Mary Petersmeyer | Northfield Hospital & Clinics

Mary Petersmeyer

Mary Petersmeyer and Chris Myatt

Before Mary Petersmeyer could tend to her knee, she changed up her menu.

Mary had her left knee replaced two years ago. Now, pain and limited mobility in her right knee meant another joint replacement.  

But Mary has Type 2 diabetes; her high blood sugar put her at increased risk of infection from surgery. Orthopedic surgeon Clinton Muench, MD urged her to lose weight and get her blood sugar down before scheduling surgery.

Dr. Muench recommended cutting out carbs and sugar, keeping protein and vegetables on her plate.

“I thought I’d try it for three months to see if I could reduce my A1C levels,” which measures blood sugar, Mary says. She lost 34 pounds, and her A1C dropped to a healthy level (from 7.9 to 5.8).

“Dr. Muench was just amazed it had gone down so much,” Mary laughs. “He said, ‘Now we can do that surgery.’ It was a good feeling to get to that stage.”

Her knee replacement went smoothly, Mary recalls. “I knew what to expect, and the hospital staff worked with me to get moving soon after surgery.” With six weeks of physical therapy planned, Mary’s goal is to get back her full range of motion. Physical therapist Chris Myatt, DPT, MS “is very easygoing and yet gets so much accomplished,” Mary says. He knows how hard to push at each stage of the rehab process: “He knows when you reach your limit, and when to encourage a rest.”

“Eating differently absolutely made a difference” in her surgery and recovery, Mary says. “I wish I had known with my first knee replacement about the nutrition aspect. It was such an asset to have Dr. Muench explain it.”

“She took the advice to heart and has had an amazing result,” Dr Muench concurs.

It’s been a healthy change too for Mary’s husband Gary, who’s lost 20 pounds so far. “I’m kind of the cook around here,” says Gary, who scouted new low-carb recipes and “made some of my own concoctions.” They’ve shifted from pasta and potatoes to zucchini (spiral cut into spaghetti), riced cauliflower, salads, and Gary’s new specialty: tomato bisque with seafood.

“Some of the things I’ve come up with are better-tasting than what we used to eat,” Gary says. “It’s a life change to an extent, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.”

“It has worked out so well for both of us,” Mary adds.

That new knee feels pretty good, too.

Learn more about orthopedics.