By: Sara Dale | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: July 2013
Dr. Ronald S. LaButti
The activity level of Toby Jenkins, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Equality, is leaps and bounds above what it once was. And, he happily attributes most of the credit to Tulsa orthopedic surgeon, Ron LaButti, D.O.
Jenkins, 53, had always enjoyed an active and athletic lifestyle. Yet, this all took an unexpected turn (or downhill slide) five years ago. As Executive Director of Oklahomans for Equality (OkEq), Jenkins coordinates the organization’s large-scale annual events including the Tulsa Pride Festival. As in years past, the 2008 festival featured a multitude of attractions, including an obstacle course for the kids. “The obstacle course included a huge slide,” Jenkins says. “All was going well until one of the little girls had gone to the top of the slide, but refused to come down; so, I went up to retrieve her.”
As Jenkins and the little girl descended down the 14-foot slide, she suddenly planted her foot in the middle of it, sending them both into a frightening freefall. “My first reaction was to try to protect her from the fall by bundling her up like a ball,” Jenkins says. Fortunately, the little girl didn’t sustain any injuries. Yet, the same could not be said of Jenkins. The treacherous fall left him with torn ligaments in his left leg and knee -- and as would soon become evident -- a painful condition that continued to worsen and obliterate his immobility and active way of life.
Prior to Jenkins’ accident, his routine had included daily five-mile runs along Riverside Drive. In addition, his position as OkEq’s Executive Director frequently entailed a demanding, active schedule, plus a fair share of travel.
“As time went on, the pain became more excruciating. I also started gaining a lot of weight since exercising was out of the question,” Jenkins says. “I couldn’t walk very far, sleep very well, go up or down stairs or even kneel at church during communion. In addition to the constant pain, my entire left leg often became numb after sitting for any period of time.”
Happy Turn of Events
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and one for which Toby Jenkins is most pleased is meeting orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ron LaButti. “From the start, Dr. LaButti’s ‘no nonsense’ and upfront approach was very refreshing,” Jenkins says. “After running tests and thoroughly examining my left leg, he told me exactly what he thought and did his best to steer me away from the most severe and expensive treatments. Plus, throughout it all, his staff was incredibly nice and helpful in every way.”
In January of this year, Dr. LaButti administered cortisone injections into Jenkins’ left knee, as well as prescribed ongoing physical therapy sessions.
“Choosing the treatment that is right for each individual patient is a very important ecision,” Dr. LaButti says. “I felt Toby was too young to undergo surgery at this time and was an ideal candidate for a less invasive approach. It’s been so gratifying to see the ‘new and pain-free’ Toby jump back into his former active lifestyle with both feet!”
Footloose and Pain-Free
Today, Toby Jenkins is 39 pounds lighter and continues to celebrate personal landmarks. “It’s made a tremendous difference in my life,” he says. “I’m walking five miles every morning, getting down on the ground to play with my grandchildren, and handling huge OkEq events with plenty of energy to spare. To put it into perspective, after one of our events a year ago last spring, I was in horrible pain and couldn’t move for three days. After this year’s gala event, I felt great. In fact, I felt so good I’m sure I could’ve danced all night!”