2 Months Post Op TKR

I’ve reached my two month post op. I saw my doctor this week. I was pretty pleased with the visit. It was a short visit too. That made it even better.

I did address two issues, the pain in the back of my knee and still not sleeping through the night. I did get a few good nights, then it was back to about two hours. Y’all, when he pressed on my knee where it hurt, I almost jumped out the chair!!! I wanted to scream so bad. I didn’t though. He did give me some exercises to do and some steroids. I had to see my doctor about the sleeping issue. That was my plan anyway.

I do feel that I’m getting stronger. It was easier to get in my jeep. It was also easier going down the steps at my apartment today. So both of those are plusses. I was supposed to be done with PT, but he sent in a few more weeks because I was concerned about my strength with the stairs.

When I visited my general doctor the following day about my shoulder pain, he gave me something for sleep. Yea, it’s not working. I may have too many meds in my system too. Time to flush my system a little. When he looked at my shoulder he said I have a strained rotator cuff. Yep, more PT. I’m assuming it came from me pushing up with that arm during the healing process.

I have about another month to build my energy level back up before going back to work. So I’ll start a walking program. Overall pretty good progress.

Where are you in your healing progress?

Having Surgery? Had Surgery?

My quick update: My recovery process is going pretty good right now. I missed almost a week and half of physical therapy because my therapist was out with a suck family member. So between that and all the rain and dropping temperature have me a slight setback and made me very stiff. I’m getting back in the groove of things.

With that being said, this post isn’t really all about me. It’s about you. Maybe you are thinking about total/partial or some other knee surgery, or any surgery really. Maybe, your surgery is scheduled and you need more information or advice. Maybe you’ve had your TKR and don’t know what to do now. This is for you all.

When a doctor tells you need to have surgery it can be a scary and nervous moment. Even more so if you’ve never heard of it before. It’s completely normal and to be expected. I know when I was first told a total knee replacement was needed I felt all kinds of butterflies in my stomach. After all, you always hear the horror stories, rarely the positive. Today, I’m going to weave in bits of both from my journeys. Most of my journey will be centered around my last surgeries, which were total knee replacements. I’ve had others over the years that not limited to the knees.

When you find out you need to have surgery, what do you do? The key is ALWAYS research. Don’t just go off one website either. When I found out I had to have a TKR, I was pulling up information daily. Yes my doctor was awesome both times with the expectations I should have. I felt like I needed more. Granted, 80% of what I found was the exact same thing he said. Some he hadn’t mentioned, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. It just made me more informed. When doing your research remember that most people post their horror stories, not the good stories. While you’re doing research, you find you have questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor. I kept my doctor and nurse on speed dial. I even had a nurse from my insurance company assigned to me.

So now you decided to do the surgery, right? You’ve done your research. What do you do leading up to the surgery? The most obvious, yet, most ignored answer, FOLLOW ALL OF THE DOCTOR INSTRUCTIONS!!! This should be a no brainer, but we as people can be hardheaded sometimes. The instructions they give you will be beneficial going into surgery and coming out of surgery.

I always tell people to prepare in other ways as much as possible. What do I mean? When I had my breast reduction it was very important to have shirts and dresses that didn’t require me to lift my arms much. For my TKR, you want accessible items. A raised toilet, raised bed, shorts, extra pillows, and other things that will help. I found that this is a question to ask others who have been through it some of their BEST practices. Try to stay with the positive aspects. It’s important to go into surgery with a positive attitude.

So you’ve had your surgery and headed home. My word of advice is again, FOLLOW ALL DOCTORS ORDERS! If there is something you can’t do or it makes the pain worse, contact your doctor. Don’t overdo it. With my TKR I was able to exercise laying down. I would bend my leg while laying on my side. However, I was cautious to not over bend it. While recovering, don’t be afraid or proud to ask for help. If you have family or friends that can help in the beginning, let them. Just don’t get dependent on it. That can be your worst enemy.

With my TKR I had a roller coaster of emotions. The pain was up and down in the beginning with all surgeries. Also with the TKR my sleep is way off. I’m saying this not to scare you, instead to give you a heads up. You’re body is going through some rough stuff with surgery, so some things might change with your body.

I hope all of your surgeries go just fine and you have a speedy recovery. Keep your head up!!!! If there are any questions I can answer from my personal experience, I will.

Post Up Week 2 (TKR2)

I finally made it through well two. I will say this, I’m so glad this is a short week. Y’all don’t understand how tiring three appointments in three days are. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I was a bit more mobile.

I had my staples taken out at my two week follow up and two physical therapy sessions. My incision looks good. He said my knee looks good too. I’m currently bending at 91°. He thought that was great. In PT I was finally able to lift my leg while in a sitting position. Now to be able to do it laying down will be great. I’m hoping to be doing that by the end of the holiday weekend.

I’ve begun to enter the stage where my nerves are beginning to fire up. What does that really mean? It means I don’t want anything to touch my knee! It’s not full fledged just yet, only in spots. So I have to begin forcing my knee to accept touches. I do this by rubbing different materials across it. I normally just do a light feather like rub. It’ll hurt like crazy, but it’ll start to get better eventually.

My pain level has decreased significantly. I’m almost strictly on Motrin. Still major stiffness, but my swelling has went down too. If you are about to have surgery make sure you get those compression socks. I think those really help with my swelling.

One thing I found out about 15 minutes into the drive, I can’t do more than 15 minutes in a car yet. My doctor main office is 45-50 minutes out. Yes I decided to keep him when he stopped coming to here because he did great work on my other knee. When I tell you that drive had me all kinds of uncomfortable, it was crazy. I was practically laying in the front seat. Glad we didn’t have anyone with us.

Overall my progress is good. I feel my strength growing.

New Surgery Journey

So here I am. I’m about to take another journey through another surgery. I’m having a second total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Some of you may recall me having TKR last great on my left knee. In just a few days I’ll be getting my right knee done.

I’ll admit I didn’t think I would need it. I heard the stories about once you complete the first one you typically have to get the second one done to. Still, I didn’t think I would need it. After all I was felling pretty good.

Then one morning I could barely make it to the bathroom. So, of course I went to see my general doctor first. He gave me a pain shot and some pain pills.

Yea, I thought I was good to go. Not even a month later I scheduling an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon (knee dr). So we took the cheaper route and tried the shot. The shot should last 3-4 months. Mine lasted maybe a month. It was hard trying to make it two more months. I had my year follow up scheduled, so I was determined to wait it out. During that two month time I was at urgent care twice, and had a knot on my knee. Let’s not forget I work in retail too. Yes, there were some rough days.

I did make it to see the Dr. I’ll also admit I just wanted to hear one thing. Yea, I can be a bit impatient. However, I did the X-ray and listened to all the options. You never know what you’ll discover when you pay attention.

After he went through my options I quickly realized I still wanted the surgery. Why? While the other options were a lot less evasive, a little less expensive, BUT a lot lower percentage of working. All those options were about a 30% chance of working. If they worked I’d still be back in about 7 months to a year to have it done again. Still, those are great options if you are unable to have surgery and need the pain relief.

So here I am just under two weeks out to my surgery. I’m probably the only person that’s excited about having surgery. Truthfully I just want to be able to walk without out all the pain. I’m use to being on the go, and I’m ready to get back to that.

If you’ve had TKR I’d love to hear your experience. If you have questions about my experience, feel free to ask. Follow my blog to follow my journey through pre surgery, recovery and the healing process.

Journey Through Total Knee Replacement Part 3

I’ve just about completed week 7 of my total knee replacement journey. To say this is a long healing process is an understatement. So this is where I am at week five. I am healing. Sometimes I complain, but I’m making progress. I am driving now. I did my first photo shoot for the Autism Speaks Walk. So I’m pretty excited that I was able to do it. Yes, I was so sore and a bit swollen the following day, but I did it. Now I wish I could take on the world. Yet, I know I have to take it in spells.

I still have some sensitivity to the knee. Just the other day I couldn’t let ANYTHING touch it except for sweat pants or my heated blanket. The sensitivity and swelling comes and goes. Not much swelling left, but was told it would take a year for complete swelling to go away.

I took my first road trip to SC. That was five hours both ways. The good thing about traveling with my mom and sister is we break it up and I was able to stretch my legs at stops. This was a good test. I only drove an hour, but I do think that was enough.

I’m still doing my physical therapy. Of course some days I just don’t feel like going, but I go because I know it’s helping. I’m bending at a steady 116° angle. I would complain, but my other knee only goes to 116°. However I’m still trying to reach that magic number of 120°! I should start doing more walking this well with the temps a bit cooler and everything.

I’m excited about my progress compared to were I was almost two months ago right after surgery.

Knee Replacement Journey Part 2

Here I am again. I’m now three weeks post surgery. To me, I’m surprised at the progress I’ve made. However, my doctors and therapist are pleased but not surprised.

I’m now able to get in my bed and the car without assistance. That’s in and out. I can also lift my leg while standing, sitting, and laying. My knee is bending at 106° angle! My doctor wants it 120°.  So I guess I’m getting there.  I always says small progress is still progress.  I’m still doing my physical therapy twice a week and doing my home exercises.

Now about some other things.  I don’t know if any of this is related to the surgery and the anesthetics, but I can feel my body going through some changes.  What kind of changes?  My sleeping is way off course.  Most nights I’m getting 2 hours at a time.  You talking about someone being way off balance.  I also can’t focus for long periods of time.  Normally my thoughts are going fifty miles per hour.  Now, not so much.  I’m told it will get better.  I hope so because I have things to do.  So, for now, I’m doing a lot of resting and doing some binge watching.  I do small projects here and there.  Doing some training and meditation to keep me going.

I’m so thankful for my mom.  She is giving so much of herself right now to help me get well.  For that, no amount of thankfulness will ever show how much I appreciate her and what she does.

People seem to always be amazed when they see me and my progress.  I’m sitting here like what?  I know everyone heals differently. I just be thinking my progress is so slow.  Then I hear stories of people that are at their 12 weeks and no where near where I am now and I’m surprised!  Before I had the surgery, I did so much research to ensure I was ready and prepared to do the work.  I know the pain would be there, especially that first week or so.  I also knew that it was going to take some serious drive to push through the pain.  I knew I’d be walking the day of surgery, knew I’d have to go to therapy the day after I got out the hospital.  I knew all this, was ready for it.  Maybe I’m progressing because I want it and I already knew what to expect, or maybe because I have a great doctor that explained everything in great detail.  When I look at things, it doesn’t matter how big or small the surgery I’m about to undergo, I take the time to research.  I may not know EVERYTHING the doctor knows but, I feel pretty good about what is about to happen.

So this is where I am right now.  I’m three weeks and one day post surgery.  The one thing that tickles me is how people want to see my scar.  They want to compare to theirs or a close family member.  I don’t have a problem showing them.  I know at first I was just scared to look at my own scar, but now, I’m good with looking at it.  It’s healing pretty well.

Have you or someone you know had a total knee replacement surgery?  If so, can you share how you were at three weeks?

Total Knee Replacement Journey

What is a total knee replacement: Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts (prostheses). A normal knee functions as a hinge joint between the upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula).

Total knee replacement is a common procedure. Most people hear good and bad things about it. I know I did. As a matter of fact I still am. Over the next few months I’m going to take you on this journey with me.

My why:

Last year I had a knee scope where they repaired a torn ligament. At that time they saw the arthritis, but it wasn’t as bad. Cleaning the torn ligament was great, kept my knee from buckling. He told me that EVENTUALLY I’d need the total knee replacement. He didn’t expect me back a year and some change later. I was at the point that if I worked all day I could barely make it to my car before my knee gave out.

So I started with prayer and a discussion with my family and doctor. My doctor laid out all my options, the good and bad. Some options may work temporarily, others didn’t have enough research to give a good enough percentage. So after all that I decided to go with the total knee replacement.

I worked a month up until my surgery to help my team out. That was the longest month of pain. A week before your surgery you have to stop taking anything that works like a blood thinner like pain pills. The only thing I was pretty much able to take was tlynol. That does nothing. However, I made it.

The morning of surgery was farley pleasant. I already knew I’d stay at least one night. Some have to stay longer, do not be surprised. I did a lot of research leading to this day. I was nervous, but ready. I was really glad I was the first surgery if the day.

Now here’s where it gets interesting to me. Now they did say I would have the spinal anaesthesia and something “where I wouldn’t remember what’s going on.” I was out like a light until the last few minutes. Yes y’all, I woke up!!! I couldn’t feel anything below my waist, couldn’t see anything beyond the sheet hanging up separating me, BUT I knee they were there. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted to go back to sleep. I nodded my head yes but wanted to scream “duh of course”. Next thing I know I was in recovery room, then I as being wheeled to my room. Yes, my own private room.

As they got me situated I tried to regain clarity. For just having surgery I was very awake. I understood everything the nurses and Dr’s said. I was feed a liquid diet, then they served real food for lunch and dinner. Surprisingly they were farley decent.

Just had surgery right? In my room by lunch time, right? I was up walking before dinner!!!!!! Yes, physical therapy started the same day. Oh it hurt to get up, but once I was up I was good. Needless to say I limited my restroom breaks as much as possible.

Day after my surgery:

The day after consisted of me working hard so I can go home. Certain progress has to be made before your Dr allows you to go home. No problems on my end that I saw. The hardest part of the transition was getting in and out of the car. That ment bending my knee! My mom may have something else to say. The hardest part at home was getting out of my bed. That took anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes.

Almost 2 weeks later:

Now, I’m at the stage where I’m getting around better. Not great, but better. Not really taking any pain pills. While I can’t lift that leg just yet, the leg is getting stronger. I’m doing things I couldn’t do on day one. So I’m making progress. My therapists say I’m improving. Just have to make sure I continue doing my home exercises.

That’s where I am right now. I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ll be back shortly with more progress.

Surgery & Health

I like to be as transparent as possible with my readers. While I do keep things private a share a lot of other things in my life. With that being said, today I want to talk about some health issues. We all have a health issue or two. 

Some of you that have been around a while know I’ve had ankle issues for a while. My doctor said I walk on the side of my feet and that was causing majority of the problem. Sure, I can assume a number of people have that issue. However, combined with 15+ work days on my feet didn’t help matters. 

I had a very great doctor that helped with that and was able to avoid surgery. To be perfectly honest, I think my ankle injury stemmed from when I was in 5th grade. I was down in Hayneville, AL and it was homecoming. I pushed by a girl that was trying to get a now later. Yes, one piece of candy. The result was the float, both tires, ran over my ankle. From then on for some reason, that’s the ankle I always injured. Even now, I’m extra careful. 
Needless to say, I was coping with the ankle very well. Guess what happens next. I started having knee pains. I believe it was a slow progression. It got to the point where I was was taking 800mg motrin to stave off the pain before work. Then came the day it wouldn’t loosen up and I couldn’t walk far without holding on to something. That brings me to where I am today. Where is that? Laying in bed, walking with a crutch, soon a cane. What the doctor found in my knee is a torn cartilage and some arthritis. 
I’ve never been one to shy away from surgery or even brag about it.  I know that not every surgery is easy. I also know surgery isn’t for everyone. This month has taught me so much about not just myself, but others as all.  As I prepared for my surgery I begin a weight loss push. I don’t knock what everyone is doing, but what worked for me was appetite suppressant. I lost 7 lbs in 3 weeks! More that all the other diets and exercise forms. Yea I’m a big girl, but I’m okay with that. I’m working on those things that need to be changed. All in all progress is progress. 
Surgery is huge for anyone. One thing someone told me was that anytime you’re having surgery it’s a big deal. As nonchalant as I portrayed to be, I was, am, glad for the unrelentness support. I say all this to say, support those around you. Yes, I have family and close friends, but everyone is not so fortunate.  Some get nervous and down right scared.  So while some breeze through with no problems, others are not so fortunate. Keep your ears open, don’t just hear, but listen. Encourage and be a support for them.