PATIENT STORIES

We love our patients, and we especially love seeing them back in motion and hearing their stories. Here, Cary Orthopaedics patients share their journey of treatment and recovery.

Rachael Allen
Ted-Strader
Patricia-Langford

Rachael Allen, Comprehensive Spine Center Patient

Ted Strader, Orthopaedic and Physical Therapy Patient

Patricia Langford, Orthopaedic and Physical Therapy Patient

“I had a ruptured lumbar disc that was causing excruciating pain. I couldn’t sit, stand or walk for really any period of time, I just laid on the couch in tears. I received injections that only worked for a short time. I ended up right back where I started – in pain.

“After my retirement, I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. After a few years, I had made it 1,600 miles from Georgia to Connecticut. Last summer I decided to do the last 600 miles. My knee started bothering me and seemed to get worse every day.

“In September 2020, I went to see Dr. Andersen to have my knees evaluated. He assured me that my left knee, which he had replaced in 2009, was still doing great, but that my right knee now needed replacement.

When I was told it would be a minimum of four weeks before I could see the doctor again, that was the moment I looked for another practice.

I work in the medical industry and got several referrals to Cary Ortho Spine Center. I called and got in that week with the provider I wanted! Dr. Mathur was such a knowledgeable and wonderful doctor who really cares about his patients. He examined me and suggested a decompression, so I scheduled my surgery. Dr. Mathur took the time to explain the cause of my pain, why the injections may have worked for a time, the surgical procedure, risks and rewards. After surgery, it was so convenient to have my entire care team in one large group. It made coordinating my PT, massage, dry needling and additional pain management so convenient. Everyone worked together to get me back to doing the things I love. I am now 3.5 years out from surgery and I am beyond impressed with how great I feel. Cary Ortho was able to give me back my passion for riding horses and doing yoga. Additionally, I have been able to try and learn new things, like how to longboard!”

Soon, I knew I had to get off the trail, and by the time I got home, I could barely walk. I went to Dr. Szura, and he suggested we try non-invasive treatments first. Although they helped, they didn’t fix the problem. Just before Thanksgiving, I had arthroscopic knee surgery.
The next week I started physical therapy with Chris Dahm and David Little. I figured a couple of weeks and I would be good as new. But, at nearly 68-years-old, I don’t heal like I once did. I don’t know what I would have done without David and Chris. They tutored me through the process, and through their coaching, I have improved each week. They allowed me to push myself but preached patience to keep me from hurting myself again. They listened to my feedback and tailored my program to adapt to my progress. My wife has said that every time I come home from PT, I say it was my best session so far. Our overall goal is to get me back to those mountains, but they have helped me realize it’s going to take time. I finally have confidence that, if I stay on this path, I am going to get there.
I am so thankful to everyone at Cary Ortho, especially Dr. Szura, Chris and David. I feel the whole team is invested in my recovery. In addition to their excellent therapy processes, I have always felt incredibly safe while working out at their facility during this pandemic.”
I expressed concern about balance and mobility due to my muscular dystrophy, and he recommended physical therapy. Little did I know how much that would change me!

From the beginning, my physical therapist, Karleen Bartol asked in-depth questions and figured out where I was with ability, flexibility and strength. She set up a series of exercises that, in the space of two months, helped restore my confidence, gave me assurance, taught me how to cope with my mobility issues and still get around fairly well. She helped me with my rollator walker. We created a home version of what we did in therapy sessions, and I use that to help keep me as active as possible.

Everyone I worked with was amazing, compassionate, supportive and unflinching in their plan to help my legs get better. When I have my surgery later this year, I will be ready, and I owe my self-assurance to Karleen. She is amazing!”

Shawn-Boyette
Mary-E
Matt-Panella

Shawn Boyette, Total Knee Replacement Patient

Mary E. Smith, Orthopaedic and Physical Therapy Patient

Matt Panella, Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections Patient

“I have been struggling for years with severe osteoarthritis in both knees as well as my back, which was difficult at such a young age. Two years ago I became fully disabled as a result of the increased pain and was referred to Dr. Andersen.

“I was having sciatic nerve pain caused by weak muscles in my hip and thigh. Dr. Armour suggested PT. I did very well with my therapist, Marleen Bartok. I went to a recheck with Dr. Armour and he asked me how I felt. I replied, ‘good enough to do a triathlon!’

“I met Dr. Curzan in 2018 when I came to his office with persistent elbow pain. He greeted me with a smile and a firm handshake, which was most likely to check my grip and see how much pain I was really in, and it hurt!

He gave me a few solutions prior to having any surgery, because he wanted to try a less invasive treatment first. After two years of getting cortisone injections and physical therapy, we both knew that a total knee replacement would be the best option. I received educational instruction on the procedure as well as the after-care from Dr. Andersen’s nurse, who prepared me for what was to come.

After my surgery, I walked to the car with the help of my wife. I started physical therapy the next week and exceed my goals in each session. I was walking without my walker by my third-week post-op. I am now doing all of my normal activities, including things I couldn’t do before with my busy 4-year-old daughter. Dr. Andersen has always been so supportive along the way, and I have a better quality of life now. I’m so excited about having my other knee done. Dr. Andersen is by far the best surgeon in his field. He’s compassionate and patient. Thank you for giving me my life back and more quality time with my family.”
He said, ‘go for it,’ and I did! Rex Wellness Center offered a virtual triathlon and I signed up for it. This picture shows me after the 250-yard swim. Thank you, Dr. Armour for your encouragement! It’s just so great to feel well and have energy at 70-years-old!”
The diagnosis was tennis elbow, and he gave me two options: steroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). I didn’t know much about PRP, so I opted to go with steroids. After two treatments with little relief and after doing some research on PRP, I decided to go that route.

While the procedure was not comfortable, after about two months, I was pain-free and remain pain-free with 100% mobility almost two years later. I highly recommend PRP and Dr. Curzan. That combination will get you on the road to recovery in short order.”