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Patient Stories

Ashley Szoke

On December 12, 2018, my life changed. I underwent spinal fusion surgery. I never thought I would be at this point, after endless hot nights in my brace, days after school in which I went to physical therapy, I always thought “I will get through this, I will beat scoliosis.” My spinal fusion surgery was performed by Dr. David Feldman at the Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute located at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. I had a fifty-eight-degree left thoracic curve that was only going to continue to get worse. I knew in the back of my mind that surgery was my only option.

While laying on the hospital bed I was fearful, getting the initials of my surgeon’s assistant on my back was the last thing I remembered. Recovery was not easy. There were countless nights that were sleepless from the unbearable pain. Every position was uncomfortable, each touch on my back was painful. My doctors, friends and family helped me through these days by reminding me that there was always hope, they always “had my back.” Looking back, I realize that my situation could have been worse, my surgery was successful, and I was able to resume cheerleading seven months later. I used to hate living with scoliosis, but now I believe that it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Because of scoliosis, I am a strong individual who is no afraid of challenges. Because of scoliosis, I am who I am today.

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