The tipping point: A Lancaster County woman’s story of double knee replacement

Dianne Shepherd remembers the night well. She calls it “the tipping point.”

“It came at the end of my shift. I could hardly walk to the car. And when I got home, I could hardly get out of the car,” recalls Dianne. “I thought, ‘This is nuts.’ At that point, I was just ready.”

The active 53-year-old mother of four loved her job as a waitress at a Lancaster County restaurant. But long hours on her feet, combined with worsening knee pain brought on by nearly 20 years of osteoarthritis, was making her job more and more challenging.

In addition, Dianne says, the quality of her personal life had plummeted.

“I couldn’t do the things I loved to do with my family. I didn’t want to be left behind.”

After consulting with her orthopedic surgeon, Dianne decided to have double knee replacement. Her surgeon scheduled her first of two replacement surgeries at the Lancaster General Health Orthopedic Center in Lancaster General Hospital. The second surgery would come six weeks later.

Care began before surgery
Well before the surgery, a nurse specially trained in orthopedic care visited Dianne’s home to make sure everything would be as safe, convenient, and comfortable as possible for her recovery.

“LG Health was great. Any fear I had quickly dissipated,” says Dianne.

She appreciated the thorough safety assessment of her living space, as well as the instructions on exercises that would make her recovery easier by strengthening muscles around her knee joints.

“I knew they had my best interests at heart,” says Dianne.

After Dianne’s surgery
Recovery and rehabilitation began right after Dianne’s successful surgeries. LG Health Orthopedic Center staff helped minimize her pain as she began to regain mobility at the center’s orthopedic therapy gym.

“Whatever I needed, they were right there,” remembers Dianne.

In addition to traditional therapy, Dianne was offered holistic options—including massage, Reiki, music therapy, and aromatherapy—to enhance her comfort and healing.

“Everything at Ortho Center is geared toward teaching you what you need to know to get back to where you belong,” says Dianne.

Living life to the fullest
Today, she is back to doing what she loves—participating in activities with her family, gardening, and enjoying her work and the customers she serves.

“I forget what it used to be like when I couldn’t do things,” smiles Dianne. “I can basically do anything I want to do. I can bring my groceries in on my own. I can walk up and down steps. I can waitress. And at the end of the shift, I’m still a whole person. I’m not struggling. I have no pain.”

Dianne understands the fear that may cause some people to delay knee replacement surgery, but she’s so glad she made the choice and encourages others to consider the same.

“Get it done,” laughs Dianne. “Go on living.”

You can learn more about the LG Health Orthopedic Center by visiting www.LGHealth.org/OrthoCenter. Most orthopedic surgeons in Lancaster County have surgical privileges at Lancaster General Hospital.