Legendary Disco Queen Gloria Gaynor sings her signature hit, “I Will Survive” a little stronger nowadays because she’s literally lived through a battle for her life, but survived it.
“‘I Will Survive’ is a divine appointment,” admits Gaynor. The story of how she recorded is nothing short than amazing.
Gaynor was doing a show in California and felt excruciating pain in her legs. She didn’t remember being taken to the hospital, but she woke up with hospital room.
“I had a show at the Beacon Theater in New York, I fell down and woke up the next morning with excruciating pain. The doctors came in just then. They said I was paralyzed from the waist down. Thorough examinations revealed a ruptured disc that had to be operated on. After four months in the hospital I was released. Three months of physical therapy fraught with uncertainty about my career and ability to become financially stable again, ended with me approaching despair.”
“Instead of succumbing to despair, I decided to turn to the only one. I was sure He knew exactly what my future held, because He held my future. I began to pray and trust that God would work it out. I certainly didn’t know how, but I believed He is faithful and He would do it. That evening, a message was delivered to me that said the record company wanted me to record a song they liked, and the producers would write the B-side. When they presented me with the “B” side song, I was not only sure that this was a great song, but also that it was God’s answer to my prayer. The song was “I Will Survive.” God was not only giving me an answer, but it was a resounding ‘YES.’ Not only was He saying, I would survive, but that this song would cause me to triumph and be the catalyst for so many others to survive and triumph over the traumatic and seemingly insurmountable situations and circumstances that come into their lives.”
“So I had surgery of my spine and was literally recording this song in a back brace, reading these lyrics and the fact that my mother had recently passed away. Since that day, “I Will Survive” has been my constant companion whenever the odds seem against me. I related this song to that pain and thought others might do the same. There’s no doubt about it, I WILL Survive.”
After decades of touring in the U.S. and Europe performing her hit songs including “Never Can Say Goodbye” and the iconic “I Will Survive,” she was nearly sidelined with pain in both of her knees. “It was tough to dance and move around the stage,” she says.
At first, Gloria’s knees started feeling achy, especially when she was active. “I felt stiff when I woke up in the morning and twinges of pain climbing stairs.” The pain steadily increased and lingered. “I started feeling uncomfortable all the time,” she says.
However, like many of us, Gloria didn’t seek medical attention at first. The show must go on right? So, instead, she hoped it would go away on its own.
But after months in denial, debilitating pain set in and Gloria, then 46, went to the doctor. “I was experiencing stiffness, pain and lack of mobility in both knees, although the left one was much worse,” she says. She was shocked when the doctor told Gloria she had osteoarthritis, an inflammation in the joints that causes the cartilage in joints to breakdown. This form of arthritis can occur in almost any joint, but most commonly occurs in the weight bearing hips, knees, and spine. “My mother and grandmother both had osteoarthritis so my diagnosis shouldn’t have been surprise, yet it was. I thought I was invincible, that I’d never have what my family had.”
Gloria’s pain took her on a journey that included several different pain medicines and therapies like…