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Bilateral TKR

Patsyo

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Hi all!
I’m scheduled for bi-lateral TKR on 15th July.
My knee arthritis seems odd. My knees are not stiff in the morning and I have good flexion and good extension in my right knee but not as good in my left.
My problem is that I cannot walk for more than ten minutes before getting stiff and very sore to the point of being disabled. If I sit down for a while, I can go again. I go upstairs no problem but cannot get out of a bath or off the floor. My entire legs ache after a short walk. I’ve tried injections, crutches and a rollator but nothing gives much relief.
I’m getting nervous that maybe it’s not really knee arthritis at all or just knee arthritis that’s different. As I say I can go up and down stairs no problem and am not stiff in the morning. But I can’t walk and left knee has given out a few times. X-ray shows moderate arthritis but my mobility is severely limited for standing or walking.
Is anyone else the same?
Best of luck to all waiting and worrying about this op.
 

Atlas_aus

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Hello and welcome.

I am 5 weeks out from my BTKR and am very happy with the results to date. It seems we maybe the exception to the rule, the bulk of people on here only need, or choose to have one done at a time. For myself I could not think of anything worse than going through the same thing twice !

My problem is that I cannot walk for more than ten minutes before getting stiff and very sore to the point of being disabled. If I sit down for a while, I can go again. I go upstairs no problem but cannot get out of a bath or off the floor. My entire legs ache after a short walk. I’ve tried injections, crutches and a rollator but nothing gives much relief.
This was exactly the same for me... Walking any great distance was near impossible, standing in the one spot was also bad. One would assume your surgeon believes your knees are bad enough to be done, I don't believe they make such decisions lightly, after all this is major surgery. You must also be in very good health for them to consider bi-lateral.

It is probably obvious to you but you are going to need 'double' of a lot of things, twice as many ice packs for instance. And because you won't have a good leg to stand on (pun intended :eyebrows:) you may find having a walker, toilet aid, shower chair & hand held shower to be of advantage.

I also grabbed a secondhand electric recliner and it has been the best investment to date. It really came in handy the first few days when I could not get comfortable in bed. Hopefully you will have someone by your side as it is really helpful, I am so glad my Wife has been with me for support. :friends:

Can't really think of anything else to add, you can have a read of my recovery thread if you like to waste a few minutes :tada:

https://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/btkr-28th-may-2019-post-op-journal.54428/
 

Roy Gardiner

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My problem is that I cannot walk for more than ten minutes before getting stiff and very sore to the point of being disabled
Your knees rule your life. Time to put an end to that.

BTKR worked for me, too. Check my recovery thread from my signature, below.
 
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Patsyo

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Hi Atlas and Roy. Thanks so much for your replies. I’ve read your story Atlas and it sounds a bit scary at times. I’m thinking of getting a recliner as I’ve heard they are good.
To be honest my health is not all that good. I was treated for latent TB in 2014 and then was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. It was, luckily early stage and I didn’t need chemo. Just surgery and oral AI drugs. At times I feel quite weak. My white blood cell count is always around a 3. So I’m worried about infection.
My OS seems quite unperturbed by all this and says bi-lateral is right for me. I saw him only last week and gave me a date for 15th July.
One half of me wants to go ahead and just get it all over and done with but I also get niggling doubts and fears about the surgery. Fears of clots, infection, heart attack, stroke etc. I know they’re rare but I’m still feeling scared. Sorry if I sound like a scaredy cat. I’m not like that about most things and I know I need this surgery.
It helps to put it into words on this site as you all understand. My family are all enthusiasm and supportive so I try to put on a brave face but I’m really feeling very anxious. Even thought of cancelling the op today.
 

Celle

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It's normal to be anxious before the event, Patsy. We all know what you're going through at this stage.

However, rest assured that your surgeon wouldn't be contemplating replacing your knees if it didn't need doing.
The complications you're worried about are rare. You have to be warned about them, but the vast majority of people have their joint replacements without developing any complications.

Here are some articles to help you prepare for your surgery:

Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:
Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

Regardless of where you are in the process, the website and app My Knee Guide can help you stay organized and informed. The free service keeps all the information pertaining to your surgery and recovery in one place on your smartphone. It is intended to be a personal support tool for the entire process.

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced knee, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
Stories of amazing knee recoveries
 

Celle

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And here is the recovery advice and reading that we give to everyone:
Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​
4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
6. Access to these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?

Energy drain for TKRs

Elevation is the key

Ice to control pain and swelling

Heel slides and how to do them properly

Chart representation of TKR recovery

Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

mtmtoronto

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Hi Patsyo,

I am having my right knee replaced on the 16th, so I'll be right behind you! My knees are always stiff, now, so I don't really notice the difference in the morning, anymore. :) Standing still is the worst for me, too - especially barefoot in the shower. Over the last 3 - 4 years, I've had to increasingly make allowances and restrict my life's activities, based on a) can I sit somewhere? and b) minimal walking. I've got significant misalignment with my knees - especially the right one - that my back gets strained. Ugh. I'm doing my knees one at a time (left knee in November), as I live alone and have stairs.

When I get nervous about the surgery, I remind myself how much more life I have to enjoy and adventures to experience. I'm fed up with feeling like I'm 51 going on 101! I'm ready! :) We can do this!

Jan
 

ApricotPie

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Your knee problems sound like mine. In the morning I am feeling almost normal. But one short walk or a shopping trip through then local SuperCenter and it gets sore fast and stays that way for the rest of the day.

I’m looking forward to my surgery later this month because my knee is on a steady slope down, Down and DOWN! In a few years it will be awful and stay that way. Surgery will drive it down again, but from that point on the slope should be up. And it should continue up for the one to two years it takes for full recovery.

Note: the next person I run into who tells me how his Aunt Agatha won a salsa dance competition three weeks after her surgery, or how his neighbor played 18 holes of golf with no cart two months after his surgery.... well, I won’t be responsible for my actions. :-0


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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rosieNZ

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Oh yes. Ignore the fact I went back to work at 3 wks post op. It wasnt easy. I had to work hard, suck it up and get on with it.
Its our life. Do rehab your way. Its your life and there is no prize for being a martyr or getting to a milestone before anyone else. Its just your life! Enjoy what you have. A knee replacement is a fantastic opportunity to live the life you want. Its fantastic for most of us. xxx
 
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Patsyo

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Many thanks to all who replied and offered support. I’m having my pre-op today and will be asking a lot of questions. I’m having second thoughts about the BTKR but then, it will only be one operation and one anesthetic so that is attractive.
I’m really glad I joined this group because I don’t want to talk about this too much with family. I’m afraid my anxiety could increase theirs. Thanks very much everybody who posted a message. They help so much. Best wishes to all going through this.
 

DavidNC

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Bilateral was one of the best decisions I've ever made (next to marrying who I did). Mine was may 2017 and since December 2017,ive never had less than 10000 steps a day. You'll be very glad you did it
 
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Patsyo

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Hello again everybody. I hope you’re all improving or, if like me, you’re waiting, that you aren’t too anxious. I find the anxiety terrible.
I had my pre-op and most things were okay. However, the anesthetist didn’t seem too happy about my bloods. My WBC WAS JUST UNDER 3 ( I have some auto-immune issues) and my HB was only 11.8. I thought they might change me to unilateral instead of bi-lateral but the surgeon plans to go ahead regardless. I’m worried about this. In addition I got a bad attack of diverticulitis on Saturday and am now taking antibiotics until Wednesday. Surgery is next Monday 15th. Everything I’ve read says you need to be in good health for this op and I really need it. However, I’m not keen to take unnecessary risks and wonder should I ask to postpone it until I’m less anemic. Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks and best of luck to everybody enduring this surgery.
 

Celle

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I think your best course of action is to have a talk to your surgeon, Patsy.
 
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Patsyo

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I’m thinking of ringing his secretary tomorrow Celle. He’s a good surgeon but doesn’t invite many questions. I find him distant in some ways. He kind of expects patients to just trust him and go along with what he advises.
I found it hard to see the anesthetist seem concerned about anemia but not the surgeon!
Another thing is that I read that you shouldn’t have had recent knee injections of cortisone before replacement but the reporting nurse said he just brushed that off and said it wasn’t a problem. I had two knees injected 8 weeks ago.
I will talk to him tomorrow if I can get him but I know he’ll just say that I need the bilateral knee replacement.
 

Atlas_aus

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@Patsyo ,

How did you go with the Dr ?

Not long to go assuming you are still going ahead.

It is hard for us to trust someone else with our 'lives' literally, but sometimes we must and this is one of those occasions.

Maybe think for the positives instead of the 'what ifs'..... Have confidence in your choice and go for it.

Good luck.
 
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Patsyo

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Hi Atlas,
Thanks so much for getting in touch. My surgeon and anaesthetist decided that I’m too anemic at the moment for surgery.
My operation is postponed for a few weeks while I take medication to increase my white and red blood cell count. These numbers are down since I had radiation treatment for cancer.
I’m still going ahead with the surgery so I’ll be lurking around here for the next while and reading all the other stories.
I’m strangely relieved ( because I was feeling a bit washed out and nervous about that) but still very disappointed as I really badly need these new knees.
Thanks so much Atlas for getting back. I’ll be annoying the hell out of you with questions when I eventually get this business going.
 
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Patsyo

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Forgot to add that my lounge doctor is on the way and my gel freezing packs arrived today. I’m all set up and nothing happening! Maybe I’ll just practise and see if I can relieve some of the pre-op pain.
 

luvcats

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I'm glad your surgeon revisited the numbers and changed the plan. Hopefully when your body is feeling a bit stronger, you'll emotionally feel better about the surgery.

Like you, I could only stand up for a few minutes before the pain in my knees was unbearable until I sat down at least for a few moments. I could shower, but a quick wash. I few months ago I started having my hair washed at a salon because I couldn't stand long enough to do a good job.

At 11 days post surgery, last night in the shower I found myself balancing more on the new knee to relieve the still unhappy one on the right. Getting out of the tub, my new knee responds better than the original already. I can't wait to see what it can do once the swelling subsides and I get a bit more flexibility.

When it happens for you, it can be amazing to get your life back. You've already done so much.
 
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Patsyo

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Thanks so much for the encouragement luvcats. I really do want this surgery but I was a bit anxious when the anaesthetist had reservations. I’m going to spend time building myself up now and be in good shape in a few weeks time.
I’m so glad you’re happy with your surgery and hope next one works out well.
 

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