Marcy Tigerman: Thankful to finally be pain free after getting both hips replaced at TMC

Marci_TigermannAll Marcy Tigerman wanted was to be able to ride her horse, Mex, once again.  Debilitating bone-on-bone arthritis in both hips prevented her from riding him, or doing much else for that matter.  She’d been active all her life, swimming, biking and weight lifting, until the pain became non-stop and forced her to a standstill.  After work, she’d lay on the couch because it hurt too much to do anything else.

“I remember seeing a commercial on television for TMC featuring a triathlete.  As she described the horrible pain she experienced with bone-on-bone arthritis, it brought me to tears.  I thought to myself, ‘If she can do this, I can do this.  If she can get back on her bike, swim, and run, then I can do this.’”

Finally, Tigerman had enough of the pain.  In March, she underwent her first hip replacement surgery at TMC.  “The physical therapist came to my house.  She taught me how to get out of bed, and walk around.  I remember her telling me, ‘You’re going to want to get that second hip done pretty soon.’  And I said, ‘No, I am not.  I can’t do this again.  It’s just too much.’”

Fast forward six weeks.

Tigerman was recovering well with her new joint… but the other side was causing big problems.  “I was uneven because on the side where I had my replacement, I had normal joint space.  On the other side, I was still bone-on-bone.  I had a leg length discrepancy, and I was limping as a result.”

Tigerman called her surgeon.  “I told him – let’s schedule the second one.  Let’s move this surgery up.  I need to feel better.”

Three months later, she was in the new TMC Orthopaedic & Surgical Tower for the other hip.

“The second one was almost easier because I knew what to expect.  The fear factor that was present for my first surgery was gone for my second.”  Tigerman’s recovery process moved right on schedule.

“I remember the day of my surgery.  After the operation, they got me up and out of bed.  I couldn’t believe I was standing up.  I put my foot down on that new hip, and thought, ‘wow – it doesn’t hurt.’”

At home, what started as a few steps turned into a short walk to get the mail, and eventually a walk down the street.

“My new hips make me feel like I’m 40 years old again.  I have no pain, and I now have two even legs.  It doesn’t hurt just to function anymore.  Getting out of bed doesn’t hurt.  Getting in my truck doesn’t hurt.  Sitting and working doesn’t hurt.  Walking my dog doesn’t hurt.  I can finally get back to my life.  When you’re in pain 24 hours a day, you can’t imagine what it’s like to be out of pain.  Now that I’ve had both hips replaced, and I’m pain free, I wonder why I wanted so long to get them done.  The great care I got at TMC helped me get back to what I love to do in life.”

And that includes riding her horse.

“Before my surgeries, I asked my doctor if I’d ever be able to ride Mex again.  He said yes, once I was up there I’d be fine, but getting on and off could be a challenge.  He was right.”

Tigerman started by grooming Mex.  Then she felt strong enough to lead him around.  “At the end of September, I put my food in a stirrup, and tried to get my leg over.  I couldn’t.  I continued my exercises at home, and received more physical therapy.  Three weeks later, I put my foot in the stirrup, and the other leg went over no problem.  I sat down in the saddle and put both feet in the stirrups and I immediately started crying.  I was so happy.  I haven’t been able to ride my horse in about a year.  Now I can, and nothing hurts.  It’s incredible.  I didn’t know if I would ever be able to ride again, and now I can finally say I feel like I have my life back.”

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Rd. | Tucson, AZ 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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