Patti Jorgensen was forced to give up dancing due to knee pain. Following surgery, she's back at it.
Upon meeting Patti Jorgensen, you sense energy. Though she sat patiently for her interview, by the end you knew full well she’d have preferred it to be done while moving, ideally on the way to the next thing on her list.
It’s difficult to imagine that not too long ago a short walk could challenge such a dynamo. From the car to her office at the beginning of the day. From her office to the car at the end. And all treks in between. Excruciating.
Jorgensen ran in high school, college, and beyond. Checked a full marathon off her list. In her twenties she first encountered knee pain and faced it with the matter-of-fact mindset of an athlete: just keep running and they will stop hurting.
As life went on, they continued to hurt more. Eventually the running stopped.
A decade ago, Jorgensen wanted to run again. She went to see a doctor to ask if running would make her knees worse. His response was no, running would not make a difference, since her knees were already shot.
So the headstrong Jorgensen ran some more, for a while. But going from Point A to Point B was getting more and more difficult.
“It got to the point where I dreaded taking the dogs for a walk,” Jorgensen said. “It was that painful.”
Enduring increasing levels of pain with no end in sight, Jorgensen finally had her “I don’t think I have to live like this” moment.
On the advice of a relative, Jorgensen went to see Dr. David Eggert of the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI) in Appleton.
Jorgensen wanted a surgeon she could have a dialogue with about the pre-operative stage, the surgery, recovery, the whole plan. She had some demands too. Both knees replaced at the same and a shorter timeline to get back to work topped the list.
“Dr. Eggert talked to me, he listened to me, and he asked me what I wanted,” Jorgensen said. “It was awesome, the give and take, and the clear dialogue. That’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Jorgensen was also interested in OSI’s robotic surgical option for joint replacement surgery, called Mako. OSI is the exclusive provider of the Mako joint replacement technology in Northeast Wisconsin.
Using the Mako system, the orthopedic surgeon creates a 3D plan using CT scanning technology that is specific for each individual patient to guide the surgery and reconstruction. During surgery the robotic arm – guided by the surgeon – stays within the pre-defined area identified in the plan.
“I came in wanting the robot,” said Jorgensen. “The tool is there; why not use it?”
Jorgensen had done her research on robotic knee replacement. She also prepped for the procedure by working out for two months prior to her surgery.
“Do all your homework, physically and intellectually,” Jorgensen advises.
Following her bilateral knee replacement procedure with Eggert, Jorgensen returned to work in three weeks.
“I pushed it; I won’t lie,” she said.
Jorgensen is returning to the things she loves and says she can do anything she wants to do.
Walking the dogs is pure joy. Dancing too.
Asked about the distance from her parking spot to the office, Jorgensen smiles.
“I don’t even think about it now. There are lots of little things like that,” she said. “Before, I thought about every single step."