A patient’s testimonial: Susan Ward
When fall eases in and college football begins, there is no one cheering louder than Susan Ward for her South Carolina Gamecocks. The excitement of gameday has her regularly setting up tailgates with friends and family. That is until severe shoulder pain started limiting those celebrations and other daily activities.
It’s the little things that count
“I like to stay active but I really started having limitations,” said Susan. “Long rides on my bike caused inflammation and pain. Tubing on the lake came at a price. Setting up the tent for a tailgate had to be delegated to someone else. Putting the star on the Christmas tree involved a big ladder. Getting a wine glass out of the cabinet required thought in order to do so without pain.”
As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. “You don’t think about how often you reach overhead until doing so causes you pain,” explained Susan. “Every time I lifted my left arm above my shoulder or if my arm was turned a certain way, I was in pain. I’m a tummy sleeper, but could only sleep facing one direction because my left arm wouldn’t cooperate.” For Susan, even accomplishing the smallest daily activities became a hardship and she had to find new ways of doing things to accommodate her shoulder.
“Carrying groceries into the house became a real chore so I had to start taking smaller loads at one time. I had to revamp my routines including how I did my hair in the morning. I bought a cooler on wheels to make a trip to the beach easier. Most of the time I did what I wanted, but did it with pain.”
Enough is enough
Susan says she kept waiting for the pain to get better. For ten years, in fact. But there was one thing that finally made her decide she had to do something about it. “I couldn’t blow dry my hair. I was contorting my body and having to take little breaks to dangle my arm. It shouldn’t be a difficult task and yet I just couldn’t get through it.”
Susan was able to get an appointment pretty quickly and when she arrived at CMC Orthopaedics the staff were friendly and helpful. She didn’t have to wait long and she was in a room meeting Dr. Andersen for the first time.
“Dr. Andersen is very personable and approachable,” said Susan. “I knew instantly I had made the best decision for me. He was easy to communicate with, he took his time with my examinations, and he covered all the details about my problems and tests, breaking them down into layman’s terms.”
A reassuring hand
No one wants to have surgery but Dr. Andersen made the decision very easy for Susan. “The time that Dr. Andersen spent going over the details of my injury and how it could be repaired is what sold me,” recalled Susan. “He took his time, broke down complex terminology into words that sounded more like English, and I didn’t feel rushed. Everything he said he would do, he did. I had the explanation of the procedure in hand when I left. I also had the sketch he had drawn and labeled for me. He is so thorough and detail-oriented. I really liked his approach and interaction.”
Dr. Andersen repaired tears on three different locations in Susan’s shoulder- the bicep tendon, subclavical tendon, and rotator cuff. He also removed a bone spur and cleaned up arthritis and bursitis that were exacerbating her pain. That involved detaching her bicep tendon.
It was a lot of work in a small area but Dr. Andersen proved he was the surgeon for the job and it didn’t stop when the surgery was over. “My decision was reinforced when he followed up with me during my recovery to see how I was doing. He was invested in my healing and concerned about how I was doing.”
It’s game time!
Following her surgery, Susan completed her physical therapy with CMC Physical Therapy. “The therapists were so friendly and encouraging. They were a big part of my recovery. I couldn’t imagine doing it without their guidance.”
Since her surgery, Susan is tailgating and cheering on her Gamecocks but that’s not the end of her story. “My first surgery went so well,” said Susan, “I have a second surgery for my other shoulder already scheduled.” Thanks to Dr. Andersen and CMC Orthopaedics it sounds like an orthopedic touchdown is just one more surgery away for her.
Fellowship trained in Sports Medicine, Shoulder and Elbow from OrthoCarolina
Dr. Andersen is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, arthroscopy, conditions of the knee, shoulder and elbow, and orthopaedic trauma. He focuses on the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions affecting patients of all ages. Dr. Andersen has specific interests in treating ligament, tendon and cartilage injuries of the knee and shoulder, the surgical and nonoperative treatment of fractures, and general orthopaedics. Dr. Andersen performs many surgeries arthroscopically, in a minimally invasive fashion, which helps facilitate faster recovery and reduces pain for his patients.