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Alexandra Chmil

Garden City, NY
  • Alexandra Chmil in the photo 1

My experience at Hospital For Special Surgery is how I got back in the game. I rowed in high school and in college division 1. However, my senior year of high school I had to sit out my senior season because I tore my meniscus and plica in my right knee. I went to physical therapy and had numerous cortisone shots but it was not until Dr. O'Brien told me I had to take a break from rowing if I wanted my knee to get better. I continued to row in college until my junior year of college when I tore my plica again and also this time there was some scar tissue from the previous surgery. The second surgery was different because by then Dr. O'Brien told me I should be put on pain management. I was told to continue physical therapy not just going to the physical rehab place for my knee but swimming, biking, and walking I was told I can do to heal my knee. With some exercises and some more cortisone shots I was on my way to a speedy recovery. As a result of retearing my plica I had to quit rowing and I was disappointed but I continued to train as if I was on the team. I would go to practices and go on the bike but not lift like I did when I was on my college team. Dr. O'Brien did such a great job on my right knee to this day it hurts a little due to "when there's bad weather", but Dr. O'Brien knew that getting my range of motion back in order was a huge priority. To this date, I can walk with minimal pain and full range of motion in my right knee. The recovery for my surgery was only about a month and the surgery was an outpatient surgery so I had my knee surgery in the morning then I left the Hospital for Special Surgery later that day. I also had surgery on my left knee. This too was from rowing. I tore my meniscus with blistering of the scar tissue causing irritation and pain. I really have to thank Dr. O'Brien for literally repairing my knees as he did especially at a such a young age when I was in high school then in college during my surgeries. I still have pain in my left knee but I have had about 10 cortisone shots and when I went to physical therapy for my knee. On the days my knee is hurting a lot I walk or bike or now that the weather is warmer I swim. During the spring and summer seasons I am a member a masters rowing program. However, I became educated about the tolerance of pain to my knee and what exercises not to do when I am in a great deal of pain. 1 day out of knee surgery I was on crutches with minimal weight bearing using my circulated iced knee brace with an attached ice bucket. 2 weeks out of my left knee surgery I was limping around with 1 crutch sometimes 2 if I absolutely needed them. I have since then gotten sneaker orthotics through a foot doctor to correct the alignment of my feet. I was able to get back in the game with the help of Dr. O'Brien and the Hospital for Special Surgery I know that as much as I love rowing there are going to be certain days when I simply cannot go rowing due to my knee pain.