“I’m not getting surgery and I don’t need another guru,” I was thinking to myself. “But my back is broken and it’s not gonna get better by itself.”
I was injured during aikido training in Fukuoka, Japan. Years of practice had gotten my body to its peak level of performance, and there I was at 23 with a medical diagnosis for a traumatic pars fracture and a recommendation for spinal fusion surgery.
My alternatives? The doctor didn’t give me any. I was in a foreign country on a limited budget. I knew deep down inside that I was too young to have a fused spine and that there was no way I’d ever compete at the same level again if I agreed to the surgery, which promised me less range of motion and more pain. The prospect of a year of post-operative physical therapy or speculative alternative treatments didn’t inspire me either.
But my back hurt. A lot. I couldn’t train; I could barely get to work. I needed somebody I could trust who understood the problem medically and knew how to make it better without cutting me open and soldering my spine together. The problem was I didn’t know anyone like that…