ELDRIDGE, Iowa -
The Cookie Queen of Eldridge is rolling in dough these days.
"It sounds crazy, but to me it's relaxing," said Joni King.
King is queen of her home kitchen. That's where she bakes thousands of Christmas cookies and connects with kids.
"We made memories today," she recalled a visitor saying after a visit.
Lots of memories from past holidays and her kitchen helpers. There was a special time during one clean-up.
"Both of the kids were singing, "Thanks for the Memories," and I was bawling like a baby," she recalled.
But two years ago, a shoulder injury shut down the fun.
"I've done it for years, but it just got to be too much," she remembered.
It was so painful that her MRI revealed a torn rotator cuff after a gardening injury.
"It's just like an elastic band that has kind of torn and sprung back," said Dr. Suleman Hussain, ORA Orthopedics.
After trying physical therapy without success, she knew it would take something else for relief.
"It was a pretty bad injury that really did need surgery," she said."
"We can actually go in, take this tendon and reattach it with small anchors to the bone," Dr. Hussain explained.
After four months of physical therapy, Joni is back with a rolling pin in her hands.
"I would not be able to do this if I didn't have the surgery," she said.
Dr. Hussain explained that positive outcomes are more possible with a quick diagnosis.
"If you have this, or suspect you have it, it's something you want to get evaluated and tested for earlier," he said.
These days, cookie-by-cookie, she's creating in her home kitchen again.
"I'll call a couple kids and ask if they want to come over and make some cookies," she said. "And they do. They never turn it away."
This Cookie Queen is definitely a King in her kitchen. She's still reigning supreme after shoulder surgery.
"I'm so glad I did it because there isn't anything I can't do," she said.
Joni will keep rolling in dough and be ready to bake more cookies.
"It's wonderful," she concluded. "I have no pain."