With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.
Sylvia Burr of Cheraw, South Carolina, has experienced pain in her knees for many years. Everyday activities like walking and standing grew more and more painful as time passed.
“The pain in my knees significantly restricted my ability to do things I enjoyed such as walking and attending church,” said Sylvia. “I knew I needed to see a doctor, and I had heard so many positive things about Dr. Thomas DiStefano that I scheduled an appointment with him.”
Initially, Sylvia considered going somewhere out of town to see an orthopedic surgeon about her right knee, but she kept hearing from her friends and family about positive outcomes with Dr. DiStefano.
After assessing her X-rays and the bone-on-bone state of her knee, McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. DiStefano explained that Sylvia would eventually need to get her right knee replaced. Sylvia was not quite ready to make such a commitment so she asked for a little more time with a non-surgical approach that would reduce her pain while she considered a total knee replacement.
To lessen the severity of her pain, Sylvia received intermittent steroid injections in her knee. This approach worked to relieve her pain temporarily but was not a permanent solution. Despite these efforts, her pain gradually worsened, and she knew the time had come to schedule her surgery.
“The injections kept me comfortable for about a year prior to my surgery,” Sylvia recalled. “Eventually Dr. DiStefano convinced me to move forward with the procedure.”
During Sylvia’s pre-surgical appointment, Dr. DiStefano conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the extent of the damage to her right knee from arthritis and explained why she needed the procedure as well as what she could expect during and after.
“I was nervous before talking with him, but left the office feeling completely confident in the process, especially since the procedure would be outpatient and I could go home the very same day as my surgery,” said Sylvia.
Dr. DiStefano explained that because of the advanced capabilities of the orthopedic surgical team at McLeod Health Cheraw, Sylvia would be in and out with a new knee in the same day. Sylvia never thought this would be possible, especially in her small hometown.
“He encouraged me by saying that I would experience no pain during the surgery and for quite some time after due to the advancements in pain management, including the type of injections used for outpatient total knees,” said Sylvia. “I could not believe my eyes when I was able to get up and walk around right after having my knee replaced – all while experiencing no pain.”
On July 26, 2021, Sylvia tried out her brand-new knee at McLeod Health Cheraw.
“In what seemed like moments after surgery, I was walking with the McLeod Rehabilitation team around the department using only a walker,” said Sylvia. “Everyone was so helpful and compassionate during my short stay. I will never forget the kindness shown to me by McLeod Physical Therapists Anna Poole and Natalie Harris while I was there.”
The Total Joint Replacement Program at McLeod facilitates the coordination of care between McLeod Rehabilitation, Case Management and McLeod Orthopaedics Cheraw, ensuring that patients are prepared for discharge with the proper medications, durable medical equipment, such as walkers or canes, and clear expectations for how they can have a successful recovery in the days following their surgery.
“I was discharged from the hospital the same day of my surgery. When I left the hospital that evening, I could walk with my walker,” recalled Sylvia.
“I used a walker around the house for the first few weeks of recovery and continued my physical therapy at home until I was cleared to drive. After that, I began outpatient physical therapy where I continued to regain my strength.”
It was not long before Sylvia could walk without any assistance.
“Each day, I can tell that my range of motion and ability to walk is improving drastically, and I look forward to having my left knee replaced by Dr. DiStefano in the near future,” she added. “I am so grateful to Dr. DiStefano, his orthopedic team and everyone I encountered at McLeod Health Cheraw for their part in replacing my knee and restoring the quality of life that I have missed for so long.”
As a breast cancer survivor, Sylvia’s passion lies in raising awareness and inspiring others to fight for a cure for cancer with her involvement in the Cancer Support Ministry at her church, Pee Dee Union Baptist in Cheraw. She coordinates the Pee Dee Cancer Awareness Walk at Arrowhead Park each year in hopes of working towards a cancer-free future in the region. She also is a dedicated member of her church and is passionate about volunteering and helping others who are less fortunate around her. “That’s what I love doing best…helping those in need around me however I can,” said Sylvia. “Everyone deserves a chance to move forward.”