Conditions + Treatments
I was a patient before I ever began working at Andrews Sports Medicine. Despite being born with hip dysplasia, I grew up with a love for sports. I began playing softball at three years old and soon after learned karate. As I got older, my love for sports evolved into a passion for running. However, I experienced more pain the more active I was. I was forced to decide if I would allow my circumstances define me. I chose resilience.
Problems reoccurred after the birth of my oldest son, yet I continued to strive to maintain the active lifestyle I loved. I managed my way through pain and eleven years later participated in the Couch to 5K. I began running four miles every day until my body ached 24/7. Relief seemed impossible. I continued to fight until one cold night I slipped while running and tore the labrum in my hip.
After the injury, I received an x-ray and an MRI on my back as well as an MRI on my hip. Not only had I torn my labrum, I also had slipped discs in my back. It seemed that pain had become something I could not escape. We tried to address the injuries with blocks. However when this failed, my doctor referred me to a surgeon in Nashville.
Without hesitation, I packed my bags and left for Tennessee at 1 a.m. I arrived at the hospital to have surgery, only to discover that the surgeon was out of the country. I went home feeling desperate. On the way back to Alabama, I sought advice from my dad who directed me to a friend he had in the medical field. I explained my situation and asked for the best of the best. He immediately referred me to Dr. Emblom with Andrews Sports Medicine.
A lifetime of pain and three doctors later, I finally saw a glimpse of hope. In October 2012, Dr. Emblom performed a scope on my hip to repair my torn labrum. I met with him for my first post-op and he identified me as the bionic woman. He later explained that in addition to tearing my labrum, I was bone on bone and had osteoarthritis. This long-term suffering was not over yet.
Two months into physical therapy, the pain increased and my range of motion was limited. Dr. Emblom sent me to Dr. Flanagan, another Andrews’ physician, for a reassessment. I needed a total hip replacement.
In my transition from Dr. Emblom to Dr. Flanagan, I decided to apply for a position as an appointment secretary at the orthopedic center. I woke up after surgery only to receive a phone call that I had been offered the job. I walked into the office three weeks later as an employee.
Nine months later, I needed a second and last hip replacement. I rehabilitated and strengthened my hip after surgery. I knew this would not be the end of my active lifestyle. I was determined to experience life without pain.
A month ago, I ran the Mutt Strut 5K in 43 minutes. This was my first race post surgery, and I ran without pain. I’m convinced that with each step my hips said, “James Flanagan,” because he gave me my life back. I am back doing what I love, but stronger and healthier than I ever was before.
Because of the patient-experience I had at Andrews Sports Medicine, work is not work. I see patients come in and out of our office each day desperate for hope and a second chance to do what they love. At Andrews Sports Medicine, they do not have to fight alone. They have access to a team of physicians willing to walk with them through a resilient battle to recovery.
To anyone who has ever thought there life was over, you can overcome. Do what you’ve got to do and come back. There are many who are fighting for you. You are not alone.