News & Events

Mary Wolfe


Living with multiple sclerosis (MS), Mary Wolfe is not new to pain. But when it became harder to do normal tasks, she feared the disease was progressing. She visited her neurologist in South Carolina and tried physical therapy before an MRI revealed a new story. Her MS hadn’t worsened, but she had three pinched nerves, curving her spine into an “S” shape.

A fast trip to Boston

After trying to meet with a neurosurgeon near Greenville, South Carolina, Mary reached out to her daughter, Beth Wolf. As a Tufts Medical Center Injury Prevention and Research Projects Manager, Beth insisted her mom come to Tufts MC. The next week, Mary and her husband, Joe, were in Boston visiting with Dr. Ron Riesenburger, MD, Director of the Spine Center.

After a thorough appointment with Dr. Riesenburger and his staff, Mary felt informed enough to opt for a minimally invasive spine surgery and was schedule for July 25th. 

A precise plan

Mary came back to Boston a week before her surgery so she could have a CT scan to help the surgeons map out the best approach for Mary’s specific case. This would allow the surgeons to precisely place the needed rods and screws in Mary’s back. The minimally invasive surgery would take more time than traditional open surgery, but would potentially lower many of the risks and result in a quicker healing process.

With Mary’s previous CT scan, Dr. Riesenburger’s plan included a repair of both sides of her back in the same surgery to avoid another trip to Boston. During the operation, OR Clinical Nursing Director Dan Johnson, RN kept her family informed regarding her progress. Beth said, “so many people stopped to be sure we were OK while we were waiting.” Six-and-a-half hours later, Mary was out of surgery with both sides of her back repaired. Even after surgery, Joe praised all of the staff, “The care she got was above board, very high standards, very patient centered. Along with caring for my wife, they asked me if I needed anything.” 

Feeling at home

Mary is currently staying in a rehabilitation facility awaiting the OK to travel home. Mary said, “I feel like a new woman. I’m getting my stamina back and walking a lot better.” Joe added with a big smile, “I’m absolutely amazed at how well she’s doing.”

Mary and Joe continued to praise their Tufts Medical Center experience after being back home in South Carolina. “I would recommend Tufts Medical Center to anyone. If there’s any way under the sun you can get there, at least go and talk to them.”