June 18, 2024

Stories That Move Us: Kimberly Keller

When Kimberly came to CIO, she told us how she had been an avid cyclist, distance runner and CrossFit athlete for many years until she began experiencing significant knee pain. For a while, cortisone injections allowed her to continue her active lifestyle until 2022, when she was hiking on vacation and began experiencing significant swelling in her knee. Returning home, she went to CIO Fishers Walk-In Clinic and was advised that both knees were arthritic, she had bone spurs and her knee caps were tracking off center.

With this diagnosis, Kimberly chose to consult with Dr. Brent Damer who informed her that knee replacements were the best course of treatment. “I asked if I could get both knees replaced at the same time, and after a detailed physical exam and tests, it was determined that I was a candidate for bilateral total knee replacement,” Kimberly said. “Dr. Damer was so patient and thorough and explained the risks of the procedure. Ultimately, he let me make the decision that was the best fit for me.”

At age 58, Kimberly said that so many people tried to discourage her from having bilateral knee replacement, saying she was too young to have such a significant procedure, but she knew it was time to see a doctor when she had to miss out on part of a hike with her husband, son and daughter-in-law. “When I had to skip out on Angels Landing while hiking in Zion National Park, I was so disappointed! I knew I didn’t want to give up on the things that brought me so much joy, and it was time to do something,” Kimberly said.

Kimberly had bilateral total knee replacement in August 2022 at Ascension St. Vincent Fishers using Mako SmartRobotics technology, which enabled her to have a personalized surgical experience. Before surgery, Kimberly had a CT scan that was used to plan the procedure and provided Dr. Damer with more information about her unique anatomy. During surgery, Mako’s AccuStop technology guided Dr. Damer to cut precisely what was planned to help protect Kimberly’s healthy tissue.

From start to finish, Kimberly said she had a wonderful surgical experience and follow-up care. “My nurses at the hospital couldn’t say enough nice things about the care and concern Dr. Damer provided to me post-op. Not only is he a highly recommended and skilled surgeon, but he’s also kind and empathetic,” Kimberly said. “I also couldn’t have asked for better care during my rehab at CIO Fishers Physical Therapy with Dylan. His encouragement pushed me to do as much as my body would allow. Awesome care all around from CIO!”

Since healing from surgery, Kimberly’s been able to resume her favorite activities without restrictions and enjoy retirement. In fact, she recently fulfilled her long-time dream of backpacking to Havasupai Falls in the Grand Canyon. Carrying 30 pounds and camping for three nights, Kimberly hiked over 40 miles and said she didn’t have any issues. “I didn’t have any pain in my knees, which is really quite remarkable,” Kimberly shared. “Since healing from surgery, I’ve experience occasional minimal swelling, but it’s rare now that I’m approaching my two-year mark.”

Kimberly couldn’t be more ecstatic to have her mobility returned and to have many years of hiking, backpacking and golfing ahead. And Kimberly’s advice to those needing a knee replacement – why wait?! “I knew I wasn’t getting any younger or stronger and didn’t want to risk further complications like back or hip pain,” Kim said. “Follow your doctor’s advice and trust the experts!”

If you or someone you know is missing out on their favorite activities because of joint pain, we encourage them to take Kimberly’s advice to not delay treatment. To learn more about joint replacement services at CIO, visit ciocenter.com/services/surgery-revision/.

Kimberly during her 2024 backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls in the Grand Canyon