with that for some time—longer than I should have.
I winced as I tried to move and thought back on the days I’d woken with a pinching pain slightly worse than the day before, taking an Advil hoping it would help. But nothing helped. Stretching, massages, taking it easy—I’d tried it all, and there was no relief.
Something had to be done. I couldn’t keep living like this.
I walked into the orthopedic surgeon’s office with my arm held high over my head. I don’t know why, but this position offered me momentary solace from the pain in my back. Seeing me this way, the orthopedic surgeon instantly knew what was wrong and recommended I see Dr. Jeffrey Cantor of the Cantor Spine Institute.
A spine surgeon? That couldn’t be right, I thought. I felt a little uneasy about the visit—surely it couldn’t be that serious.
Walking into Dr. Cantor’s office, I realized he must be a pretty good doctor, with a high approval rating and a waiting room full of patients. He came in, sat down and took his time, asking me how I was feeling and what I wanted to do. After taking X-rays, he announced that I had spinal stenosis—a condition where arthritis builds up around the bones, blocking off the spinal cord.
This diagnosis caught me off-guard. I thought I just had a pinched nerve. Fortunately, Dr. Cantor made me feel confident that he knew how to fix it.
I’d always considered myself a healthy guy, but Dr. Cantor’s diet and health plan pre-surgery made me change my ways. Healthy green shakes, lots of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein rounded out my diet. Water and antioxidants built up my immune system so I’d be strong going into surgery.
Positive thinking became my go-to. I’d tell myself, “Everything is going to be OK.” I knew it hurt now, but it would get better. It was easy to see the role my frame of mind played in this journey toward wellness. Negativity equals stress, and I knew that giving in would keep me from reaching my goal, so I stayed positive.
Before the big day, I didn’t have many reservations. Everyone has fear and concerns when it comes to surgery, of course, but I knew I had to do something to alleviate this pain. My biggest worry centered around whether or not I’d be a full person at the end of it all. I felt scared of limitation and further discomfort. I wanted to get back to being completely functional again.
So I asked Dr. Cantor, “Will I be 100 percent when you’re done?”
He looked at me and without hesitating, said, “Yeah, I think you will be.”
And you know what? I was. I am. So far, it’s been perfect. I feel brand new.