Two years ago, after losing strength in my right arm and chest and experiencing severe neurological pain, I had an MRI for the first time in my life. This revealed that herniated discs in my lower cervical spine were causing a neurological impingement, which was made worse by a condition called congenital stenosis, or a narrow spinal canal.
As a result, I had surgery for the first time in my life. I had gone from being able to do 50 pushups in a row to not being able to do a single pushup. I couldn’t even hug my wife, Stacy, or my five kids, which was heartbreaking. The pain leading up to my surgery was excruciating. I was good at hiding the pain while at Natural Healthcare Center, but I would curl up at night in the basement, trying to sleep despite being in agony. The empathy I feel for patients in pain grew considerably.
People could hear it in my voice that I wasn’t myself. I was seriously concerned that I wouldn’t regain my strength and be able to return to practice. I’m normally full of energy and optimism, but the uncertainty surrounding my diagnosis and surgery completely took the wind out of my sails.
It is not an exaggeration when I say that our amazing patients at Natural Healthcare Center have been my motivation and inspiration from the time I first shared the news of my condition. You are the reasons why I’m back and on my way to being better than ever.
Of course, the journey hasn’t been easy. After surgery, I struggled to cope with inactivity. I’m not a “lie in bed all day” kind of person and I was forced to spend more time resting than my body and mind could comprehend. As soon as I was able, I dove headfirst into physical therapy and my body was slowly responding.
Four months into rehab, I faced my first major obstacle – a new, dangerous virus named COVID-19. Just like everyone else, it became much more difficult to go to rehab. But I remained focused on getting stronger.
Six months after surgery, my chest and triceps muscles were still in a state of atrophy and my strength was about 30 percent – major progress from a clinical perspective, but nowhere near my pre-surgery strength.
By the way, in addition to rehab, I had this little place called Natural Healthcare Center that I was trying to navigate through the pandemic. As a clinician, my lack of strength forced me to compensate with different chiropractic techniques, while Dr. Hostnik stepped up with techniques I simply couldn’t perform myself.
But I never stopped working because of COVID-19. Natural Healthcare Center never closed. I was inspired by our patients who continued to commit to their treatment protocols under the most difficult circumstances. No retreat, no surrender, as the Springsteen song goes. That applies to both you and me.
I finally ended rehab in May of 2020 and began working out on the second floor of Natural Healthcare Center and in my basement. When I hit the one-year mark after surgery, I decided to join a powerlifting and bodybuilding gym.
From December 2020 through August 2021, I trained four days a week, 90 minutes per session. I used an old-school bodybuilding program and focused on perfect form, tempo training, injury prevention, and muscular strength and development.
Today, I’m back to 90 percent of my strength with no muscle atrophy. I can perform any chiropractic technique. I’m back to feeling like me again. Most importantly, I start and end each day by hugging Stacy and my kids. This is something nobody should ever take for granted.
Thank you to our patients who continue to motivate and inspire me every day. Any words of gratitude would not be enough to express just how much I truly appreciate you.
I also thank Dr. David Estin for his surgical talents and expertise, and I thank God for the gifts he has given me. Not just my own recovery, but the people who are the driving force behind me – physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
We can accomplish anything together. I have no doubt about that. You came through for me in every way possible, and I promise to do the same for you.