May 31st, 2018 was a day I felt both my strongest and weakest, physically and mentally. In the span of 12 hours, I passed a firefighter agility test to become a volunteer firefighter and tore my ACL and meniscus playing recreational kickball. Having tore my other ACL eight years prior, I knew right away what that loud "pop" meant in that moment and for the next year. Firefighting would be put on hold and I was in for a year of hard work to make my comeback. The next day I went to TCO's orthopedic urgent care. Dr. Desiree Kempcke confirmed my diagnosis and referred me to my surgeon, Dr. Brian Bjerke
. We discussed my options and I appreciated how he took into account my prior ACL surgery results into my surgery and treatment plan. Although I'm a healthcare professional and this wasn't my first ACL reconstruction rodeo, Dr. Bjerke never glossed over the details and was so thorough in making sure all my questions were answered. Dr. Bjerke sent me to Tonia Flategraff, DPT, right away to start physical therapy prior to my surgery. It gave me confidence that Dr. Bjerke trusted Tonia to be my physical therapist and get me back to firefighting. The entire process of establishing care with TCO, through surgery and physical therapy, was seamless and shows the teamwork and collegiality within the organization. My surgery went well and then it was time for the real work to begin, physical therapy. Since I had met with Tonia prior to surgery, I knew exactly what to do post-op until our first session. Tonia is full of positivity and motivation, which made me look forward to physical therapy sessions. I know when I'm done with each session together I'm one step closer to my comeback! It is evident Tonia truly enjoys her career with TCO and ACL rehab because she is always ready to go, focusing all of her attention and training on you during a physical therapy session. Tonia is amazing and I'm so happy she is my TCO Champion as I make my comeback to volunteer firefighting!