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Anna O'Keefe

Ridgewood, NJ

Two days after Christmas, I was skiing with my family at Killington Mountain in Vermont when an unfortunate ski accident left me with a severe distal break in my left clavicle and a separated shoulder. One week after the injury, I went in to see Dr. Strickland at HSS, who has treated many members of my family over the years, most recently my younger brother for another ski injury! Dr. Strickland recommended surgery as soon as possible, so I returned two days later for my surgery which left me with a large sling and thankfully a small scar (thank you!). At my post-op appointment, I expressed my concern about my healing process, which was supposed to take a few months. I was scheduled to attend a trip to Nepal with my college's outing club, where I would be trekking the route to Mt. Everest Base Camp, and the trip was scheduled to depart nine weeks after my surgery. The break in my shoulder put a huge major hurdle in my training process, and I was worried I would not be well enough by the time Spring Break rolled around to participate in the trek. Dr. Strickland assured me that she believed I would be well enough to make it on the trek.

Nine weeks later, I hoped her words were true as I nervously stepped on the plane in JFK airport to Kathmandu, Nepal. Not only was I well enough to simply attend the trek, for the following two weeks my shoulder gave me absolutely no trouble as we hiked for 8 hours each day with a backpack and trekking poles and slept in grueling high altitude conditions at night. The daily views of Mount Everest and the surrounding majestic Himalayan peaks of the Khumbu Valley were unlike anything I had ever seen before; and the feelings of joy and accomplishment I felt while trekking the route to base camp, just nine weeks after my surgery were indescribable! I was truly on top of the world! I can't thank Dr. Strickland enough for reassuring me that I would be able to have that incredible experience of trekking in the Himalaya. Her "can do" attitude and her desire to support her patients in returning to the activities they love provides her patients with confidence that inspires recovery.