Regaining the joy of exercise and travel following hip replacement
When Wendy Sommer imagined her life as an empty nester, her dreams did not include total hip replacement. But at age 52, Wendy had been in pain, and walking with a limp for years due to osteoarthritis. She couldn’t walk farther than a half mile, couldn’t hold yoga positions she once mastered, and had all but given up on the extensive travel plans she and her husband imagined when their kids were grown and out of the house
“I found excuses to curb my activity,” said Wendy. “It really hampered my lifestyle.”
When she finally decided to seek medical help, she was thorough in her research for the best surgical care. She looked on the Internet, asked friends and family for recommendations and spoke with a colleague who had undergone hip surgery. All her research led Wendy to the orthopedic surgery team at Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare.
Her first visit with the doctor was a shock. Wendy’s doctor recommended total replacement of both hips. For years, Wendy had learned to live with her declining condition, primarily to avoid surgery and her fear of anesthesia. Now she was facing two surgeries. The team was very reassuring, and answered all her questions. They recommended she take a pre-op class at ValleyCare. “I really appreciate that they explained everything to me—they were wonderful,” she describes.
Wendy underwent her first hip surgery in November 2015. “The orthopedic team made me walk right after surgery, up and down the halls and up and down the stairs. Their goal was to help me heal.” A month after her first surgery, Wendy went to Disneyland for three days. A year later, she had her second hip done. Today, she is back at yoga, hitting positions she hasn’t achieved in years. She can walk as long as she wants. And her travel calendar is filling up with trips to Mexico and Indonesia.
“This helped me press the reset button on my life, and regain the confidence to be active again,” she says. When Wendy thinks back to how long she waited to address her condition, she smirks. “I’m such a procrastinator. I should have gone sooner.”