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Jean Donnelly

Tuxedo Park, NY
  • Jean Donnelly in the photo 1

It took nearly 10 years for me to finally accept that I needed to take drastic action to improve my hip mobility.

I grew up in New York City where my athletic achievements centered around playing in the concrete streets and not getting hit by taxicabs. I was always battling the bulge and by the time I was in my early 20's, was a whopping 215 pounds at 5-feet 4-inches.

Realizing I had to do something about my weight, I decided to take up swimming. I got into the pool at my college, NYU, and was able to take about two strokes before stopping to gasp for air. But I stuck with it and ultimately lost 75 pounds.

NYU had a triathlon team and one of my swimming buddies suggested I join. I laughed -- I didn't own a bike and had never run a step in my life. But I joined anyway and the coach, Scott Willett, was so inclusive that I soon became an active part of the team.

That was in 1994 and I've been a triathlete since then. I even met my husband, Rich Donnelly, at a race, and we participate in between six and 12 events together every season. He does Ironman, but he's crazy. I stick to Olympic-distance, sprints and the occasional half-Ironman.

But in the past decade, my mobility started to decline and my arthritic hips really limited my ability to race at the same level. I went to Dr. Su at HSS in 2006 and he said I was a candidate for a replacement or resurfacing.

Whaaaat???? No thanks.

Well, the condition continued to deteriorate and even though I pushed through it and kept up a hefty training and racing schedule, it eventually got to the point where I knew I had to take action.

I revisited Dr. Su and he said he could perform a hip resurfacing procedure that would improve my mobility and get me back on the triathlon circuit.

Still, I resisted, frightened about the procedure and uncertain that it would indeed solve my problem. I went to seemingly every other hip doctor and PT office in New York City until I decided to take the plunge.

Dr. Su performed the hip resurfacing on my right hip on Oct. 16, 2015.

The entire experience was flawless, from the nursing staff to the surgery staff to Dr. Su's assistants.

I was walking that afternoon in the hospital, went home the next afternoon, was riding a stationary bike within a week and was back in the pool within 10 days.

Three months after the surgery, I'm running on an anti-gravity treadmill three days a week and I've registered for a number of triathlons this summer. Dr. Su said I can start running on the roads at four to five months after the surgery.

I have absolutely no pain, my mobility is markedly improved and I'm thrilled with the results.

And on Oct. 16, 2016, exactly one year to the day that Dr. Su resurfaced my hip, I will be on the starting line of the Ironman Arizona 70.3 half-ironman-distance race in Tempe, Ariz. And I have no doubt I'll cross the finish line pain-free and with a smile on my face.