Gloria Gaynor opened up about her grueling health challenges before going through painful spinal surgery.
Gloria Gaynor, the Disco Diva famous for her hits "I Will Survive", "Never Can Say Goodbye", "Let Me Know" and "I Am What I Am".has revealed that she suffered for decades from chronic pain.
Her troubles started with a stage accident in 1978 that nearly left her paralyzed.
“I had to perform one of the most difficult surgeries [involving] breaking her spine then reconstructing it. This procedure is [rare] because it is so complex and requires a great deal of precision.” Dr. Hooman M. Melamed
Gaynor was performing at New York City’s Beacon Theatre, and during a “tug-of-war” choreography with her dancers, she fell over a monitor on stage.
The next morning, the singer woke up paralyzed from the waist down and led surgery to remove a ruptured disc and fuse two of the vertebrae in her lower spine, a procedure that helped her walk again.
In 1997 Gaynor was operated on yet again, and doctors inserted two rods in her back
The ordeal of her injury and her first surgery put Gaynor's career on hold - and some thought she'd never perform again. But despite the chronic pain, Gaynor would go on to record her greatest hit ever later the same year.
When Gaynor was asked to record the iconic "I Will Survive" as a B side of her new single, she was stunned by how the lyrics mirrored her experience.
“I’ve always believed that God said to the writers, ‘Sit down, write this song and just hold onto it. I’m going to send you somebody, and he sent me,” she said.
She recorded the song in a back brace and in excruciating pain.
In 1997 Gaynor was operated on yet again, and doctors inserted two rods in her back to stabilize the area.
But the pain was a constant in her life, and in 2018 Gaynor put herself in the hands of Dr. Hooman M. Melamed who performed a complex surgical procedure, literally reconstructing her spine.
For the first time in decades, the Diva of Disco can finally thrive, and not just merely survive.
Gloria Gaynor had to deal with an additional health problem besides her spinal injury.
The Diva started suffering from pain in both of her knees which made it difficult to move and dance on stage.
“I felt stiff when I woke up in the morning and twinges of pain climbing stairs.I started feeling uncomfortable all the time,” she said.
Gaynor's doctor diagnosed her with osteoarthritis, an inflammation in the joints that causes the cartilage to breakdown.
In 2009. Gaynor had knee replacement surgery in her left knee, followed by a grueling regime of therapy to rebuild atrophied muscles. Gaynor admits she will need surgery in her right knee if she wants to carry on boogying.