You Inspire The Best in Us.

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.

  • Moving Forward
  • Back in the Saddle
  • Kicker Writes His Own Comeback Story
  • Head Coach Gets an Assist from McLeod Orthopaedics
  • Scoring a New Hip
  • Back on the Approach and
    Hitting Her Mark
  • Breaking Free of the Cane
  • Back in the Swing of Things
  • A New Approach at Life
  • Making Memories in the Sand
  • Committed to Caring for Others
  • Back on the Beat
  • Living Free of Pain
  • Local Volunteer Recounts Her Excellent McLeod Health Experience
  • Enjoying Benefits of Treatment Closer to Home
  • A Step in the Right Direction
  • Under One Roof
  • HOPE for a Fast Recovery
  • Many Key Players, One Common Goal
  • Cruising To Recovery
  • Betty Board
    Our orthopedic surgeon gave her sure footing to get back to life
  • Edwin Branch
    Back in Full Swing
  • Lorenzo McFadden
    Every Second Counts
  • David “Shawn” Graham
    Enjoying Life Again
  • Wanda Blue
    A Return to Active Living
  • Cathy Oakley
    Thumbs Up for a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Will Williams
    In Excellent Hands

Cathy Oakley

By Jennifer Beverly

When Cathy Oakley was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2007, she decided to retire from her teaching position in Colonial Heights, Virginia, and move to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with her husband to enjoy the beach life.

Following a mastectomy and reconstruction along with chemotherapy, Cathy decided to focus her efforts on keeping a healthy lifestyle. She began working out three to four times a week.

“I joined the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center to help stay active and fit,” said Cathy. “My fitness routine includes cardio, weight training and group classes.”

Over the course of time, Cathy began noticing a sharp pain in her right hand starting at her thumb. She was also having difficulty gripping the machines and weights during her work-outs. One day, before leaving the aquatic and fitness center, Cathy stopped by to see Brian Lowe, a McLeod Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer, for a sports injury screening.

Brian checked over Cathy’s hand and recommended that she see an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hand and upper extremities.

Cathy took Brian’s advice and made an appointment to see Dr. David Lukowski with McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast the following week. Dr. Lukowski specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He has also earned an additional Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand.

Dr. Lukowski examined Cathy’s right hand and di agnosed her with osteoarthritis of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb. The cartilage at the base of Cathy’s thumb joint was wearing away to where bone was rubbing against bone causing her severe pain.

“When I first began treating Cathy, she received cortisone injections to help control her pain,” said Dr. Lukowski. “She was hoping that the injections would be the answer, but my experience has shown that injections are usually only a temporary solution.”

Eventually the injections were only lasting two to three weeks. Dr. Lukowski explained to Cathy that the best option was surgery. He recommended performing a Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition (LRTI) procedure which is the most common surgical technique to treat thumb arthritis.

“Most patients achieve complete pain relief and mobility equal to that of a healthy thumb,” said Dr. Lukowski.

Cathy knew she would have to wear a cast for four weeks and attend occupational therapy after the cast was removed. She left Dr. Lukowski’s office that afternoon to think about her decision and how it would affect her lifestyle.

“I had decided not to have the surgery,” said Cathy. “I thought I could deal with the pain, but after thinking about it overnight, I called McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast and scheduled the surgery.”

Cathy said her outpatient surgery and recovery at McLeod Seacoast was an exceptional experience. After the cast was removed, Dr. Lukowski referred Cathy to the McLeod Occupational Therapy Hand Center for rehabilitation.

“I did not realize how limiting it is to not be able to use your hand,” said Cathy. “After my husband tried to fix my hair for me, I was even more eager to attend occupational therapy to speed up my recovery.”

Cathy and her therapists focused on therapeutic exercises and manual therapy to help her regain motion, strength and ability.

“I went twice a week for 10 weeks to the McLeod Occupational Therapy Hand Center,” said Cathy. “The therapists were very supportive and were always a delight to be around.”

After completing occupational therapy, Cathy eagerly returned to her normal routine of working out and staying healthy.

“As a breast cancer survivor for more than nine years, it is important for me to take care of myself, exercise and stay active,” added Cathy. “Today, my hand is pain-free, and I’m thankful to Dr. Lukowski and the staff at the McLeod Occupational Therapy Hand Center for guiding me through this process. I had a wonderful experience and would definitely recommend Dr. Lukowski to all of my family and friends.”