CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Betty Bitner has always had an independent streak – the retired college instructor, who has an undergraduate degree in classical languages, has spent time power-washing her home, climbing ladders to check roofing issues and taking apart pipes to fix her drains.
At 73, she remains active and said she lives life with few limitations.
“I just feel that I can do almost anything I want to now. I don’t have a fear of falling, I can play with my little great-grandnephews. I don’t find that I have any limits – any limits are limits I place on myself,” she explained.
The Chambersburg resident and native of the Waynesboro area had bilateral knee surgery performed by Dr. Roger Robertson of Summit Orthopedic Group on March 7, 2017.
While Bitner’s life these days is mostly without limits, it wasn’t always the case: She began noticing knee and foot pain while jogging in 1992. She had a couple foot surgeries, but continued to have issues. In 1998, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
“It really attacked my knees. When I was initially diagnosed, I went up and down stairs on my bottom.”
Bitner continued teaching until retiring from Missouri State University in 2005. Toward the end of that year, she returned to the area after accepting a position at Wilson College to help develop a master’s degree program in education.
She began jogging again in 2007, but discomfort persisted – especially in her feet. Bitner consulted with a surgeon who refused to perform surgery on her while she was still working and climbing stairs since she needed proper rest to heal.
She retired from Wilson College in 2008 and had another surgery performed on her feet, but did not take care of the pain she felt in her knees.
Ten years later, on Feb. 7, 2017, Bitner received a phone call from a friend.
“He said, ‘Have you had your knees done yet?’”
When she told him she had not yet had her much-needed knee surgery, he urged her to take action. That same day, she called Summit Orthopedic Group.
“It was the reputation there I had heard about from classmates, a neighbor, friends, my sister’s friends,” she recalled of her decision to choose the practice.
She was able to be seen by Dr. Robertson the following afternoon.
He told her both knees had been damaged from her rheumatoid arthritis and that she was a candidate for bilateral knee surgery.
“I said to him, ‘I want to be active again – I want to bike again, I used to cross-country ski …’” Bitner explained.
He reassured her that she should be able to return to an active lifestyle and she was scheduled for surgery a month later.
After her surgery, she received physical therapy at Results Fitness & Therapy and, today, is thinking about a few bike rides while the weather is nice.
Bitner said the experience she had with her care team at Summit Orthopedic Group was informative, thorough and supportive.
“All my questions were answered,” she said. “Dr. Robertson and his team are so wonderful. In my 73 years, I’ve had a few surgeries and I’ve never had a team like this.”
For more information on Summit Orthopedic Group and its services, visit SummitHealth.org/Ortho.
Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.
As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, urgent care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.