“It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is the greatest physical gift I have given myself, ever.”
Bill Farrell is a lifetime athlete, and at age 56, he wasn’t ready to give up his love for sports, “From 1979-1996, I was a professional ski instructor. I also raced Alpine Slalom and Giant Slalom professionally for two years,” Bill reminisced. “I played a lot of basketball too.” Unfortunately, bill’s love for an active lifestyle simply wore out his knees, “I just had no cartilage left in my knees.”
Bill’s life was gradually turning into a life of pain. For ten years, he managed the pain with ice and Aleve; however, in 2013, the pain was becoming debilitating, “I referee high school varsity basketball… I was able to referee only by the grace of God. After games, I was applying ice directly to my knees. If I didn’t, I couldn’t walk the next day.”
Bill has been refereeing his favorite sport since 1986; however, the struggle with pain was pushing Bill toward surgery, “the key decision for surgery: my son will graduate high school, and I want to walk into his graduation and not be wheeled in, in a wheelchair… that’s where I was afraid I was headed. It hurt that bad.”
After having tried anti-inflammatory medications and injections that just weren’t helping enough, Bill scheduled an appointment with Dr. William Cooney of Front Range Orthopedics and Spine to discuss surgical options for his knees. When Dr. Cooney reviewed Bill’s x-rays, he saw that both knees had severe bone-on-bone degenerative arthritis. “Knee replacement surgery was the only viable surgical option,” Dr. Cooney explained. “The question was whether to do one at a time or to do them simultaneously. This is a decision we make on an individual patient by patient basis, taking into account age, other medical and health conditions, ability to perform rehabilitation on both knees, family support, and other factors. Mr. Farrell was a reasonable candidate for the simultaneous replacements, and we moved forward in that direction, understanding that the recovery would be a bit longer but also realizing that he had the motivation to get through it. And he has really done beautifully.”
When Bill talks about his knee replacements and recovery, he will also tell you, “It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is the greatest physical gift I have given myself, ever.” The recovery following surgery did indeed prove to be difficult, “It was tough getting around after surgery,” Bill said. “I was going to physical therapy three times a week, and Deirdre (Bill’s physical therapist) pushed me… I remember asking Deirdre, ‘how do you think it will feel to run, and she said, ‘well, let’s try it, and I did.”
Bill returned to work two months after his surgery. Six months after surgery, Bill returned to umpiring baseball games. In his first season back to baseball, he umpired 160 games.
This winter, Bill is excited to return to refereeing his favorite sport of basketball, “I want people to understand you can do this (surgery). The older you are, the harder it is to fight through it… If you are going to do it, you have to do it 1000%. There can be no ‘if’ about it,” Bill said with a smile.
You’re not ready to climb Mount Everest. But you are ready to get back to the life you lived before your injury. OCR is here to support you on the road to recovery. From our outpatient surgery and recovery center to our physical therapy department and imaging, our entire team will care for you from head to toe to help you become the champion of your lifestyle.