Swimming has become a really important part of my life. It’s really mindful and grounding. Before my spine surgery, I was really afraid that I would not be able to swim again.
When Tamie was diagnosed with scoliosis around 10 years old, she had a hard time accepting it. She became depressed, developed an eating disorder, and struggled with anxiety and alcohol abuse for years. As an adult, her back pain became worse, so Tamie decided to seek medical help.
“I was in a lot of pain and the doctor told me my scoliosis curve had almost doubled,” said Tamie. “I had my first discectomy at 26 years old and my second surgery about five years later. Once I had some relief from my back pain, I was able to work on my mental health issues.”
Tamie’s sister – who was also diagnosed with scoliosis as a child – encouraged Tamie to join her triathlon group. The sisters loved running, biking and swimming, and they enjoyed competing on the same team together. Unfortunately, Tamie’s time as a triathlete was cut short.
“As my scoliosis got worse, I was no longer able to run or ride my bike,” admits Tamie. “I was even having trouble pushing off of the pool wall while swimming. It was really painful to no longer be part of something that I’d really come to love.”
Since she had already tried physical therapy and injections, Tamie knew that surgery was her next option. She carefully weighed the pros and cons with her surgeon before deciding to proceed with several spine fusion surgeries. Following her surgeries, Tamie’s surgeon recommended she use the SpinalStim Bone Growth Therapy device. The FDA-approved SpinalStim device sends low-level pulses of electromagnetic energy to the fusion site to stimulate the bones’ natural healing process.
“During my recovery, the bone growth stimulator was a big part of my daily life,” adds Tamie. “I wore it every day for two hours a day up until nine months after surgery. It was very easy to incorporate into my life.”
Today, Tamie is back at work as a marriage and family therapist, where she helps educate families, communities and professionals about eating disorders and treatment. She is proud of the fact that she has been sober for more than two decades and has her eating disorder and depression under control. And she is thrilled that she started swimming, running and competing again.
“Swimming has become a really important part of my life,” said Tamie. “It’s really mindful and grounding. It was a place that I could be where I was not in pain. Before my spine surgery, I was really afraid that I would not be able to swim again.”
“After recovering from my surgeries, I was able to compete in my first open-water race again,” continues Tamie. “When I got out of the water I just started to cry because it was just an amazing feeling and experience to do that again.”