Accepting the inevitability of physical decline is difficult. At first, I was in denial. This too shall pass – just the normal aches and pains of getting older. Then, I tried to compensate. I walked less frequently and at a slower pace, looking for places to sit along the way. Then, I got angry. Why me? Finally, I accepted that I needed to seek help. The pain was excruciating, impacting on normal activities of daily living and affecting my quality of life severely. The future seemed uncertain and frightening.
My experience at Virginia Spine Institute was a positive one right from the onset. Without exception, every member of the treatment team was friendly, helpful, and responsive to my many questions. Their compassion and support were comforting, and their professional demeanor inspired confidence and trust – just what I needed to take the next step in resolving my back problems. After being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in my lower back as well as a disc herniation, Dr. Schuler performed a two level microdiscectomy. Successful surgical intervention allowed me to quickly resume my busy travel and passion for photography!
My first trip was only five weeks after surgery. On several occasions, I came close to canceling the trip because I was not sure I could keep pace with everyone else. When my kids refused to go without me, I had no choice. My fears were unfounded and I gained confidence in my physical capabilities with each step I took. During that seven-day trip, we walked 5-11 miles per day in temperatures that reached 99 degrees.
In addition to hours of walking, subsequent trips required me to endure long airplane rides in uncomfortable seats, transport and carry 10-40 pounds of camera equipment, navigate steep inclines and descents on uneven surfaces, climb rocks and trees to create better angles for my photos, and climb in and out of unstable watercraft. I also have had to sit and stand motionless for prolonged periods of time, waiting for critters of interest to entertain me and pose for my camera lens. No problems – other than my kids coping with my sense of adventure.
This was a humbling experience, one that introduced me to the realities of alterations of physical functioning and one that forced me to depend on others in my time of need. This also was an inspirational and motivating experience, one that has encouraged me to live life to the fullest, never take anything for granted, and accept adversity as normal part of life. You and your team helped me to overcome my fears, make informed decisions, and constructively confront the physical challenges affecting the quality of my life.
My Sincere Thanks For Having My Back! None Of The Travel Opportunities Or Photos Would Have Been Possible Without Your Knowledge, Expertise And Dedication To Healing.
Thank you to my team!
- Dr. Schuler - Spinal Specialist