If you had told Sue Meinerz she would cycle 28 miles to the top of Mt. Evans just 32 days after her total hip replacement, she wouldn’t have believed you.
“I thought that I would be out for the season and that just walking around would be a problem,” says the 62-year-old suburban Denver resident. “Even though cycling is a low-impact sport, I thought I would have to really ease into it and be careful. I never thought I would be on the road and competing.”
Meinerz knew for about 12 years that her arthritis would eventually demand a hip replacement. While cycling was generally not a problem because of its forward motions, moving side to side was becoming increasingly painful. When the Covid-19 pandemic brought normal life to a halt, she decided it was time to “bite the bullet” and move forward with the surgery.
But first, she headed to Colorado Joint Replacement for a second opinion, where she was delighted to meet with Todd Miner, MD. “He was the perfect fit for me. He explained in detail that while I had arthritis, I also had bone spurs. On my X-ray, it looked like big fingers were coming off the side of my hip, and Dr. Miner made it clear that it would not get better. I had been trying to out-exercise it.”
Indeed, exercise is an important part of Meinerz’s lifestyle; she spends 15 to 20 hours each week working out and in addition to competitive cycling, is an avid downhill skier. “Compared to the general person, I am more active,” she admits.
Meinerz’s decision to have her hip replaced was bolstered by the optional pre-surgery app that Dr. Miner asked her to use as part of a CJR research study. “Every day the app would tell me something to do, like try a certain exercise or stop taking vitamins. It was a day-by-day schedule of what was happening and it made it really easy,” she said.
“The entire process was seamless and transparent with the use of the app. There was no stress.”
Colorado Joint Replacement is at the forefront of innovative research and Meinerz was happy to participate. “I like that they are current but not so over the edge to where their procedures are experimental,” she says. “They explain everything to you and it’s very good science. And with the app, I could contact anyone on the team 24/7 with questions and they always got back to me within the next business day. They are a very responsive and wonderful – and a human always answers the phone immediately!”
That positive experience continued right into the big day. “Surgery day was as relaxed as a surgery can be. I felt taken care of, valued and was very comfortable with the Covid safety protocols at the facility,” she says. “Follow-up visits were also very good, seeing both the doctor and the PA team. I realize I am fortunate to have this result and that everyone is different, but I truly appreciate what they did to give me the best possible chances.”
And, she adds, “It is very nice to have no pain!”