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"I found a surgeon who knew I was a risk, but he took a chance on me. I made sure to follow every single instruction so I could get my shoulder back. And I did."

Procedure: Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Former British paratrooper John Boston found himself needing a shoulder replacement after a prior surgery didn’t resolve the shoulder pain and he took a bad fall down some stairs. John believes a good soldier in the military has a lot in common with a good patient, who must trust his surgeon and follow his or her instructions to a “T” in order to remain on course and stay alive.

“My doctor is very compassionate – he listens, he cares. As a person he’s an outstanding guy. As a surgeon his craftsmanship is beautiful. I feel very fortunate to have found him,” says John. “I found a surgeon who knew I was a risk, but he took a chance on me.

John Boston believes a good soldier in the military has a lot in common with a good patient, who must trust his surgeon and follow his or her instructions to a “T” in order to remain on course and stay alive.

“I’ve always had young bones and been strong and fit, but a couple prior illnesses made be what you’d call a ‘less desirable patient’,” Boston shares with wry humor. “I found a surgeon who knew I was a risk and a strong character, but he took a chance on me. I made sure to follow every single instruction so I could get my shoulder back. And I did,” Boston proudly added.

Boston’s prior illness related to his immune system made him nervous to go under the knife, but he was impressed that his doctor went the extra mile to make sure the operating room (OR) was cleaned twice, and that he could send him photos of his wound as it healed to ensure there was no infection.

“My doctor is very compassionate – he listens, he cares. As a person he’s an outstanding guy, a very nice human being. As a surgeon his craftsmanship is beautiful. I feel very fortunate to have found him,” says Boston.

Although the surgery didn’t go exactly as planned out beforehand, Boston had complete faith in his surgeon and is ecstatic with the results.

“He explained that due to the nature and severity of the prior injury of the tear, he actually changed directions during surgery and did a reverse shoulder replacement with the latest technology that actually replaces the missing bone with titanium so that I could get the best rotation possible as a swimmer. I’m so grateful that he did that because now I can do laps in the pool. Maybe not overhead laps like I did before, but I can breaststroke.”

John says that his only limitation is how he can put on a jacket. The arm that had surgery goes in He reflects, “I didn’t want to go through surgery and not ‘win,’ because I’m incredibly competitive. I wanted to regain 100 percent mobility, so I listened to every physical therapy recommendation. I don’t lift heavy things, especially not heavy things overhead, and I was diligent about cleaning the wound as it healed. I believe I’m back to swimming because I was 100 percent compliant and had an outstanding surgeon.”

And, thanks to John’s diligence, he feels better than ever. He recently said he’s looking forward to the warmer weather so he can enjoy swimming outside.

“I’m truly grateful to my surgeon for taking a chance on me, and that’s something I won’t squander or take for granted. Now,” he adds with a chuckle, “I just have to get ready for swimsuit season.”

Photograph compliments of John Boston