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TKR Birdwatcher's recovery thread

Jaycey

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@Birdwatcher Nice to see you posting but I am sorry you are so worried about your knee. You are 7 months into a process that can take one year or longer. Swelling after an activity is very normal for a new knee. Ice and elevate and ease into any new activity very gradually.

We will be interested to hear what your new physio says. Please keep us updated!
 

Bikeknit

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When my knees were so bad that I couldn't hike but I was still able to bicycle, I invested in some good quality cold weather biking gear - lobster mittens (look it up), wool socks, neck warmers, ear warmers that fit under my helmet. It made it easier to get on the bike.

I also live in the city and try to focus walks on learning about my city's history - I try to walk by galleries and look in the Windows, learn about architectural landmarks etc. It is very different than hiking in the country but can be fun.

You are such an active person, it must be frustrating to still be struggling to regain some of your function. We've all enjoyed reading about your journey and know you'll pass through this also.
 
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Birdwatcher

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Hi again.
It's better now.
Today I went to a PT I have been recommended.
He was really amazed with my knee, and said he thought I was one of the most successful TKR cases he had ever seen. And yet I still occasionally get swelling which can cause pain, but that is totally normal. Everything looked fine, he said. My muscles are nicely build up, getting stronger.
(sorry if I write english wrong, - it's late here in Denmark ;)) I do my best. zzzzZZZZ

I just wanted to share with you, how happy I am, and really relieved.
It's wonderful to be reassured from a professional, that you have done a good job, - despite the world pandemic we are forced to live with, and all the inconveniences it comes with.

For me, - it has been difficult. Especially the first couples of months. At times I felt very alone with this new thing in my knee, - this life changing new thing they put in my knee in March 2020, - and then just left me alone to deal with it. It was all up to me from then on. Well, I got lucky (and persistent) and they gave me 2 phone call appointments, but other than that; - nothing.

Now it is nearly 8 months since the operation. My PT thinks I can start running training in spring 2021, and until then, it's training and diet. And enjoying life... thats important.

Best healing to you all, and be safe out there.
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Jaycey

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@Birdwatcher Lovely update - I am so happy for you. It's great that you got input from PT. Keep enjoying that new knee and the living life again!
 

Wolvesfan

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I love your updates. You and I had surgery the same month, and it’s so good to know that someone else has had an experience similar to mine. I know we’ll continue to heal. I do get discouraged every now and then, but I keep telling myself “just give it time” when my new knee feels a bit sore or stiff. Best wishes to you!
 
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Birdwatcher

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Today It is 8 months and 15 days since my TKR.
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I still have days where I kind of regret the operation, but then I talk to my husband about it, and he tells me that nothing would have been better, if I had the old knee still. Which is absolutely right, and then my mind gets at the right place again, and I find my gratitude.
If I didn't had had the operation, I probably wouldn't be able to walk at all. So, there is a lot to be grateful for. Remember that.

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So, is it also called "Spinning"?, in english? that thing you do at the gym, when you sit on stationary bikes with a bunch of other people and you spin together? I have joined that class a couple of times now, and it is REALLY hard. I don't make it through the whole program, and I loosen the tension more than my "classmates", but it is really hard still. Also good, at the same time. Just like when I swim in the ocean, which I do all year round, 3-4 times a week. These days the water is about 10 degree C, and it is quit cold now. It takes a bit of persuasion to get under, but I know the reward by doing it, just like I feel the reward after biking/spinning for an hour. Afterwards I feel such happiness inside, a feeling of peace and just happiness. It is called "Happy-hormon release. It is also very good for my knee, I think the happy-hormon goes directly in there too :yahoo:

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My pt was not pleased when I told him about the spinning. "It is too much", he said. "You are overdoing it, and you will pay the price and slow healing process down".
So, now I still spin, but only for the company. I ride the bike the full hour, but with nearly no tension at all, and slower pace. I really hate riding bike at the gym when I am alone. It helps that we are a class, 8 other bikers than me, it keeps me going and not give up after ten minutes boredom. Due to Covid, we are only allowed to be 10 people in the same room. But I am grateful we get to workout at all. They talk about a mutation of the virus, and in a part of our country they are killing a lot of minks. Apparently the animals were carriers of the mutated virus.
I don't know... the world is crazy. It makes me so sad. Not only for the animals, but for all the families that are affected by this covid. We are told that the vaccine has been tested ok, and maybe we all can get the vaccine early next year.

Well...back to my knee.
I still elevate it, and ice it. Even now at almost 9 months PO, I try to do it every day. I feel it really helps me, not only that moment I do it, but also the rest of the day.
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Am I still running? Naah not really. I worry too much about ruining my "trouble-child" - the knee - , that I have decided to wait until mt pt says GO. But once a week I go for a speed-walk, and fantasize that I am running like in the old days.
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Today I signed up for a couple of birdwatcher-walks, with a local bird-association, both walks are in december, and I can not tell you how much I look forward to it. I also have a couple of other events in the calendar now, shorter hikes with my daughter and husband, and all that is just getting my spirit up. I feel like I am getting way better at adjusting my life, so I can get joy and happiness, despite my "troublechild" (knee). And that is so important... try to find happiness in the things you CAN do.

Sometimes when I look at my knee, I think it looks wrong. But I have decided that, even though it looks odd, and also makes strange noises (clunk-sound), it can function enough to allow me to do a lot. So I have stopped worrying about the looks and the sounds, - it is not good for my head to worry so much.

ROM is 130, I believe PT said. I am not totally sure if that is execellent, but it is enough for me.


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Take care out there. Hope you are doing well, and many thoughts to all you brave warriors who are struggling right now.
 
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Wolvesfan

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@Birdwatcher ... I love your updates. I’m 8 months post op, and yes, there are still days when I wonder why I did this to myself. But then there are days like last Tuesday, when I hiked three miles around a beautiful lake (saw a magnificent bald eagle, too) and my knee did just fine. I was hoping to be back in the gym by now, but Covid is spiraling out of control where we live, so I content myself with walking our puppy at dawn when the neighborhood is empty and silent. Two friends have told me that it was a full year before they were totally happy with their knee replacements, and I know there’s still plenty of time to fully heal. Stay safe and healthy!
 
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Birdwatcher

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@Birdwatcher ... I love your updates. I’m 8 months post op, and yes, there are still days when I wonder why I did this to myself. But then there are days like last Tuesday, when I hiked three miles around a beautiful lake (saw a magnificent bald eagle, too) and my knee did just fine. I was hoping to be back in the gym by now, but Covid is spiraling out of control where we live, so I content myself with walking our puppy at dawn when the neighborhood is empty and silent. Two friends have told me that it was a full year before they were totally happy with their knee replacements, and I know there’s still plenty of time to fully heal. Stay safe and healthy!
Oh Wolvesfan, thank you for your sweet words, and I almost don't know what to be most excited about; the eagle or your beautiful walk with a well-behaved knee... both part are just amazing <3 Bald Eagle...wau! I have only seen one in a zoo in Malta, such a magnificent bird! My heart bled, when I saw that big bird sit in a little tree in a cage... he should be out high in the sky, not in a small cage.

Yeah, that virus is also giving us trouble here, - again. Second time around, and still going very strong. Our government will decide this week, if further actions and lockdown are necessary. It's very hard for everyone to keep holding the spirit up, I think.

I have heard that too, about the 1-year recovery. My PT even mentioned up to 1½ year. So.. we got time, and everything will be okay.

Thanks for your comment, stay safe too.
 

kneeper

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Thanks for updating us on your progress. It does sounds like the spinning was too much but great that the knee felt well enough to at least try it.
 

Murphy2013

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Hello Birdwatcher! What a great idea. I think we will go birding soon. I forgot about a lot of normal life. I keep my small Swarovski birding glasses in the car with a book for identification. This a red tail who lives in tree outside my window. Can you tell me about ocean swimming. I am so respectfully interested in how you are adjusted to colder temperatures. I swam outside today which was blissful but note that in December we are in our best month.
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9 months and 22 days since TKR operation.

So, Christmas came and went. My daughter and grandchildren visited, and we had a nice holiday together.

December have been good for my knee. I have increased my daily steps to 12.000, but actually my average now is 16.000.. very proud of that.

My knee actually loves it. I go for a walk every day, 6-12 km, and I can feel that my knee is getting stronger. When we first moved to the city in October, my knee really did not like all the walking on hard surfaces. It was use to walking in the woods. So October, and also a little in November, was really hard on the Knee, until the knee became stronger. Now I can take long walks on pavement, without pain.

I have days where I don't think much on the knee, and don't take notice of it. That must be a good sign.

Despite all the good thing, I apparently are worried deep down. Last night I dreamed that I was at the hospital, and the nurse and doctor told me that something was wrong with my leg. I was not strong enough, I should be able to do more than I could in my dream, and there were something wrong with my scar.
I woke up with a really bad feeling inside. There were other elements in the dream that together possibly is the reason for the dream, I don't believe the state of my knee really has nothing to do with it. But it was really unpleasant, and I think it was the worse knee-dream I have had in my recovery.

Have you also have dreams about your knee?

Christmas day gave us sunshine, blue sky and cold, clear day, so my daughter, husband and I went to a small island and walked 12 km. It was soooo nice. I saw a lot of birds, - both birds of prey (white tailed Eagle, Kestrel and Blue Harrier), a Silver Heron and different waddenbirds. Picture 3 shows an Eider, (male) which we saw large flocks of, male and female. I did not have my camera, only my phone, so the quality of the photo is not good.
We walked in difficult terrain some of the way, and at a time I could feel my knee getting tired. A little bit of pain occurred beneath the kneecap, but it went away after a rest and coffee break. We continued on the uneven terrain along the coast, and I didn't experience further problems.

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday and wish you the best recovery.

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Jaycey

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Have you also have dreams about your knee?
I've had both hips replaced and spinal surgery. I have had bad dreams about every procedure. I think it's natures way of helping us cope with the trauma of surgery and recovery.

Sounds like you are doing very well @Birdwatcher ! Seaside walks are the best. I live 1.4 miles from a bird sanctuary on the Yorkshire coast. Lots of seabirds and fantastic views.

Happy New Year!
 

sistersinhim

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There's nothing more relaxing than walking along a nice quiet waterfront! You are doing amazingly well for less than 10 months out. I will occasionally have bad dreams about my new knee. I'm wondering if we'll laying on it 'wrong' and it's aching some just not enough to wake us up. That's what I'm blaming mine on!
 

Bikeknit

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Thank you so much for these updates and cheerful photos @Birdwatcher. You are 3 months ahead of my second knee and 6 months ahead of my first knee so I read your updates and imagine where I will be in a few months. I went for a three mile walk and then had to ice my right knee. I was discouraged but I went back and read where you were at 3 months and saw that I am not so far off. Your story is helping me.

So glad you got to spend the holiday with your daughter and grandchildren. And to go for this lovely walk.
 

pamsknees

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Great photos! Sounds like you are doing well with lots of walking. How nice that you got to see your daughter & grandkids. I miss seeing mine.That dream doesn’t sound pleasant at all! I rarely have dreams that I remember......the only one recently was a great dream about being retired......I never thought I’d want to retire as I have a mostly fun job but this year has been less fun at work.
 

Goma

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I live in Australia and the guidelines or recommendations here are no high impact sports such as skiing, jumping, running etc that could wear out the knee. You sound great with your activity level.
 
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So, today we are going to a holidayhouse for a week. Very excited about that. It is close by, so maybe it is silly of me getting so excited, but well covid sure made the level go down, for how much it would take to make life exciting *laughing

My knee is behaving well. Though I still have days, - not knowing why - with swelling and some stiffness. I have accepted that. I am more or less always swelled in the left side of the knee, it is like there is a small compartment which is full of fluid. Some days a lot, some days just a little. I think it was my operating doctor, that once said, my knee kind of remembers the old swelling areas, and keep filling them up with fluid, several months after surgery.

With my 1 year anniversary coming up March 5, I came to think the other day, about what the newly operated ME expected regarding the knee, one year from surgery. I actually expected way too much. It really has taken me by surprise, how much work this TKR has taken. How long the recoveryroad was and is.

Would I recommend this surgery to others? To my best friend? Yes. Absolutely. BUT... I would tell her/him that if there is any other way to go, then go that way. TKR is NOT piece of cake. If your knee is so damaged, that you can't walk or stand - and no other surgery can make it better, then go for TKR.
TKR is something to take really seriously, it is not a miracle button to push, and whoop there you are with a strong and healthy knee. No, stop and really think hard about the consequences, before doing it. Some - including my self - gets the surgery too soon, because they are told that it will come eventually. They tell you that the knee is going down hill rapidly, so within a year, maybe 2, it will make you more or less unable to walk. TAKE THAT YEAR OR 2! Wait until you can not move anymore without severe pain. Because.... THEN you will feel the TKR as a huge improvement of life. But if you do it too soon... you still have a pretty active life to compare with, and the TKR will feel like your life has gone down hill.
Does it make sense? It is not easy for me, writing in English.

Sometimes I regret my TKR. I know it is crazy, because my knee really was damaged, but I really wish I had waited a year or two. But... when that is said.... I am grateful that it went rather well, and that I can take long walks etc. There is just things that I miss... getting down on all 4 is impossible. Dancing can still hurt, same with aerobic. Going up and down hills also are difficult. There still is a lot of limitations, and I accept them but there are just days were I am sick and tired of them.

That is life right now. Covid does not make anything better, hopefully we soon can see an end to that pandemic.

Take care all
 

sistersinhim

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I am the opposite of you. I would have done my years earlier if I had known how well I'd turn out. I've had 5 previous surgeries on my knee. I would be better for a few years then have to have more surgery. I was told in my early 30s that I would eventually have to have a knee replacement, that I was too young then. They said they'd never even consider it until I was close to 60. All those 30 years were wasted with just 'putting a bandaid' on it 5 times instead of replacing it then like they do now. Yep, I would have done it much sooner!
 

Carmencita

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Hi all

Oh dear @Birdwatcher I have followed your thread and experience, as you are very active and positive which is encouraging as I am pre op and my knee has gone from being very swollen and painful, to not so bad, I can still walk, do other active stuff, but cannot continue with my beloved running, and have to compromise with a lot of other activities.

Like @sistersinhim I have known for many years I will need replacements - the decision was made to have TRKR which is currently postponed due to COVID. Seeing your post made me second guess myself (again)! Should I, shouldn’t I?). Surely if you leave it until you’re in intense pain and can barely walk, the knee will have deteriorated so much that you risk a difficult and prolonged recovery, or worse still, with a knee that is in such a state there’s not much hope?

HELP!

Anyway, I have really enjoyed reading your post and the lovely photos you have added to your story. Well done!

ps. I hope I’ve posted this in the correct place, I don’t want to impinge on @Birdwatcher thread??
 

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