My grandfather is one of the reasons why I pursued shoulder surgery. In addition to being someone who helped instill in me a solid work ethic via my father, he was also the example of someone who required expertise and a special skill set when it came to his shoulder problems.
He has always been a very active man. He is one of those people that seems to know how to do everything. Even if he didn't, he wasn't going to let anyone know that. As a child, I remember that he was always busy with projects and work that he and his family were typically the labor force. When he wasn't working, he was spearfishing, pole fishing, or going on adventures in Baja California.
A kink was thrown in the works when he had his right shoulder replaced while living in Long Beach, CA. It was never quite right. Admittedly, he did more than someone with a total shoulder should do, but that's just being a Kummerfeld. Even though things weren't great with his shoulder, he pushed through it. Again, that's just being a Kummerfeld. He eventually gave in and was referred to John Itamura, a shoulder and elbow specialist at USC at the time. He had an initial surgery revising the total shoulder that functioned well for several years, but became clear that something hadn't been right from the start. It turned out that he had a latent infection, likely from the very beginning, that caused things never to feel quite right. He one surgery to clear the infection and one more to reconstruct his shoulder with a bone graft and reverse total shoulder.
Meeting Dr. Itamura was the best thing that happened to my grandpa's shoulder and was pretty fortunate for me too. As a result of what transpired, I was able to meet with Dr. Itamura in San Francisco in 2012 at the Academy of Orthopedic Surgery meeting and interview for his fellowship. I was accepted and spent August of 2013-July 2014 learning how to manage problems just like my grandpa's shoulder. I can say with certainty that I wouldn't be the man I am without my grandfather and I wouldn't be the surgeon that I am without the tutelage of John Itamura. It was a fun, grueling, tiring, exciting and transformative year. Thanks to that experience, I can bring that knowledge and insight back to the people of East Texas to care for their shoulder and elbow ailments.