Testimonial of Sharon Krause – featured in “The Doctors”

As I lay on the hospital bed watching Dr. Stetson sign my arm, I knew then that my right shoulder was never to be just “mine” anymore. I was so grateful to be part of a team that I felt was a miracle to find and have on my side. There was no way I was going to let them down. It had all started July 5, 2009. It had been a great 4th of July celebration at our mountain cabin. Everyone had gone home and I looked forward to spending several days relaxing and enjoying the mountains. At about 11:00 pm I discovered a very large bug in the cabin. I was determined to “get rid of it” so that it would not have the chance to find me again! As I threw it on the ground I covered it with some magazine papers so as not to get my shoe messy. BIG MISTAKE! I stepped down on to a virtual “slip and slide”, and slip and slide I did. The pain from the fall was enough to make me feel like I would stop breathing and I just knew when I finally got up that my arm would be going the wrong direction. It wasn’t, but I was in pain! After the pain had somewhat subsided, but I realized I couldn’t move my arm. I brilliantly concluded that it was a temporary numbness. Two weeks later after doctor’s appointments, X-rays, an MRI and endless phone calls came the results: all four tendons in the rotator cuff torn and not operable. Wow!! This could not be happening to me. I kept thinking of all the U.S. soldiers who had lost limbs in war, and my own husband who lost his sight in one eye. I did not want to be selfish about what might be a tragic reality and not be able to accept a new way of life. But I also knew I could not just accept this diagnosis without another opinion. I was becoming all too familiar with what a useless arm was all about. Daily tasks, such as folding towels, were a challenge. Cooking, which I love to do, was difficult in so many ways; stirring, cutting, and washing dishes. My hair! It is impossible to use a curling iron with one hand. I couldn’t pick up my grandchildren and I couldn’t play basketball or other sports with the older grandkids. I continually felt like I might fall again. The shoulder pain was not so bad, but my back was beginning to feel the weight of a useless object hanging around!

I knew that I had to confirm this diagnosis with someone else. My daughter contacted a friend who is a physician in the Los Angeles area. She encouraged us to come to LA and let Dr. Stetson exam the shoulder. I was scared. How would I know that this would be someone I would want to entrust with my life? We’ve all heard the stories, right? So off to L.A. we went. One appointment was all it took to know that I could trust Dr. Stetson. It was his honesty about the chances of a successful surgery that made me have confidence in him. He was so polite to me, even asked his assistant to hang up my jacket. Wow! I’ve never known another physician to be so concerned about little things like that! The surgery was a success. It is now almost a year later and at times intensive. At first it felt like it would never move again. But by following, to the letter, the instructions from Dr. Stetson and the therapists, little by little, no big giant gains but steady ones, I have almost complete range of motion. Also, ice became my good friend. The puffing sound of my little “Game Ready” put me to sleep for at least six or more weeks. I can still remember Dr. Stetson saying to give it a year and I probably wouldn’t think about the shoulder or notice that anything had happened. He was partly right. I don’t notice that there was anything wrong with the shoulder, but I can’t help but think about it almost every day. I am so humbled by the fact that my surgery was such a success. It was a miracle, to me, to find Dr. Stetson and be the recipient of his gift for doing orthopedic surgery. And I think too about the group of wonderful physical therapists that spent so much time encouraging me and listening to me worry that the pins would pull out of my arm and it would “fall off”. My greatest joy was to hold my new grandson born in May. I am able to bat fly balls and play basketball with my older grandsons. I shouldn’t have felt so sorry for myself not being able to do my daily household tasks, because now that I can do them again and nobody offers to help! Sharon KrauseIn this past year, I have found out many things about Dr. Stetson. Not only has he been given a special gift for doing orthopedic surgery, but he is willing to share his knowledge so others can be helped. All of my physical therapists watched the video of the surgery and were so impressed with his gracious manner during the surgery, explaining to those watching what he was doing (watch video here). His willingness to give his time to people who need care in other countries is a sign of someone who truly cares for people. Also, and this was the most telling, he was nice to everybody on the set of “The Doctors”, not just the other doctors! These are things that make a great person and surgeon! Thank you Dr. Stetson for all you have given back to me. It was truly a miracle that did not seem possible in the first few weeks. My prayer is for your continued success in using the gift you have been given. May there be miracles for others too.