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Rachel Kniewel

Ringwood, NJ
  • Rachel Kniewel in the photo 1

In 2016 I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis at L5/S1. At the time, the pain was not bad, and after a week of rest I was back to enjoying life as normal. Fast forward to 2020 - In March I suffered further back damage and slippage of the vertebrae due to a bad snowboarding accident. However, same as before, with some rest I was back to life as normal. At the end of 2020 I got pregnant with my second child. It was a relatively easy pregnancy with back pain that I attributed as normal. After the birth of my son in August 2021 is when things went downhill fast. The pain in my lower back was excruciating and nothing I tried (rest, PT, injections) helped to alleviate the pain. Here I was, a couple months postpartum, and unable to take care of my newborn or my toddler. I was spending the majority of my days just lying down and even that was painful. I've been an active person my whole life, playing sports, snowboarding and skiing, and exercising constantly. This shift in my ability to live life how I wanted was affecting me both mentally and physically and that is when I went to Dr. McAnany.

Dr. McAnany was completely understanding from day one. He did not immediately jump to surgery. However, after I expressed how my back was impacting my life, he did agree that I had reached a point where considering surgery was an option. I desperately wanted to get back to taking care of my children, skiing, going for runs, and enjoying my life. A spinal fusion at the age of 32 was not something I thought was in the cards for me and I was TERRIFIED. There is a lot of scary information out there and I definitely did not make the decision to have this surgery lightly. But, oh boy, am I so happy I did!

Dr. McAnany was phenomenal along with the staff at HSS. I had an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF). Surgery was fast and I only had to spend 1 night in the hospital. At home, it took about two weeks to be up and walking down the street again. Throughout recovery, Dr. McAnany and his team were there to answer all my questions and concerns. They truly cared about my recovery and helped me every step of the way.

It has now been a year since my surgery, and I can confidently say that having this surgery was the best decision of my life. I have my life back. I am back to doing workout classes and taking care of my children on my own. This winter I was able to ski with my 4-year-old daughter, which never would have been possible if I did not get this surgery! I am living life again pain-free and I owe it all to Dr. McAnany and his team!