Whether stepping and strutting on the dancefloor, or twisting and spinning high in the air, Jamie Holmes, 44, had always been able to move with sheer physical agility and inventiveness.
Jamie was a competitive gymnast and dancer, before catching the circus bug in Las Vegas and training in aerial acrobatics. As a choreographer and aerialist, she performed in films, music videos and commercials, as well as television and stage shows, then started her own school and co-founded a corporate entertainment company.
Her life was going pretty well when, in December 2018, Jamie found that she could barely finish one of her live performances or make it back to her dressing room. Soon, she could barely walk, even with the assistance of a cane. She experienced stabbing spasms in her hips, which radiated up her back and to the rest of her body. And with each passing day, the pain became harder to endure, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
Jamie says that this betrayal of her body not only diminished who she was professionally, but also made her feel disconnected from who she was as a person. And she started to hemorrhage confidence.
“‘The show must go on’ was always my motto until it couldn’t be anymore. To say that I had been in pain for a long time is an understatement,” says Jamie, who sought treatment from physiotherapists and medical practitioners from around the world. But she says that “nothing ever worked for that long.”
Though she dismissed the idea of major orthopedic surgery after several surgeons told her that she would never fly again, she changed her mind after going to St. Michael’s Hospital and meeting orthopedic surgeon Dr. Amit Atrey, whom she was optimistic about from the start. A specialist in minimally invasive hip surgery, Dr. Atrey diagnosed her with osteoarthritis and offered a solution to her degenerative hips: bilateral total hip replacement.
Jamie underwent the procedure, and it was successful. The artificial implants not only mimicked the function of normal hip joints, but also improved her end-of-range strength and stability. Just a couple of weeks after the hip arthroplasty, she was able to focus on her rehab, with Dr. Atrey regularly checking in. After three months, Jamie regained a completely healthy mobility.
“I just want to send a huge shout-out to you, Dr. Atrey, and other healthcare practitioners for the excellent experience I had at St. Michael’s,” Jamie wrote in a letter to Dr. Atrey. “Before, during and after my surgery, everyone–from the surgical team members to the overnight nurse–were also so caring, fun and incredibly awesome.”
After years of suffering through the pain in her hips, Jamie is grateful to feel whole as a performer and person once more: stepping and strutting, and twisting and spinning—but even more gracefully than before.
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