To further ease my concerns over the next few weeks, he explained that he had consulted with other orthopedic specialists around the country who also believed this surgery was necessary and had received their advice on the various options for repairing my shoulder. He had clear back-up plans for what he was prepared to do if my arm bone should collapse when the rod was removed. And he showed me x-rays of a former patient who had recovered successfully from a shattered knee. Similar to what he was proposing for my shoulder, Dr. Rudzki had used a bone graft to repair her knee and with physical therapy and time, this patient was now back to running again. Dr. Rudzki fully believed I could have an equally good result.
Beyond these assurances, Dr. Rudzki said he was very sure that he could give me the best possible outcome. He felt comfortable doing challenging surgeries like mine and believed without question that this surgery was worth the risks. His enthusiastic optimism and self-confidence gave me a sense of relief and comfort in knowing that I was making the right decision to both have the surgery and to have Dr. Rudzki perform it.
And so three months after the initial surgery, I was back at Sibley Hospital to undergo a second surgery on my shoulder and this time it worked! As he promised, Dr. Rudzki successfully removed the titanium hardware, filled in with a bone graft, and two days later sent me home. He was extremely pleased with the surgery’s success and said the best possible result had been achieved. Two weeks later I began the first of many months of physical therapy on my shoulder. While the therapy and homework exercises have not been easy and not without some pain, I have regained approximately 85 percent of the use of my shoulder. I am again able to reach overhead and up into cabinets, carry groceries, cook, blow-dry my hair, and even ride my bike and do some light yoga classes. And so far, I have been able to avoid a third surgery!