Trevor Lanz is easily described as a busy guy. Between his job as an Assistant Nurse Manager at Valley Medical Center, frequently volunteering his time to represent the hospital at community events, and a passion for weekend hiking expeditions, Trevor is constantly on his feet and on the move. But one thing most people don’t know is that for years Trevor maintained his active schedule despite significant physical pain.
Around age 10, Trevor began experiencing pain in his hip and started to limp. He was diagnosed with Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease, a rare childhood hip condition that can cause arthritis pain at a young age.
Trevor worked through the pain until he was in his late 30s, but eventually it was too much to bear. “It was important to me to never let the pain stop me from doing things. But it got to the point I couldn’t overcome it. I began making decisions based around how much something would hurt rather than on what I love,” he recounts. So, with that, the Valley nurse became a Valley patient. In January 2017, Trevor had his left hip replaced by William Barrett, MD, one of Valley’s orthopedic surgeons. Trevor admits the prospect of surgery was difficult for him even though he was familiar with Valley’s high-quality care. “When I came in, I was terrified. But every step of the way, everyone was very caring. It really made me believe in this place,” he says. “Having been a patient here, I can go to any patient and tell them that we really do give world-class care.”
Post-surgery, Trevor’s work wasn’t through. He began physical therapy in Valley’s Lifestyle Medicine Clinic with Erin Peterson, DPT. Every physical therapy appointment is different, depending on the patient’s needs and care plan. “We evaluate every patient individually and build the (physical therapy) program around their needs and deficits. We follow all surgical precautions provided by the surgeon. Depending on the activity level the patient wants to return to, we tailor the exercises and progressions to those activities,” Peterson says.
For years, Trevor’s right leg compensated for the weakness in his left. Because his gait and standing position adapted to his deformity, he needed to return to physical therapy a few months after his post-surgery sessions to continue rehabilitation. “In the first two months following surgery, we are cautious not to stress the tissue and new joint. If a patient has restrictions or a change that happens later, then we can usually start strengthening and flexibility without many limitations,” says Peterson.
Through all the challenges, Trevor persisted. “Recovering from surgery is really up to the patient and Trevor did an amazing job of following through on everything we talked about. The physical therapist is here to provide the guidance, education, progression, and hands-on assistance for the patient, but recovery happens so much faster if the patient commits to doing the work independently at home,” Peterson says. “Once the physical blocks are removed, it’s a matter of mental persistence,” Trevor adds.
As though getting his mobility back pain-free wasn’t motivation enough, Trevor had a big goal in mind—hiking to basecamp at Mt. Everest. “(It) was always a dream, but I knew I couldn’t do it without surgery,” he says. Once he was given the greenlight from Dr. Barrett and Dr. Peterson, the preparations began.
“(During his physical therapy,) I knew he had a vacation planned with lots of walking, so we took that into consideration,” Peterson recalls. “Trevor and I talked in great detail a few months before the trip to help him get the right strengthening and training.”
In May 2017, Trevor headed to Everest. In all he hiked “40 miles up and 40 miles down” during the 18-day expedition, on what Everest travelers refer to as “Sherpa flat” terrain. “It was rocky dirt paths, uneven stone stairs, and roads in disrepair,” he says. But even with the difficult landscape and high altitude, on May 29 he made it to Everest basecamp at 17,300 feet.
“To have this pain haunting you your whole life and have it removed is amazing. Dr. Peterson, Dr. Barrett, all of the staff in the hospital gave me my life back.”
Interested in joint replacement? Visit valleymed.org/joint.
Valley’s Lifestyle Medicine & Fitness Center can help you reach your fitness goals through physical therapy, nutrition counseling and prescriptive exercise—learn more.
For more on Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease, visit seattlechildrens.org.