Mountains and Marathons

Physician: Joshua Kimelman
Patient: Kathy

“So, have you always been a runner?”


“No!? When did you start running?”

“When they said, ‘Do you want to do this? Do you want to participate in a relay marathon across the U.S.?'”

Most people who have recently had knee replacement surgery would not even dream of running a marathon, but Kathy isn’t most people. Kathy is a cancer survivor and has learned through her struggles “If you do not try, you will never know.”

At age two, Kathy’s parents learned she had a rare form of sarcoma, which produces benign masses and sometimes malignant cancer cells in the soft tissue of the body. She battled this debilitating illness throughout her life. Years of surgeries and therapy seemed behind her until 2003, when doctors found a malignant tumor, turning her world upside down. She continued the battle through 2007, enduring surgery, radiation therapy and reconstructive services.

Today at 53, she demonstrates no immediate signs of her serious health problems. Her strength radiates in her conversation, career and her life accomplishment of scaling Mount Everest—with the help of a new knee.

In November 2009, Kathy had knee replacement surgery by Iowa Ortho’s Dr. Joshua Kimelman. Her only regret since the surgery is that she should have done it sooner. According to Kathy, Dr. Kimelman’s approachable and easy-going nature made her feel comfortable and confident with the surgery. Since then, she has nothing but good things to say about her new knee. She is even more active after the replacement than she thought she would be.

Recovery went so well, in fact, that Kathy decided to climb Mount Everest just a year after the surgery. During her trip to Nepal, she met a handful of wonderful people who were also cancer survivors. It was one of the toughest journeys of her life, but she says it was one of the most rewarding.

Now a couple of years later, she wants to run a marathon in memory of those who did not survive the cancer battle. She has partnered with the other cancer survivors from her Nepal trip to run the Million Dollar Marathon across the U.S.

She is grateful every day that Dr. Kimelman was able to help improve her life. She is thankful she has the ability to climb mountains and run marathons. Rain or shine, 100 or 25 degrees, Kathy’s knee is pain-free, allowing her to keep the active lifestyle she loves. It seems there is no stopping her.