With hip replacement surgery, Maria Elena Tellez got back on her feet, back on her bike and back on her way to new adventures

Maria Elena Tellez, hip replacement patient, Palmetto General Hospital

Maria Elena Tellez has always believed that age is just a number. 

"I'm currently in my sixties, but I feel like a 21-year-old," she enthuses. "Each day, I make an effort to live my life to the fullest."

Maria works full-time as a retail manager and is very active outside of her job. Some of her favorite hobbies include camping, biking, working out, cruising and spending time with family and friends. However, there was a long period of time where she wasn't able to do any of the things she loves.

"About a year ago, I began experiencing constant back pain," Maria says. "I had to walk with a cane, and it was hard for me to sleep at night. I went on a cruise, and I wasn't able to get off at any of the islands because I was in so much pain and couldn't walk long distances."

With each passing month her suffering grew, and no medication provided relief. 

"It got to the point where there were some days I couldn't even get out of bed," she says.

Looking for relief

Maria went to see specialists at two different Miami hospitals and an MRI revealed her back pain was due to arthritis in her right hip. That’s when a friend recommended she reach out to Dr. Tony Diaz, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Palmetto General Hospital.

"I made an appointment with Dr. Diaz right away," she says. "I felt an instant connection with him because he took the time to really listen to what I had to say. This was my first surgery as an adult and I had a lot of anxiety. However, after I met him, I felt totally at ease."

Dr. Diaz performed an X-ray in his office and explained that her arthritis was getting worse - she needed a hip replacement as soon as possible. He and his staff went through every little detail so Maria knew what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Less than a month later, she underwent an anterior hip arthroplosty at Palmetto General Hospital. This advance technique may lead to less pain, a faster recovery and improved mobility. 

"Everyone I met during my time at the hospital was amazing – the nurses and staff there are miracle workers!" Maria says.

She was able to walk just a few days after surgery with the assistance of a walker. She stayed at a rehabilitation center for a week, and then went home to recover for about two months.

"I owe it to Dr. Diaz and the staff at Palmetto General Hospital for giving me my mobility back," she says. "I'm already planning my next cruise and can’t wait to get off at each stop and explore! With my new hip and new life, I feel like I can do anything."