Complications from Sciatica couldn’t keep this determined grandmother on the sidelines.
Distance runner Fran Hirsh, age 72, is training for her 33rd half marathon which will take place in Nashville, TN in April. While running races at her age is a remarkable feat in itself, Fran’s accomplishments are even more noteworthy considering she underwent a 9-hour spinal fusion surgery 14 months ago.
At a time in life when most people think about slowing down, at the age of 60 Fran took up running after one of her young grandson’s was diagnosed with leukemia. “There was a group of people with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who were training for fundraising races. I decided to try something I’d never done.”
Before she knew it, Fran was traveling the world to participate in marathons in Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Paris, among others. She ran in half marathons, and countless 1OK and 5K races, raising more than $100,000 for research. It seemed nothing could stop her.
Then, in 2014, Fran developed a tingling and burning sensation in her feet while at her home in Florida. She consulted with numerous specialists nearby, had a battery of tests and tried an assortment of prescription medications, but her condition deteriorated.
“The pain became so debilitating that I couldn’t walk from the living room to the front door,” she recalled. After living in misery for months, Fran, who also maintains a home in Greenwich, CT, decided to consult with ONS spine surgeon, Dr. Scott Simon. Dr. Simon had saved the life of a different grandson following a traumatic skateboarding accident, and he quickly recognized that Fran was suffering from complications due to Sciatica, a degenerative spine condition and recommended spinal fusion surgery. Fran has never questioned her decision to seek Dr. Simon’s opinion.
“I had complete confidence in the skill of Dr.Simon. He is a talented surgeon and a wonderful human being,” Fran said recently. “My only regret is that I waited so long to have the surgery and was miserable for all those months.”
Fran walked out of the hospital days after surgery and has never needed physical therapy or physical rehabilitation to recover. “I had the right doctor, the right frame of mind, and years of staying active to help me recover quicker than friends in Florida who’ve had the same surgery,” she said. In fact, two and a half months post-op, Fran ran a 10K and since then has gone on to run half marathons in Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Florida and Seattle.
“I’m thrilled. I’m back to doing what I was doing before,” Fran said. “I’ve seen more than my fair share of doctors and Dr. Simon and the people at ONS are special. I recommend them to everyone.”