Curved Inspirations—How Marcia DelBarone Ran from Back Pain to Become a Marathoner and Author

Not every patient chooses to combat pain with intense physical exertion, but that’s just what Marcia DelBarone decided to do after back surgery left her feeling like a puppet with no backbone.”

““I could not stand myself on pain meds, she recalls. I’m an animated person, and it’s very important to me to be active. There was no way this was going to break down my life.””

DelBarone knew she would have to find something other than medication to help her deal with postsurgical pain. She was no stranger to pain; her journey began in her teens when she was diagnosed with scoliosis and culminated years later with a severe sweeping pain in her pelvis and legs that led to her surgery. Yet despite decades of excruciating discomfort, DelBarone was determined to control her own physical destiny.

““I elected to have surgery to fuse my vertebrae because I did not want to be on meds, and I wanted to get to the root of the problem, DelBarone explains. I did not take pain meds before surgery, just a lot of Motrin. I suffered many days with pain afterward, but I’m thankful to my surgeon Lloyd Hey, MD, for blessing me with a wonderful outcome.””

In response to her scoliosis diagnosis, DelBarone had maintained a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. She says she always knew she needed to “stay lean, exercise, keep my back strong.” So after her surgery, she returned to what she knew how to do best.

“”About a year after my surgery, I ran a 5K race and placed in my division,” DelBarone says. “It was an important accomplishment to me because I want ed people to know that surgery isn’t the be-all, end-all answer. When you suffer from pain, you can’t always smile—there is no sunshine, but you have to find your own motivation and strive for the next level.””

DelBarone has also written a book, Curved Inspirations, about her experience helping others who suffer from pain, using her pain diary notes as reference. She says it was imperative for her to share a positive story with individuals looking for hope in the middle of a pain nightmare.

““It took me three and a half years to reach my goal of writing the book, but I want people to know that the human body is miraculous and that with the right mindset, you can beat almost anything,” DelBarone says. “There were lots of bumps on my way back to physical well-being, but I’ve created goals and met them. For example, last September I put running a half-marathon on my bucket list, and when I ran in the Skinny Turkey race in November, I placed first in my division.””

Today, DelBarone is relishing her role as mom to two college-aged sons, —Matthew and Michael, and wife to husband, John, all of whom “inspire me daily to never quit,”” she says. As a leader at Dominion Diagnostics, she focuses on pain and addiction management.

““It’s so easy to give up, but you just can’’t,”” concludes DelBarone. ““I know the hardware is in my back, but there’’s no pain. This journey in life has inspired me, made me a stronger. I love to help others stay strong. I feel like I can overcome anything now, and I want to help others feel the same.” {PP}