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"Whatever the future brings physically, I feel I have the best team available to mitigate what might come!" Edward W. Back to Skiing!

I have an extensive background in active sports. I've done football, wrestling, rugby, track, tennis, skiing -- I even coached for 21 years! All of these passions were blindsided when I hurt myself on February 18, 2015. I was training for my upcoming ski season {2014-2015} and experienced an increase in pins/needles and numbness in my left shoulder radiating down to and including numbness/weakness in my left hand. These symptoms worsened dramatically during the first day of my ski trip when I landed on both feed off of a small mogul and lit up like 4th of July! My shoulder and left hand were hurting so badly and the pain lasted for about 8 minutes. Not a great feeling!

The issue

I had multi-level degenerative changes in my neck from C4-T1, which is a simple way of saying I had Cervical Spondylosis. What began as a nuisance while sleeping eventually progressed to difficulty sitting at a desk and my workouts gradually became unbearable without help. Physical therapy and epidural steroid injections helped for short periods of time, but nothing could correct the underlying condition.

the "cure"

Four level Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy with Laminotomy. The procedure essentially enlarges the foramina {a hole} where the nerve runs down the arm. This is done in hopes to to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerves and spinal cord.

The outcome

My surgery was on 9/2/15. My first ski trip was 12/10/15. At my two-week follow up appointment, my pain had completely disappeared. I was off all narcotics, had started increasing my normal activities, and my incision had even healed! After a few weeks of physical therapy to increase my range of motion, I was good as new. As of 2/18/16, I've had 23 full days of skiing and am flying out to grab 15 more days as I write this. 

I'm glad I didn't wait longer than 10 months for my surgical procedure. I'm also very glad I researched and found Dr. Schuler who, by the way, is an avid skier/golfer and had a similar procedure performed by his other partners at Virginia Spine Institute. With the skills of Dr. Schuler and his surgical physician assistant Thao Allen, I can continue chasing my passion for skiing, golfing, and all of the above. Whatever the future brings physically, I feel I have the best team available to mitigate what might come.

Thank you to my team!