Stephanie's story

Stephanie smiling while sitting at the table.

Stephanie Lavarco, a grandmother of three, is not one to let adversity keep her down. Despite having undergone hip surgery 24 years ago, she spends a significant amount of time on her feet, taking care of her family.

For years, Stephanie grappled with crippling hip pain following her surgery. She tried various pain management methods, but they only provided temporary relief. Frustrated with her worsening symptoms, she decided to revisit her doctor.

She underwent hip revision surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center to repair her artificial hip’s joint, which had been damaged over time. The surgery was a success, but the procedure left Stephanie with physical and functional challenges. That’s when she turned to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (KIR) – Saddle Brook one more time. “I was here before for COVID and got the best care, so after my hip surgery, I wanted to come back,” she shared.

Upon admission to KIR – Saddle Brook, Stephanie faced the daunting task of being non-weight bearing and unable to walk or climb stairs independently. Nevertheless, her determination to reclaim her independence was unwavering. She stated, "I wanted to get back up and start cleaning and cooking again. I want to get back to my old self."

At KIR – Saddle Brook, a physician-led team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists developed a treatment plan to enable Stephanie to regain her independence.

With her therapists providing encouragement and a range of therapy activities, including balance, gait and endurance training, she hit a major milestone. She was able to stand up and walk. The feeling of being up on her feet motivated Stephanie to continue working hard and she was soon doing things she though impossible, like climbing stairs.

Throughout her rehabilitation, Stephanie’s daughter was her “rock.” She participated in Kessler’s family education and training program in preparation for her mother’s return home.

By the time Stephanie was ready to be discharged, she had discovered something remarkable about herself: "I am tough." After repeated therapy sessions over two weeks, she regained a lot of the independence that was lost due to the surgery. She was able to get up and walk with some assistance plus completing everyday tasks on her own.

Stephanie is looking forward to “getting up and cooking again.” She planned to continue her recovery with home and Kessler outpatient therapy.

Her advice for anyone in her position: “Come to Kessler. They help you get back on your own two feet.”