BETHEL, Conn. -- For six years, hip pain robbed Bethel’s Mary Goodman of life quality. Arthritis and a neuromuscular disease made the simplest of life’s tasks -- climbing into a car, stepping into a shower, moving about her house -- extraordinarily painful and difficult.
Two hip replacement surgeries later, performed by Dr. Robert Deveney and his team at Danbury Orthopedics, Goodman, 60, takes pleasure in going to the grocery store, church and all of the necessary errands many people take for granted. “It’s just nice to have a normal life again,’’ Goodman said. “If you take away the little things and aren’t able to do, you appreciate them more when you go back to doing them.”
Goodman began having trouble walking eight years ago. In time, her hips began hurting. Doctors determined she had severely arthritic hips and an untreatable neuromuscular condition. “I had just turned 52, and I thought I’m not having a hip replacement,’’ Goodman said. “I thought I was too young to have a procedure that was so extreme.”
The pain worsened, and so did Goodman’s mobility. “It was so painful it was hard to do anything,’’ Goodman said. “Just getting into the house was a struggle. I wasn’t able to climb stairs to get to the bedroom. I couldn’t go food shopping, to church, anything. My family had to basically take care of me. It was very depressing.”
The family sold its Colonial style home and moved into a condominium in which Goodman can enjoy one-level living. She required a wheelchair and stayed homebound for 18 months. Meanwhile, doctors tried to determine what impact the neuromuscular disease had on her hip pain. “Dr. Deveney and the neurologist could not say how arthritis and neuromuscular disease were affecting each other,’’ Goodman said. “Dr. Deveney said if I had the hip replacement, it would make the pain go away.”
Goodman finally relented on having hip replacement surgery. Relief was immediate.
“I felt the pain go away when I was in the hospital,’’ Goodman said. “I did some physical therapy at home and felt so much better. I said I should not have waited so long.”
About eight months later, Deveney’s team performed a second hip surgery. September marked the one year anniversary of the second procedure, and Goodman’s pain is gone and her mobility has improved. She gets around with a cane for most tasks but sometimes can walk without support.
“When there are other underlying medical conditions, surgeons are often reluctant to operate,” Dr. Deveney said. “However, given the advanced surgical techniques and implants we now use, we have broadened our ability to help patients with a wider range of issues, and I was confident that the surgery would improve Mary’s quality of life and reduce her level of pain.”
The hip replacements also improved Goodman’s mental health. “I was always used to taking care of people,’’ said Goodman, who has four children with her husband, Martin. “It was very hard to have the tables turned and have someone take care of me. When I had the hip surgeries, it gave me hope that I could do more and someday be able to walk normally again.”
Goodman still fights the neuromuscular disease, which impairs her walking. For the most part, however, life has returned to normal. “I would tell anybody considering hip replacement don’t wait too long,’’ Goodman said. ‘I made a mistake by waiting. It’s amazing how much better I feel since then. I feel like I’m a whole new person.”
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