When I was eighteen years old, I was diagnosed with following an injury to my left foot. During my first week of college swim practice, I smashed my foot into the wall of the pool, ending my ten year competitive swimming career with one poorly timed flip turn. It was fortunate that the team doctor had just read multiple articles about crippling athletes following sports injuries and I was diagnosed within two months of my injury. Learning that prompt treatment was my best chance at remission I quickly did everything my doctors and the internet told me to do at the time: sympathetic nerve blocks injected directly into my spine, physical therapy and lots of pain medications. After each of these options to reduce my pain only increased it or made me an apathetic zombie, I sat down with a new pain management doctor to discuss next steps. I remember being nervous, yet hopeful that he might have some new idea. During the short consult, he told me while shrugging his shoulders and handing me another bottle pain meds to try, that my last option was a spinal cord stimulator implant. He then handed me a brochure showing off the implants hefty price tag and unimpressive success rate. My heart was pounding and hands shaking, my eyes blurred at the words on the brochure in my hand and I looked up at him very confused. I was 18 years old being told my best option for a “normal life” was a risky and expensive surgery involving an implant to my spine, or a bunch of drugs. I replied “ But, I’m trying to go to school and work.” He sighed, looked at me seriously and in his best condescending voice said to me “You will likely be in a wheelchair in a few years, what will you do with a degree then?” I don’t remember my response. My dad became flustered at my disappointment and told the doctor that we will research other options and get back to him. We left that office and never went back. Today I’d like to say to that doctor two things “ Look at me now!” And “thank you for the push I needed to live my life exactly how I want, filled with love, laughter, adventure, and excitement!” Do your own research, be your own advocate, make your own choices.