At 73 years young, Bob Box is an avid skier and outdoorsman, thanks to successful spinal fusion with Neurosurgery One’s Dr. J. Adair Prall. Box and his wife, Marilyn, have traversed the world and strive to live an active Colorado lifestyle while enjoying life in Buena Vista. But, in 2017, Bob’s adventures came to a streaking halt.
While on their way to Vail ski resort, a favorite of the couple, Bob was overcome with an intense and debilitating stabbing in his back. The pain was so immediate that they drove straight to Vail Summit Orthopedics to determine the cause rather than continuing their trip as planned.
Bob received an EMG and was informed that a herniated disc was causing the pain. The specialists at Vail Summit Orthopedics sent Bob straight to Dr. Prall of Neurosurgery One, stating that he “was the best guy in the business” and would take excellent care of Bob’s condition. Three days later, Bob met with Dr. Prall and was scheduled for spinal fusion surgery on the herniated disc.
Unable to pinpoint exactly what had caused the herniated disc, Bob expects it was one of the many “yard sale” incidents he experienced during his years of skiing, where he scattered all of his gear during a wipeout. After years of skiing hard and, as Bob puts it, “beyond his age,” and putting other daily wear and tear on his body, he was not surprised to experience this type of injury.
Dr. Prall completed the surgery to remove the herniated disc and fuse two vertebrae in Bob’s spine. Soon after his successful spinal fusion surgery, Bob was out on the trails, refusing to let the injury set him back from doing what he loves.
Be an Advocate for Yourself
Bob’s best advice to anyone experiencing medical issues like his is to always advocate for yourself and your health. Find a provider or specialist who will listen and work with you to find a solution together.
Shortly after Bob’s herniated disc surgery, he began experiencing unrelated issues with his right hand. What started as a wobble slowly morphed into declining strength and atrophy. Over the last four years, the problem has ultimately rendered his hand unusable.
“I went from being able to handle a full pot of coffee to having to use my opposite hand for everything. I can’t even hold a fork anymore.”
After countless visits to neurologists and hand specialists, Bob found himself back in Dr. Prall’s care, refusing to believe that there was nothing that could be done. While not a hand specialist, Dr. Prall was willing to work with Bob to uncover the root cause of the issue when others were quick to give up. They haven’t found all of the answers yet, but are leaving no stone unturned to discover the problem.
“Dr. Prall is more than just a great surgeon and great professional. He has always taken the extra time to explain the problem, what is causing it, and possible solutions. He spends more time in genuine care and concern for me as a patient on a higher level than I have seen anywhere, including friends in the medical profession. He is a great human being.”
Even with all of his setbacks, Bob refuses to be stopped. “I am 73 years old with screws in my back and a bum hand, but I’m not slowing down. It’s not my style.”
The Secret to Success and Longevity
Bob is no stranger to surgery. Two years after his successful spinal fusion surgery in 2017, he underwent a knee replacement with Vail Summit Orthopedics, the group that initially recommended Dr. Prall. Always a strong advocate for health, wellness, and daily activity, Bob has found the secret to quick recovery and experiencing remarkable post-surgical outcomes.
“If you can, go into any surgery as strong as you can, do the training beforehand. I trained before all of my surgeries. I wanted to make myself as strong as possible, so I was way ahead of the game when I came out. I didn’t let myself get so far behind that I had to start at ground zero. I was going into it in good shape as best I could.”
Four months after his 2019 knee replacement, Bob was in Nepal for 23 days hiking in the Himalayas.
“I am not using age as an excuse. I turned 71 in Nepal and remember a lovely little village that had a gathering while we were there. The villagers all came around with blessing scarves and each laid one around my shoulders, explaining that they were for health and to get you through your journey. Even with all of my setbacks, I was not going to give up. You don’t stop trying because you grow old, you grow old because you stop trying.”
Bob and Marilyn continue to live their active Colorado lifestyles to the fullest and plan to do so for quite a long time!