The following selections are taken from recent letters of appreciation received by Dr. Saper and the Institute. Some of these letters were written years after the patient's last visit to MHNI, a powerful testament to the lasting impact of the care they received.
"I have never, ever, met a doctor like Dr. Saper."
In my lifetime, I have dealt with many doctors. Many I love, and there are some that you could take or leave. But I have never, ever, met a doctor like Dr. Saper. He is a man of extreme knowledge and understanding of his field of practice. It's nice to know that when you are going through severe head pain, there is someone who understands, cares, and listens. That is Dr. Saper. He develops a detailed plan to hit the headaches head on, with adjustments as needed.
Sad to say, I am going to miss Dr. Saper and his colleagues. I am grateful for his and their help. I am already looking forward to my follow-up visits, and will never stop telling the story of the Salem witches, and why Jersey tees are called Jersey tees.
It's comforting knowing that your doors are always open...
"Exceeded my expectations!"
Dr. Saper, Dr. Tariq, Mr. Hamel, Gayle, Cheryl and Dr. Shamas,
I cannot thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into me as a patient. The extra tests done and reassurance you gave exceeded my expectations! Thank you for helping me, and always seeking alternatives to manage my headaches. I am praying to God that you knowledge will keep me headache (minimal) from this point on. I truly appreciate the time and patience you invested in me as your patient. As I head back home, I leave with hopefulness that this can be managed and I can return to the life I had before.
I am hoping to never have to return inpatient, but I would always love to see you again.
"Knowing you will not give up on any of us..."
Dr. Joel Saper and Staff,
The care I receive here in the Head Pain Unit compares to no other. The fact of knowing you will not give up on any of us if we are working with you, gives us so much hope. Without hope, I can't imagine.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"Life is wonderful when you're feeling good"
To the entire staff at MHNI,
The heart that gives, gathers...
Wishing you all the timeless treasure of Christmas and Hanukkah:
The warmth of home, the love of family
and the company of good friends.
I am forever grateful to each one of you that has been a part of my headache treatment... life is wonderful when you're feeling good... Bless everyone of you for your constant work and fine care.
"I am now living my life for the first time in years"
Happy Thanksgiving! I can't thank you enough for all you did for me. I am now living my life for the first time in years, so I am thankful for you.
"I credit your wisdom and expertise in creating a program that has left me with my own personal headache management toolbox!"
Dear Dr. Saper and "team" (Bob, Gayle, Cheryl and Ann), Dr. Ensfield, Dr. Da Silva, Jan and all the nurses and staff,
I wanted to thank you for all you have done for me. My stay at the hospital was an incredible experience! I came with the hope that you would help my headaches get better and become more manageable and they did. Your approach of a combination of meds, relaxation techniques, creating a pain coping plan, talks on pacing, care of the neck, exercise and crafts (a personal fave!) was a true recipe for success and what makes it such a unique program.
Going home was the tough part though. I was constantly wondering how I would fit in all the relaxation and exercise into my daily life with a very busy 9-year-old! It has been challenging but doable and I am adjusting well. I credit your wisdom and expertise in creating a program that has left me with my own personal headache management toolbox!
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who took such good care of me. I tell everyone who will listen about the program and MHNI!
"Bottom line: This is a world class center of excellence for head pain treatment."
Inpatient and outpatient at MHNI and Chelsea Community Hospital:
I have had a 4 point ( on a 5 point scale) [headache] for more than 5 years. I have tried all normal protocols, nothing helped. At the end of an all day assessment, a plan was developed to hospitalize me in Chelsea.
"Brilliant" is a word that I do not normally use. Dr. DaSilva, Dr. Saper and the entire MHNI team are brilliant. During the assessment a plan of attack was developed and then executed at Chelsea Hospital. The entire team was focused on me. Each morning," during rounds", you meet with a team of 8-10 medical professionals led by Dr. Saper. Think about it -- if you spend 15 minutes with a team of 10 professionals then you just had 150 minutes focused entirely on your headache. After discussion, your individual plan is decided for the day. The team has online access to the nurses notes from the night before and blood work from 6:00 AM. The team has real-time/online info, no fumbling for paper. Protocols are changed based on current results.
I would like to call out names but I would miss someone. Dr. Saper has put together a team focused on you and your headache.
From the first assessment phone call with Nurse Bruggner to my final discharge appointment 12 days later, my expectations were exceeded everyday.
This is the place for you if you are willing to accept MHNI's years of experience and proven protocols.
This may not be the place for you if you are unwilling to accept MHNI's treatment plan.
Bottom line: This is a world class center of excellence for head pain treatment. My only disappointment is that it took me over 5 years to realize that I needed MHNI's help.
"Thank you for all you have done for me in this life long battle"
Dear Dr. Saper - Thank you so much for putting your whole head and heart into this life's work. You are so sincere & caring, accepting & patient. Thank you so much for never giving up on your head pain research.
Dr. Da Silva - Thank you for all you have done for me in this life long battle. Thank you for not allowing me to give up all hope. Thank you for your generous care & concern. I consider myself so blessed to have you and Dr. Saper. May God richly bless you.
"Thanks for the kind and thoughtful care"
Thanks for the kind and thoughtful care I received from everyone at MHNI. You are such a special group of people that know how to make others feel good (often at a time of pain and suffering). A special THANKS to Dr. Saper, Bob Hamel, Dr. Sinka, Dr. Prestegaard, Dr. Pingel, Lori, Dr. Lake and many others.
Your thoughtfulness is appreciated more than you know. Thanks for everything!
"I would highly recommend this hospital to anyone who has chronic head/neck pain issues."
To CCH Staff:
Please accept my gratitude for the care that was given to me for my stay this last week. All of the staff from the doctors, nurses, therapists, housekeeping and food service were exceptional! I could not have asked for better care than what I received. I would highly recommend this hospital to anyone who has chronic head/neck pain issues. I will miss the staff and the kindness. Thank you!
"My beautiful family is because of your help!"
Hi Dr. Saper and Staff:
I want you to know that we are so grateful to you everyday. I was a patient of yours in 1987 and spent almost three weeks in the clinic at Chelsea. Under your guidance at the hospital I was finally headache free after suffering more than two years! I was able to resume life. I have a daughter who we named in honor of you (J) because without your help I would never had been able to have a family. Like you, she is an amazing individual who is improving the world. I also have a son who is terrific. My beautiful family is because of your help!
"You and your entire staff are really special."
Dear Dr. Saper and Staff:
I was referred to your clinic by my doctor. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and I am so grateful that he directed me to your clinic. I was admitted to Chelsea Community Hospital on September 5, 2012. I have seen many doctors in my life for various health problems, but have never had the treatment that I received at MHNI and Chelsea Hospital. You all are amazing, so down to earth, easy to talk to and a very good listener. The first thing you said to me was that you believed everything that I was telling you and that my migraines and left-sided numbness “were not all in my head.” That was so reassuring.
I no longer have chronic daily migraines. I can’t say enough about the wonderful care that I received. You and your entire staff are really special. I have recommended MHNI to several people in this area. I told Mr. Hamel when I left, “I feel marvelous.”
"Know that over 32 years later I have not forgotten what you all did for me."
Dear MHNI Staff:
I was a patient of MHNI many years ago. As a child I suffered from debilitating headaches and Dr. Saper and Staff successfully diagnosed me with chronic paroxysmal hemicrania and we began treatment. I just want to thank Dr. Saper and Staff for taking my parent’s concerns so seriously and want them to know that over 32 years later I have not forgotten what you all did for me. Thank you Dr. Saper and your staff.
"There are so many that need you."
Dear MHNI Staff:
I was a patient at MHNI in 2009. Prior to my inpatient stay I was on fentanyl patches and still living in excruciating pain. Mine was a complicated patient history - 3 years post-op from Chiari malformation decompression surgery and skull to C6 fusion. MHNI physicians put me on a nonopioid regimen and I did not leave the clinic pain free, but recognized that this was going to be a process. I am so happy to report that eventually the pain did subside and I’ve been free for 3 years! Thank you all at MHNI. Keep up the great work - there are so many that need you.
"Thank you for giving me my life back!!"
Thank you to all the nurses and doctors at MHNI, especially to Dr. Saper, Dr. Bob, Gaye, Deb, Dr. Jorkos, Dr. Kulick, Tessie, Bert, Kelly, Denise, Peggy and Karen. Thank you for giving me my life back!!
"I am so thankful for what you did for me, I can’t even explain it."
Dear Friends at MHNI:
I want to write and thank you so much for changing my life. It had been many years that I went with having daily headaches and now to be able to function in life and not worry how I am going to feel from day to day is wonderful. When I got home from the hospital and was able to sleep in my “own” bed I felt absolutely nothing while laying there. It was such a great feeling that I couldn’t sleep for two days, THERE WAS NO MORE POUNDING!!!!!!! After years of putting myself to sleep keeping time with the pound, IT WAS GONE!!!! It was an AMAZING feeling. Praise the LORD!!!!! I couldn’t sleep for two nights. I have had one bad headache since my return home, but nothing like they used to be. I am so thankful for what you did for me, I can’t even explain it.
I would also like to thank the wonderful nurses that you have on staff. You are all so, “amazing” and very caring people. The Lord has blessed all of you with amazing talents and I am so thankful that I got to experience your talents that God gave you.
I have talked to several people about your hospital and have highly recommended it. It was well worth the weeks wait in the motel.
Sincerely and Very Thankful,
"Seventeen years ago I had daily headaches."
Dear Dr. Saper and Staff:
Seventeen years ago I had daily headaches. After six months and five MDs I came to MHNI. In one visit you prescribed meds that have kept me headache free for 17 years. We spent an hour or more talking afterward. I just wanted to thank you for giving me my life back.
"I would highly recommend this program."
Dr. Saper and Staff:
I want to thank you and all the staff in the Head Pain Unit at Chelsea for everything they have done for me to get my migraines under control.
Every one of the staff members was incredibly professional, helpful and supportive. I apologize for the complications with my PTSD, but the staff was so supportive and helpful.
My migraines are so much better. I have only had to use an abortive med 3 times in the past 4 weeks. I usually am able to catch the 1’s and 2’s from getting worse by using the various techniques taught in the various classes.
Thank you again and I would highly recommend this program.
My husband is certainly happy that I don’t have a headache every day!
North Carolina, 2010
"This was the relief I was starting to believe could never come."
Dear Dr. Weintraub and Dr. Pingel:
I am writing to thank you both for seeing me and accessing me as a patient with headaches and for your professionalism in treating me. After about only five or six days after I got home and took the new medications you prescribed I received relief. This was the relief I was starting to believe could never come. I will always be grateful to you both and the nurses there who were so thoughtful. I am now following with my family doctor who is also very pleased at the outcome of my visit.
I want to also thank the staff, the receptionists, the nurses, the two techs who did my EKG and EEG and everyone there who were so very kind and helpful. If I need to come back, I certainly will.
"Thank you for never giving up on me."
Dear Dr. Saper and Staff:
Thank you for never giving up on me.... for allowing me to come back again, and again, and again and so on.
You are a wonderful team, not just because of your level of knowledge, but lots of other little things. Your bedside manner, humor, vision, and I could go on, but I don’t want your pumpkin head to get too big (just kidding)
"My gratitude will lie in me forever."
Dear Dr. Saper and MHNI Staff:
Only July 28, 2008, I woke up with a headache; nothing out of the ordinary, I thought. On the contrary, I sit here 15 months later still struggling with the same day-to-day pain. However, after my stay at MHNI and Chelsea Community Hospital, I can tell you that I am leaving with a plan, a purpose and a newfound sense of hope that seemingly abandoned me some time ago.
While I, like every other patient here, have had my ups and downs, I finally feel like this chronic condition is something I can handle every day. Just three weeks ago, I was beginning to feel like, quite frankly, the end was near. When you’re in so much pain, the thought, “How can the human body withstand this amount of pain,” enters your mind and that’s something so frightening, it’s inexplicable. Although I know that this condition is something with which I’ll simply have to cope, not cure, my time here has reminded me that this is simply the hand I have been dealt and that fighting it is counterproductive.
Perhaps most important, I have rediscovered a self-confidence that I’d lost long ago.
So, I guess what I’m trying to stay, in short, is thank you. Thank you all. You will be missed, but my gratitude will lie in me forever.
New York, 2009
"Sincere appreciation for your efforts and success with my migraines."
Dear Dr. Saper and Staff:
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation for your efforts and success with my migraines. When I started back as a patient at MHNI and Bob Hamel and your staff, I was a shell of a human suffering measurably. After several months of frequent appointments and years of followup I have my life back from 5 or 6 severe migraines a week to 1 every month or so. For all of this, I thank you, wishing you much continued success.