Katie Dix has a busy life. She is a 5th grade teacher at Colonial Trail Elementary School. She’s married and is “Mom” to two boys, ages 10 and 3. Katie is very energetic and enjoys sports. The active life that she loves has been threatened twice due to back issues. Both times, Dr. Vanichkachorn (known as Dr. Van to his patients) has successfully treated her.
Katie first came to see Dr. Van in 2005. She recalls, “I was playing soccer and two-hand touch football during this time of my life. My husband and I enjoyed playing co-ed sports together and football was my favorite! An injury on the field caused one of my discs to rupture. This caused severe nerve damage down my leg and constant pain. I even spent some time in a wheel chair!” Dr. Van performed a micro-disectomy to remove two pieces of the disc. Katie fully recovered and was able to resume playing all sports again!
Six years later, Katie started having back pain, but she tried to “tough it out”. She finally decided to call Dr. Van when the pain was unbearable. She had a good experience with Dr. Van in 2005 and trusted him to care for her this time.
“I think Dr. Van is an excellent surgeon. He’s personable and easy to talk to. He understands how active I like to be. I knew he would do his best to get me back to my normal activities.”
A MRI showed that she had severe arthritis in her spine. Dr. Van initially tried injections for the pain; but that didn’t work. He then suggested Fusion Surgery to fuse the L4 and L5 regions. She didn’t think twice. She’s not one to sit on the sidelines and watch others participate in life! She waited until her summer vacation and had the surgery in July.
Katie says, “I wanted this surgery, but I knew going into the surgery that the recuperation would take time and lots of effort. My husband was by my side throughout the entire process. I was up and walking the day of surgery. Within a week of surgery, I was walking 3 miles a day and feeling good. I still had a lot of physical limitations and needed help with the children. I couldn’t hold my youngest son, wash the dishes, or even pick up a gallon of milk! I had to wear a brace.”
Katie returned to teaching in the fall. Dr. Van has suggested she “give up” football; but otherwise, she can return to most activities. She’s back to playing with her boys, which often includes a fun game of basketball. She spent the winter training for the Monument 10K, which she ran on March 31, 2012! She ran the entire race and beat her goal by one minute!