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Melissa Chalmer

New York, NY

I dislocated my knee by flying down a set of steps in 2004. I had 30 pounds of musical equipment on my back that propelled me forward. I saw an orthopedic surgeon at a hospital in Massachusetts, where I learned that I fractured my patella. I declined surgery because I did not have insurance. Fast-forward to 2011 where I began PT again for the knee and it was working, but the injury was inhibiting me from doing hardcore workouts and figure skating (I used to compete before the injury). After many other orthopedics and a move to NYC, I was finally set up with Dr. Shubin Stein, who bluntly outlined all of the damage I had done to me and that I needed surgery. I will always have arthritis and I will never live to see my dream of skydiving, but there may be a chance that I could figure skate again. By this time, I was as fat as a cow and here was bone on bone. The surgery would entail using cadaver parts and 2 metal screws. Basically, it is a reconstruction with all of my parts and borrowed human parts. It is extremely painful and would require a lot of PT. The first few days after surgery were horrid with pain. I could not put any weight not the leg for 6 weeks and the PT was painful. I chose my own PT with whom I was with for 3 years and he painfully put me back together and ahead of schedule! With a pain management doctor's help and a successful surgery, I returned to private figure skating lessons and am able to spin my 26 pound kid and leg press 210. I could do the leg press like that 4 months post op - not bad. I am still with the pain management doctor to continue to do strenuous exercise, but it is all worth it. My dream is to skate with the Ice Theater of NYC.