Michael Fore joined the Marine Corps in 1972 hoping to gain some muscle and purpose. Instead, he lost his right kneecap. A car accident and subsequent intense physical training ground down Michael’s bones and cartilage. He felt excruciating pain from his knee hitting the dashboard in the accident – pain he couldn’t hide during boot camp. His sergeant requested that Michael visit the naval hospital in San Diego.
“I remember asking if I should pack anything to stay at the hospital overnight. My sergeant said, ‘Oh no, you’ll be back by the end of the day.’ I ended up staying at the hospital for three months,” Michael remembered.
Surgeons removed Michael’s kneecap, which threw his body out of balance. Post-surgical physical therapy improved Michael’s mobility significantly, but his active lifestyle finally caught up with him 45 years later. While walking around the mall with his daughter, Lindsey, Michael began to grasp walls and tables for relief from his knee pain. Grocery shopping became a chore and walking the dog was an impossibility. Michael feared that he may even lose the ability to motorcycle, one of his favorite hobbies.
He turned to Sarah Bush Lincoln Orthopedics and Sports Medicine to ease his pain. On a friend’s recommendation, Michael sought out Orthopedic Surgeon Jeremy Stevens, MD, for pain management using cortisone and Euflexxa injections.
“Those shots helped immensely for a while, but eventually I needed something more. I talked to Dr. Stevens about the possibility of surgery to improve my mobility. But my removed kneecap complicated surgery a little bit,” Michael explained.
When Michael’s knee gave out, he had been recovering from extensive chemotherapy. It had taken a toll on his body, causing him to lose 70 pounds. He had not been able to eat for 11 weeks, and he relied on Lindsey to feed him shakes and other liquid foods. With the rapid weight loss came a significant drop in muscle mass.
Thankfully, in June 2015, Medical Oncologist Kuppuswamy Jagarlamudi, MD, at the SBL Regional Cancer Center announced that Michael was cancer-free, after eight chemotherapies and 33 radiation treatments. He also credits Medical Oncologists Abdur Shakir, MD, and Seong Cho, MD for his wonderful care.
In an effort to regain muscle, Michael joined the Mattoon YMCA. He accidentally overexerted himself one day while training at the seated press machine, which lead to a rotator cuff tear. He knew Dr. Stevens would be the one to perform the surgery. Thanks to his rotator cuff surgery in January 2017, Michael now has full mobility in his shoulder. From cancer to orthopedic surgery to physical therapy, Michael feels like he knows well many Sarah Bush Lincoln medical providers.
“The song ‘The Leg Bone’s Connected to the Thigh Bone’ is true. Every time I have had a procedure, it has impacted another part of my body. That’s why well-rounded care is important to me. Every employee and department at Sarah Bush Lincoln has been eager to fix my problems,” Michael said.
Michael’s knee problems persisted after his rotator cuff surgery. Dr. Stevens had never done a knee replacement on someone without a kneecap, but Michael insisted that he needed full mobility to dance at his daughter’s wedding someday. The pair discussed whether placing an artificial kneecap would be best. Michael argued against it because his musculature had adapted to being without one for so long. After a week, Dr. Stevens came back to Michael and agreed to perform the joint replacement surgery without the kneecap.
The gamble paid off; Michael was back to pushing his lawn mower two weeks after surgery.
“It was night and day. The recovery went quickly, and I can do things now that I couldn’t before, such as getting down on my knees,” Michael said. He walks his dog around his neighborhood twice a day, and he and Lindsey have resumed some of their favorite activities: kayaking, paddle boarding, camping and traveling.
Michael has dedicated his life to helping others through his career in social services and as a single father. In his free time, Michael serves as a chaplain in the local Christian Motorcyclist Association.
“I can’t say enough about Dr. Stevens. He kept me doing what I love. I couldn’t even hold my motorcycle up without pain. Now I ride as much as I want. I have gotten the best care from everybody at Sarah Bush Lincoln,” Michael insisted.
For more information about the Sarah Bush Lincoln Orthopedics and Sports Medicine clinic or Dr. Stevens, contact 217 238-3435.