The health of my shoulder had been steadily declining since I tore my rotator cuff back in the late nineties. Rotator surgery successfully repaired the tear in fact, my rotator cuff still remains intact. However, following the trauma of my initial shoulder injury and the surgical intervention that followed, arthritis set into my shoulder joint and wreaked havoc.
Shoulder pain and deteriorating mobility forced me to become more and more restrictive even with simple tasks. Over time the mobility in my shoulder and arm became so severely compromised that in order to raise my arm from my side, I would have to lift it using my opposite hand. Pulling off a shirt overhead was too painful so I wore only button down shirts. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, glucosamine, steroid injections were ineffective treatments in giving me relief. Not even arthroscopic surgery reduced the pain or increased mobility in my shoulder.
In April 2020, I met with Dr. Weiss to discuss surgical options. He explained what a total shoulder replacement procedure involved and what I could expect with regards to recovery and rehabilitation. He explained that the primary benefit of my surgery would be relief from pain. He was thorough, realistic, and informative about the surgery allowing me to weigh out my options and be confident in my decision moving forward.
I shared with Dr. Weiss that my daughters and I had been planning a trip to Africa the following year (April 2021). In Africa, we would make the trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I asked Dr. Weiss if he believed a year was enough time for me to recover from surgery, regain function, strength, mobility, so I could successfully summit the mountain. His response was cautionary but not restrictive. He explained that it will take several months for my shoulder to heal and that regaining strength and motion could take up to a year but, he said climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was in the realm of possibility.
On July 27, 2020, I underwent a total shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Weiss was pleased with the outcome, there were no complications. As soon as I was cleared for physical therapy, my therapist and I started working on gently moving my arm. Three times a week, I met with my PT. She guided me through exercises increasing movement and strengthening my arm. By the end of September, my level of pain had reduced dramatically, my shoulder function significantly improved, and I had graduated from my physical therapy sessions though I remained committed to doing daily exercises prescribed by my physical therapist at home.
By the end of January 2021, with my improved shoulder mobility, range of motion, and strength, I began training for my hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I trained by building up increasingly longer hikes each week, backpack loaded. Prior to my surgery, I had become inactive, sedimentary and had gained weight. I knew that shedding those added pounds would increase my chances of summiting Kilimanjaro so I added eating healthy balanced meals to my training regime.
On March 28, 2021 at 7:30 am, following 40 hours of hiking, I reached the summit of Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. I stood on top of one of the world’s seven summits, not even one year from having had total shoulder replacement surgery, an incredible feat. In reflection, my achievement can be attributed to; having unwavering will, determination and a belief that I would reach the top, an experienced mountain crew who expertly guided me throughout my climb, and a body that I could depend on to hold up to the physical demands of trekking up Kilimanjaro. With this new improved titanium shoulder and having shed 50 pounds in preparation for the big climb, my body was able to serve me and did it well.
By Dr. James Weiss, replacing my sick shoulder, I am able to reclaim my passions and active lifestyle. I am 59 years old and, in looking forward, have much more to do in this life of mine. Nothing holds me back from my dreams anymore or interferes with my being able to enjoy my best life. Spending such a magical time on the mountain with my daughters was incredible. We have been home from Africa for two weeks now but I continue to overhear them bragging proudly to their friends that their mom summited Kilimanjaro. In replacing my shoulder, Dr. Weiss eliminated my pain and suffering as promised. He also opened the door for me to go back out into the world and confidently take it on again for which I am forever grateful.By - Lorraine R18-Apr-2021 03:53 AM
Dr Weiss fixed my dislocated shoulder and torn ligaments and biceps so good that I did not have much pain after the surgery and in recovery. Now six months after the surgery I am completely recovered.
I was very happy with all the steps before surgery and recovery. Dr Weiss is very experienced and careful and the nicest thing is that he cares about the patients. I give him 5 stars, my thanks and recommendations.By - Bohumira P11-May-2018 03:53 AM
Dr. Weiss is everything anyone could hope for in a surgeon and a person. His hands are truly blessed by God, and he has given me the opportunity to live a life I was not aware could even exist for me. For the past 3 decades (my entire adult life), I had never known a pain-free or fully functional condition with my spine. Dr. Weiss eliminated all pain and restored function to my back, leg, and arm.
Prior to moving to this region, I had undergone multiple treatments with various spine specialists over the years. I additionally received intensive physical therapy, hard braces, soft braces, and injections in an attempt to manage my congenital and deteriorating condition hoping to delay fusion surgery as long as possible. I worked extremely hard and diligently to recover, but ultimately I lost my ability to function. I was in constant pain. I could not mentally focus. I could not stand straight. I could not stay in one position for any reasonable length of time, and my right leg had lost most feeling and atrophy was occurring. Finally, I could no longer work effectively.
In December of 2014, Dr. Weiss essentially rebuilt my lower back with a multilevel fusion to correct my spinal bifida and severe stenosis. I was astounded to be walking the next day, and the pain level I anticipated post op never came. I managed this major surgery with Tylenol and a muscle relaxant only, and by the end of the week I was not taking any pain medication. My recovery was beyond anything I could have imagined, and the fusion healed perfectly.
Then, in December of 2015, Dr. Weiss corrected the severe condition in my cervical spine with my next required fusion surgery. We discussed how this procedure and recovery differed, but yet again my expectations were immensely surpassed. Prior to this surgery, I experienced tremendous pain in my neck and shoulder, and my left arm would go numb when my neck was simply placed in a neutral position. The numbness began to spread to my right arm at times, and again, I was unable to sustain sharp mental focus. I could no longer even safely drive myself.
Following this cervical spinal fusion surgery, I was walking the same day and literally home and recovering in less than 24 hours. Again, the pain was not even close to what I anticipated, and I declined all narcotic pain relievers. I easily and amazingly managed the recovery with just Tylenol, and 5 days out I was taking no pain medication at all. The pain in my neck and shoulder and the numbness in my arms was instantly and completely resolved. My ability to focus and concentrate seems restored, and I am only starting to appreciate all the areas of my life that were previously affected with my never-ending pain management and decreased physical abilities.
In addition to his extraordinary surgical skills, Dr. Weiss spent a great deal of time with me discussing options, explaining procedures, answering all my questions, and updating me before and after surgery. His staff is equally remarkable, and they went above and beyond taking care of all the scheduling, testing, insurance filings, processing and paperwork. It goes without saying, but Dr. Weiss and everyone in his office genuinely care. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. I am blessed my path in life brought me to Dr. Weiss and his staff.By - Bryan P11-May-2018 03:53 AM
Dr Weiss has been my families Orthopedist since 2006. He has taken care of my back, knees and wrist. Dr Weiss did a fusion on my back at three levels. He was very conservative with treatment until I was ready to be more aggressive. His office was excellent at working with me as my insurance at the time was out of network. The office always answered any questions and fit me in a timely manner for all appointments. Dr Weiss' bedside manner is definitely appreciated since I was very nervous about a large surgery. He was always available and compassionate. He has seen my husband and children for different conditions as well. We have always been very pleased with the care we received from him and his staff. His new physician has seen my daughter for her shoulders and he was extremely knowledgable also. We will continue to use Dr Weiss and Dr Farsaii for any new conditions or follow up to any old conditions.By - Rebecca D11-May-2018 03:52 AM