My doctor, ally, and supporter

It took Cindy Goodman more than 30 years to say she had enough. In the 1980s Goodman was in a bad car accident, and had to be extracted from her vehicle. The crash crushed her hip, leaving behind bone fragments and decades of pain. Finally it was just too much. That’s when she sought help from her doctors, but there was one problem. Goodman was too heavy for surgery.

“I had put on a lot of weight over the years, and the pain in my hip was part of both problems. It was part of why I gained the weight, and part of why I couldn’t get it off,” said Goodman.

Goodman was interested in the anterior hip surgery approach offered by Trinity Pilkington, MD, with Bayhealth Orthopaedics. When she made her first appointment with him she was already starting to shed some pounds, but had a long way to go.

The anterior approach to hip replacement is a muscle-sparing procedure. Using a special table, Dr. Pilkington is able to access the hip joint from the front of the hip as opposed to the back. The most important muscles for hip function and walking are left undisturbed. This means patients have fewer postoperative restrictions and are able to move their hips freely with less risk of dislocation.

Most patients are walking just hours after their surgery and may be discharged the next day or soon thereafter. Patients who meet certain qualifications may go home the same day, although this is not typical.

“I could see from her chart that Cindy was making strides getting the weight off, but she still had quite a bit to lose before she would be considered a safe candidate for the anterior approach,” said Dr. Pilkington. “She knew she wanted to be more active. She knew a hip replacement was the best way to get there. That was a great motivating factor for her.”

In order to keep on track, Goodman had regular appointments with Dr. Pilkington to both manage her pain and keep an eye on the scale. Goodman focused on the kitchen first. She stopped drinking soda and sugary drinks and started cooking with lean meats and vegetables. Once she lost a few pounds, it was easier to move around. Goodman began working in her yard and taking walks around the block.

“I ended up losing 100 pounds,” said Goodman. “It was amazing the way the weight affected my health. After losing it, I was taken off all the medications I was taking for blood pressure, diabetes, and heart issues.” After reaching her goal of triple-digit weight loss, Goodman received the news she had been waiting for — she was a candidate for the anterior approach hip surgery.

“Cindy knew what she wanted, and did everything she could to achieve her goals. Once she lost the weight, I knew it was my turn to hold up my end of the bargain,” said Dr. Pilkington.

Goodman underwent surgery in December 2015. She admitted being nervous beforehand, but immediately following the procedure she knew she made the right choice.

“It was only about an hour or so after I was out of surgery when a physical therapist came into the room to have me stand up,” said Goodman. “I was so scared. I thought the pain would be unbearable. But instead, I just walked. The pain I endured for decades was gone. It was unbelievable.”

Goodman credits her relationship with Dr. Pilkington for keeping her determination strong throughout her journey. “It hasn’t been easy losing the weight, there were days I wanted to quit, but I didn’t want to let Dr. Pilkington down,” said Goodman. “He gave me my life back. He didn’t turn me away. He didn’t give up on me. He is very special. I’ll never forget what he has done for me.”

Dr. Pilkington believes every physician should be an advocate for their patients. “I wanted to be there for Cindy. I wanted her to know I believed in her, and I knew she could lose the weight. I commended her along the way for her achievements.”

Goodman is staying strong on her journey, and continues to lose weight. “I feel so much younger! I can do all kinds of things I haven’t done in decades,” said Goodman. “As long as there doctors out there like Dr. Pilkington, patients will never feel given up on.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Pilkington at Bayhealth Orthopaedics, call 302-730-4366. Visit bayhealth.org/ortho to learn more about Bayhealth’s Division of Orthopaedics.