I can work standing up for two hours a day. Big whup, right?

I know. But for me, a year out from my vertebrae fusion surgery, it’s huge. Bigger still when you consider I had significant pain for about four years prior to the surgery, the kind that hinders day-to-day quality of life.

I put off the surgery for a long time for various reasons, not the least of which were horror stories I heard from people about other people they knew who’d had fusion surgery and it didn’t help, maybe even made them worse. So they said.

Image of Martin Fredricks and Dr. Alexander Drofa
Me and Dr. Alexander Drofa, May 2017, about a week after my surgery, at Sanford Health in downtown Fargo, N.D.

But my pain got worse and worse. By the time I went in for the procedure, I was out of options. I could barely walk 30 feet without stopping for a break because of the pain shooting down my left leg. Sitting for any longer than 15-20 minutes could be unbearable. Finally, I met with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Alexander Drofa, and his confidence made me feel confident.

Dr. Drofa isn’t just a miracle worker. He, himself, is a miracle. The staff members at Sanford who took care of me following my surgeries (I wound up having two) during my eight-day stay, from the nurses to the aides to the techs who took my blood pressure to the food workers who brought me my meals to the environmental services workers who cleaned my room – are each and every one miracles. My family members – my wife, three kids and mother-in-law – who have taken care of me and have been patient and kind with me through it all, are miracles.

If you define a miracle as something that changes a life for the better, and I do, then miracles they most certainly are.

How do I know?

Because it’s been only a year since my surgery, and while I can’t run or lift more than 50 pounds at a time, I can walk as far I want to without debilitating pain. Because I can work at my standing desk for two hours or more each day. And because my back, body and life feel better every day.

Everyday miracles.

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Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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