Patient Profile

Lew

Profession: Education
Hobbies: Carving, Fishing, Fitness, Gold Mining, Hiking/ Camping, Hunting
Doctor: Winston J. Warme, MD

Briefly describe your symptoms and the medical condition that brought you to see the doctor.

I coached multiple sports for 35 years. Gymnastics was probably the hardest on my body, especially my shoulders. The humeral heads were worn flat. My left shoulder was the worst, but I continued to exercise, refusing to give in due to my active life. For several years the condition deteriorated further until I had difficulty lifting my arm above my shoulder and I was in constant pain with every movement. The joint actually seemed to sag out of socket and lock up. It was compromising my activities and I could not get in a good exercise work-out because of the pain and limitations.

What one or two things stand out to you about your experience with your doctor and their team?

Dr. Warme's involvement in outdoor activities, especially his mountain climbing background struck a chord with me. I felt like he understood where I was coming from and what I wanted to get back to doing. He said he could put me back doing what I used to do; not simply get rid of the pain. He was honest with me; saying there were three parts to this procedure - (1) His part - surgery, (2) My part - religious exercise during and after recovery and (3) God's part. Recognizing God's part is not a weakness, but a strength in my book and an important measure of a man.

What can you do now that you could not do before surgery? Have you been able to return to your hobbies or sports at the same level as pre-injury or at an even higher level?

Both shoulders have been replaced. I am pain free. I am 67 years old and have no delusions of being able to perform at the levels I could 20 years ago before I had joint issues. However, I have no limitations now. I exercise daily. Three days a week I lift weights for an hour. As an example of strength and endurance, I can do over 30 pull-ups. I hunt moose, sheep, goat and deer every fall; packing loads in excess of 100 lbs. I am amazed at the outcome. I was skeptical that it would turn out so well; knowing how bad my shoulders were and hearing horror stories from others who had similar surgeries. That is why I put the surgery off as a last resort.

What advice would you like to share with a patient with a condition such as yours who is considering surgery?

It is a no-brainer; have the surgery, but check out the creditials of the doctor and hospital. Make sure the doctor specializes in this type of surgery and has done hundreds of them. Doctors that do surgery on all the joints in most cases are not going to do the best job possible. Also, plan to religiously do the range of motion pulley exercises for the first 3 months while the surgery is healing and then begin exercising daily to build up the muscles around the shoulder joint. I think the level of post surgery outcome use desired dictates the necessary regimented progressional exercises to achieve that level. It is like anything else; you get out what you put into it.

Please share any additional comments!

I don't know how my shoulders would be doing if I didn't regularly exercise. I think it is important to at least do stretching and range of motion exercises daily for life as a minimum. I'm a firm believer of use it or lose it, but I am more realistic now and do not do the extreme drop and jerk motions I once did. I am more guarded because I do not want to risk damaging the new joint. I don't baby my shoulders, but I pay more attention to how I use them now.