A Year Down the Line

Posted , 14 users are following.

Twelve months ago, I was sobbing,talking to myself in the bathroom mirror,asking myself why on earth had I agreed to have a TKR. I wished I never had had it done.

My leg was so swollen, the pain was so bad and the exercises were almost impossible to do. Trying to bend a knee which was swollen to twice its size is not easy.

With lots of help from the brilliant advice on here I managed to cope.

After six weeks of weekly physio provided by our NHS here in the UK I was left to continue my knee journey alone. My doctors at my local surgery just distributed painkillers.They weren't really much help.

My biggest worry was the inability to do all the exercises because of the swelling. I decided to just do what I could when I could and keep icing. After six months I still had pain and could only bend to ninety degrees.The more I walked on my knee the more pain I had. 

The swelling had gone down quite a lot so I was able to do more knee bending exercises. My consultant was always there in the background if I needed him which I shall always be grateful for. He told me that he never discharged any his  patients whilst they still needed him. Our NHS is brilliant when it works.

A few weeks ago I started riding my bike( power assisted) again.Yes, I felt a few painful twinges in my knee as I pedalled but I felt good. 

As for walking, well I'm fine as long as I don't do too much. A couple of days ago I walked two miles up and down hills in our local country park. As I had not done that since my I had my new knee it did start to hurt.I think I overdid the hills.

The cycling did improve my knee bend so yes it can still improve twelve months down the line.

Am I glad I had a TKR?  Now I can say yes I am. My knee will always feel 'mechanical' but I can walk most of the time without pain.

Recovery after TKR is not the same for everyone, we recover at our own speed.

So to all those just starting their TKR journey all I can say is just hang in there, it does get easier. Don't be put off when you read that someone is back at work, running again and pain gone after a few months. They are the lucky ones how I wish my recovery had been as fast. 

The down side is that other knee has now started to 'go'. It is very painful at times but I really want to avoid another TKR but only time will tell.

PS I'm seventy eight years young.

 

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  • Posted

    Thank you for sharing this with us. When people ask me if I'm glad or relieved that I had my double TKR this past April, I still hesitate to answer. No one can really prepare you for this experience and, yes, everyone heals, reacts and deals differently.

    I went to the local Target yesterday for the first time in months. I've been relying on deliveries and decided it was time to do my own shopping. Well, unbeknownst to me, they redid the entire store and nothing was where it had been! I had to walk all over the store to find my items, and I was almost in tears by the time I was done and could hardly walk back to my car. Instead of being proud that I had accomplished something on my own, I was annoyed with the pain and my limitations. When I shared my woes with my son, he said, but mom, you did it! I sat with ice packs, put everything away and tried to stop beating myself up. This was the first time I overdid it and I survived after all smile

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your kind  words. One of the side affects of this kind of surgery no professional discusses is the overwhelming sense of isolation. I stopped working a month before the operations because walking had become so difficult and painful. I teach in an elementary school and had to confess to my principal that my surgery was moved up from June to April and that I had to leave before I had planned to. My friends and family were all still busy working and made time for me when they could, but I was basically home alone. I have never had to rely on people to help me out so much! I started driving locally a couple of weeks ago and that has made a world of a difference. My surgeon cleared me to go back to work at the end of this month and I can't wait!

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your inspiring story. I really needed it today.

    I just had an MUA and my knee is really swollen once again and the pain just does not stop. Haven't had a good day or nights sleep since my tkr.

    I too question every day why I did this in the first place.

    I am just about 3 months out and am expecting more. I met a woman at PT the other day who was doing awesome. Her knee did not look swollen at all and she told me she had absolutely no pain whatsoever ( even after the surgery) and her doctor who does not believe in pain meds would only prescribe vitamins. While I was happy for her that her recovery was going so well I couldn't help but think why I couldn't have had it that easy. I guess everyone handles pain and this surgery differently but I so wish I could be one of those people.

    So glad that in the end you feel it was worth it. Like you, this forum really helps me to cope. I am so grateful for everyone's advice which sometimes seems to come at just the right time. Like yours.

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

    I am sure it will be helpful to many xxx

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  • Posted

    Thank you I'm 7 weeks after op and my bend was 90 when left hospital .Went to pt it had dropped to 56 first week now 64 second week.Had couple of people saying you should be further than you are my friend was up and back to normal in a couple of weeks .However since joining this site it's really helped me knowing I'm not alone .

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  • Posted

    Your post was so encouraging to read; thank you for writing it! I'm only a month post-op and have plenty of sore days, no sleep, cabin fever from not being cleared to drive, etc. The rehab and recovery are without a doubt the hardest part, and this is why I put this surgery off for so long.

    It is a terrific exercise in patience! I spend a lot of time quietly meditating and envisioning future days, when I can return to work (I'm a barista at Starbucks; on my feet 100% of work time), go walking again, etc.

    Uplifting stories such as yours are always welcome! Thank you so much for sharing!

    P.S.: 65 is the new 78! We can do so much more as we go through life's journey that age is pretty insignificant.

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  • Posted

    7 weeks after TKR!! Getting there slowly but it is hard work and still fair bit of pain. Not sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time. Surgeon very pleased with progress though and states I should not try too hard to reduce painkillers yet. He admits that TKR is the most painful op to have done - first 2 or 3 weeks I couldnt see the light at the end of the tunnel and wished I had never gone for surgery. Its done now though and  the old arthritic pain has gone. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that twinges in my good knee are down to taking too much weight in effort to save operated leg. I will need to be absolutely desperate before I put myself ( and husband! ) through another TKR  ut maybe I will feel differently in a few months!
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  • Posted

    Hello, I am very happy for you and I too am looking forward to being able to walk without pain. I am only 23 weeks out today. Still doing excerises with cycle and walking some but the more I walk the more swollen and painful it becomes. Just waiting on the day when there is no swelling and no pain.
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    • Posted

      It is so disheartening when you do try to walk more and your knee swells again and is so painful.I''ve been there and I used to think what was the point of a TKR if I couldn't walk without swelling and pain months after the operation.I was given a lot of reassurance on here that things would get better and they did. It just takes time, some more than others.

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  • Posted

    I'm glad I read your post Saralice, as I'm currently going through a similar journey at 5 months now post op.  I have cried a lot that I chose to have this surgery, although my knee was in poor shape before and did limit me I felt I had more control over it and was able to work around it. The TKR seemed to plunge me into a world of pain and mobility problems, sleepless nights, depression and loss of confidence.

    ?There was some support from physio but I still needed an MUA at 10 weeks that did help my flexion. There have been many setbacks and some progress too. I am still having swelling and tightness that really holds me back in what I can do, plus some numb areas and nerve zaps and aching elsewhere (have OA and other conditions).

    ?I try to stay positive and not to judge the TKR at this point as I realise it takes up to a year - or more - for some of us. But it is tough on the emotions as well as the body - as you kknow too well. I have been disappointed in the NHS care at times over the last 2 years and for other conditions as well as with some aspects of the TKR. I worked for the NHS for many years but sad to see it running underfunded in many cases. I appreciate the good points of this service of course.

    ?My other knee is suffering a bit, but not yet as bad as the first was and I dread the thought of another at this stage. If I ended up feeling it was worthwhile, that may change things of course. But I am weary of illness and surgery at the moment.

    ?I am so glad you now feel it was worthwhile for you as I see so many posts that had marvellous recoveries and others who have regretted their surgery long term. I was beginning to worry that I might be the latter but it is good to see that it can indeed take as long as is said and still be a good result. Thank you so much for posting your honest experience and I hope it will help other mid way recovered and still suffering TKR folks.

    I hope things go well for you for the future!

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    • Posted

      Cynthia I had some private physio yesterday  and I was shocked at the difference. He was fantastic. I can't afford many sessions as paying myself but it will be worth every penny. The NHS physio has let me down sadly. I was told my straight knee was zero and it is far from it. I have a terrible lag and mainly due to weak quads (couldn't lift leg for 6 weeks). I feel I am starting from day 1 and my muscles feel the same but now I know I am working the correct muscles. Sadly being in a gym class with 15 other people and 1 physio just doesn't work.the nurses on the ward I had my operation on had such low morale too.  So sad to see the NHS in such a state. 

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    • Posted

      I too have had a couple of private sports physio sessions and they do have facilities that the NHS does not - aqua treadmill and deep osillation machine for example, which have helped me. Due to health and redundancy, I cannot have as many sessions I would like either.

      ​The TKR costs the NHS a lot of money and it is a shame if the aftercare does not always match up. Some folk may not need much in the way of physio - those who have a good bend and extension from the start and are soon up and functioning, but the rest of us do.

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    • Posted

      When my physio,provided by the NHS finished,my knee was still very swollen and painful.I am retired now so going down the private physio route would turn out to be very expensive. My doctors were no help whatsoever, no further physio was mentioned.

      A few months ago I saw a brilliant physio at our hospital as my other knee is playing up. He was so annoyed when he heard about no further physio being offered. He said I could have self referred online and I could have continued with physio. He couldn't understand why the doctors had not mentioned it.I did self refer and I was able to have further physio. I was so annoyed as I had needed it months before.

      I hope you soon feel as though you are getting back to normal Cynthia. It does take longer for some but it's worth it in the end. We are off to Kracow for a few days soon, my first flight since the op. I thought at one time that I would never be able to go on holiday again. How time changes things. 

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