Gary Mashburn

Double Knee Replacement

“I've been a really whole mountain skier, I've been a racer, my kids are all into racing, my grand kids are into racing. It's just been part of my life that I just can't do without. 

When I was turning 60, and the ski season started, I skied three days…then couldn't walk for five. So I went to get another cortisone shot and the doctor says, ‘You can’t keep getting these, Gary. You really need to do something about your knees.’ So we investigate with x-rays and whatever and he says to me, ‘Well, you need knee replacement, Gary. …I'm gonna replace your knees for you so you can still walk, but not so you can still ski."

Well that wasn't an option. That's the whole reason I'm gonna get them done. I mean if I can't ski anymore then, you know, cut them off!

So then I found some skier friends who had had knee replacements, and found out that their doctor was Dr. Kavanaugh. I did a lot of Internet research on knee replacements when I got into deciding I was gonna have it done. And I came across a paper that told me that it was more important to pick the doctor rather than the knee replacement type. And when I saw that Dr. Kavanaugh does somewhere in the ridiculous area of 500 knees and hips a year, I knew I had my man.

So I made an immediate appointment with him and his attitude towards me doing sports and being as active as I am was much better.

I got the operation in March, I did all the recuperation that you're supposed to do, and I started water skiing in July that year. When snow ski season started at Alyeska, I skied again and finished that season with three million vertical feet. I was number one, with second place being a million vertical feet behind me.

This is three years after the operation and this season I skied five million vertical feet. That's in the area of 3,600 chairlift rides.

I don't have the soreness, I don't have the swelling. This has given me 20, 30 years back on my life.”

RECOVERY ADVICE:

“Those first few weeks, man, you're thinking laying there in bed and moving and they hurt just as much as they did before the operation. But that all wears off and you work through it.

The recovery process seems slow because the first week or two you're not really doing anything. You're watching TV, you're on some machines to keep your knees bending and you get up and boy, it seems like it's a chore just to make it to the bathroom.

But you persevere. Every time you make another lap in the house it gets a little easier. Then after a couple of weeks I start to feel pretty good and then you start walking. I was doing laps at the malls and I got up to about 12 miles a day on the 12th week. And then I started doing more outside walking. There's a big difference. You can't walk as far on uneven ground, you know. But in time it gets easier.

Dr. Kavanaugh told me that I can go ahead and do what I wanna do and to just monitor myself. That was the best advice that anybody ever gave me. And it's worked out really good for me.

You know, it only takes like a few months and you feel like a whole new person.”