"Dr. Canales knew that to quit dancing was never an option"
My name is Rebecca and I'm dancing again, thanks to the doctors at the Spine and Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
I am a professional and competitive ballroom and Latin dancer. I also own my own dance studio—Viva Dance Studio. Having been a competitive dancer and performer in New York City for a number of years, I began to experience a lot of pain in my feet. I saw a number of doctors in New York who just treated my pain with cortisone shots. They never once explained the ramifications of what that would do to my feet over the long term. All I knew was that I was young and wanted to dance.
I was in so much pain. After a performance, I had to be off my feet for days. They would swell to the point where I couldn't even put my shoes on. I had to stop competing. Every time I came to Ohio I looked for different doctors. The other doctors in Cleveland I saw had no solution for me—just to stop dancing. The bottom line was I needed surgery.
Another colleague of mine recommended I go see Dr. Michael Canales — a young athlete and extremely talented foot doctor. After my first consultation, I instantly knew it was a good fit. I felt so comfortable with him. He was very thorough and made sure I understood everything he was explaining to me and gave me different options for my treatment. All the other doctors I met just looked at me like a case and didn't really look at who I was and what my lifestyle was. That was what made the difference. Knowing that Dr. Canales was an athlete himself, he understood my love and passion for dancing. He knew that to quit dancing was not an option. I wanted to go with him, because he told me I would dance again.
The damage in my feet from the years of cortisone and neglect resulted in the need for four surgeries. Every surgery was a group decision and I was so well-informed and confident with the outcome. From my first surgery to recovery took two and half years. I was overwhelmed at how dedicated Dr. Canales was to getting me back to dancing again. I don't think any other doctor would have been as accommodating and dedicated. He was sensitive and understood an athlete's lifestyle. He treated me like a person. If I had found Dr. Canales a lot earlier, I would have had the surgery sooner.
I am pain free completely. I get aches here and there once in awhile, but that's normal wear and tear from being a dancer. I'm pain-free and performing and teaching again.