Orthopedic Stories

Pam's Story

Dec 27, 2020

Years of standing as a hairdresser and playing tennis took a toll on Pam Yagiela’s knees. She tried everything from braces to lubricating injections, but her knees always hurt, and one leg was permanently bent.

“It was really depressing,” said Pam. “At 57, I had a handicap sticker in my car and was practically immobile. I just wanted to be able to walk through Costco. My doctors were hesitant to do surgery because I was so young.”

Finally, everyone agreed it was time, and Pam had knee replacement surgery at the DMC and her therapy at DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM), where she says therapists held her accountable for every step.

She made tremendous progress only to realize just how bad her other knee had been. Three years later, her second knee was replaced. After surgery, she returned to RIM.

“Here I am, 60 years old with a double knee replacement and osteoporosis,” said Pam. “I had always lived this healthy, active life. I figured my hips were next. Something had to change.”

While at RIM, her daughter suggested weightlifting.

“I had never lifted in my life so I set a goal of a 100-pound deadlift and a 55-pound squat,” said Pam. “I quickly realized the importance of muscles. When they’re built up, they protect your joints. Between the RIM rehab and my outside weight training, my body‘s younger today than 10 years ago.”

In fact, Pam now deadlifts 300 pounds and does 200-pound squats. She’s won multiple powerlifting competitions and has been named the best lifter in the Michigan Senior Olympics twice.

“Can you believe it? This isn’t someone I ever thought I would or could be,” said Pam. “RIM got me moving and gave me confidence. They treated me like an athlete – not someone who couldn’t walk to the mailbox. RIM is awesome. I recommend them to everyone. How could I not? They changed my life.”

RIM is convenient no matter where you live. In addition to our 69-bed inpatient hospital, we also operate nearly 30 outpatient sites throughout southeast Michigan. We look forward to helping you, a family member or loved one with all the treatments necessary to regain the highest possible quality of life.