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Paul Cataldo

Jersey City, NJ

When I tore my left long biceps tendon in July 2015, it was very upsetting for someone like me, who makes fitness a major part of their life. To give you an idea of how much so, I'm in the gym 6 days a week and have a resting heart rate of 40. It was also my first serious sports injury. I seriously contemplated not having surgery because the 4-6 month recovery time just seemed unbearable for me to be out of the gym. When I met with Dr. Stephen Fealy, he was very understanding and accommodating, but most importantly, he made me realize that at age 35, why would I limit my future activities? I felt very comfortable and at ease in the hands of what I knew was an exceptional orthopedic surgeon. His track record speaks for itself and he immediately got me a time to have my procedure. It was pleasantly surprising to me that before going into surgery, I didn't feel nervous at all, especially after seeing Dr. Fealy in pre-op. I knew I was in good hands.

I initially planned to go to Physical Therapy for a few sessions, get suggestions on what to do, and then do everything on my own. However, after meeting my assigned therapist, Jason Mayerhofer, that changed. Jason’s approach to therapy made me actually look forward to conquering my rehab as I took as the next challenge in my life and I learned an awful lot during my time with him. His knowledge, responsiveness and overall attitude are exceptional. Even when I came by to tell him that Dr. Fealy had fully cleared me, it was somewhat bittersweet to no longer need sessions with Jason. Likewise with Dr. Fealy. It's always strange to say "hope to never see again, which would mean I'm healthy", but I have nothing but high praise and kind feelings for both of them.

The main challenge for me was more mental than physical. Sitting on the couch and watching TV is not for people wired the way I am. I was never going to have a problem doing my therapy with Jason and at home. However, the mental challenge of pacing myself through my first rehab/surgery was incredibly difficult for me. I especially had a hard time getting “back in the saddle” as therapy progressed for a fear of re-injuring my arm. Dr. Fealy and Jason gave me the confidence to push through those fears at the appropriate pace.

When I was told the initial rehab time was 4-6 months, I set a goal to beat that estimate as early as I could. However, I knew I had to take my time with this being my first surgery and being an elitist when it comes to fitness is what contributed to me being in this predicament in the first place. I’m proud to say I completed my therapy and got clearance from Dr. Fealy in just under 3 months.

I consider it one of the greatest accomplishments in my life, and while I put in the effort living an extremely healthy/nutritional lifestyle and doing my therapy as directed, I could have never recovered as quickly and efficiently without an exceptional surgeon like Dr. Fealy and a fantastic therapist in Jason.

For anyone looking for advice, I would say that the most important thing is to take your rehab one day at a time. In hindsight, those 3 months of rehab went by very fast and proved to be just a speed bump down the long road of life. Secondly, you really need to follow your rehab/therapy instructions to a tee EVERY day. No skipping a day, or skipping a session, or ending a session early, etc. You only get out of life what you put into it and if you don't following the plan, you won't have the success I did. A goal without a plan is simply a wish.

If you're reading this posting, it likely means you are injured and I extend my best wishes to you on your recovery.