Avid Skier Returns to the Slopes After Spine Surgery
When skier Marc Kaplan threw out his back just before a ski trip to Alaska, stopping the sport he loved was never a consideration. At 69 years old, Marc, a Lafayette resident, was used to the aches and pains that come from pushing his body on the slopes. So rather than cancel his trip, he took pain medication and soldiered on. When he returned from his trip, Marc had an MRI and started physical therapy. When surgery became the likely solution, his physical therapist recommended a spine surgeon at Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare. For Marc, rapport with his surgeon was a top priority.
As Marc explains, his surgeon got right down to business. “He told me there wasn’t much to save between L2 and S1 discs,” and he laid out a plan for fusing the area and inserting a rod in my spine. But Marc was not comfortable relying on just one medical opinion. A successful businessman and published author, Marc is a planner and a thorough researcher. He met with three other surgeons, all of whom suggested a more complex solution. In the end, Marc went with his gut, and went with the first spine surgeon he visited.
After scheduling his surgery date, Marc attended the pre-op spine surgery class at Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare to be as prepared as possible. The biggest hurdle for this fitness enthusiast was the mandatory three-month rest required for a five-level fusion of his spine. That meant he had to cease all activity for 90 days. “That was tough,” said Marc. “Being active has always been a huge priority.”
Once Marc received the green light from his doctor to resume activity, he started doing light workouts. Within three months he was back to 95 percent of his previous activity level. He was also ready to be back on skis. When the 90-day rest period was up, Marc took a few light runs in Squaw Valley. “I was stunned,” he said about his ability to get back to skiing with no pain.
Thanks to his surgeon, Marc says “I have been reborn and can look forward to an active life.” He adds, “ValleyCare’s pre- and post-op care and follow-up were excellent. They obviously treated me right because I recovered so well!”