Six months post op from first TKR...Progress Report

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Well folks, I am six months out from my first TKR and two and a half months post op from my second TKR. Time flies!

I keep a journal to remind myself of all I have endured during this adventure, but, more importantly, I also record all of my progress.

I think my best measure of progress has been NOT THINKING about MY KNEES constantly throughout the day! I find myself going about shopping, household activities, standing and talking to my neighbors in the yard, and cookie baking for four hours yesterday without having to constantly SIT DOWN! What a relief it has been to just DO THINGS I want to do!

I am 64. I had always been very active. About six years ago I noticed that I needed pain medication (Ibuprofen) before my walks. My five to six mile walks began to turn into three or four miles at a time. I was not enjoying them as much as I had before due to pain. I didn't check with a doctor. I just thought I was getting OLD. I rationalized the PAIN as just AGING.

A couple years later I DID go see a specialist. Osteoarthritis was the diagnosis. I took more Ibuprofen, had a cortisone shot that lasted FOUR DAYS, and just began giving in to the fact that I would have to stop my walking, take it easy, and stop doing a lot of things like long shopping trips, gardening, etc. I became even older in my mind.

I remember writing "I wonder if AMPUTATION would get rid of this pain." Yes, folks, I was at THAT point!

My big " Ah-HA! Moment came when I woke one morning with shooting pain in my left knee. I could NOT put any weight on my leg! I walked around with CRUTCHES for a day and a half waiting to be able to call my specialist after MEMORIAL DAY weekend. He took X-RAYS, and my knees had worsened GREATLY in the FOUR YEARS since I had last seen him. (Since the cortisone shot hadn't helped, and my insurance company refused any Ortho-Disc shots, I had gone into DENIAL...until this shooting pain stopped me in my tracks.)

Fast forward to my appointment with my specialist. I expected him to say that since I had jumped through all the previous hoops (PT, cortisone shots, been rejected from the Ortho-Disc shots), that my NEXT step was arthroscopic surgery. Several of my friends have had this as THEIR next step.

MY surgeon simply shook his head and said, " Cheryl, THAT ship has SAILED. You need KNEE REPLACEMENTS." The new X-RAYS were FAR WORSE than those just four years before! I was now walking on about an inch if bone-on-bone on both knees. Cartilage was gone. No wonder my balance was bad!

Of course my doctor said I could have surgery or do nothing. Those were my choices.

I scheduled my surgery before I left his office. The rest, as they say, is HISTORY! Three weeks later I had my left TKR. Four months later I had my RIGHT TKR. Of course there was pain, rehab, LOTS if PT and exercising and ucing and ELEVATING of my legs. There was using the walker and the cane and getting those STAPLES removed, which was NOT FUN at all! What I want to say, though, is IN MY OPINION it was all worth it many times over!

I have my life back. I can shop for hours, garden all morning, talk with my neighbors, bake cookies, and think about all those fun things instead of thinking about MY KNEES!

I am SO GRATEFUL that the horrible pain hit my left leg that morning because it jolted me enough to get me out if my "Poor Me" attitude. It caused me to DO SOMETHING!

I hope that any if you who are in denial as I was will read this and DO SOMETHING to help yourselves. Pain all the time just sucks life right out of a person. You become older than you really are. You start to give up. I know this because that was ME!

I am so grateful that I endured the two TKR surgeries and am now my regular self.

I hope this will help give hope to others who are thinking there's nothing that can be done. There ARE things that will help!

Sending prayers of HOPE to all today!

Merry Christmas from me and from my two NEW KNEES!

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Cheryl I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were doing. So glad to hear how well things are going and that knees aren't the only thing on your mind any more.

    Like you I let mine get too far along before I finally had my first replacement. Why are we so stoic and resign ourselves to pain? It took my chiropractor to get me to consider surgery before I would finally book the surgery.

    4 months later my left knee is strong and pain free. Luckily mine was a dream of a recovery. I now anxiously await Jan 5th to get my right one done. A life without pain is on the horizon!

    Again, so glad to hear you doing so well. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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    • Posted

      Great to hear from you!

      SO GLAD all is going well for you, too!

      I think it's the fear of the unknown that keeps us from moving forward. Also, for me, it was a gradual increase in pain. When pain increases gradually I think we just get used to the increase and KEEP GOING! For me, I needed that extreme JOLT of EXCRUTIATING PAIN that morning to literally knock me off my feet! It was awful, but I began to see that for some reason I am the kind of person who needs JOLTING before I admit I need help! It was a real wake-up call for me!

      Sending prayers of calm and strength to you for January 5th! You know what to expect for #2, so not everything is a big shock. Also, you know what NO PAIN feels like, and believe me, you will be very ready for more if NO PAIN!

      Let me know how things go, OK?

      Enjoy Christmas and HAPPY NEW KNEE on JANUARY 5th!

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  • Posted

    So great to hear that you are at the position of not thinking about your knees first and foremost any more.  I knew that that feeling (eventually) with my right TKR.  Unfortunately, my left one has been a far harder recovery, but I'm hoping that it will finally come good in 2016.

    Hope yo have a wonderful Christmas, Cheryl, and Happy New Year to you and yours.


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    • Posted

      Thanks so much, Patsy!

      Here's hoping #2 will start behaving more like #1! My first one had LOTS of swelling. The second one didn't. Every knee has its own agenda! I guess there are so many parts to the overall surgery, and one knee may have been more damaged than the other.

      Yes, it is WONDERFUL to be able to actually focus on something other than knee pain!

      Have a great Christmas!

      Left Knee...BEHAVE YOURSELF for Patsy!

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  • Posted

    Cheryl I am so glad to hear that you are doing so well. I am 3 weeks removed from my left knee TKR and sometimes I wonder if it will ever end. Although I am recovering well, as you say, every day, every waking moment is knee related. I do have a question for you about straightening of the knee post surgery. At what point were you able to get to zero degrees of extension? I haven't seen much discussion here about that, usually the flexion aspect gets more attention. I am at -4 degrees but it just doesn't seem to want to go further. I finished the home PT and start outpatient PT on the 29th. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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    • Posted

      You are doing GREAT with your straightening for just three weeks post op! I hadn't reached -4 until about 12 weeks post op! My PT reminded me that my legs had not been STRAIGHT for many YEARS, and it was not just surgery issues I was dealing with in the straightening struggle! That relaxed me A LOT and helped me to focus on what I COULD do and progress I was making instead of focusing on what wasn't yet perfect.

      When I left PT two weeks ago (graduation day!) I was not yet at zero. No biggie. I straighten my legs using the ottoman then REST a bit. Then I walk around the house in my BARE FEET so I can FEEL how I am walking...heel first then bend foot to the toe and repeat so I get a good send-off on each foot.

      My husband says I am walking better, and my stride is more normal now, too. I am short (5'4" with short legs). Keeping up with EVERYBODY ELSE with long legs in my family is challenging, but I am getting better at that, too!

      My goal is to go walking again in the spring. I would LOVE to be able to get back to 5-6 miles a day like before all my craziness began!

      You are doing GREAT!

      Keep us posted with your progress, ok?

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  • Posted

    Good job!!

    I am eight months on rknee and seven on left

    I am also glad I did it though I wish my outcome was better

    But I am still better than I was!

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