"The morning of my surgery, which was a year ago with Dr. Shelokov, my mom took my picture, and I did not realize. I mean, I knew I was bad, but I didn't realize. When I was standing up straight -- just standing -- my left hand was seven inches longer than my right one down to my side. That's how far I was tipped to the left. This shoulder was high and forward. And the pain that I lived in daily was something else."
Rhonda M's Story
Not only was my spine curved, it was rotated. And I had stenosis which is the narrowing of the spinal column. When it narrows, it pinches the cord, and the nerves, and everything are impended, and that's why you have such bad pain in your leg.
Somebody asked me one time, "What kind of pain was it?" And I said, "On a scale of one to ten, there's not a number. You can't put a number on it because it hurts so bad." But you learn to live with it. Life goes on.
One day, I happened on Dr. Shelokov's Web site, and through one of his links, I came upon a paper that was written about flat-back syndrome. I just sat back and cried, because for the first time in years, something I had was right in front of me and it had a name. It wasn't in my head. It was real. Once I read this, I printed everything off, and I took it to my family doctor. And he read it, and he was just shaking his head, and he said, "This is you
My first appointment with Dr. Shelokov was September 11th. Yes, 2001. We talked for a long time, and then he took me and showed me my x-rays, and he said, "Well, there's hope. This is what you have. This is what we need to do, and you're fixable." And I just at that point, I think I just cried for an hour just to hear that it's going to be okay. I bet he spent probably three hours with me in that chaos that was going on, and I never once felt like there were any other person. He makes you feel like you are his only patient when he's with you. It wasn't rushed. It wasn't hurried. It was genuine concern.
After looking at everything Dr Shelokov told me, "I can do it all in one, but it's a long day." But he put everything back into alignment, put rods in, the screws in. He went through my stomach and removed three of my discs, and replaced those with metal cages and fused my spine to my pelvis. They took out a portion of the ribs, like maybe two inches, like a path and then they finished.
I was in the hospital for four weeks. Once I was okay, then I went to rehab hospital, and I was there a week and progressed really quickly. And the entire time, the treatment, the hospital, the staff was wonderful. I have nothing but good to say about Dr. Shelokov and his staff, and his patient, or his patient care, and the hospital he uses.
And in rehab back at home, in physical therapy I just made leaps and bounds. I was determined. I loved it, three days a week. I lived for that. My therapist was really good, and I went back to work in August full-time at school with my special-ed kids, and I've had a great year.
It's been wonderful. Incredible doesn't cover it. Grocery shopping -- oh my gosh, it's exciting
. I can go to the store, and I can stroll the aisles and take my time, and I can stand in the grocery line. Before, if the line was even two people long, I had to sit down. I can stand. I can cook an entire meal. I can clean my entire house. I have a two-story with a full basement. And I can clean the entire house by myself in one day. And enjoy it. I enjoy it. I can mow the yard. I can pull weeds. I can work in my garden. I love yard work.
I just want anybody else to know who's been, or is where I was, there's hope. There's hope, and I didn't have that for 14 years, and the last six of it, I thought literally I would spend the rest of my life in agony. But now I have my life back. He gave me my life back. I told him he was my hero
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