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Spine Tumor

Finding a Spine Tumor by Listening to Her Body: Rose’s Story

Rose’s story is a lesson in paying attention to your health and listening to your body. Learn how she discovered and recovered from a spine tumor.

Rose, age 77, is very attuned to her body. She is a dance enthusiast who performs aerial adagio, a form of dance that is similar to what you might see in Cirque de Solei, as well as Argentine performance/stage tango. To perform such dancing feats, she pays close attention to her body mechanics and what her body is saying to her. 

“Your body will speak to you,” she asserts.

Discovering a New Passion…and Then a Tumor

Finding a Spine Tumor by Listening to Her Body: Rose’s Story

Rose didn’t start dancing until she was 67. As with some other activities in her life, she simply felt called to start this new adventure. Rose quickly immersed herself in this new world, traveling to New York to train almost every week. 

COVID-19 put a stop to her dancing travels in February 2020. This forced break caused her to pause and evaluate a few things that were giving her some discomfort and pain. 

“It’s a bit of a long story, but basically it started when I went to a physical therapist to work on strengthening my knee,” she says. “I did not want to have surgery, so I looked for an alternative.” 

“I also had some issues such as a bone spur on the left side of my back. I called it my ‘funny bone,’” she says. “My hips were also out of alignment.” 

She chalked these issues up to her age and overuse from dancing. 

Compelled to Get Checked Out

Rose felt her pain level was tolerable and could have easily ignored these issues. But one morning she felt compelled to get the “funny bone” checked out, as she did not want to cause her body any further harm. Both her physical therapist and family doctor thought it might be a sacroiliac bone spur. 

“I just truly felt called by God to get it checked out,” says Rose.  

Both her physical therapist and family doctor gave her a list of spine specialists that included Dr. Christopher Kager, a neurosurgeon with LG Health Physicians NeuroScience and Spine Associates.

Dr. Kager agreed with the sacroiliac bone spur diagnosis and recommended an X-ray to get a better look. 

Diagnostic Tests Reveal a Spine Tumor

“The X-ray showed a potential abnormality. We decided that it was worth investigating further, so I ordered an MRI,” says Dr. Kager. “And that’s when we saw the benign spine tumor.” 

Finding the tumor was a surprise to Rose. The tumor had been growing for many years and had grown to about the size of a golf ball. 

Listening to her body caused Rose to catch the tumor before it could do damage, including the potential for incontinence, paralysis, or other serious issues. 

Rose sought a second opinion before moving ahead with surgery. Both that doctor and Dr. Kager agreed surgery should not be delayed for very long. 

Successful Surgery and Recovery

Removing a spine tumor is a precise procedure because of how a tumor can wrap around nerves. 

“There was a chance they could not remove the entire tumor without damaging any nerves, but everything went perfectly thanks to Dr. Kager’s talent and skill,” Rose says. “I have no ill effects from the surgery.” 

“I give praise for this success to God, Dr. Kager, the entire spine team, and my dear husband who stood by me,” she says.

Following surgery in November 2020, Rose says her body feels more in tune and more limber than it has in years. Her hips are aligned, her knee is straight. 

“And a lot general aches and pains I had are gone. This tumor was causing a lot more discomfort and pain than I realized,” she adds. “I can do many moves including splits with no pain!” 

Continuing to “Flutter and Fly”

Less than two weeks after surgery, she was back to practicing some dance moves—albeit only in her kitchen. 

“To God’s glory,” she says, “I am blessed that I was given another season to continue to flutter and fly as a dancer, to dream, hope and live life.” 

Rose has a goal to continue to dance and perform until she is 105. 

“For anyone reading this, by listening to your body, things can be discovered and treated,” she beams. “To everyone, I say Godspeed!” 

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