Marilyn Spencer Gets a New Lease on
This article originally appeared in Be Well, a
health information newsletter published for members of the Greater Marlborough
For the past 10 years she has been a leading voice in local journalism,
sharing hometown news with her readers as editor of the Marlborough Enterprise
and Hudson Sun. But chronic and severe knee pain threatened to curtail Marilyn
Spencer's busy lifestyle and to put a hold on her retirement dreams. She found
an answer, however, in the form of knee replacement surgery at Marlborough
Ms. Spencer originally injured her right knee more than 20
years ago when she fell squarely on her knee in a parking lot. Arthroscopic
surgery later removed some damaged cartilage, but over the years the pain
progressively grew worse.
"The pain in my knee was so bad that if I was
at one end of the grocery store and realized I forgot to get broccoli at the
other end, I wouldn't go back. It hurt that much to walk," said Ms. Spencer. "I
couldn't even sleep with my knees touching because of the pain."
wanting to continue being in pain and searching for a solution that would
provide her with more active years, Ms. Spencer made an appointment with Paul
Pongor, MD, of Orthopaedics Associates of Marlborough. Dr. Pongor's examination
revealed that Ms. Spencer had no cartilage remaining in her right knee. He said
she would be a good candidate for knee replacement surgery at Marlborough
"Dr. Pongor said my knee was basically bone-on-bone, which was
causing all the pain," recalled Ms. Spencer. "Over all those years, no doctor
had ever mentioned knee replacement surgery to me, but I'm glad Dr. Pongor
When Dr. Pongor was called out-of-town unexpectedly, Ms. Spencer
had her knee replacement surgery performed at Marlborough Hospital by Donald
Hangen, MD, a Harvard-trained orthopedic surgeon and a partner of Dr. Pongor.
Knee and hip replacement surgeries are two of the most common operations
performed at the hospital.
"I think many people are surprised at how
many joint replacement surgeries we do at Marlborough Hospital," explained Dr.
Hangen. "It is an excellent program here. We have an experienced and dedicated
team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room staff, nurses and physical
therapists. I know everyone taking care of my patients every step of the way,
and I have tremendous confidence in their expertise."
The experience and
skills of the hospital's orthopedic surgeons and staff were recently recognized
by a national health care rating service, which gave Marlborough Hospital its
highest rating for hip fracture repair and knee replacement
"Joint replacement surgery continues to evolve," said Dr.
Hangen. "The materials used for the replacement components are stronger and more
durable. We are also able to use smaller incisions, which can shorten recovery
After undergoing an intensive rehabilitation program at the
hospital's Physical Rehabilitation Center in Marlborough, Ms. Spencer is back to
work, riding her stationary bike four to five miles a day as well as walking and
gardening pain free. She takes great delight in showing off her now rock-hard
calf muscles, the result of her daily workouts. Most importantly, Ms. Spencer
has rediscovered the exciting possibilities that her future holds.
I decide to retire with my husband, Herbert, I plan to do things I wouldn't have
dreamed of doing before because of the pain," concluded Ms. Spencer. "My new
knee has given me a new lease on life."
Donald Hangen, MD, and Paul
Pongor, MD, along with Markian Stecyk, MD; Harvey Taylor, MD, and Steven Sewall,
MD, are members of Orthopaedic Associates of Marlborough, located at 65 Fremont
Street, Marlborough. The office telephone number is 508-485-3665.