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Debra Peak

Debra _Peak _Web2

“I have been physically fit and active my entire life. My passion for running was the first thing to go as a result of my injury. It was impossible because of the pain,” says NEBH patient and Melbourne, Australia resident Debra Peak.

Debra, a yoga teacher, had been working in the fitness industry for over 20 years when she first suffered her knee injury. “I tore my lateral meniscus in 2010 at age 50. I had surgery to repair it, and thought I would be back to running in 4 weeks.” Unfortunately, Debra’s knee never healed properly, and she developed bone marrow edema, a condition where fluid accumulates in related structures of bone marrow. The knee cartilage continued to deteriorate as osteoarthritis progressed. 

“As a result of my injury I had to give up running and all impact exercise such as plyometrics and teaching boot camp classes. I felt like was constantly babying my knee, and as it continued to get worse, I had to modify more of the physical things I liked to do. It was a downward spiral.”

Eventually, the cartilage in Debra’s knee was gone, and her knee was bone on bone. In 2012, at age 52, Debra was given some tough news: she was told she needed a knee replacement. “I was in shock and disbelief...I was only 52! Prior to my meniscus tear, I had been a marathon runner and avid road racer and never had any injuries or knee pain.” Although Debra resides in Australia, the former New Englander sought treatment at New England Baptist Hospital.

Debra met with orthopedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist Vivek Shah, MD.  “At my first appointment, I felt that Dr. Shah really took the time to get to know me. He listened to my needs and concerns, and then explained the procedures and options thoroughly.” Together, Dr. Shah and Debra agreed a lateral partial knee replacement would be the best option to get Debra back to her active lifestyle.

Back in Australia, Debra was making final preparations for her surgery. “Living overseas, it was difficult to communicate by phone as there is a 14 hour time difference. Dr. Shah and his team were incredibly helpful, communicating with me by email, and promptly answering any questions or concerns I had.”

When the time for surgery came, Debra was surprised at the personal touch she received. “Dr. Shah called me personally the day before my surgery to reassure me and to see if I had any further questions. He called again the day after to see how I was doing. I greatly appreciated his warmth, bedside manner and attention to detail.”

With surgery behind her, Debra is thriving. “My recovery went extremely well. I worked very hard at physical therapy, and was diligent with my exercises. I was able to ride the stationary bike after one week and was doing a modified yoga practice after two weeks. My strength is now excellent, and my range of motion was back to near perfect in just four weeks.” The biggest improvement for Debra: “My knee now feels stable and I am able to load weight on that side pain free.”

Debra’s advice for those seeking care at NEBH: “The hospital and all the professionals you will encounter at NEBH are excellent. The doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators are compassionate and caring. I am so happy I had this procedure. The outcome has been great, the recovery quick and the entire experience has been top notch!”