Panorama and The Institute Help Guillermo Return to Biking

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On June 20, 2015 I had an accident where I broke the neck of my right femur. I was training for my 4th Triple Bypass – Colorado’s Annual bike race that goes from Evergreen to Vail, over Juniper, Loveland and Vail passes, finishing after 120 miles and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing. The day started great, as I was breaking some of my personal records climbing Squaw Pass from Bergen Park.  As I descended into Idaho Springs I saw new asphalt they just laid down and I couldn't wait to ride it back up.  Once in Idaho Springs, as I was looking for a spot to take a break and refill my water bottles, I made a turn into a street and my back tire slipped on gravel.  It happened so quickly I couldn't get out of my pedals and landed on my right hip.  After that I tried to get up and walk it off but the pain was so intense on that hip, all I could do is slide to the side of the street and call 911.  While waiting for the Paramedics to arrive, a very nice ex-nurse stopped by to keep me company and ensure I wouldn't be run over.  At the time I didn’t catch her name, but through the magic of social media, I was able to find her and a couple of months later I was able to thank her for helping me out. 

When the Paramedics from Clear Creek arrived they brought me to St Anthony's Hospital in Lakewood. The paramedics were the nicest people in the world as they made sure to bring my bike in the Ambulance (instead of leaving it with the Idaho Springs Sheriff Department).  Once at Saint Anthony's, I was diagnosed with a broken femur and sent to surgery as soon as possible.  Fortunately for me, Dr. Ed Rowland was on-call and performed the first of my two surgeries.  In the first surgery he was able to put my femur back together.

Guillermo’s first repair from Dr. Rowland (Left); Guillermo’s total hip replacement from Dr. Patel (Right)

Guillermo’s first repair from Dr. Rowland (Left); Guillermo’s total hip replacement from Dr. Patel (Right)

From June until August I was asked to stay home and do as little movement (no weight bearing) as possible to allow the bone re-attach to the head of the femur.  Once August came around, I was delighted to meet Brittney Dillman and Jessie Thalman.  They were my physical therapists, I started to be a regular (3 times a week) at Panorama’s physical therapy location in Highlands Ranch at The Institute.  I used to joke with them that I was their new “Norm” (from the tv show Cheers).

During my time at Physical Therapy, I kept looking through the windows into The Institute and it became a goal of mine to be able to train on the turf with all the athletes there.  Once I started getting a little stronger and if the gym wasn’t too busy, Brittney would take me to the gym and lead me through some exercises with the Sled and TRX. 

By the time October rolled in, Brittney became concerned that progress had become stagnant and I wasn’t close to being released from PT.  I quickly made an appointment with Dr. Rowland and he decided my bone was not healing and it was time to think of Plan B.  At that stage he quickly got me an appointment with Dr. Nimesh Patel.  In that first appointment, Dr. Patel and I, decided to do a full hip replacement.  I was back in the OR on December 18, 2015 for my total hip replacement.  I am grateful he was able to accommodate me so quickly and schedule this surgery before year end.

By mid-January I was back at PT with Brittney and Jessie and this time the progress went faster than before.  At some point I even joked I would start doing box jumping, which of course they didn’t allow.  From that point on we continued to work hard and in mid-May they released me from PT.  It was a bitter-sweet celebration as I wouldn’t be able to see my new friends from physical therapy as regularly.

From May to September I took every opportunity to get back on my bike and get back in shape.  However, during all of my bike rides I kept thinking about The Institute’s Gym and in August, after talking to Brittney, I began the newly created Return to Activity or PRO-Formance program at The Institute.  I was lucky to work with Mandy Parker when she took me as her client.  When we started the program, she worked with me three times a week for many months.  At the beginning doing a simple Bulgarian split squat, piston squat or Romanian squat was incredibly hard and almost impossible; a box jump was completely out of the question (which I am now happy to say I can do them easily).  However, with patience, dedication and after putting many hours of hard work (and Mandy enduring all my bad jokes and my complaints of wall angels – an exercise for posture), I was able to get much stronger than I have ever been.  Mandy also created a plan for me to maintain strength in my back, as I also have plates that fuse my back in lumbar one; but why I have those is a story for another day.  After months of hard work, I was so happy to see my evolution in the strength and conditioning I was gaining, I decided to enroll in the Total Body Conditioning and Strength classes five to six times a week as well as continue to have Personal Training sessions with Mandy.

Today, I am happy that I am skiing and biking as if this surgery never happened (granted, I will never have the flexibility I used to have with this “bionic” hip) and I feel stronger and more fit than ever.  Amie, my wife, has seen all my progress through all of this and now she is also a regular member of the Institute with Mandy!  I cannot wait to see how my evolution continues with the help of Mandy and all the great coaches of the Institute.

Two of my favorites mottos are "Be Strong and Courageous" and "God gave us hills to climb and the strength to climb them".  I always think of them and throughout this journey they have kept me going and working hard. 

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Michele Bergh