As a textile artist, 55-year-old Sandy Melroy needed some visual motivation to have a total knee replacement, despite living in pain from arthritis for 15 years. An admitted excuse-maker, Sandy had pushed back her scheduled surgery twice.
“I kept putting it off and reducing activity. I had already stopped playing competitive tennis, which I had done for more than 40 years. But it got to the point where I wasn’t gardening anymore or even taking nightly walks with my husband,” said Sandy.
Making matters worse
“I started noticing other pains because I was compensating for the original pain. I realized the limitations on my activity and the damage to the rest of my body would eventually be more painful than any surgery,” said Sandy.
So she scheduled her left total knee replacement for February of 2013 with Dr. Mark Schick of the Prevea Regional Orthopedic Center.
“He’s a big part of the reason I actually went through with it,” she said. “He has such a good reputation, as does HSHS St. Vincent Hospital. Plus, he’s kind and a good listener. He really talked through my concerns.”
Sandy also attended the Joints inMotion class, in her case, taught by Patty Zenner, Joint inMotion Coordinator. “It really does prepare you for surgery,” said Sandy. “I didn’t leave there with any questions about the process and the road to recovery, and I appreciated knowing that ahead of time.”
A little motivation, a big difference
The last step before her surgery? Sandy developed what she calls her science fair board titled “Why Surgery Now.”
“I have pictures of the new golf clubs my family gave me. That’s going to be my new sport. There are pictures of the high heel shoes I want to dance in at my son’s upcoming wedding. I also included photos of hiking, new travel destinations and my first grandbaby. I want to play with her on the floor,” she said.
Sandy kept the board in her room at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and in her rehab room at home.
“I’m feeling so much better and I can’t wait to do the things I’ve been cutting back all these years and even some new things,” she glowed.
Her advice to others with arthritis pain is to only follow in some of her footsteps.
“Even though I was good at putting off surgery, I would encourage others not to,” said Sandy. “It makes a world of difference in your life to get back to the things you love.”