In November of 2019, Kim, an avid exerciser, found herself at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute for surgery on her right rotator cuff and bicep. She had enjoyed attending fitness classes and believes her injury happened while exercising.
“I’m still not sure how the injury happened. I feel like I did something during an exercise class. I laid off of it for a bit because it hurt, but went back to class and worked through the pain. The pain persisted so I stopped classes and went to see Dr. Roger Chams.”
This wasn’t Kim’s first visit to IBJI, so she knew that she would be taken care of. Dr. Chams performed some strength tests to see how Kim’s shoulder was performing. He then ordered an MRI which proved something was wrong. Kim had a 3 cm tear in her rotator cuff and a tear in her bicep tendon.
“I felt comfortable and at ease with Dr. Chams. His personality is calming. After he saw my MRI, he explained that I could probably wait a few months for surgery, but I couldn’t deal with the pain and was eager to get back to my normal life. So, I decided to do the surgery sooner rather than later.”
After surgery, Kim had a sling that she needed to wear 24/7. She knew it would be a long recovery. “It was an adjustment. The padded sling was cumbersome and I had to wear it for about 6 weeks, even while sleeping, and then switch to a normal sling for 4 more weeks,” said Kim.
During her recovery, her husband supported her and helped her with everyday tasks such as dressing, putting on makeup and cutting her food. Kim said she didn’t realize how much she would have to change the way she did things, including using her left hand instead of her right.
She started physical therapy a week after surgery. “I didn’t feel nervous about starting physical therapy. I knew it was the next step after surgery in order to get mobile and strong, I had to do it and I actually looked forward to it.”
Kim spent about 27 weeks in physical therapy with Allie Hufford, PT, DPT, and Justin Bond, PT, DPT, at IBJI’s Grayslake location. “Allie and Justin were a great team and they kind of became family to me as we worked through physical therapy.”
The confidence that Allie and Justin had reassured Kim. “Allie and Justin are the ultimate professionals. Not once did I think ‘I hope they know what they’re doing.’ They showed a quiet confidence and it was appreciated. They had a plan and knew the next steps. They were the best listeners and always asked how I was feeling and if anything was bothering me. They always had a different exercise for me to try.”
Kim could barely move her arm when she first saw Allie and Justin 8 days post-operation and now, she is able to do almost everything she could do before surgery. “They are exceptional professionals, extraordinary human beings, and I am so appreciative and grateful for all they have done to get me back to living my best life. “
After 27 weeks, Kim is now released from care and still advised to do physical therapy at home for up to 6 months. She says that Dr. Chams was impressed by her progress and strength. “He was humble and said to me that surgery was the easy part and that my determination was what helped me get to this point.”
Kim reflects on her experience, “I feel so good now, I’m even doing YouTube exercises, since in-person exercising is not allowed during these COVID-19 times. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you what you should and should not do. I’m so grateful for the IBJI team. What I like about IBJI is that Dr. Chams, Allie, and Justin all work out of the same building, one side is doctors and one is physical therapy. I like how the doctors and physical therapists communicate with each other. They work as a team. I felt totally confident in the care I received, because I knew they were talking to each other and on the same wavelength. I would recommend them to anyone. I’ve had friends go through physical therapy and they didn’t have the same positive experience that I did. Even the reception staff and PTA’s were so good and everyone I encountered at IBJI was welcoming. Dr. Chams is an outstanding surgeon. He’s kind, compassionate, he listens, and he’s caring. I’m grateful for his skill as a surgeon for putting me back together again.”
Kim reached out to the IBJI team to provide an update on how she has been. “I thank my lucky stars every day that I had [Allie and Justin] as my physical therapists. Just wanted you to know that I am doing great…I am still doing my physical therapy three times a week. Last week, I was in Jupiter, FL, for five days with two friends. One of them owns a condo in Jupiter, and she invited me and my other friend to come down with her to her condo. I went paddle boarding for the very first time while I was there, and I did great! We paddled for an hour, and I felt so good! My right arm was so strong! And Ihave you two to thank for that! 10 months and 1 week post-op I was paddling like I had never had surgery! I love you guys, and cannot thank you enough for getting me to where I am today! I plan to stop by to visit you. Hope you both are doing well. I feel so blessed to have landed in the care of such a great group of professionals, including Dr. Chams, Allie, and Justin.”
Roger Chams, MD, is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine, knee and shoulder disorders.