WLEX-TV news anchor Nancy Cox, who has been off the air since April for surgery to address debilitating back pain, got great news during a Friday morning appointment with her surgeon.
"The x-rays look great," Cox said. "I'm healing right on schedule. The doctor couldn't be more happy with my progress.
"I got to see the full view of my back and what they did. It's very extensive. I have a lot of metal in my back, now."
The only disappointment: She'll be off the air a little bit longer than she had hoped.
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Cox was hoping for an early July return to "LEX18 News," but she says it will actually be early August so she can spend more time in physical therapy addressing some balance and leg-strength issues.
"He feels the stress of going back to work in a stressful environment and working a full day would be too much," Cox said of her surgeon. "I have mixed feelings about that. I'm ready to go back to work, mentally. I'm ready to feel like I have a purpose again. But I was beginning to feel a little bit of that pressure that I wasn't going to be strong enough."
Cox was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14 and had major surgery four years ago to address chronic, debilitating pain. But it continued, and in the last year, she says the pain was strong enough that she had to pass on assignments such as covering the UK men's basketball team in the SEC Tournament and the football team's trip to the Music City Bowl in December.
That pain, she says, is gone.
"That feels like a miracle to me," Cox said. "I had almost tried to accept the fact that I would always be in chronic pain, but now I have hope that I will feel really good for most daily activities."
Being off work is not easy for someone as active and plugged in as Cox. She says the "fog of anesthesia" kept her from indulging things like books and movies to occupy her time, for a while. She's become a big fan of the Game Show Network and says she spends a lot of time looking at Facebook and Twitter and now feels like she is reconnecting with the outside world.
Another thing that has helped is correspondence from viewers.
"The people who've reached out to me on social media, email, or the cards I received, it's all been so uplifting and so encouraging," Cox said. "It makes me want to get back to my life and back to my work."
And that should happen early in August.
"It'll be back to Nancy's crazy schedule of 5, 5:30, 6 and 11," Cox says. "And I wouldn't have it any other way. I love it."