Man gets life back through Operation Walk and hip surgery

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Roger Brockway's hip pain started after he had surgery on his back. It wasn't just an inconvenience. On a scale from one to 10, Brockway described his pain as a 24!

The discomfort created a domino effect for Brockway, as he gave up many of the things he enjoyed and needed to survive, like his job.

"The walking is hard, standing is hard. It wants to lock up If I sit too long. I can only do a couple hours and I'm worn out because of the leg -- because of the hip problem. I can't do an eight-hour job anymore," Brockway said.

What Brockway needed was hip replacement surgery, but with no work, there was no health insurance. Without the surgery, there was no hope and little quality of life.

Brockway's pleasant distractions, like riding his bike, were sidelined. He thought he'd be living with his hip pain until he died.

Then came an email from a manager at Midwest Ortheopedic Specialty Hospital, saying there was a program available for total hip replacement surgery. The program is called "Operation Walk," and was created by several orthopedic surgeons with a vision.

"Originally it was internationally based to go to developing countries. To go in as a MASH unit with operating rooms and materials. Perform about 40-50 hip replacements in a single week. This is the second year where they extended it to the U.S. to provide care to provide free hip and knee replacements for patients that are uninsured," Dr. Chris Evanich said.

Currently, there are 100 surgeons performing 200 surgeries for free on patients.

Dr. Evanich said he knew Brockway was the perfect candidate.

"Prognosis should be great. He`s excited to get this done. He`s very motivated to do his physical therapy. He has several deformities that we are gonna be able to correct with a total hip replacement. And these replacements now last 25-30 years. Roger should have a pretty fruitful, productive life. About 99% or greater pain relief," Dr. Evanich said.

The day of the surgery brought excitement, nerves and tears only a mom would show. While she waited outside the surgery room, inside, preparations were underway, and jokes were told to lighten the mood.

In surgery, the joint that caused Brockway so much pain was replaced and made new.

Three days after his surgery, painful memories were replaced by tears of joy, and Brockway's conversation turned from what he cannot do to what he will do.

"I have no pain whatsoever, at all. I can go snowmobiling. I can play baseball, and ridge my bike like I used to. Work! I can work!" Brockway said.

First, it was time for physical therapy for Brockway, to get his new hip working properly.

"With Roger we have the additional obstacle so to speak of the soft tissues, so I`m sure next visit, when he has therapy on his back when he can stretch the tissues on his side of his thigh where he was getting some burning and tightness, usually the next visit in six weeks, most of that should be worked out," Dr. Evanich said.

There may be some ups and downs, but Brockway said it was all worth it as he took his first steps towards a new life!

"Everything's back to normal, readjusting itself, going where it belongs," Brockway said.

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