My name is Carol Steiner, I am a professional writer and this article is the first chapter in my new book. The book is about a physician, whose popularity is permanently growing here in the US and worldwide. His name is Dr. Tsan and he lives in Philadelphia, PA.
This is about a doctor who makes a difference. When Victor Tsan immigrated to this country, he and many other Russians were running from the Soviet Union in search of freedom. Today, the young man I met 25 years ago is 60 years old.
Meet Dr. Tsan.
We first met by accident in a Shop-Rite supermarket. I bent down to get ketchup from the bottom shelf and when I went to get up… That’s just it. I was unable to get up. Never before in my life have I experienced anything like this. A young Dr. Tsan, who at that time was only 35 years old, approached me. With a strong Russian accent, he offered to help.
“Let me help you. I’m a physician. Don’t worry, I’ll fix you in a minute.” I remember him placing his hand over my lower back area. There was no physical contact between his hand and my body, but I immediately started to experience very strange feelings…
He spoke again with his thick accent. “My name is Victor. I am a doctor. I just came from the Soviet Union, and this is my first week in the United States. Your pain will disappear in a minute or less. Do you feel a warm stream from my hand?” I could feel strange warm waves coming from his palms. Actually, the waves did not feel warm; they were hot, like from a heat pack used without a towel.
With his hand still very low, he asked me to bend. Instantly I got back to an upright position and bingo! I was up with absolutely no pain. I was totally confused and speechless. I could not find the right words for what had just transpired. To start with, this complete stranger placed his hand on my sacral area. I did not like that at all – this must have been unethical. On the other hand, he had helped my pain disappear and for that I had to be grateful. Victor gave me his contact information, written on a torn piece of a coupon flyer. “The pain will come back later tonight, but I guarantee you a few hours of relief until you get home. Give me a call if you need me to help you again,” he said.
My drive home was eventless. I unloaded the car myself and brought everything into the house, organizing everything in the refrigerator and the pantry closet. When my husband Jack came home later, I relayed to him what had happened at the store, including Victor’s offensive hand on my butt.
A phone call to Dr. Tsan
After I had been home three to four hours, the pain came back with equal force as before. I did not want to call the stranger, but when 800mg of Motrin failed to ease the pain, Jack made the call. Even in all my pain, what happened next was completely hilarious. Because of Victor’s poor English, Jack did not understand a single word from their conversation. After close to twenty years of friendship, we laugh when we recall that night’s call. My husband did not understand a single word from the “doctor,” and on the other side, the “doctor” was getting absolutely nothing from Jack!
I remember the call going like this:
“Hello, is this Doctor Victor?” Jack asked.
“Who is calling? I don’t understand English.” Victor replied.
“Remember my wife Carol, you helped her today in Shop-Rite supermarket?” Jack continued.
“Oh, yes. She have this sour back… Are you a Shop-Rite employer?” Dr. Tsan asked. With his English “skills,” he could not tell the difference between employee and employer. All he heard and understood was Shop-Rite. Victor called a friend who spoke English, and Jack explained to him what was happening to interpret for Victor.
This conversation was now between four people: my husband, the interpreter, the magician (or physician) Victor, and myself. The last comment from Victor was truly confusing to me and my husband. The interpreter said that Victor had said he would only reduce the pain until the next morning. The reduction was only to help me sleep without having to take any painkillers. Victor said he believed I had a pinched nerve at the level L3-L5 that needed professional medical attention. He asked that I lie on a bed but orient the bed in an East-West direction. At the time, all beds in my house had been placed in North-South direction. My husband chose a couch that he moved to the advised position. On the phone, Victor said, “The pain will go in about seven to ten minutes and when it happens, you can get up from the couch.” However, he said the pain would only disappear for eight to ten hours and it was best for me to see my physician as soon as I could.
Some five minutes after the call, the pain was completely gone, but I decided to continue lying on the couch for another seven to ten minutes. I sleep great that night. In fact I have not slept that deeply for quite some time. In the morning, exactly as Dr. Victor predicted, the pain was back again. Instead of heading to my family physician’s office, I settled for the closest hospital’s ER.
The morning was quite calm in the ER. My attending doctor sent me to MRI. An hour later, my results showed I had an acute Herniation disk at the level L3-4. The ER doctor prescribed some Percocet and discharged me. He also recommended that I see an orthopedic surgeon to discuss my possibility for a spinal intervention procedure.
New Dr. Tsan.
About ten-twelve years after our encounter, I was googling “holistic medicine in Philadelphia” and a picture of Dr. Victor came up. I did not even notice whether or not his last name popped up. A click on a photo took me to the website http://vivahealthylife.com. On their home page, Dr. Victor Tsan stared at me from the computer screen. He had changed noticeably: he had added some weight and now had a lot of gray hair, but I still could recognize him. What a pleasant surprise! He now was a Medical Director at the Center for Holistic Medicine Viva Healthy Life in Southampton, Pennsylvania. The first thing I did was call him. Unfortunately, his secretary informed me, he was in the treatment room with a patient at the time. I opted not to leave him a message but to book an appointment for an initial free consultation as his Viva Healthy Life website had advertised.
Dr. Tsan’s practice.
On my appointment day, I was 20 minutes early and found five other patients waiting in the hallway. I thought to myself, “I should call him instead. 1 hour is an average wait in doctors’ offices, and that’s not what I want.”
In most waiting rooms, a conversation starts between the folks waiting in line. I heard five patients ahead of me say, Dr. Tsan, seemed to be the “God” himself! “Genius” “Magic” “Universal” “Professor” “The Best” were some of the words I heard from their conversation. One woman who spoke with a thick British accent told the others she had come from London to see Dr. Tsan for treatment. Another lady, accompanied by her son, said they were from Santa Barbara, California. I heard her say, “It’s a known fact that Dr. Victor is the best and if I have to go to Alaska for his services, I would. He saved my son’s life.” Another man in the line said he was from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He said that he had been Dr. Tsan’s patient for three years now. He also added that him being still alive and in good shape was all because of the art of medicine practiced by Dr. Tsan. All this information I was taking in made me lightheaded. I almost passed out. Before that could happen, exactly at 2:35 as scheduled, the receptionist requested me to follow her into Dr. Tsan’s office.
At first he did not recognize me, but instead said, “You prepared to wait for an hour or more until I served those people in the waiting room. They already had their treatment and, according to our rules, are just taking some rest. I respect my patients and they are not supposed to wait in line for hours. So, what can I do for you?”
A reunion with Dr. Tsan.
I was about to remind him who I was and why I was at his office, but he interrupted me as though he could read my mind. He almost shouted, “Are you my first American patient, who I treated in Shop-Rite supermarket 12 years ago?” We got off our seats and hugged. This Dr. Tsan was so different from the one I met years ago. First of all, he spoke perfect English. Secondly, he looked right at home in his beautifully decorated office, and thirdly, his wall was covered with licenses and diplomas. Dr. Tsan’s secretary brought tea, coffee, cookies, and chocolate. Because I was not visiting for any serious medical problems, and the doctor had finished his work – I was his last patient for the day – we chatted like longtime friends who had not seen each other for some time.
Dr. Tsan told me his story and his evident professional development in America. In the twelve years since last seeing him, he had gotten a bunch of certifications, acquired professional licenses in different medical fields and passed numerous tests. Now he is at the peak of his career and is arguably one of the most, if not the most, famous medical practitioners in the United States.
After our reunion, I became Dr. Tsan’s biographer. I have had a great time writing stories about Dr. Tsan’s past and present.