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Woman receives free knee replacement

Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:28 AM

HUNTINGTON -- It was a Christmas gift nine years in the making, delivered without gift wrap, ribbons or bows to 44-year-old Analeen Hysell on Friday morning.

Struggling with knee difficulties since 2003, Hysell received a free total knee replacement through Operation Walk USA 2012, which paid for all aspects of Hysell's surgery and care through a partnership at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Operation Walk USA 2012 provided for more than 200 operations Friday in 29 states across the country.

"I'm having all kinds of emotions -- anxious, excited, nervous," Hysell said, one day prior to her surgery between her classes at Marshall University. "It's an awesome program and an answer to prayer. I'm looking forward to getting back to enjoying life and every day activities and having fun with my family."

Hysell started suffering from knee pain after she broke her foot in 2003. Over the years, she tried injections, physical therapy, exercise and braces in search of relief.

"It kept getting worse and worse. One day my leg just locked up when we were walking across 5th Avenue to get to campus. I remember looking up and thinking, 'I'm going to get hit by a car,' because the cars on 5th Avenue, they don't stop," Hysell said.

Hysell, a single mother of two grown children, enrolled at Marshall in 2010 to finish her bachelor's degree. She completed this semester's finals and requirements early to allow for Friday's surgery and will graduate in the spring. She said she is considering working toward her master's degree and would love a career in the teaching field.

"Sometimes you have to put the pain on the back burner to live your life," Hysell said.

Until this summer when the pain became too much to bear, Hysell had done just that. Her primary care physician referred her to the Department of Rehabilitation Services, which worked to get Hysell an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

"At first, they said they typically didn't like to do a replacement on someone younger than 50," Hysell said. "But, then they called me to see Dr. Oli and he said, 'If you need it, you need it, regardless of your age.'"

Through Operation Walk USA 2012 and the surgical guidance of Dr. Ali Oliashirazi, Hysell qualified physically and financially for the surgery, an estimated value of $20,000 to $50,000, encompassing surgery, hospitalization and pre- and post-operative care. Hysell reported to the hospital at 5:45 a.m. Friday morning and by the afternoon, a hospital spokesman listed Hysell in "excellent" condition. She will be released Monday and is planning for five to six weeks of therapy.

"The goal of Operation Walk is to bring these amazing operations to patients who cannot afford them," Oliashirazi said. "These patients are absolutely debilitated and it gets in the way of their emotional and physical well-being.

"The most important reason we are participating is because it's just the right thing to do. It's giving back to the community that has supported us."

When Hysell arrives on campus in the spring, she'll do so with a new spring in her step and a brighter outlook on her future.

"The end result of this is going to mean a better life for me and my kids," Hysell said, adding that she's most looking forward to walking in Ritter Park and taking her dog to the newly-constructed dog park. "I have a lot of things I want to do."

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