.  My dad came and picked me up in Corvallis and we headed to Eugene and a birthday spent in various doctor’s offices.  To make a long story short, Dr. Bradshaw checked me out, sent me off to an MRI and ended up saying, “Goody gum drops… you don’t have a tumor… ”  I’ll never forget that she said, “goody gum drops.”

I ended up having pseudotumor cerebri, which is a much less scary diagnosis than a brain tumor.  Dr. Bradshaw gave me my first lumbar puncture (spinal tap) on my birthday and I ended up getting a couple more puncutures and treating it with medications.  Dr. Bradshaw was so amazingly supportive and understanding during this whole scare.  She has been my doctor ever since.  So what if she’s a pediatrician… she says I’m her favorite (and oldest) patient.  Why should I find someone new when I love her so much?  I suppose I’ll find another doctor when I have my own kids to take to see Dr. Bradshaw.

Dr. Bradshaw is also a very accomplished violinist.   “Her violin performance studies at the University of Oregon began at age eleven with concertmaster of the Eugene Symphony, Lawrence Maves. She attended the University of Oregon as a National Merit Scholar, where she was a Ruth Lorraine Close music scholarship recipient and concerto soloist. She graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (Oregon Six), Senior Woman of the Year, and female valedictorian. Afterwards she studied violin performance with Sir Trevor Williams at the Royal College of Music in London and attended the Aspen Summer Music School on scholarship to work in the studio of Dorothy DeLay. Her recordings include the Grammy winning Penderecki Credo and Schubert Mass in A-Flat Major with the Oregon Bach Festival. She plays the violin made by her great grandfather, Carl C. Holzapfel, which won the gold medal at the 1926 Sesquicentennial International Competition in Philadelphia.” – Bio on Chamber Music Amici website

Dr. Bradshaw has been there for me many times in my life and I admire her very much.

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