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Taking Care of Our Weekend Warriors - Judy’s Story: Patient Stories

From the people to the food to the landscapes, living in the Pacific Northwest is truly unique. And having the chance to enjoy the great outdoors 365 days a year is one of the biggest advantages to calling this place home. Whether you’re a runner, biker, skier, sailor or hiker, there are countless opportunities to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

But what happens when aches, pains and injuries keep you from doing the activities you love? That’s when it’s time to seek out expert orthopedic advice from your local Franciscan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine team.

Buckley resident, Judy Hendrix, 49, did just that. Ever since a car accident in 2001 in which she tore a meniscus in her left knee, she’s experienced pain. Over time, the cartilage wore away and she developed arthritis. More recently, the pain was keeping her from enjoying some of her favorite activities. “I couldn’t take long walks or go on bike rides,” said Hendrix. “It got to the point where I would go grocery shopping and then I’d be in so much pain I couldn’t do anything the next day.” She knew she needed help.


Various orthopedic options

So Hendrix made an appointment with Michael Miller, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Franciscan Medical Clinic in Enumclaw. “One of the most common reasons patients come to us, besides injuries, is due to pain,” said Dr. Miller. “When you’re in pain, it impacts your ability to function in everyday activities and it affects your overall quality of life.”

Dr. Miller points out that seeing an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t always mean you’ll need surgery. “We have non-operative treatments, such as physical therapy and injections, that are available and can help with whatever issues you’re having,” he said. But if you do need surgery, they’re able to provide everything from rotator cuff repairs to ligament reconstruction to joint replacements and more.

Getting back to what matters most

Due to the extent of Hendrix̠s pain and the toll it was taking on her life, Dr. Miller explained that knee replacement surgery would be an option. Less than three weeks later, he performed the procedure at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Hendrix stayed in the hospital for three days.

“The care I received at St. Elizabeth was amazing,” said Hendrix. “I only have great things to say about the staff there, the way I was treated, the help I got and the information they gave me.”

Hendrix said she also appreciates that Dr. Miller provided such personalized care. “Other surgeons had told me I was too young to have a knee replacement, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't do anything,” she said. “I couldn't work because I couldn't walk and I couldn't sit for long periods of time.” Dr. Miller said that while she could wait a little longer, it was up to her when she felt ready to have the surgery done. “I couldn't schedule the surgery fast enough,” said Hendrix.

Now, six months after her operation, Hendrix feels better than ever. “When I was in pain, it made me feel like I was 80 years old,” she said. “I turn 50 this year and I'm not dreading it because I don't feel 50. I can walk without pain and run around with my little grandson. I'm a much happier person.”

Learn about orthopedic care and sports medicine