Karen Ganz

Beth Shubin Stein

I had completely severed my MCL and ACL in a slow motion collision on a ski slope. The surgeons at Vail wanted to operate immediately, but I wanted to return home first. I saw several doctors who told me the MCL would heal first and then I would have to decide whether to go through ACL repair. Each doctor told me I could continue my life without an ACL and even return to skiing. I was 70 years old. I started PT and soon began to ride a stationary bike and get mobility back.

However, my MCL did not reattach as it was supposed to. The doctors tried the plasma shot, but that also did nothing except make my knee really hurt. I was left with no options but surgery.

Sadly it was 5 months after the injury when the surgery actually took place. MY HSS doctor used my hamstring to create a strong MCL and used cadaver tissue to repair the ACL. The first week post op is pretty terrible. I called it “pillow over the face” pain. But it eases each day after that first week. Soon my leg bending started to show improvements. I had turned the corner to recovery.

I could not start full PT until the MCL had healed…but then I went into it with gusto. Since it was all I could do (none of my sports were an option), I made it fun. I took on each new exercise with enthusiasm. I got better. I did everything I was told to do and nothing I was forbidden. I did not “jump ahead.”

My surgery was May 3. My first round of golf was on September 12 and my return to the ski slopes was on December 14….one year after injury. I had the longest ski season ever with 35+ days, most of which were in the western mountains where the challenges are greater and the runs longer. I no longer do bumps, but I ski long and hard on what is groomed. I feel lucky.

I worked hard and the doctors did what they needed to. I was supported and cared for. My will did the rest. My next ski season was even more days and I am back to golf with gusto. Tennis is still a challenge, but we make adjustments in life.

Whereas I know this knee is not like my other, it works! I am grateful to have a very active athletic life in my retirement and I thank my HSS team for allowing that!