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Total Knee Revision

Getting My Life Back

By: Deb B. 

I have always been athletic and involved in many different sports; even racing motorcycles in the “powder puff” division for girls. When I reached my 40’s, I began to have issues with my left knee. I saw my orthopedic surgeon and we did the basic things one would do to ease the ache. Over the years I tried everything from rest, PT, cortisone, even a series of Hyaluronic Acid - "Rooster Juice" shots. I had the MCL “explored” and cleaned up three times, but when it became a hindrance to my tennis game, I declared that something more had to be done! 

When I shared with my doctor that I did not wish to give up my activities and become a couch potato at that age, he stated we had exhausted all other methods to correct the knee. The cartilage was worn away and I had to consider a Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA). Very weighty decision indeed and one I did not take lightly. I discussed it at length with my surgeon and did a lot of research on my own before deciding to proceed. After all, in my research, I was deemed quite young at 52 for this type of procedure. The whole purpose of having the TKA was to decrease my pain, increase my mobility, improvement of my activities of daily life and to improve my overall quality of life. In the summer of 2011, I had the procedure done. My journey from there over the next two and one half years was anything but what I just mentioned. 

Following the surgery, I followed all of the recommendations and instructions given to me. In spite of doing so, I not only failed to recover from the surgery, I experienced ever increasing pain and disability. I know my body and I knew something was wrong beyond normal surgery recovery. During this time, my reports of excruciating pain and other symptoms were dismissed by statements such as "I was acting like a baby," that "it was all in my head," and that "all I needed was a hypnotist." I was even told "that is why they call it practicing medicine" and "it has to get better, it can't stay that way." My surgeon suggested he could open my knee and look around. I relented to this procedure as I could not endure the agony. Two major surgeries, two major surgical rehabs, and still no relief. 

In May of 2012, my knee failed completely, and I ended up in the hospital emergency room in excruciating pain and unable to walk. I was advised that it was not known what else to do for me. It seemed my doctor was completely unsure and out of ideas, and that left me truly fearful that I was destined to live the rest of my life extremely disabled and in excruciating pain. 

Over time, three people independent of each other told me I need to see Dr. Dean Cole. I live about two hours from his practice, but I decided I would take their recommendation. From my initial phone conversation with his staff to where I am today, I was treated with respect. My first visit with Dr. Cole was in depth. He studied my past, my present and asked what I wanted for my future. I gave him a lofty goal. I wanted to play tennis again; this from a woman who literally could barely walk. He was not shy in telling me my knee was a real mess. He agreed to do the revision. He painstakingly told me what it would entail and with great confidence said it would be possible for me to meet my goal. I knew then I had found my surgeon.

Dr. Cole was able to revise my knee implant and repair my tendons in a competent manner. Throughout the process, Dr. Cole and his staff always had time for me, were willing to listen, and were professional yet compassionate. The procedure to revision was carried out with the utmost care and consideration. I was even a candidate for one of Dr. Cole’s inventions, the in-line tension cable. Way cool! This simple device was instrumental in my healing and rehabilitation, and the follow up procedure eight months later to remove the cable was seamless. 

Today, I not only enjoy playing tennis again, I am active in running, biking, kayaking, swimming and most any other activity without any thought of pain or fear of failure. I owe Dr. Cole my future of hope and promise. He is not only the best ortho surgeon in Orlando, in my humble opinion, he is one of the best in the world. I have not hesitated to refer many people to him that were suffering. Their stories are like mine – he works miracles when others say there is no hope.