Patient Reviews and Testimonials
Bill Farrell is a lifetime athlete and at age 56 he wasn’t ready to give up his love for sports, “From 1979-1996, I was a professional ski instructor. I also raced Alpine Slalom and Giant Slalom professionally for two years,” Bill reminisced. “I played a lot of basketball too.” Bill’s love for an active lifestyle simply wore out his knees, “I just had no cartilage left in my knees.”
Bill’s life was gradually turning into a life of pain. For ten years, he managed the pain with ice and Aleve; however, in 2013 the pain was becoming debilitating, “I referee high school varsity basketball… I was able to referee only by the grace of God. After games I was applying ice directly to my knees. If I didn’t I couldn’t walk the next day.”
Bill has been refereeing his favorite sport since 1986; however, the struggle with pain was pushing Bill toward surgery, “the key decision for surgery: my son will graduate high school and I want to walk into his graduation and not be wheeled in, in a wheel chair... that’s where I was afraid I was headed. It hurt that bad.”
After having tried anti-inflammatory medications and injections that just weren't helping enough, Bill scheduled an appointment with Dr. William Cooney of Front Range Orthopedics and Spine to discuss surgical options for his knees. When Dr. Cooney reviewed Bill's x-rays, he saw that both knees had severe bone on bone degenerative arthritis. "Knee replacement surgery was the only viable surgical option,” Dr. Cooney explained. “The question was whether to do one at a time or to do them simultaneously. This is a decision we make on individual patient by patient basis taking into account age, other medical and health conditions, ability to perform rehabilitation on both knees, family support and other factors. Mr. Farrell was a reasonable candidate for the simultaneous replacements and we moved forward in that direction, understanding that the recovery would be a bit longer but also realizing that he had the motivation to get through it. And he has really done beautifully."
When Bill talks about his knee replacements and recovery he will also tell you “It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is the greatest physical gift I have given myself, ever.”The recovery following surgery did indeed prove to be difficult, “It was tough getting around after surgery,” Bill said. “I was going to physical therapy three times a week and Deirdre (Bill’s physical therapist) pushed me… I remember asking Deirdre ‘how do you think it will feel to run’ and she said ‘well let’s try it’ and I did.”
Bill returned to work two months after his surgery. Six months after surgery Bill returned to umpiring baseball games. His first season back to baseball he umpired 160 games.
This winter, Bill is excited to return to refereeing his favorite sport of basketball, “I want people to understand you can do this (surgery). The older you are, the harder it is to fight through it... If you are going to do it, you have to do it 1000%. There can be no ‘if’ about it,” Bill said with a smile.
Carolyn Lambert is more than what meets the eye. Yes, she came to us to have both her shoulders repaired; however, her story of inspiration runs much deeper.
Carolyn was the definition of a true athlete. If there was an Ironman, marathon, triathlon or any long race you can imagine, Carolyn was there. In her athletic career Carolyn logged over 10,000 miles on a bike alone.
Life can change in an instant… “Out of the blue one day, I had a really high heart rate,” Carolyn explained. “My normal resting heart rate was 65. My target (exercise) heart rate was 135.” One day Carolyn’s heart starting running in the 200s, “The highest I ever saw my heart go was 235.”
Carolyn went to see her primary care doctor and after some testing her doctor discovered calcium on her heart. “I tried all sorts of different medicines, but nothing seemed to work,” Carolyn said. Her treatments quickly advanced to a treatment known as *cardiac ablation.
Carolyn and her husband began traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia and eventually Cleveland. The 13th ablation treatment finally worked. Nonetheless, during one of the 13 treatments they hit the natural sinus node in her heart (which is the natural pace maker). The result: Carolyn now has an artificial pace maker.
To further complicate Carolyn’s road to recovery, a couple years into her heart treatments she was diagnosed with breast cancer, “I was very blessed they found it early, but I remember thinking ‘we haven’t figured out the heart yet’.” Carolyn underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction. “After we conquered cancer I was back to figuring out the heart because I was still having problems… A doctor in Denver diagnosed me with POTS syndrome. POTS syndrome means when I exercise my blood pressure drops.”
To Carolyn’s dismay she was recognizing she needed a new hobby. “When I first realized that my running was done, it was tough. I kept it inside and didn’t want other people to see it (the struggle). It was also tough on my husband...he was always there for me, but it’s hard when you don’t get the results you want,” she said.
“I needed a new sport,” Carolyn explained. “I wanted to try golf but first I needed to go see a great doctor that could fix my shoulders.” One shoulder was always bothering Carolyn when she swam, due to a bone spur that had been nagging at her for years, “That shoulder just needed cleaned up,” Carolyn said. The other shoulder was injured due to a dog jerking too hard on a leash.
Since Carolyn has a pace maker Dr. Cooney couldn’t order an MRI. He proceeded with a thorough history and physical exam, “I was 80% sure her diagnoses was a labrum tear on one shoulder while her other shoulder needed an arthroscopic clean-up,” Dr. Cooney explained. “I was confident I could repair her shoulders, so together Carolyn and I decided to move forward with the surgeries. During the surgeries both diagnoses were confirmed and we anticipated a successful recovery.”
Carolyn had her shoulders operated on six months apart. “My shoulders are working… Dr. Cooney did an excellent job and he is an excellent doctor,” Carolyn said. “If you do your exercises you get things accomplished,” she added.
“We aren’t golfing as much as I thought we would. Instead we ride motorcycles and go on trips,” Carolyn said with a smile.
At the time of publication Carolyn was cancer free with a pacing heart and working shoulders. She is currently exploring surgical options for her painful hips. Carolyn’s advice to others who find themselves in the face of adversity, “It will get better… time will heal.”
*Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Ablation usually uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) inserted through a vein in your groin and threaded to your heart to correct structural problems in your heart that cause an arrhythmia.
Cardiac ablation works by scarring or destroying tissue in your heart that triggers an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through your heart and, thus, stops the arrhythmia.
Cardiac ablation is sometimes done through open-heart surgery, but it's often done using catheters, making the procedure less invasive and shortening recovery times. (credit: Mayo Clinic Online)
Surgeon: Dr. William Cooney
Reason for orthopedic care: double hip replacement
Norma Conaway has been through three hip replacement surgeries. Her first experience with Front Range Orthopedics & Spine was following a hip replacement by another office. “Six months after my hip replacement I was still in pain. My primary care doctor suggested I go see Dr. Cooney for another opinion.”
Norma was facing a failed hip replacement. The diagnosis: the “stem” was loose (the “stem” is the hardware that extends down into the femur).
Norma and Dr. Cooney devised a game plan to replace her stem. “After surgery with Dr. Cooney my pain went away. Before I was in constant pain from my failed hip replacement, not to mention the years of pain before I decided to have a hip replacement,” Norma said.
Six months after Norma’s revised hip replacement surgery her other hip began to hurt, “My other hip was deteriorating because of years of over compensation.” Norma elected to have Dr. Cooney replace her other hip too.
“Now I can pick things up off the floor,” Norma said with a smile. “Before my hip replacements I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes… now I can. I don’t limp anymore either.”
“Life is wonderful now that I don’t have pain. I am so thankful. I can do so much more now that I couldn’t do before.”
Last April it rained… it froze… and then it snowed. When Scott stepped out the front door, he didn’t realize there was ice under the snow. That realization became evident when he hit the ground two steps down, “I tried to get up but I couldn’t. My shoulder was burning. ”
Scott was taken, by ambulance to the ER. When he arrived at Longmont United Hospital they confirmed that he had a dislocated shoulder. The ER put his shoulder back in place and sent him home; nevertheless, the pain continued. Scott decided to make an appointment with Dr. Cooney, “I chose Dr. Cooney because my daughter saw him after a skydiving accident... She had such a great experience that I knew right away that was who I wanted to go to.”
Dr. Cooney performed a Rotator Cuff Repair, Labrum Repair and Bicep Tenodesis. “I trusted Dr. Cooney. I liked him too.”
After surgery, Scott went on to receive 15 sessions of physical therapy with Katharina. At the end of Scott’s physical therapy Katharina made sure Scott was equipped with the knowledge to continue his care. “Katharina took the time to put notes on everything and made sure I was set to continue my exercises at home… I still do my exercises,” Scott said. “My shoulder is hardly an issue in my life anymore.”
“I was extremely comfortable with everyone at Front Range. Every single person was great through the whole process. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Front Range Orthopedics & Spine to anyone.”
Lieut. Col. John McCutchon served as an Officer in the Army Airborne Infantry for 24 years. “When I was in the army I injured my back, but I didn’t realize it,” John said. “Due to the physical training the muscles did a lot to alleviate a lot of skeletal pain.” When John retired in 2009 he continued his physical fitness, however, the pain was worse after a work-out than before. “I tried physical therapy but that didn’t do much. I also went to a chiropractor, but I would only get temporary relief.”
John was referred to Dr. Gerlach by his primary care doctor. The diagnosis: age and genetics. John had lived with scoliosis his entire life, but now his spine was degenerating. As if his spine wasn’t enough to deal with, John also needed a double hip replacement. “I had pain all the time and I couldn’t sleep,” John said.
John decided to move forward with spine surgery. “The first surgery was pretty easy and it alleviated a lot of pain. The second surgery was 12 hours on the table. Dr. Gerlach worked 12 hours on my back. I’m fused from the top of my back all the way down. I have two titanium rods and 36 screws in my back.”
The great news: “I didn’t have any pain in my back after the operation.” Even more great news: four months later John was able to go back to the gym to start strengthening his upper body and legs.
Five months after John’s spine surgery, Dr. Gerlach cleared him to go see Dr. Cooney about his hips. “The way Dr. Cooney described the condition of my hips: he’s seen bad hips, he’s seen worse hips and then there are my hips… It was age and deterioration. A lot of it had to do with being in the infantry for 24 years and running in combat boots, jumping out of airplanes, etc.”
John had his first hip replaced in May and the other in July. “I have absolutely no pain in my hips. I can walk. I can work in my yard. I can even participate in volunteer activities, which I couldn’t do before.”
John talks about life before his surgeries, “I had to decide whether or not I could volunteer for a project, plant a tree, cut the grass or walk the dog.” He couldn’t do it all because the pain was too bad. Post-surgery is a completely different story, “I’m not limited anymore. I decide what I want to do based on my schedule, not my pain levels... And I can sleep. That is a huge difference in quality of life.”
“I would absolutely recommend Dr. Gerlach and Dr. Cooney. Both of the surgeries were spot on.”
"A big thank you to Dr. Cooney and his excellent staff! Because if their insight and care for my MCL Sprain, I had the knowledge and confidence to properly rehab my MCL and complete my first half Ironman!" -Stephanie
"I was referred to Dr Cooney who spent a lot of time with me diagnosing my situation and explaining all my options, including non-surgical options which have worked very well for me. Dr. Cooney was caring and considerate, very knowledgeable and professional, and not rushing to the surgery option without exploring other alternatives. I would and have recommended him to many others and all have had same kind of experience."
"Dr. Cooney repaired my shoulder earlier this year (2011). I highly recommend Dr. Cooney. He will speak to you using language you can easily understand, with minimal "medical speak". He will give a thorough exam and ask plenty of questions in order to understand your particular injury."