Rob Satek, 46, a resident of Michigan and Florida, refers to himself as a ‘hard sell’ when it comes to doctors. “I like to do things my way, even when it comes to my medical care,” he explains.
However, three orthopedic surgeries in 14 months changed his mind.
Satek, who has been snowmobiling, riding motorcycles and racing motocross and speed boats for most of his life, recently found himself in so much back pain that he decided it was time to sell his bikes and boats. He was forced to use a wheelchair in some cases just to get around. “No one thinks about the wear and tear on the body when you’re doing those sports,” he explained. “Especially not me.”
Reluctantly, at the suggestion of a friend, Satek visited Frank Phillips, MD, a minimally invasive spine expert at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR). After imaging, a thorough exam and extensive conversation with Satek, Dr. Phillips recommended a spinal fusion to relieve his pain. Satek agreed, underwent the L5 to S1 fusion surgery and was thrilled to be walking again without back pain a week after surgery. “I’m not an emotional guy, but one of my most emotional moments was when I realized that Dr. Phillips had fixed my back,” he says.
During a follow up appointment, Dr. Phillips noticed something unusual about Satek’s shoulder and asked him how long it had been hurting. “I couldn’t believe it,” Satek says. “I never mentioned my shoulder to him, but he could tell it was bothering me. I actually hadn’t been able to pull the starter on my snowmobile for some time.”
That same day, Dr. Phillips introduced Satek to MOR partner, Dr. Nikhil Verma, a sports medicine surgeon who diagnosed Satek with a torn rotator cuff and recommended surgery to relieve his pain. Once again, Satek agreed and not long after surgery, he was back in the gym. “I really like the way these doctors collaborated about my care,” Satek says. “They really understand the human body and how all of its parts work together.”
One year later, Satek begain experiencing pain again, this time in his foot. He was having trouble walking several blocks, so he called his friends at MOR once again. He met Dr. Kamran Hamid, a foot and ankle specialist, who diagnosed him with a bone spur and recommended surgery to remove it. He agreed, but warned Dr. Hamid that he had a vacation planned post-surgery that he didn’t want to miss. Three weeks after surgery, Satek left for Florida and Dr. Hamid agreed to monitor his care unconventionally. “I sent Dr. Hamid regular texts with photos and updates about my foot,” he explains. “I described what was going on and he replied with any modifications that he felt were necessary.”
Today, Satek is back to riding snowmobiles, motorcycles and enjoying an active lifestyle without any pain.
“I’m not a professional athlete but I run my life like one,” he explains. “I like that the MOR doctors treat the pros. If they can get those guys back into the game, they are the only ones I want to get me back to my active life.”