Jane’s Story: “A Gift I Will Never be Able to Repay”

During the summer of 2020, severe pain threatened to bring an end to Jane Winch’s skiing days – a fate she didn’t want to imagine.

“For me, skiing is a source of peace and release,” she explained. “When I stand at the top of the mountain and take in all the incredible beauty around me, I am filled with wonder and gratitude. It's very spiritual; it fills my soul.”

Two successful hip replacements later, Winch is back on the slopes with her husband and children. And she can’t begin to express her gratitude to orthopedic surgeon Jennifer Jerele, MD, chair of orthopedics at Miami Valley Hospital, and the team at Premier Orthopedics. “It’s a gift I will never be able to repay,” Winch said.

Initially, she felt puzzled by the onset of the nagging pain; she hadn’t injured herself. As a mental health therapist for Samaritan Behavioral Health’s school-based services group, she can be desk-bound for hours at a time. Outside of work, however, she maintained a rigorous exercise routine of hiking and practicing yoga and Pilates. 

An initial MRI revealed a stress fracture and arthritis, and Dr. Jerele recommended a total hip replacement on her right side.

“I worried about whether my life would be the same,” recalled Winch, 57. “Would I still be able to do the things that make me happy?”

Dr. Jerele reassured her, “When I operate, I want to get you back to whatever you want to do.”

Winch described Dr. Jerele as a “huge cheerleader” who shared her love for skiing. “She never once doubted me,” she said. “I was anxious going into my procedures, but I had a lot of confidence in Premier Health. They believed in me; they listened to me. They put my needs first, and they were invested in my outcomes.”

Although she recovered beautifully from her hip replacement surgery, within a few months Winch experienced the same nagging pain in her left hip. An MRI revealed the same cause – a stress fracture and arthritis – and a second hip replacement was scheduled for March 2021.

Winch’s recovery from the second surgery has been equally remarkable. “Dr. Jerele did an amazing job,” she said. “I was able to get back to Pilates within three weeks of having my second hip replaced. I am pretty much unlimited now.”

It’s an example of the importance of seeking help sooner rather than later, Dr. Jerele said: “If you wait until things are an emergency, it can take a long time to come back from surgery and make your recovery more challenging. So, if you start having pain, with or without an injury, wait it out a week or two. After that, if things are worsening and you are starting to modify your daily life, consult a specialist.”

Premier Health expedited Winch’s recovery by providing home health care, as well as physical therapists who came to her home. Her motivation increased when she was sidelined during a family ski vacation.  “I watched everyone else get out there every day and I worked even harder, with physical training, strength training, cardio training, and Pilates,” she said.

All that hard work paid off during a family ski trip to Aspen in February, less than a year after her second surgery.  Dr, Jerele cleared Winch to ski, but she couldn’t help feeling apprehensive. 

“My family filmed my first turns on my first run. I shared them with Dr. Jerele and told her how incredibly grateful I was to be back out there, and that she made that possible.”  

As the days went by, her confidence soared.  “I felt the familiar rhythm, the wind and sun on my face,” Winch recalled.  “I took in the glory of the view. I was back!”

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