Carolyn Clemons

Carolyn Clemons still remembers the day she injured her left knee about 15 years ago. “I was playing in a parent-child soccer game and trying to avoid falling on a child. Instead, I twisted my knee and ended up injuring myself,” she says. “I knew my knee was injured badly, but I hoped it would get better.”

Unfortunately, instead of improving, her knee continued to deteriorate. “I tried cortisone injections, exercise and medications, but my knee was damaged beyond repair,” Clemons says. “The pain felt like someone had taken a knife to my joint and was twisting it around.”

Finally, about three years ago, Clemons found herself in so much pain, she gave up her daily three-mile walks; stopped playing tennis and officiating the sport; and even gave up sitting on the floor to play with her grandchildren. “I have always been fairly active,” she says, “but the pain was so intense I couldn’t even sleep at night. My life wasn’t anything that I recognized. I knew I had to do something.”

Clemons saw Thomas Samuelson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Research Medical Center, who advised her to have her left knee replaced and she agreed. He performed the surgery Dec. 14, 2010.

“I was just in Joint Camp about three and one-half days,” Clemons says. “Everyone was so incredibly caring, professional and helpful. They could not have been any nicer. Jeremy, the physical therapist, was very down-to-earth and included my family in the rehabilitation process and the nursing staff was always very responsive.”

Clemons left Joint Camp using a walker, but graduated to a cane just a couple of weeks later, and was walking on her own after about a month. Today, she says she has her life back, and has Dr. Samuelson and Joint Camp to thank for it.

“I have returned to work, am walking again and can even play with my grandchildren,” the 59-year-old Leawood woman says. “By the time I did something about my knee, it was totally destroyed. I am thrilled with the progress I have made and don’t regret having this surgery for one minute. It was totally worth it!”