When Amy Mashburn began having back pain while attending college, she drove two hours to see her family doctor back home in Cynthiana. He dismissed her worries, saying that spines are supposed to curve like that. The neurosurgeon she subsequently turned to attributed it to stress. During an interview with her, Mashburn said that by the time her son, Christopher, was born in 1998, the problems with her back could no longer be shrugged off. The first surgery was in 1999 to correct a herniated disc.