Cindy’s Story: My Partner for Total Knee Replacement
Cindy Schroer has had two knee replacements at 57 years old. This is her story of why Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) is her partner for orthopedic care.
Born and raised in Higginsville, MO, Cindy has worked with local law enforcement for over 30 years. She took a job at the local dispatcher’s office in Higginsville, and eventually, she decided to attend the Central Missouri Police Academy to become a police officer. She worked her way up to Chief of Police in Higginsville and even was the Special Investigator for the Prosecuting Attorney of Lafayette County. She has now been a detective for the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office since 2009 and serving the Lafayette County community has been her passion for the last 30 years.
Cindy started to notice the pain in her knees in 2013, and she had to have a steroid injection to alleviate the pain in her knee so she could enjoy a vacation. At the time of the shot, her doctor recommended that she consider surgery, but she was not ready for that step yet. The pain slowly worsened over the next six years. She quickly lost interest in her favorite activities of coaching tennis and attending Mizzou basketball games because of her lack of mobility. Even performing everyday tasks was challenging, and her desk job was getting harder as well.
Taking the First Step
In 2018, Cindy had excruciating pain in her knees, and she knew she had to do something. Knowing that her options were knee surgery or a life in a wheelchair, she was forced to face her greatest fear – she needed to get both knees replaced. She decided to book an appointment with orthopedic surgeon Christopher Wittgren, DO, at Western Missouri Bone and Joint.
Going into her consultation with Dr. Wittgren, Cindy was apprehensive. She was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Wittgren was very calm and practical, and he immediately began to talk to her about her options. He explained the surgery and recovery process and gave her realistic expectations of what her life after surgery would be. Cindy was ready to choose WMMC as her partner for her total joint replacement.
Cindy’s First Total Knee Replacement
Cindy knew exactly what she was getting into, and said her surgery went perfectly as expected. The nurses and Dr. Wittgren had walked her through the entire process before the surgery, and everything went according to plan. She was amazed that every person she met was nice, helpful and calm.
“When I came out of surgery I never had a high level of pain. They took care of every need I had before I even had to ask,” Cindy said when talking about the quality of care she received.
Recovery was even much easier than what Cindy anticipated. She loved how Dr. Wittgren came in and spoke with her family about Cindy’s surgery. He was so excited to show intra-operative photos of her knee bending and straightening like it never had before.
“It felt like he was just as excited as I was,” Cindy said. “You can tell that he really cares about his patients.”
Cindy was on her way to recovery and rehab from her first surgery, and couldn’t wait to get her second surgery.
Cindy’s Second Total Knee Replacement
Eight weeks after her first surgery, Cindy met with Dr. Wittgren again to discuss her second knee replacement. However, this replacement would be more complicated than the first because it was completely frozen at a 15-degree angle with no active movement.
Cindy was heartbroken when Dr. Wittgren said that he would be referring her for her second knee replacement. Cindy immediately wondered why Dr. Wittgren couldn’t do the surgery, especially since she had such a great experience with the first one. He explained how he had many sleepless nights thinking about Cindy’s surgery and wanted the best possible outcome for her. After holding a conference with the other Bone & Joint orthopedic surgeons, they decided that it was in Cindy’s best interest to refer her to an orthopedic joint revision surgeon, which specializes in complex issues like Cindy’s.
“Cindy had a lot of soft tissue around the joint that had been scarred in over the years and the tendon had contracted,” Dr. Wittgren said when explaining why he made the decision to send her to another orthopedic surgery center. “My concern is that she would need tissue augmentation to lengthen the tendon. That would make this a more advanced surgery and requires a joint specialist who has an additional fellowship and training in complex issues like Cindy’s.”
He explained to her how his goal is patient success, and he wanted Cindy to have the best outcome possible, even if it meant having her second surgery at another facility.
“I really respect that,” Cindy said when hearing why Dr. Wittgren had made his decision. “That shows a lot of integrity.”
Rehab and Recovery
Fourteen weeks after her first surgery, Cindy had her second knee replacement at a specialized surgery center. But she explained that if she’d had her choice, she would have had her second surgery at WMMC, simply due to the exceptional quality of care she received here. She knew from the moment she met with Dr. Wittgren, WMMC was the place for her.
Cindy confidently stated, “As a detective, it’s my job to know if someone is telling me the truth or not. And I knew that I could trust Dr. Wittgren.”
Since physical therapy, Cindy says that life is completely different for her and she feels ten years younger. She can sit and stand easily, her job is much easier now, and she can spend time with her rescue dog, Heidi. She is looking forward to getting back out on the tennis court and has set some goals to get active again.
Cindy encourages people experiencing pain to visit the Western Missouri Bone & Joint team to see how providers like Dr. Wittgren can help them just like how he helped Cindy. To learn more about WMMC’s orthopedics, visit WMMC.com/Ortho.
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About Western Missouri Medical Center
Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) is a fully-accredited acute care county medical center located in Warrensburg, MO. WMMC prides itself in emergency care, obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics, ambulatory care, rehabilitation services and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Learn more at WMMC.com