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Active grandmother motivated for joint replacement at Beacon to keep up with family

Donna Gordon

With five grandchildren between the ages of four weeks old and 11 years old, Donna Gordon needed plenty of energy – and the ability to move around. Unfortunately, her right knee did not always cooperate.

“I have these wonderful grandchildren, but I couldn’t play as much as they or I would have liked,” Gordon said.

Her knee had shown signs of arthritis for years, and it had been getting progressively worse. She went to see orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregg Ebersole at Beacon Medical Group about her trouble.

“He was compassionate and understanding and very knowledgeable,” she said.

Gordon was hesitant about surgery, so they started with conservative management, which included cortisone shots. The shot helped temporarily, but performing daily activities, using stairs, standing and walking for a distance all became increasingly painful for this active grandmother over time.

Difficulties with daily activities and a decrease in quality of life, despite conservative treatments like cortisone shots, are both signs that it may be time to consider joint replacement. It’s an important tool for improving quality of life for people like Gordon who have to cut back on enjoyable activities because of pain and mobility issues.

It was around that same time that Gordon received big news.

She learned that she had a new grandbaby on the way, and she knew she couldn’t put off joint replacement any longer.

“We’ve got to figure out how far ahead to get it done so I can walk and see my new baby,” she remembers telling Dr. Ebersole.

Dr. Gregg Ebersole, Beacon Medical Group

They set the surgery date for July 3, and Dr. Ebersole performed Gordon’s knee replacement using robotic assistance. Robotic-assisted surgery, an innovative alternative to traditional surgery, gives the surgeon more control during the procedure and offers patients a faster, easier recovery.

Her surgery was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Hospital, and she was back home that evening.

“It was a really good experience,” she said, explaining that the clinicians on her care team – from the nurse navigator to the surgeon to the anesthesiologist – did a great job. “It was like a well-oiled machine.”

After just one week, Gordon started physical therapy at Beacon Physical Therapy in South Bend. It was challenging, but with the therapists’ encouragement, Gordon saw it through. “I wanted them to push me, because I wanted to get better faster.”

It worked: This doting grandmother met her goal of being ready for the baby’s arrival, and now she is happily back to doing her regular activities without pain. Thanks to Dr. Ebersole, she’s living her life to the fullest.

“He made everything I’m able to do now possible,” she said.

“I really do feel good. I’m back to playing with my grandkids. I can throw a football and get down on the floor and play. I went to the zoo recently with my daughter and her girls, and we walked the entire zoo,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t have done that without the surgery. I have heartfelt thanks to everyone that participated in my care and recovery.”

Let Beacon care for you

Learn more about the high-quality, expert-level care patients received from their initial appointment to their final follow-up from our Beacon Bone & Joint specialists. No matter where you hurt or if you have been injured, Beacon’s goal is to return you to maximum function with our convenient, coordinated care close to home.