Linda Bure of Austin, Minnesota, knew it was time to take care of her aching knee when she noticed her dog starting to gain weight because she couldn't take him for a daily walk.
For more than 10 years, Linda had lived with and learned to adapt to the pain in her left knee. Eventually, it became so excruciating that she started walking with a cane. At first it was just to help her get in and out of her car. But then she started using the cane continuously, and her preschool students began asking questions about it. Linda realized she couldn't continue living the life of an 80-year-old when she was only 52.
In May 2016, Linda made an appointment with Aparna Kaur, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin. During the visit, Dr. Kaur asked Linda about the cane, and they talked about her knee pain. Dr. Kaur scheduled X-rays to take a closer look. She also referred Linda for an appointment with Michael Eckstrom, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Dr. Eckstrom told Linda she needed a new knee. The words were music to her ears. "The only words I could get out at the time were 'thank you,' as I was crying tears of joy thinking relief was in sight," Linda says.
Linda's knee replacement surgery was scheduled for August 2016. Meanwhile, in June, Linda had emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder.
"I was so worried my knee surgery was going to get pushed back due to the unexpected gall bladder surgery, but I healed well and was able to keep the knee surgery as scheduled," says Linda. "I was somewhat concerned with the thought of going through a second major surgery in less than two months. But I have a very strong faith base, and with help and encouragement from my amazing friends and co-workers, I knew it would all work out in the end."
Just hours after coming out of the knee replacement surgery, Linda felt relief from the pain she had been living with for so long.
"I was so impressed with Dr. Eckstrom and the entire team," says Linda. "I was not viewed as just another surgical case, but was cared for as a whole person."
Linda says that having a bit of Norwegian stubbornness in her genes, she went back to work part time after only seven weeks and full time after just 10 weeks, compared to the typical 10 to 12 weeks of expected recovery time. Today her knee pain is a thing of the past, and so is the cane.
"I was finally able to do the simple things in life that I enjoy without the pain," Linda says. "I'm able to hop on one foot and dance with my preschoolers."
Linda also is able to vacuum without needing breaks, make dinner for her friends and enjoy it without being too exhausted. And she can now take her dog for his daily walk.
"I feel so different. I have a newfound energy, and everyone around me can see it," Linda says. "As my preschoolers would say: It's like magic."
Note: A version of this story was previously published in Hometown Health.