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A New Knee – A New Lease on Life
When Marie Twomey was seven, her left leg was amputated below the knee due to a congenital birth defect. A prosthetic didn't stop Twomey, a lifelong athlete, from playing basketball and volleyball in high school, varsity volleyball in college, and tennis, golf, and softball throughout her life.
“My biggest challenge in volleyball was my height. I’m only 5’3”,” Twomey said. “My prosthetic never stopped me. In fact, people used to tell me, ‘if you were wearing pants, I’d never guess you had a prosthetic leg.’ I never let it stop me – I just learned to adapt and did the best I could. My mother encouraged me rather than trying to protect me. Without her ‘go for it’ attitude my life would have been very different, and a lot less fun.”
And Twomey did “go for it” until pain in her right knee made it difficult to walk - never mind play the sports she loved so much. A visit to Newport Hospital revealed there was no cartilage left in her right knee, and the pain she was experiencing was from bone-on-bone contact.
“Within three months, I saw my quality of life improve. The whole experience was amazing. I was expecting to be in pain for months, but my knee truly feels awesome." --Marie Twomey
Twomey had her total knee replacement done at Newport Hospital in the fall. In the weeks leading up to her surgery, the orthopedics team kept her in the loop. From an informative seminar and pre-surgery exercise to post-op care, she called the entire experience, “seamless from start to finish.”
Twomey said that when she spoke to her doctor, she didn’t just want to walk after her surgery. “I told him that I wanted to get back to playing the sports that I love. I had been active my whole life, but the pain from standing on my knee had become unbearable," she said.
Her doctor assured her that she would be back on the golf course and the tennis court in no time. Says Twomey, "That was my goal from the start.”
The day of the surgery, Twomey was in the operating room by 1:30 p.m. and back in her room by 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. a physical therapist helped her get up for the first time and returned first thing in the morning to help her make her first successful lap around the floor with her new knee. By noon Twomey was on her way home.
As with most reconstructive and replacement surgery, the real work begins after. But her lifelong commitment to physical fitness gave Twomey the tools she needed for a full recovery. She quickly graduated from physical therapy, but continues to do the exercises and works out at a gym regularly.
“Within three months, I saw my quality of life improve. The whole experience was amazing. I was expecting to be in pain for months, but my knee truly feels awesome.”