When I was 14, and a freshman in High School, I found out I had Scoliosis (curvature of the spinal column).  It grew so progressively that in less than four months, I bypassed all treatment options and hit the point where I had to have rods put in my back.  With such an invasive surgery, recovery time would be about a 12 month period (NO sports/running, limited mobility for the rest of my life, limited amount of weight I could carry…etc) while everything fused together in my back.

I could literally go on and on about my experience with all of this because of how traumatic it was for me, but since that’s not the point of this blog, I’ll try and sum it up…  Here are the basics: doctors literally drilled and screwed-in titanium hardware (rods, screws, and hooks) in my bones and wedged freeze-dried cadaver bone in between the vertebrae to help straighten out the curve (sound gruesome enough?!).  In addition, during those 10 hours of surgery I had also grown two and a half inches (which made all my shirts too short to wear!!)  To say the least, that was absolutely the most pain I have ever experienced in my entire life and I would never wish that on anybody.  Short term recovery is probably too detailed and graphic to talk about here too…  Long-term recovery ended up taking about eight months, and then I was able to (very carefully) return to sports.

Three years later (my senior year in high school), I had the rods taken out of my back due to complications with the hardware.  The lengths of the rods were so long that they were creating a bump on my back that I kept hitting on chairs/walls… = PAIN.  Taking the rods out is basically a reversal of putting them in, except the fusion can’t be reversed.  I still have extremely limited mobility and an ugly 13 inch scar on my back..blah!

A few months after my second recovery, I was able to play sports again…  I played tennis my senior year in high school, and then continued playing indoor soccer throughout College.

After almost eight years of running, rock climbing, soccer, weight training, tennis…etc,  I noticed a significant decline in my ability to stay active.  After a few months of dealing with severe pain, and MRI revealed that I had a degenerated, compressed, bulging disk right above my fusion.  A specialist told me to immediately stop ALL impact exercise immediately!  Overnight, this became my WORST nightmare.  No more soccer, no more running, no more tennis, no more randomly jumping around… no more doing things I had been doing my entire life. :(.

… The doctors even let me keep the Titanium Rods they took out of my back – there are 42 pieces in this whole thing…