Four years ago, golf pro Chris DeRosier started having back pain. He thought perhaps it was a bad disk or just normal wear tear.
I thought years of playing basketball and golf had begun to catch up with me, says the 44-year-old resident of Casselberry.
By last summer, however, things went from bad to worse. So he took a month off from golf to let his back heal. But when he got back on the course, the pain was still there.
I remember swinging the club and ending up on the ground, the pain was so bad, Chris says. That when I knew I needed to do something.
A Shocking Discovery
Little did Chris know, a 2-centimeter tumor in his lower spine was pushing on his nerves. He saw John Jenkins, MD, a neurosurgeon who practices at AdventHealth Orlando and AdventHealth Winter Park, and had surgery soon after.
Dr. Jenkins says these types of tumors are slow growing, so they often go unnoticed until the pain becomes intense, as it did in Chris' case. Dr. Jenkins performed a laminectomy with tumor removal at AdventHealth Orlando. The surgery is designed to remove a small portion of bone over the nerve root and/or disk material. In turn, the nerve root has more space and is able to heal.
It never crossed my mind that it was anything bad, Chris says. I was in shock when he told me.
A tumor on his spine was devastating news. Although Dr. Jenkins says it wasn't immediately life-threatening, Chris knew it could crush his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. And with the complexity of the tumor's location inside the spinal column it was a troubling situation for Chris. This type of tumor can cause paralysis in some cases, according to Dr. Jenkins.
It was a scary time for both my girlfriend and me, recalls Chris.
Back on Course
Once Dr. Jenkins successfully removed the tumor, it was only a few weeks before Chris could tell a major difference. Fast-forward six months, and he says he's back on track when it comes to golfing.
The daily pains are gone, Chris says. I'm a little stiff in the mornings, but I'm feeling a lot better. I'm confident my game will be better than ever. And I'm anxious to get back to preparing for the PGA Tour.