Hope Stories

When a medical condition impacts the brain or spine, patients and their families naturally experience a wide range of emotions. But along with feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear, hope frequently can coexist. Our patients have taught us that while success is not universal when the brain or spine is affected, it is often within reach. The following "Hope Stories," told with the permission of our patients, present satisfactory solutions to challenging neurological situations.  As you are reading, please remember that every patient is unique. Results of neurological care are not always the same.



Mayfield Spine Athletes


Robert's story

G-forces and the spine

Looking back, Robert attributes his back problems to the six years he spent as a U.S. Navy pilot during the Cold War. Catapulting from 0 to 170 miles per hours in a span of 300 feet on an aircraft carrier does something to a spine. Being jerked to a stop by thick steel cables at 140 miles per hour does something to a spine. Flight maneuvers with seven times your body weight pushing down upon you does something to a spine.

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Robert's Story



Photo: Vivien and Ruth

Vivien and Ruth's story

Meningioma tumors

Ruth has six small meningioma tumors on the lining of her brain. Her daughter Vivien has three. But neither woman seems very concerned. "Neither one of us considers the tumors to be a big deal," says Vivien, "especially now that they can be treated with the Gamma Knife™."

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Mayfield Spine Athlete

Most of us don’t give much thought to the spine – an engineering wonder of disk-buffered vertebrae that allows us to twist, bend, and lift. "For most people the spine is an invisible component of their lives – until it goes bad," says William Tobler, MD, a Mayfield neurosurgeon. "But once it goes bad, it’s a lifestyle-changer."

If you are undergoing treatment for a back problem, are facing surgery, or are simply fortunate enough to have a healthy back, now is the perfect time to start thinking like a "spine athlete,"  Dr. Tobler says. "Just as a professional athlete trains constantly, spine athletes benefit by becoming disciplined with regard to their conditioning and healthy living."

Need some inspiration?

Here are the stories of some of our spine athletes.
If you are a current or former Mayfield Spine Athlete yourself, and if you’d like to share your story, please contact us.







Brewster's story >>
Diagnosis: Herniated lumbar disc

read joshua's story
Joshua's story >>
Diagnosis: Chiari I malformation


Merrill's story >>
Diagnosis: Foraminal stenosis


Chris's story >>
Diagnosis: Disc
degeneration & herniation


Gary's story >>
Diagnosis: Herniated discs

Mary Chris
Mary Chris's story
>>
Diagnosis: Lumbar instability and coronal deformity at L2-3