The Monday before Thanksgiving, I stepped out of the pool during an aquacise class I was teaching, and I felt excruciating pain in my left knee as I ascended the steps. As soon as class was over, I found my way to the nearest Emergency Room where I was x-rayed, given crutches and told to go to an orthopedist with my very swollen and painful knee.
Earlier, my dad, emailed me a link to the HSS location in nearby Paramus, NJ. He thought I would need it for future reference, because I had a history of hip issues (more on that later). I called the number and was set up for an appointment with Dr. DiFelice. When I went into the office with my x-rays, Dr. DiFelice decided I needed an MRI to determine the problem. I also asked him while I was there if he could check my hip, because I felt it was the culprit causing my knee problem, due to my altered gait, so they also took an x-ray of my hip.
When I returned, Dr. DiFelice told me that I had a flap tear of my meniscus. He explained exactly what that meant in easy to understand layman’s terms and told me it would require outpatient surgery to repair. Upon looking at my hip x-ray, he said “total hip replacement”. This came as no surprise to me. In 2007, after I completed my first sprint triathlon I was diagnosed with bursitis, tendonitis and arthritis in my right hip. In 2010, I had a bone density screening and I had osteopenia in that hip, bordering osteoporosis. In 2015, while I was training for the Marine Corp Marathon, I was told I now had developed cysts in that hip; those cysts eventually tore my labrum. The game plan was to repair the knee first and then talk about the hip.
The day before my knee surgery, HSS called the house to tell me the time of the surgery and gave me the particulars and they answered any remaining questions that I had. I arrived at the hospital early on the morning of the surgery and everyone I came in contact with were extremely pleasant and attentive. Dr. DiFelice came in and spoke to my husband and I before the surgery, as did the anesthesiologist. After the surgery, Dr. DiFelice went out to speak to my husband and he also saw my husband and I in the recovery room. Before I was discharged the PT had me up and walking on my crutches and doing stairs.
Four weeks after this surgery, I was back at the gym, teaching my classes, training my clients and back to taking my Yoga classes, which I so thoroughly enjoy.
Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Dr. DiFelice’s office to schedule my THR. The surgeries would be about nine weeks apart. Prior to this surgery, I was scheduled to go in for pre-surgical screening and a knee/hip replacement class. I found this class to be very helpful and informative.
On February 13th, I went in for my THR and experienced the same high quality, professional treatment. My surgery was only about an hour and a half long, after which, Dr. DiFelice went out to talk to my husband. While I was in the Recovery Room, a physical therapist came to see me and had me up and walking with a walker. AMAZING!!! Tuesday, I met with the physical therapist a couple of times, and they had me walking with a cane and going up and down stairs. Truly mind blowing! By Wednesday morning, I was discharged and sent home.
At home, I had a physical therapist come to my house three times a week and a visiting nurse once a week for three weeks. Five days after my surgery, with the physical therapist, I walked 1 ½ miles with my cane outside. Two weeks after my surgery I had walked 5 ½ miles with my cane outside and by April 2, just seven weeks after my surgery, I walked 12 ½ miles without my cane. At eight weeks, I was back in the gym teaching my group fitness classes and training my clients. While I am still mindful of my precautions, which are in place for the next several weeks, there are many exercises I can do and I do enjoy teaching my weight classes and my pool classes and being back in the gym with my fellow “gym rats”.
While I may never do another triathlon or run another marathon, I still plan to participate in the Tunnels to Towers race this fall, with no limp and no pain, thanks to Dr. DiFelice and the staff at HSS. Hospital for Special Surgery is truly like the Disney World of hospitals. It is a well-oiled machine, filled with competent, helpful, professional and pleasant people every step of the way that makes you feel like you are their only patient. I have already recommended Dr. DiFelice and HSS to many of my members who attend my classes and who have orthopedic issues. I feel truly fortunate to have easy access to HSS and I am very grateful they have opened this office in Paramus! All in all a truly positive experience!