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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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