Leslie grew up in a neighborhood where most of the kids were boys. “You either played with them or you didn’t play,” she said. Leslie chose to play -- baseball, football, riding bikes, and whatever else kept her active. “I don’t like to lose, so I would play as hard as they did.”
Leslie followed her athletic passion as an adult, especially on the softball field. She also joined like-minded friends on weekend camping trips highlighted by strenuous biking, hiking, and kayaking adventures. “That was tough on my knees,” she said. “Even though I loved every minute of those activities, it got to the point where I couldn’t do them anymore.”
The inability to enjoy her favorite pastimes became agonizing. “I was depressed, just staying in the house and watching television,” Leslie recalled. “That’s not me. I needed to get my life back. I needed to get back outside. So I decided it was time to get both my knees replaced.”
One of Leslie’s cousins had undergone double knee replacement at Bridgeport Hospital and recommended his orthopedic surgeon, David Bindelglass, MD. “She had end-stage arthritis in both knees. The cartilage was completely worn away. It was bone on bone.” said Dr. Bindelglass, remembering when he first examined Leslie. He advised that she have both knees replaced in separate procedures.
Leslie’s knee replacement surgeries were scheduled three months apart. That meant not only two surgeries, but two physical therapy rehabilitation regimens. The first rehab was tough, Leslie admitted, but at least she knew what to expect the second time around. “Rehab is like going to the gym,” she said. “It takes a lot of hard work, but when you’re done (working out), you feel better.”
Indeed, at age 67, Leslie quickly returned to her active lifestyle. Within five weeks after the second knee replacement, Leslie vacationed with friends in Mexico, where her two new knees allowed pain-free hiking and snorkeling. Leslie, who was determined not to miss the long-planned vacation, swam with gentle whale sharks off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. Inspired by her experience Leslie said, “Next year, I'm off to England, and in 2021 I'm heading to Egypt. Time to ride a camel.”
Today, if someone asks Leslie about her surgery, she’s quick to respond. “I tell them it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, because it gave me my life back.”