OAA Patient Ambassador: Meet Odette

January 01, 2017

Meet Odette – one of many patients of OAA Orthopaedic Specialists that considers themselves a “frequent flyer” due to their needs for our services. A Hazelton resident, Odette spends as much time as possible with her 94-year-old mother. She also enjoys playing the violin and doing crossword puzzles in her spare time. Odette’s journeyPhoto of Odette - Patient Ambassador with OAA Orthopaedic Specialists took her through a course of surgical interventions over the years, including, a spinal fusion, carpal tunnel surgeries, an arthroscopic knee surgery, and a total hip replacement.

Odette's first reason to seek out medical care began when she started experiencing an increasing amount of back pain. It had gotten so bad that it was to the point where she was hardly able to walk standing upright. Reflecting back prior to her surgery, Odette recalled, “at work I would leave my desk to pick up something at the printer and I would not know if I was going to be able to walk back to my desk.” After a physiatrist close to home referred Odette for physical therapy, she was pain free, but only for one day. Odette’s primary care physician reviewed her MRI with her and recommended that she seek out care from a surgeon. With her MRI in hand, Odette came to Dr. Amir Fayyazi of OAA’s Spine Center of Excellence hoping to lose her back Spine Surgeon - Dr. Amir Fayyazipain. Dr. Fayyazi recommended some conservative treatment options, including aquatic therapy and steroid injections, but these methods didn’t provide Odette with lasting pain relief. As a result, she elected to have spinal fusion surgery, and is so glad she did – “I tell Dr. Fayyazi all the time that I am his poster child for spinal fusion. There wasn’t a level of care that I didn’t receive before or after my operation, and when I returned to work, everyone told me how much better I looked since I was no longer in constant pain. He is my hero!"

At Odette’s six month follow-up with Dr. Fayyazi, she told him that she was waking up in the middle of the night with occasional pain and numbness in her hands. After a nerve conductions study and an EMG, Odette learned that she had carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, and Dr. Fayyazi referred her to Dr. Patrick McDaid of OAA’s Hand Institute. When asked about her symptoms prior to surgery Odette recalled, “it got to the point where the pain and numbness were waking me so often that I Hand Surgeon - Dr. Patrick McDaidwas losing sleep, and I had to forgo my violin lessons.” Fed up with the symptoms and her inability to play the violin, Odette knew it was time to proceed with carpal tunnel surgery. First, she had surgery done on her right hand and only missed one day of work. Happy with the results from the first surgery, eight weeks later Dr. McDaid performed surgery on her left hand and just two days later Odette cooked Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family. She was able to return to sleeping through the night and playing the violin, but at her last appointment with Dr. McDaid she asked him about the pain she was experiencing in her right hip and knee. Being a hand and upper extremity specialist, Dr. McDaid referred Odette to Dr. Gregor Hawk of OAA’s Sports Medicine Institute.

At this point, Odette knew she had complete trust in OAA and made an appointment with Dr. Hawk. She learned from an x-ray that her hip pain was occurring because of joint degeneration and the resulting bone spurs. Dr. Hawk explained to Odette about her condition and that there are nonsurgical treatment options for arthritis of the hip, but ultimately, she may need to have a hip replacement in the future. “This was news I wasn’t prepared for. I left the office very upset at the thought of another major surgery, having had a spinal fusion in 2014, carpal tunnel surgeries in November and December of 2015, and now another potential surgery in 2016.” After dealing with the pain and resorting to a cane for mobility, Odette decided to proceed with a hip replacement. “Sometimes I couldn’t stay standing for longer than several minutes” Odette remembered.

After having surgery for her hip scheduled, Odette unexpectedly injured her knee and required yet another surgery to repair torn meniscus in her knee. Knowing that she would need the support of her knees to have a Sports Medicine Surgeon - Dr. Gregor Hawksuccessful recovery from her total hip replacement, Odette and Dr. Hawk decided to delay the hip replacement surgery and proceed with arthroscopic surgery on her knee. “Yet another surgery that I wasn’t expecting,” Odette reminisced.

Odette had her hip replacement in June of 2016, and is now pain free. When asked about the recovery after Dr. Hawk’s anterior approach to total hip replacement, Odette shared an interaction she had with her physical therapist: “During my first at-home physical therapy session, the therapist measured my leg length and said ‘you had an excellent surgeon, your leg length is perfect.’ I did so well with home therapy that I didn’t have to do any outpatient therapy. I just continued to do exercises at the comfort of my own home.”

Most patients that come to OAA are treated without surgical intervention, but then there are other patients, like Odette, that find themselves at OAA more than they’d like. Fortunately, those patients are able to benefit from the comprehensive orthopaedic care that OAA provides. “I am now without a cane, without back or hip pain, and life is good again,” Odette said. “I am so grateful to the physicians and staff at OAA Orthopaedic Specialists who have given me my life back – I am able to walk without pain for the first time in three years, and it’s a wonderful thing!”

Do you or a loved one have a similar story? Share your story with us, and you could be next month's patient ambassador!