Enjoying my Retirement to the Fullest

My name is Alan DiPietro and #thisismyknee

I spent 31 years working as a firefighter in Norwalk, Connecticut. Every aspect of the job required me to be at my best. My crew was often the first line of defense against the flames that threatened homes and businesses. Near the end of my career, I focused mostly on maintaining the firetrucks and ensuring that equipment was functioning properly.

Equipment inspections required me to climb narrow ladders to get to the top of the fire engines. Each time, I had to grit my teeth to distract myself from the severe pain in my knees. Each step was somehow worse than the one before. I always made it through the workday, but it was a different story by the time I got home.

The pain was so intense I had to get down on all fours and crawl up the stairs to bed. I had already had six knee surgeries, three on each leg, but nothing helped the pain. At the time, I was thinking of retirement and could not bear the thought of this pain becoming part of my new ‘normal.’ Then one day I was watching television and saw a news segment about the Conformis knee.

I met with Dr. Michael Lynch at Coastal Orthopedics and told him how limiting my osteoarthritis was and about the pain in both my knees. He started describing a new technology he thought would help and I cut him off before he could finish. He was talking about the Conformis knee I heard about on the news. That patient’s story was so inspiring that when I heard I was a candidate, I scheduled the surgery as soon as possible.

I had my right knee replaced on June 30th, 2015 and was using a walker to steady myself in the hospital halls hours later. I used a walker to get around for about ten days before I hit a stride in my recovery. I went from depending on the walker to walking unassisted almost overnight! Five weeks after surgery, I walked one and a half miles to the beach, and had no problem navigating the uneven sand.

That success inspired me to go back and get a Conformis knee for my left leg. Dr. Lynch performed my second replacement in April 2016. The recovery period was shorter the second time around. I pushed myself harder at physical therapy sessions knowing the result outweighed the temporary post-op pain.
I am now enjoying my retirement to the fullest. It’s no longer an obstacle to get up the stairs and go to bed or perform other daily chores around my home. I have a new appreciation for the little things in life, and enjoy telling others how I got here.

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