International Patient

"I am now running easily and comfortably along the hot sands of Brazil, my country."

By Zulema De Stefano

Time has really gone incredibly fast since my surgery on November 2, 2004. I was born with hereditary bunions and have suffered from that foot deformity all of my life.

I first considered reconstructive surgery about five years ago when my adult daughter was doing a pediatric dentistry residency at Boston University. I had done some research to identify the best orthopedic hospitals. Ironically, when I visited my daughter, I found myself walking past one of the best, New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. As I walked past, I often found myself dreaming of having my feet corrected at The Baptist.

My daughter had moved to San Francisco, but my pain became unbearable. In August of 2004, I searched for information about my problem on The Baptist's web site. There I found Dr. Leavitt's credentials and read his articles on foot reconstruction. I telephoned The Baptist and asked to speak to Dr. Ken Leavitt. At his request, I had x-rays sent to him, then I talked to him twice more by phone from my home in Santos, Brazil.

Working with Dr. Leavitt and The Baptist's International Department, I arrived in Boston on November 1, 2005, had outpatient day surgery on November 2, then checked into the hospital's recommended hotel, where Dr. Leavitt visited me for the first couple of days to check on my progress. Three weeks later, I left for Brazil.

Believe me, I never forget any minute of my wonderful experience in Boston. I wish I could be there again, handling everything, all over again, calling a cab to go just across the street, I mean, driving around two blocks... simply to cross the street... living quietly behind windows and glass doors, all around in Boston... just watching the world, and waiting, confidently, for the day I would be able to run along the hot sands of my country.

I owe Dr. Leavitt so much that sometimes, I look at my feet to make sure all has been real. Thank God. Thank you Dr. Leavitt a million times. My feet now make me happy. They are doing very well. They are the feet I had dreamed of for a lifetime. They still complain when in pointed shoes. It will be for a while, it seems to me. I keep exercising and stretching the tissues. It has been three months now and I am running easily and comfortably along the hot sands of my country.

   Zulema De Stefano
    Professor of Law
    Catholic University of Santos
    Santos - Sao Paulo, Brazil