2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage

2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage


My mission in publishing this blog is first to provide a living history of my settlement and life in Cuenca, and to provide myself and the reader with a journal account delineating my reasons for why I have chosen to settle in Cuenca. Second, the posts are my way of staying in contact with family and friends back in the states, and to provide them with an understanding of a country and culture that most North Americans have little knowledge and awareness. Third, the blog is open to one and all who wish to compare and contrast the experiences of expat bloggers living in Cuenca, so that you can determine whether or not from your perspective Cuenca is an appropriate move for you. Fourth, my blog provides another example of how expats view and interpret life in Cuenca. Ecuadorians and Cuencanos who may read this blog are especially invited to post comments that may enhance all expats understanding and appreciation of Cuneca and its people, or to correct any misinterpretations in my assumptions and perceptions of Cuencano culture. Finally, I hope I can convey the feeling of love and appreciation that grows within me each passing day for this heavenly city nestled in the Andes and its very special people.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Physical pain can adversely affect the quality of life.  Pain related to the neck, back, knees, hips, joints, and to disc inflammation can over time become quite acute. 

Oftentimes, the remedy first sought during times of chronic pain is surgery.  Over the last forty years, particularly where back surgery was concerned, a clear majority of the people I talked with were dissatisfied with their surgery, and either experienced little if any improvement, or the surgery made their back problem and pain worse.

This is my personal story from pain to wellness:

I endured lower back and neck pain since July of 2014.  Problems that had silently accumulated for years had suddenly erupted all in one month.  My neck pain resulted in my use of a soft neck collar to relieve the pain as I looked down.  I also stopped using my laptop directly and connected my computer to my large television screen.  This allowed me to look straight ahead as I read, which took a great deal of stress off my neck. 

I went to an Orthopedist Surgeon in Cuenca, who I would never recommend to anyone.  This “doctor’s” diagnosis based on my x-rays was dire and disastrous.  I eventually found an excellent chiropractor by the name of Mike Pettella (0995779533), who made a believer of me in chiropractors, after enduring several negative experiences in the states. 

Mike totally relieved my chronic foot pain of my heel spurs or plantar fasciitis after just two or three sessions of body alignment adjustments. None of the podiatrists or orthopedists over the years ever agreed when I met with each of them, as to which name was even appropriate for my foot problem, nor could they remedy the problem short of instructing me to give up my running.  That worked, but by July 2014, I was experiencing chronic problems in my heels from just extensive walking.

When I discovered Mike Pettella, he also helped my neck problems a great deal.  I was at the point if I stood at a street intersection, I had to turn my entire torso to see if traffic was coming, because my neck was too stiff to simply look to my left or right.  Mike restored flexibility to my neck.  My generally once per month adjustments also relieved my lower back pain.  However, while the pain was lowered, it never went completely away.  Finally, in July of 2017, I went through a downward spiral when the pain became much worse.  Multiple sessions with Mike that month finally stabilized me again, and I could return to my once a month session.  I now traveled business class on my European trips; so I could stretch out, and like at home, sleep on my sides in my flight chair. 

I had reached the point where I could not sleep on my back or my stomach, and if I sat in a chair for twenty to thirty minutes I was doing well.  However, I had to get up, move around, and touch my toes for twenty to thirty seconds to stretch my lower back from the spinal compression.  Since I socialize a great deal, such movements were not ideal when I was in other people’s homes, or out for an evening in a restaurant, and I could all but forget about attending concerts or the theater.

Luckily for me, walking relieved a great deal of pain.  I thank my parents for making a walker out of me from the time I was little.  Walking two to seven miles per day and averaging sixty to eighty miles per month is still my modus operandi, and Cuenca is truly a walking town.

Finally, through my three-year trek of half-way measures to wellness, I heard of Ozone Therapy for various arthritic, disk herniation and inflammation, and related problems which involved knees, hips, and joints.  Nonetheless, I was skeptical of anything related to alternative medicine.  I never used any alternative herbs that ever did what they proposed, and there are many alternative therapies which are bogus.  Some Ozone Therapies are bogus.  For example, Ozone Therapy will not cure cancer.  I was never going to move in the direction of Ozone Therapy based upon online testimonies of its effectiveness as a treatment. 

However, I had friends and acquaintances who were undergoing Ozone Therapy using the services of Dr. Santiago Romo right here in Cuenca.  One friend underwent treatment during the summer of 2017.  He was in worse shape than I.  He could not walk more than 100 feet without being in acute pain from his lower back herniated disc.  In fact, this friend had gone earlier to Mike Pettella (0995779533), the Cuenca chiropractor. When Mike viewed my friend’s x-rays, he would not treat him because of the high risk; which is what I like about both Mike and Dr. Romo, they will not take a client as a patient if they believe treatment will put a patient at risk or if they think the treatment would be ineffective.  My friend was very satisfied with the treatment, and not only can he walk greater distances, but also began riding an Italian Vespa, a motor bike which is a thing of beauty.  One day, this guy in a helmet pulls up to the curb while I am walking, and it's my buddy on his new bike.  Not bad for a guy in his 70's, who suffered from herniated disc before his Ozone Treatments.

A lady acquaintance told me she was also very satisfied with Dr. Romo’s therapy, which treated her hand and wrist which was greatly hampered with arthritis.

Then a friend who at age fifty is still doing triathlons, suddenly was having a lower back disc problem.  He underwent treatments with Dr. Romo, and while he told me that he was still having a slight problem at that time, it did not prevent him from running past me the next day as I was walking along the Rio Tomebamba. 

While I was still skeptical about the cost and whether treatments would have a lasting effect; as one friend said to me, “Well, Jim even if the effects of the therapy only last two or three years, would it not be worth the cost of further treatments to be relatively pain-free for that time period?”  He had a point.  Now that I had actual people that I knew who successfully went through the Ozone Therapy and had a few months of continued relief, I reached the point of psychological readiness to take the plunge.

Dr. Santiago Romo is the only physician in Cuenca and in Ecuador who practices Ozone Therapy.  Dr. Romo is a medical doctor in Sports Medicine, and is also the team doctor for Deportiva Cuenca, the professional futbul team here in Cuenca.  Dr. Romo has a great deal of experience dealing with muscular, skeletal, and joint pain injuries. He received his training in Ozone Therapy from New York University Medical School in New York City, which is one of the top medical schools in the United States, and which also has a reputation for pioneering alternative medical treatments.
Dr. Romo speaks fluent English, takes the time to explain the treatments and responds to all his patient’s questions, and he performs the Ozone injections either in his patient’s home or in his office.  Dr. Romo also provides new patients with links about Ozone Therapy on the Internet.  Dr. Romo’s diagnosis is based upon personal MRI’s, which will indicate whether he can be of help to a patient.  He has also provided therapy to patients who had previous surgeries for which they were not pleased with the outcomes, and he has often been able to improve their situations as well.  Dr. Romo, both as a doctor and as a gentleman, is an all-around first class act.

First, there is an application on the surface of the area to be treated to deaden pain, and second, the Ozone Therapy injections are applied.  The actual therapy takes approximately ten minutes.  There is little pain associated with the treatment.  Dr. Romo applies an ice-pack to the treated area, waits about ten minutes to be sure the patient is responding well, and observes that there are no adverse side effects.  Normally, people can then go about their business for the rest of the day.

The number of treatments varies from patient to patient.  I had three lower back inflamed discs, two on the left and one on the right side.  One on the left was especially painful and stubborn, and required more treatments.  My neck was treated separately.  Improvement can be detected after just three or four treatments.  When the treatments were completed, I experienced major improvement not 100% but a good 90%.  

What amazed me is that I never expected over time after the completion of the treatments that I would continue to improve.  After almost four months since my last treatment, I am pretty much at 100%.  I can sit for very long periods of time, and I can sleep on my back and my stomach.  One day, without a thought, I had been sitting on the sofa reading a book.  I was looking down for an hour before I realized what I had done, and my neck had not adversely reacted.  I don’t want to tempt the fates, so I don’t consciously attempt to read looking downward for long periods of time unless I put on my soft neck collar.  Although I was dancing in discos here in Cuenca until late 2013, I still won’t risk jerking my neck and body around, although I now enjoy a great deal more of painless mobility.

Another great benefit for me was the fact that I know longer take two Aleve everyday.  It is rare for me now to use Aleve at all.  At my worse, especially in July of 2017 and whenever I traveled abroad, I was taking up to five and six Aleve per day.  I knew I could not continue such a practice.

Dr. Romo told me that some patients return for an additional two treatments after about six months and never need to return.  Other patients return after about a year from the completion of the initial treatments for two more treatments and they are finished, and other patients never need to return. 

If I could climb to the top of Chimborozo here in Ecuador, the highest peak in South America, and shout across the Andes to the world how delighted I am with my Ozone Therapy treatments, their effectiveness to my health, their major contribution to the improvement of my life style, and to the excellent work of Dr. Santiago Romo; I would do so without hesitation:

Image result for Dr. santiago romo, cuenca ecuador

Dr. Santiago Romo
Edifcio Diagnostico Medico, Office 202
Ave. Paucarbamba 4-117
Cuenca, Ecuador
Cell Phone:  098 027 2399 

Click on the link below to read recommendations and various symptoms patients of Dr. Romo have been treated with Ozone Therapy:


In my opinion, anyone who has any of the medical problems discussed in this post should really explore Ozone Therapy, since to my way of thinking, any kind of surgery, and especially surgery on the back, should be a last resort. Not to mention, that many people use strong addictive pain relievers, which in some cases can be lessened or even eliminated.  For many, Ozone Therapy in the long run can save a great deal of money for some, and a great deal of agony for others who were dissatisfied with the results of their surgeries.  Because Ozone Therapy is considered alternative medicine; IESS, Medicare, and private insurance companies will not cover it.  For many Americans who are not old enough for Medicare, and have big deductions before insurance provides medical coverage, the price of Ozone Therapy may not be any more and even less than the cost of your policy's high deductible. 

Ozone Therapy has been practiced for decades in Europe, especially in Germany and in Canada.  Below is a link, which will provide you with links in Canada and by each state in the United States where Ozone Therapy is provided.  The information includes local offices, doctor names and telephone numbers, and brief descriptions of the doctors and their services. However, check what is offered carefully, not all are treatments for discs and joint problems.  If you are not located near a medical facility which offers treatment, since dependent upon your need and number of treatments required, it may pay to rent an apartment in Cuenca for a month.  I would suggest making a vacation of it in Cuenca while being treated by Dr. Romo, and it will be more cost effective than renting a location in the United States too distant from your home location, in order to procure treatment:

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