Sharon’s spine surgery was right on target

Sharon Trame of West Frankfort knows about aim and precision. She’s an avid archer who’s gone on to be the Illinois Senior Olympics gold medal winner. It’s a big part of her life, traveling the US hunting wild game: deer, wild boar, rams, etc. All the while harvesting the meat to provide for her family.

Unfortunately a year ago, her archery came to a standstill, when severe back and leg pain kept her from drawing the bow.

Wear and Tear

Imagine the spine as a scaffolding of 26 bones through which the spinal cord runs through. After time, wear and tear on that structure causes changes that narrow the space around the spinal cord, compressing on the nerves. That’s when the pain arrives. That is spinal stenosis.

“It started with some hip pain,” said Sharon. Then it radiated to her legs until the pain was unbearable.

Like most people, Sharon pursued less invasive methods of coping. Physical therapy, pain medications, etc. But when it came down to preventing her from doing the thing she loved—the archery—that was the last straw.


Mark Fleming, MD

Sharon sought help from board certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Mark Fleming at the SIH Brain & Spine Institute. “For 20 years, Sharon had been dealing with back pain,” said Fleming. “In Sharon’s case this wear and tear caused a dislocated vertebrae.”

“Dr. Fleming was amazing and didn’t hold anything back,” said Sharon. “He knew right away that I needed the surgery.” He performed a lumbar fusion in December of 2015 at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

Back on Target

Following surgery and a three-day initial recovery, Sharon claims, “It was phenomenal how much better I felt. Why did I put this off?” Six months later she was back to shooting her arrows. “Dr. Fleming gave my life back.”

It was after surgery that she won her gold medal. We wish her best of luck as she competes for nationals in Birmingham this summer.