Dr. Rak, our beloved surgeon and friend, who helped conquer both tumor and stenosis to give Roger back his life

Recovery from Spinal Stenosis Surgery
January 19, 2018
Dr. Daniel Birk Talks Back Pain in Newsday
November 18, 2020

Dear Dr. Rak,

Back in May of 2009 you gave Roger renewed life. From the moment we met you, you have been our hero in every way. To think of that large snowball sized tumor that could have done so much harm, and in the hands of anyone less skilled and brilliant as you, could have meant disaster for Roger and our life together. Were we lucky that you were in Huntington Hospital that time? No, not lucky… we were absolutely blessed! Blessed with an alliance that was “meant to be” as sure as the beauty of Persian poetry. It was the meeting of two Sufi brothers crossing paths in a perfect God given alignment.

Eight years later, and you are our hero once again. From April til the date of the surgery in September, Roger suffered six months of physical pain and a diminishing life. You were so reassuring and calming with his diagnosis and treatment. We so appreciate your unique combination of qualities: radiant intelligence, infectious humor, comforting confidence, humbleness, and passion for what you do – healing people. And of course… rock star skills 🙂 In addition, you have the perspicacity to assemble an attending team that meets high standards, this time at Winthrop. Please thank all involved on behalf of us both when you next see them.

This Monday was the eighth week in recovery, and Roger is doing phenomenally! He’s so strong that he will likely be the one carrying this gift up to your office. Please enjoy this basket inspired by part of my cultural background. (I am half Italian.) The Martoni Company is a family run business in Northport with a reputation for gourmet excellence. I hand selected all the items and hope you and your lovely wife and daughters will all enjoy the Italian goodies.

During my years of Belly Dancing, I went to NYU and studied poetry and other Humanities non money making pursuits (ha ha.) But it has given me a rich appreciation for poets from all over the world. As a result of mine and also Roger’s myriad interests we have a huge library with probably over 1,000 books. In Roger’s shelves of Sufi books, we have several Hafiz poetry books which we both treasure. Roger and I selected this quote from the great Sufi poet, Hafiz, who addresses God, bu with poetic license we can also interpret as patient to doctor.

So this is for you, our beloved surgeon and friend, who helped conquer both tumor and stenosis to give Roger back his life:

“This is the kind of Friend
You are-
Without making me realize
My soul’s anguished history,
You slip into my house at night,
And while I am sleeping
You silently carry off
All my suffering and sordid past
In Your beautiful Hands.”
– Hafiz

Thank you so much Dr. Rak,

Love and gratitude always,

Jane and Roger Sencer