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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

“I never thought I’d run a marathon after back surgery,” says Rebecca Griffis of Olyphant. The 34-year-old mother of two experienced terrible back pain for over a year. “It was excruciating to bend over to brush my teeth. I was in agony. Sitting and standing hurt.”

Rebecca had her first child, Blake, in 2014 and soon started experiencing throbbing pain. 

“I had him in January and by July, I was in a ton of pain. And I still have no idea what I did to hurt myself.” 

That summer, Rebecca started doing physical therapy. 

“And it didn’t help,” she says. “I was doing stretching exercises and core strengthening with resistance bands, but I wasn’t getting any better. After six months of unsuccessful physical therapy, I knew it was time to do something else. My baby was getting bigger and picking him up was getting difficult.”

An MRI showed she had a herniated disk in her lower back. 

“It was terribly painful. I was taking nerve blockers and pain relievers that weren’t helping. I needed surgery.”

Rebecca was referred to neurosurgeon Dr. Michel Lacroix. In July 2015, she had a lumbar hemilaminectomy at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. This is a spine surgery where pieces of the spinal bones are removed to relieve pressure on nerve.  

“Dr. Lacroix was phenomenal! He and the entire staff was extremely caring and attentive. Everyone made me feel at ease and helped me get comfortable. I remember waking up after surgery and being rolled into recovery room. They had to transfer me onto a normal recovery bed and I was so nervous to move. I cried like a baby, but the staff worked through my emotions and never rushed me into bed. They gave me all the time in the world to make the transition into a recovery bed. I was sore, but I was mobile. And I was on my feet that night!”

Rebecca feels great after surgery, and she and husband Ernie welcomed a second baby into their life in 2017 – a little girl, Brynn. 

One of Rebecca’s post-surgery successes was finishing the NYC marathon in November 2018. 

“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete it, but I did it! It was an incredible personal accomplishment and achievement. I was never into running and this was my first marathon.” 

She might not have been a runner before, but she is now! Rebecca signed up to run the Scranton Half marathon in 2019. “I don’t run every day, unless you count running after my two kids. And I feel great now, so why wouldn’t I run the Scranton half!”
Rebecca Griffis holds a medal after running New York Marathon
Rebecca Griffis ran the New York Marathon after having spine surgery; Rebecca Griffis with her husband and children

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