Heidi came to Summit after having chronic pain since just a child. After a couple surgeries later she says her life has changed.
Well, my name is Heidi Losinski and I have been involved with sports since I was, oh gee, 10, 11 – swimming, and then I moved into triathlons when I got older. My knees have always hurt since I was seven, I remember the first time, just being in the snow. I never had time where I didn’t have pain, and just doing things like walking up and down stairs, sitting, kneeling, anything I wanted to do. Biking – I would get off my bike and my knee would be locked for a while. It was just really bad. I couldn’t do everyday things.
I met Heidi about three years ago. And even at that point, she had had some quite significant issues with her knees. She was very active and so a lot of her background was around exercise and even did some Ironman triathlons and things like that. So she was extremely active, put a lot of stress and strain on her body. But the way she generally describes it is that she’s essentially had bad knees her whole life in one way or another. Obviously, she found ways to do well in that scenario and continue to stay active and functional. But as she got further into life and as she continued to use her knees, they just got worse and worse, to the point where she started seeking treatment for them.
I was able to get through a lot. Looking at my X-rays, they were really bad. They were bone on bone. I was getting grooves that cut into them, to my knees. So I did things, but it was just so painful. After I would get done with a big workout or something, I would have to usually lay down. I had ice packs everywhere. I had ice packs at work. I had ice packs at home. I would take a leave every once in a while when I had a hundred-mile ride or something, just to get through the pain. ‘Cause the next day it’d always be sore. So I knew that if I had a big workout the day before, the next day I was gonna be paying.
When I met Heidi, she had already been going through some of the conservative treatments. So she had been doing injections pretty routinely. That was a combination of steroid injections. She also actually did relatively well with the lubrication-type injections too. And so we continued that, initially, when I first met her. As the year or two progressed, those became less effective and that’s a common process. And so, as these conservative treatments lose their effect, now we’re back in that conversation of the pain is getting worse, we’re not managing it well, what’s the next step?
I made the decision to have surgery, when my injections no longer worked. I had horrible swelling in both knees and I knew I was headed that way. I had been thinking about it, that it would be in the next two or three years, because I had been going for a long time and had a lot of pain and knew that I was living on borrowed time. So I just decided, as long as I have to have it done, I might as well just do it now. And I had both knees done, six weeks apart. Yeah, Dr. Hansen was definitely a partner in the whole thing, because I did not feel like he was the doctor and the surgeon telling me what to do. And he was amazing at listening to who I am. And he didn’t treat me like you’re some old lady and you don’t have any future of doing anything. And he just really partnered with me and listened and didn’t assume that I wasn’t going to do anything else. I really liked that about him because his whole team was that way. So my life after surgery, it’s amazing. It is night and day. I, like I say, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. It’s just amazing. I can do things without pain, without thinking. I do not regret one second having done it. It has been the best thing. My sister said, “I’ve never known you not to be in pain since we were kids.” And my husband’s the same. You know, we’ve been married over 30 years.” And he said, “You’ve always had pain.” He said, “It’s remarkable.”