Nancy Questa’s Story
My knee issues began almost 10 years ago, with a small injury that led
to swelling that never went away. I managed to ignore the increasing limping
but by 2014, the pain and discomfort progressed to the point where I couldn’t
walk any distance at all. I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic
surgeon, who diagnosed “bone on bone arthritis.” I began treatment
with a series of three shots of a synthetic lubricant, which worked for
only a couple of months. When the pain returned, my doctor prescribed
physical therapy. This helped a lot, but after a few months, I stopped
physical therapy and put working on my health on the “back burner”.
During this time, my knee got worse, and so did the limping.
After my husband had his first hip replacement in February of 2017, I had
to drive him to PT, so I decided to resume my own physical therapy. I
had waited too long. It helped, but the damage had been done, my arthritis
had progressed to the point where my gait was impaired and my knee was
getting worse, not better. My physical therapist advised me to return
to an orthopedic, but I put it off, still wanting to avoid surgery.
In November of 2017, I had a sudden sharp pain in my knee, and couldn’t
straighten my leg or walk without crutches. I was able to get an appointment
at the group my husband went to, Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey.
After an MRI, I was told I had a torn meniscus. Surgery to remove the
torn pieces was scheduled, but a newly discovered heart issue put that
on hold. With the help of more physical therapy and anti-inflammatory
medicine, I was able to straighten my leg and walk without crutches, but
it was obvious that Total Knee Replacement was in my future sooner rather
than later. I tried one more alternative, seeing a doctor who does cartilage
replacement. He confirmed what my previous doctors and my PT told me,
that TKR was my best option. I returned to Dr. Stecker to make the appointment
for that summer.
Attending the pre-op classes with Fran were extremely helpful. My husband
and I both used the “hip kit” that she suggested, and I have
recommended the devices to others. I spent the summer months before surgery
preparing by doing strengthening exercises, as recommended in the class.
I went into the hospital expecting the worst and it was so much better
than I expected. The St. Clare’s staffers were very kind and helped
me get through those first few days.
The surgery improved my walking and the severe pain I experienced before
surgery was gone. After the initial healing period, even my worst day
post-surgery is better than my days pre-surgery. Before, every step was
wearing away and making my knee worse; after, every step is making me stronger.
I really began to feel normal within five months, and was able to begin
babysitting my first grandchild at seven months post-op.
I have referred several friends and acquaintances to Dr. Stecker at Orthopedic
Associates of West Jersey. One friend said her doctor called him a “best
kept secret around”. I feel the same way about St. Clare’s.
When my father was taken to St. Clare’s in Dover, I was surprised
and very pleased to see what a nice facility that is, too. My family has
been going to St. Clare’s in Denville almost all my life. Both my
brothers and both my children were born there. In happy times, painful
times, sad times, and especially (during visits to the ER) in scary times,
the staff has always been kind and helpful.