Cathy Medina, now in her 50s, is clearly just as energetic and determined to pursue her interests and passions as ever before.
“I love being a grandmother,” she proclaims in a soft-spoken voice. “I love to go shopping, and do yard work. And I really love doing my daily power walk.”
It was during her daily workout ritual a year and a half ago that she first began to feel some pressure in her lower back.
“I’ve always taken great joy and satisfaction in going on long walks – so at first I ignored the pain.” Cathy’s expression lights up as she shares her philosophy on exercise and activity. “Gradually, it got worse and worse, until one day I just couldn’t walk anymore.”
When Cathy’s hip pain became excruciating, she knew she had to do something.
“Thankfully, a friend referred me to Dr. Rhodes, who came highly recommended,” she recalls. “The fact that he had an outstanding reputation meant a lot to me.”
Dr. J. Richard Rhodes is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in total joints. He is a long-standing member of the Halifax Health medical leadership team, having previously served as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, and his work these days focuses on research targeting the next generation of treatment solutions for a full range of orthopedic conditions.
“Dr. Rhodes made me feel comfortable right from the start,” Cathy remembers. “Once he had examined me and seen my records, he told me that he was unsurprised that I was experiencing pain, since the degeneration in my hip had become so advanced that I had bone grinding directly on bone without any cushioning or separation whatsoever.”
“It’s funny,” Cathy muses. “Dr. Rhodes never said that I needed hip replacement surgery. But he did say that if I had the surgery, I would be free of pain for the first time in over year, and therefore free to live the life I wanted to live. He wanted me to be empowered to make the best choice for myself.”
“In the end, I chose to have the operation for two reasons. First, he explained every step of the process so clearly, so well, that I felt totally comfortable with both him and his plan; in fact, to my surprise I felt no need to even get a second opinion. And to be completely honest, the other element driving my decision was the fear factor. As much as I was afraid of the unknown world of having the surgery, by that point in time I was far more afraid of my pain continuing to get worse.”
“Immediately after the surgery,” Cathy whispers, “I experienced something pretty amazing: For the first time in over a year, I felt no severe pain.”
“I mean, there was a little sensitivity from surgery, but I was up and moving around with a walker in a matter of days. A week and a half later, I was free of the walker. And after one month there was no pain whatsoever. None.”
Like many patients who experience complete recovery from serious medical challenges, Cathy gained a new perspective on life, and felt her newfound health inspired a liberating experience.
“Suddenly I could do all the little things I had been dreaming of doing, but had taken for granted,” she confides. “Just to be able to cross my legs again for the first time in so long was a great moment. To be able to get in and out of my car, to be able to go anywhere and do anything and live my own life again…I now have great appreciation for the fact that I have the freedom to do whatever I want.”
“Now I have my life back. I’m power-walking again. I’m doing everything I want to do again. I feel fantastic. I feel grateful.”
“And today, whenever I meet someone going through the same thing, I tell them don’t be afraid to do this, to do the right thing. It will help you regain your life.”