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Wendy (Gwen) Aquadro

Ithaca, NY

It is summer 2017 and I got up on water skis for the first time in over 15 years. Why can I do this now, when for almost two decades I have been on the sidelines?

I have Dr. Levine to thank for improving my mobility and quality of life since he fused my right ankle and heel in March 2016. This surgery eliminated a pain that was excruciating and was hardly touched by one or two Aleve a day. I was limited in how long I could stand or walk; if I rode my bike, I was unable to stand up to peddle because of intense pain.

In summer 2015 my pain was intolerable; I found myself barely able to walk to the end of the driveway. I was issued a permanent handicapped permit so I could get from my car to my office more easily. This high pain level prompted me to look more seriously into an ankle fusion even though I understood that there were risks and realized that the recovery was long.

I read up on the pros and cons of ankle and heel fusion, and consulted with a few doctors who gave me an 80% chance for success; one doctor also warned me that I could lose my foot. Dr. Levine thought I had over a 90% chance for a successful fusion so I asked him to do the surgery in March 2016, a decision I find to be one of the best I have made in the last decade.

More than a year has passed since this surgery and I am delighted to say that I am free of pain and can not only water ski, but can garden, cook, walk for miles and shop all in the same day without discomfort; this is truly remarkable! My limitation isn’t ankle pain, rather, it is motivation or other arthritic aches.

I wish I had done this surgery a decade earlier. Yes, the recovery is significant, but the investment is well worth the benefits. I so appreciate Dr. Levine and his team for their expertise. In fact, I hope to have my distorted, arthritic left foot surgically repaired by Dr. Levine in the near future.

I am happy to talk with anyone about my ankle/heel fusion experience, a surgery that changed my life and helped me reengage in a lifestyle I thought I had left behind.