Gillian Sandever has suffered with lymphedema– a long-term, chronic condition where there is an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks – since her 40s.
Now 75-years-old, the mum-of-two has had some problems getting about for many years but the things steadily worsened as she developed arthritis in both of the hips.
She struggled to even walk around her home in Coleshill and a walk into the garden was becoming a rare occurrence.
“It was getting very bad but I didn’t think I’d be able to have surgery because my hips and legs were so large due to the lymphedema,” she explained.
But when she accompanied husband John to a meeting at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon Trevor Lawrence spotted her problems immediately and said he was more than happy to carry out hip replacement operations.
“The funny thing was we were visiting him because John needed hip surgery. He took one look at me and said that John wasn’t the only person that needed help!
“Since then he has fitted me with two new hips and a new knee and I couldn’t be happier,” said Gillian. “He also did both John’s hips so he has had a big impact on everyday life at our house!”
Mr Lawrence, who has – according to the National Joint Registry for England and Wales, some of the highest patient outcomes – explained: “The extra fat that gathers around the hips and legs due to Mrs Sandever’s condition can make surgery more difficult but it is far from impossible. It was the same with the knee replacement.
“There may have been a slightly longer recovery time needed but, considering her age, I think she did very well and her mobility has improved massively.”
Now back on her feet and able to get around much better Mrs Sandever said: “Before I met Mr Lawrence I thought I was just going to have to suffer with painful hips and see ability to get about continue to go get worse.
“I was very apprehensive about the surgery but he had no doubts he could do the operations despite my lymphedema and he was right. It is quite funny when you think he has been responsible for five new joints in the same household – we’re both very grateful to him.”