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  1. PLEASE NOTE THAT ONE RECOVERY THREAD ONLY IS PREFERRED. PLEASE DON'T START ADDITIONAL THREADS ABOUT YOUR RECOVERY.

[TKR] Three weeks out and struggling!

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by jjlutz, Jul 14, 2012.

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  1. jjlutz

    jjlutz New Member

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    I am currently 3 weeks out from TKR and really struggling not only physically but emotionally. I thought I was a strong person prior to this surgery. I seem to cry every single day thinking my life will never be the same. I am 42 and very distressed at the fact that I have had TKR already. I feel like a 42 year old in an 82 year old body. I played fastpitch softball in high school along with volleyball. I did catch and play left field for softball, but find it really hard to believe that wore out my knees. I thought sports were suppose to be good for us!! At this point, my other knee is getting ready to go and I will say this.....it will fall off before I do another TKR surgery!!

    I am a person who loves to be on the go and this recovery, as you know, just does not allow for that. I love going to PT because I feel so darn good afterwards, but once I leave and get home, I find myself getting stiffer and stiffer. I can't stand it!! I take small walks and it feels stiffer, why is that? Will this ever get better? I feel like I jumped into something way to early. Yes, I was bone on bone, but did not experience horrible pain.

    I was constantly having to get my knee drained of fluid and get injections of Orthovisc, but really didn't have terrible pain. I finally got fed up with getting it drained and said, "Ok, lets do it!" My medical insurance is also a huge factor because at this point I have no deductible and my insurance pays 100%. Since I am a single mom with limited income, I felt now was the best time to "afford" to do it. It's terrible that money would be a reason, but it was.

    Please, please tell me that this is going to be better. I have 3 more weeks off work and my job is an Administrative Assistant in a school district, so needless to say, I am behind a desk all day and rarely get up. Will this be very uncomfortable when I return to work? And if so, any advice?
     
  2. RestAssured

    RestAssured Forum Advisor

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    Hello! I am sorry that you are having so much pain. You are 3 weeks out, are you icing and elevating your knee? You will see if you slow down and let that knee recover that you will be glad you had this done! Maybe not for awhile, but I have been where you are 4 times and I do understand. Are you taking pain meds?
    By the way, yes it does get better! 3 weeks is too soon to start wishing you had never had it done. We have all been on the emotional roller coaster that comes along with major surgery. I have had my left replaced, and my right has been replaced and revised a total of 3 times. I am 13 weeks out from the last surgery, and have had a few setbacks. What I always remember is before knee surgery, the pain had reduced me to a life of quantity, living out my days, wondering why I ached so much. These days, my life has turned to quality, because I can do anything I put my mind to. It is so freeing having two new knes! :yahoo:
    Do I have down days? You better believe it, but I also believe a positive attitude has helped me get through a lot of stuff I have dealt with. God takes care of me! :)
     
  3. Campervan

    Campervan Sr Bonesmartie

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    Hi Jilutz, Yes it gets better. The first 2 months are awful. Could I suggest you start your own thread, repeat everything from above, and then you'll get more specific responses direct to you.
     
  4. kneeper

    kneeper Forum Advisor

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    The first month or so is tough because you are so early in the recovery. I know, hard to think of 3-4 weeks as early, but it is.

    Your knee is probably still a bit swollen (whether it's obvious to you or not) and activity aggravates it. Remember you are healing from a major trauma to your body. Icing and elevating after your PT will help. and don't forget that your body requires rest at this stage too for healing. Naps are your friend. :sleep:
    It does get better bit by bit. Then in bigger chunks. It is a long haul but worth it in the end.

    Come here and vent and ask questions. We've been there and we get it.

    When you go back to work you will probably want to put your leg up at least on your lunch break and ice. Also be sure to get up and walk around for a minute or so at least every hour which will help minimize stiffness.
     
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  5. bottomshollow

    bottomshollow Moderator

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    jjlutz, [​IMG] . We are happy you have joined us. I posted this in the Attitiude After TKR? thread and have just copied it here.
    The advantage of having your own thread is there is a place for you to express your concerns and ask your questions, and all us other BoneSmarties can respond directly to you there and can always find you to post to, and it is easier for you to see when someone has posted to you.

    The thread you were in is for every member to express their feelings post TKR and you could easily be overlooked here.Looking forward to your first post in your thread. [​IMG]
     
  6. Limpin'Lizzie

    Limpin'Lizzie Member

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    I know exactly how you feel! I'm about 11 weeks out, but I remember well those first 3. Everything you described, I remember. It's all normal. I used to cry all the time, which I read here is perfectly normal. I'd suggest reading the great articles in the library. They address so many issues and questions we have at this stage. This surgery is by far the most difficult thing I've ever been through.

    At 11 weeks, I've made so much progress and feel much better. As the others have said, this is a very slow recovery, but it does get better. After reading the discussions here, I started to have real peace about the surgery and my recovery. Follow the advice (which by the way, sometimes is contrary to what our doctor or PT may be saying), and you'll be glad later on you did.
     
  7. Knitter4444

    Knitter4444 Graduate

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    I totally understand about the crying. Actually finally figured out that it was the MS Contin (morphine) that was assisting the depressive state. Like we need something else to help us.

    My adult children had a mantra..tell mom you love her and she will cry. Everything made me weep..so you could possibly check your meds.

    Big surgery. Absolutely an assault to your body.

    Just concerned about your plans to return to work soon.

    Feel the support here. I know it won't help the pain but it may help you feel at ease knowing that we have all been there and truly understand.
     
  8. maryo52

    maryo52 Sr Bonesmartie

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    JJ, there are a lot of people on this forum just like you: young, ambitious, impatient, possessing of grand plans with the "new" knee. Meanwhile, our older counterparts who never expected to be able to renew their knee because their parents regarded bad joints as a fact of life, are just as pleased as punch with their new knees.

    Yes, you face many challenges. It really is not the Holy Grail I had in mind all those years I experienced my knee eroding, knowing I could get a "new" knee. So oh my gosh, we get hammered with one lesson after another in patience and acceptance. All I can say is I feel your pain although you are much younger than I am, and fortunately my single mom days were well behind me when I got into this TKR business. Yes, there is tremendous loss and you are grieving.
     
  9. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Well, you are not only in the middle of the "angry tissue" phase when everything is really inflamed and roaring, but you also have this Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
    You shouldn't be doing too much right now. Your only duties are REST, ELEVATE, ICE and TAKE YOUR PAIN MEDS BY THE CLOCK! You are getting stiffer and stiffer because you are doing too much. Remember, right now your knee is not out of condition, it is injured and it needs to be treated gently with lots of TLC! Read this article to understand why you are getting so stiff Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it? There will be more to follow!

    There is another facet to this issue and that is pain management. People invariably notice the absence of their pre-op pain and think that anything remaining post-op must just be considered an inconvenience but this is not so. There are many manifestations of pain and most of them contribute tremendously to the swelling. This needs to be managed and that is why you were prescribed pain meds.

    So would you please tell me the following:
    1. what activity are you having right now - this includes PT, housework, shopping, etc.
    2. are you elevating your leg? If so, how often and for how long? Also how high
    3. are you icing? If so, how often and for how long
    4. finally, what pain meds are you prescribed, how much are you taking and how often?
    I don't recommend a return to work that early. Most unwise. Our Tim is a teacher and did that and he often says he regretted it. referee54


    You would do well to also read these articles
    Working after surgery: plan for a phased return to your job
    The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
    How Long Does Healing Take ......
    Chart representation of TKR recovery
    Energy drain for TKRs
    Elevating your leg to control swelling and pain
    Using ice
    Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
    Progression of activity for TKRs

    Knee Replacement - Where Am I in Recovery?
    So What Is It Going to Take? The Five “P’s” of Knee Recovery
    Work “Smarter” and not “Harder”
    About recovering a knee - from one who knows!
    Some suggestions for home physio (PT) and activity progress
    Myth busting: The "window of opportunity"
     
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  10. jjlutz

    jjlutz New Member

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    Thank you everyone for helping me figure out what I am doing on this site. I still feel like a greenhorn actually.

    I guess my question now is does cumaden make you tired? I seem to not have any energy. I will be starting my fourth week on Monday and hope that will be my last week on Cumaden. Over the weekend, I found that my knee is just so stiff and this is soooo concerning to me because I will be going back to work in a couple weeks and it consists of alot of sitting which I find soooo uncomfortable. I hate to be a negative nanny, but I am tired of feeling the way I do. I just want energy again and stamina to do activities without feeling so stiff and so tired. Please tell me that will change? Is it common to still be taking pain pills at this point? I started taking Tylenol, but when I feel bad enough, I take a pain pill but feel guilty. I feel like I am being whimpy or something. I am younger then most of you and yet, I seem to be the one struggling!!! Is there an invisible corner that I will turn soon?

    Thank you again for any advise you can give me to get through all this. I hope I can look back on this experience soon and say, "I am so glad I did this!" but at this point I can't say that.
     
  11. Morning Glory

    Morning Glory Senior

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    I'm going on 6 weeks with my second TKR and I'm still waiting for the energy to return. I was taking aspirin so don' t know anything about cumaden. My knees are both stiff & sore when I stand up after sitting awhile but at this point Tylenol takes care of it. It it didn't I would have no problem going back on Percocet for awhile. Lots of poeople need pains meds for a few months, that is certainly nothing to feel guilty about.
    Even with the aches & pains and the rest I'm still glad I have my new knees. My life was so limited before and now I can do so many things I've been missing out on. I'm sure you'll be glad too, just give it a little more time.
     
  12. Knitter4444

    Knitter4444 Graduate

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    Yes, you will be tired. Your body want through a big wreck with the surgery. I think for most of us, energy level was a big issue..(as well as the pain).

    It took me 5.5 months to feel like I was glad that I had gone through this. I had to learn patience..not my best virtue at all.

    You are not being whiney..We all understand which is why this board is so terrific. Unless a person has been through this, it is tough to relate to the situation. Be assured that there are many of us who understand and will try to help.

    Dont know about the blood thinner..But I will tag Jo, our resident super being who happens to be a nurse of many, many years to help you with this. Josephine
     
  13. sandyk

    sandyk Member

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    Hey there it is not whiney or anything like that hun - you have had a major operation and it will take a long time to recover fully. I am just coming up to 6 months post op and there are days i could fall asleep at the drop of a hat and i still have some stiffness on standing after sitting for a while.

    You need to keep on the pain relief for as long as it takes - I am still taking tramadol although i have reduced the dosage - my gp gave me a series of prescriptions to take to the chemist (9 months supply) i just contact the chemist when i need them and get them the next day - i was on 8 a day but have reduced them to between 4 and 6 depending on how painful things are and also what activities i am going to be doing - i ensure that if i go out i have at least 2 on me for emergencies lol.

    If you have looked up what actually happens during the op you will realise just how much trauma your knee has gone through - and remember your bad knees did not happen over night they took time to get to the point of replacement so it makes perfect sense that it takes time to get them back working right.

    Just keep up the good work - remember to rest - elevate and ice as much as necessary and keep taking the tablets.
     
  14. sandyk

    sandyk Member

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    welcome to the forum =- i totally agree with everything that has been said - you have had major surgery - you will suffer from post op blues - feel like your totally useless and cant do a thing -= this is normal honest - i'm now at 6 months post op and still have weepy days and days where i regret having the op but they are getting less and less - remember how long it took for your knees to need replacing and that it didn't happen overnight well neither does recovery - be governed by your knees not your head, the head wants to rush things and get back to 'normal' - but the knees will tell you that you are working them too hard and abusing them lol - this is not a race but if it were you and the rest of us would be the tortoise, slow and steady wins every time.

    take care and remember to rest - elevate and ice and keep up the pain meds xxx it does get easier honest :)
     
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  15. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    jj, you started a new thread so I suppose I would be corrected in assuming you never read my thread with all the links in it? If you would read them, you will find one that directly answers this question about fatigue.

    I merged your two threads together, please use only this one and don't start another thread or you risk missing replies to you.
     
  16. Elsie Yan

    Elsie Yan Member

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    Hi JJ,

    Yes, the stiffness in early recovery sucks. That bothered me the most. I was 49+ when I had my BTKR and I am also an active person. The stiffness and tightness restricted my movement quite a bit. When I walked, my upper body tend to move forward first because of the stiffness. So it appears that my body is bending forward. I get a lot of comments on this from family members. And I tell them that its because my knees are so stiff and tight they cant move as fast as my upper body. I also had comments that I looked like a penguin when I walked. Getting up after a period of sitting was also a problem as the knees felt even stiffer. All the downtime and comments made me miserable and yes, I did get emotional sometimes. To make matters worse, I have lower back problem so all the prolonged sitting gave me a lot of discomfort in my back.

    But it does get better, believe me. A lot better. I just stopped complaining and started to focus on more positive things like for example being grateful for a successful surgery, having pain free knees and a better quality of life to look forward to.
    I try to get out of the house and enjoy the simple things in life. Just sitting in the park or in the mall, reading a magazine or enjoying a snack made me feel better. I also enjoyed the outings with my sisters even though it was just over a cup of coffee at a cafe. Eventually when I became more active, I stopped counting the time and don't think much about the stiffness even though its there but it has improved a lot.

    I went back to work at 2.5 months but I took it slow working on alternate days for a few weeks. I worked in a legal firm and had to climb 2 flights of stairs but it was manageable. But all the sitting and getting up frequently was really tiring and the knees does feel stiff. By the time I go home, I was exhausted and could sleep very well. Gradually, my knees just got better and better. I could feel that I was walking more naturally with a good posture. At 15 months now, I still have a little stiffness but its not stopping me from doing anything. I believe that it will still get better after reading all the experiences of those in more advanced recovery.

    So, JJ just hang in there, do what you are supposed to do with all the good advice given by members here. Try to look at the bright side of things and I'm sure you will feel better.
     
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  17. jjlutz

    jjlutz New Member

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    Thank you so much everyone!! All the advice and encouragement has already boosted my spirits somewhat. Patience is a hard thing for some people to understand and I am one of them. I know mind over matter is what will get me through. I guess joining this forum made me realize that I am not alone in this process and what I am feeling IS totally normal. I have committed to taking better care of myself through natural supplements (which I started pre-op) and felt such a change in just a couple of months. I am hoping with my continued process of these supplements it will also help in my healing.

    Thank you again for all you encouragement and articles to read!!
     
  18. Organist

    Organist Senior

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    jj, welcome to the group. Everyone has given great advice. Patience is hard to practice -- something we work on our entire lives.

    As for the pain meds, DO NOT wait until the pain gets bad to take your pain meds -- not at this stage in your recovery. If you wait until the pain is bad, it's harder for the pain meds to do what it's supposed to do. As Jo and everyone says, "Pain meds BY THE CLOCK" -- particularly for the first few weeks. Your knee will let you know when you can ease up gradually on the amount and time schedule. You're taking them to get rid of the PAIN, not to get "high". As your knee gets better, you'll have more times that your knee will feel OK for longer before it starts "winding up" to full-blown pain. At that point, you can wait until it starts feeling achy or sore. Take care of the pain, ice, elevate, and rest whenever possible. :zzz:

    Oh, yes. When you DO return to work, it will help to have an extra chair or something on which you can elevate your leg while you're sitting. Also getting up every hour to walk for a couple of minutes helps.

    I'm 3 months out, and at 12 weeks I went to a 2-week convention in Indianapolis. I live in Western North Carolina. So that was a long drive there and back, and the days were spent sitting in meetings, workshops, etc. Having my leg elevated on a chair helped tremendously, and I got up every now and then "to get a drink of water" and just move a bit. Oh, and I'd move my leg around once in awhile -- lowering it off of the chair, gently flexing it under the table (straightening and bending) -- to keep it from getting it too stiff. I've found that when I get up after sitting for awhile, it helps to stand slowly and give my knee a few seconds to adjust to standing -- shifting my weight from one leg to another. Then I'm "good to go" and walk sooo much better than I could before my surgery.

    It will get better. Glad that you've joined our group. It helps to be able to vent and ask questions. :friends:
     
  19. Lauralou

    Lauralou Junior Member

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    Hey jjlutz

    I'm 41, I had my TKR just over 10 weeks ago and yesterday I played in an 18 hole golf competition and came 4th!!!

    There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is so, so hard for the first 4 to 6 weeks. I found going back to work a bit tough as I too have a desk job. This TKR likes to be on the move, it hates sitting in one position for periods at a time.

    Anyway, this is my story, have a quick read as it might help you :) http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/what-did-i-let-myself-in-for.14968/#post-335788

    Lou
    xxx
     
  20. Izzzy

    Izzzy New Member

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    Hang in there darlin', its a rough go and it changes minute by minute. Tomorrow will be my 28 post op, and I still struggle. Network and ask for help from friends and family, they want to help, they just don't know what to do. Try out some of the suggestions made here, they can help. Take care. Izzzy
     
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