At 63 years old, Michael Roper was surprised to find himself still paying the price for a skate boarding accident that had occurred in his youth. “But my hobbling was testimony to the truth,” shares the minister at Valley Brook Baptist Church “I tore my right knee to pieces in my thirties, but I thought it had healed,” recalls Roper, who says that he overcompensated with his left knee and over time, developed a limp. An avid cyclist, Roper also began to experience difficulty pedaling uphill without suffering pain. Going up and down the stairs wasn’t much easier, and that’s when he went to see his doctor.
“I tried injections to temporarily replace some of the worn cartilage in my knee and anti-inflammatory medications, but the pain persisted,” he adds. When his doctor suggested knee replacement surgery, Roper says, “I had a lot of fear going in initially… but the procedure turned out to be a piece of cake.”
Most people don’t think of hospitals as places where you “can develop friends in a real hurry.” But for Roper, that’s exactly what happened when his surgeon referred him to DeKalb Medical’s new state-of-the-art Joint Solutions Center the JSC). Inside the JSC’s family atmosphere, patients attend pre-operative classes together and recover in a communal setting where they have their own personal “coach.” Patients join forces in the Joint Gym where they receive daily group physical therapy and can even dine together if they choose. The care model is “very compassionate” says Roper and one that also appeals to his competitive nature.
Each day, the JSC tracks how far patients are able to walk on its 3,500 foot indoor circuit and displays the progress for all to see. “Comparing the distance I traveled to other patients really made me push myself a little harder,” admits Roper, who exceeded the 3,500 foot challenge during his stay.
“My congregation was flabbergasted at how quickly I got back on my feet,” says the pastor, who was back in the pulpit just three weeks after his surgery. “I was sort of a hero in that respect. I did not experience the kind of pain I thought I would,” shares Roper, who plans to have his left knee replaced this summer. Roper, who is also a member of the DeKalb Medical Wellness Center, was back to his fitness routine of leg curls and extensions just one month after leaving the JSC. Today, he is 95% pain-free and has led the Valley Brook Backstretch Cycling Group on a 6-mile trek just eight weeks post-op.
“I can’t recommend the surgery enough for anyone who is living with chronic joint pain,” adds Roper. “The JSC is outstanding. The set-up is awesome, and the staff at DeKalb Medical are so polite and caring. I’m amazed at the mobility I have regained and how much more I can enjoy life.”