Definitely Worth It

EmailDiggFacebookLinkedInPinterestCopy LinkTwitter

“At first, I had appointments three times each week. Eventually they were spread out more and more until I was down to one appointment per week. I just graduated from rehab in May.”

Now Martin is pain free and enjoying playing fetch with her dogs and gardening. Since having surgery, she’s heard people say shoulder surgery has a difficult recovery, but she has no reservations about it whatsoever. “Surgery was well worth it. I know how much better I feel,” she said. “In retrospect I wouldn’t have waited so long. It’s definitely worth it in the end.”

– Brenda Martin

She exercises but doesn’t think of herself as an athletic person. That’s why it surprised Brenda Martin, a Milford resident and 2nd grade teacher at Okoboji Elementary School, when she started experiencing shoulder pain in March of 2020. Moving hurt – putting on her seatbelt or her backpack or throwing the ball to her two labs. The worst part, though, was how the pain kept her up at night. She said, “I’m a hard sleeper, so when it started waking me up at night, I knew I had to do something.”

 

Her first step in treatment included physical therapy in Spencer. When that didn’t reduce her pain, she had a cortisone shot. That reduced the pain a lot, but only lasted for a month or two. At that point, Dr. John Leupold of Northwest Iowa Bone, Joint & Sports Surgeons ordered an MRI and discovered she had a tear in her rotator cuff. Martin said, “Dr. Leupold left it up to me whether to go ahead with surgery or not. We couldn’t tell through the MRI how extensive the tear was, so if I had surgery, he wouldn’t know if I’d need a full rotator cuff repair or just a clean-up.”

 

After almost two years of pain, Martin opted to go with surgery. “I knew several people from school who had surgery at Lakes Regional and all spoke really highly of it, so I decided to go for it,” she said.

 

On a cold, dark morning in December 2021, Martin arrived at Lakes Regional Healthcare’s Surgery Center with her husband. She said, “It was slick – everyone was really nice. I was able to meet with Dr. Leupold, anesthesia, and the nurses and then prep for surgery all in the same room, and my husband was in there with me,” she said. “Since we weren’t sure how extensive my tear was, Dr. Leupold told me if I woke up with a black foam block under my arm, it would mean he had to do a full rotator cuff repair versus if I woke up with my arm just in a sling.”

 

Martin woke up with her arm held up with a black foam block and learned that her tendon was almost torn through and non-surgical treatment would not have brought her relief in the long run. The surgery was short – she was home shortly after noon. She knew her recovery would be longer than she had hoped but was diligent in following her discharge instructions. “I slept in a chair for the first two or three weeks because I was afraid of rolling onto my arm,” she said. During that time, she did passive movement exercises as Dr. Leupold and her physical therapist, Sarah Tungland at Lakes Regional Healthcare’s Community Health Center in Milford, ordered. Then she started doing active movements during appointments with her physical therapist. She said, “At first, I had appointments three times each week. Eventually they were spread out more and more until I was down to one appointment per week. I just graduated from rehab in May.”

 

Now Martin is pain free and enjoying playing fetch with her dogs and gardening. Since having surgery, she’s heard people say shoulder surgery has a difficult recovery, but she has no reservations about it whatsoever. “Surgery was well worth it. I know how much better I feel,” she said. “In retrospect I wouldn’t have waited so long. It’s definitely worth it in the end.”

John Leupold, MD

holding hands

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Learn How You Can
Make A Difference

LEARN MORE