B. Thomas Mazahery, MD and D. Andrew Parker, MD
I am remiss in not writing sooner to extend a big THANK YOU to C-O-R for giving me my active life back and letting me return to my passion, riding my horses!
Over the years, I’ve had my knees repaired (Dr. Hartley) and although my back hurt terribly, I wasn’t a candidate for fusion...yet. We did find however, that some of the pain was originating in my right hip. After FAI surgery (Dr. Parker), I got back on my horses for another 2 years....until, despite dedicated pain management, the pain in my back became unbearable.
In March of 2012, Dr. Mazahery performed a L4-S1 fusion. Within a couple of weeks I was walking several miles a day. At 3 months post op, I had permission to be back on my horses, albeit conservatively. At 6 months post op I was back to showing and eventing (dressage, show jumping and cross-country).
In my experience, the response I received from physicians I consulted was simply to “stop riding”. To a horse-person, that is like telling us to stop breathing or eating. Our horses and saddle time contribute significantly to our fitness, mental well-being and is a measurable factor in overall quality of life. Drs. Parker and Mazahery understood but made no promises. Instead, we laid out a treatment plan with the goal of keeping me in the saddle. I'm thrilled to say that the plan worked - much to the dismay of my horses, who were rather enjoying their easy lives as back-yard pets.
I just returned from my 1-year check up. You know that form that has the body outline on it and you're supposed to document your pain? Today, I put my name on the top and handed it back after drawing a smiley face! I have NEVER been able to do that. Nor have I been able to get anyone to confirm that the bling in my back weighs at least 5 pounds..ha ha.
I have no doubt based upon my activity level and chosen sport I'll be back at some point, but, until then I am feeling good and back in the saddle For that I am so very grateful!!!