For as long as she can remember, Janis McClain loves to swim. “I love the water – I love swimming!” exclaims McClain. “I feel it’s totally part of relaxing. It’s the best on my joints – that’s the reason I do it.”
McClain said that in her early fifties, “One thing after another, my knee started bothering me.” A stress fracture in her left foot exasperated her concerns and prompted more urgent attention. Doctors advised her that her left knee was worst [compared to her right], but since she felt no pain, she didn’t want to have surgery. Her first knee surgery would be her right knee using the traditional approach. On December 23, 2013, she had a total knee replacement of her right knee.
In the five years, since that case, with other medical conditions compounding her knee concerns, she decided it was time to operate on the left knee. She shares that, “I would have preferred putting the surgery off totally, but I had a feeling that it would be the only way that I could keep being able to walk.”
She consulted with Dr. Andy Bryan and he suggested performing the surgery using the Stryker Mako robotic-assisted device. McClain would become the first to have the surgery at Legacy Good Samaritan. She discussed it with him and trusted his recommendation and experience with the device. She learned about how the robot helped with improved precision and is minimally invasive. Within days of her consultation, she had the surgery and commented, “I’m really impressed.”
In reflecting back on her experience, she was grateful to the team including Sarah who manages the Good Samaritan Total Joint Program, Dr. Bryan and her care team. She notes, “There’s one thing I really appreciate about Dr. Bryan – he’s hands on. I was able to call him and ask him any questions that I had – so I did really appreciate that about him,” adding, “He said, that’s what we’re here for.”
Asked about what advice she would give to others considering knee surgery, “I’m a big ‘educate yourself’ and ‘ask-questions’ type [of person]; you [need] be your own advocate and realize that everyone heals differently.” She advocates for everyone to research, understand your body, talk to your doctor and be patient with the healing and recovery. “About six years ago, I wasn’t using a cane at all. That’s my goal – not using a cane again.”
As she continued her physical therapy, she got back into the water where she felt most connected. “Along with keeping up the physical [therapy], I’m hoping that I can get my 100% motion back,” she says about being back in the pool. With her determined spirit, McClain will continue to make waves, long after being the first robotic-assisted knee surgery patient.
If you’re interested to learn more about your options and robotic-assisted surgery, please visit: https://bit.ly/2VVfebY