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Cami515 RTKR - the journey begins

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by cami515, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. cami515

    cami515
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    I've had right knee pain for a number of years but have put off having any surgery (with my ortho's consent). But, now, as my doctor has told me - "It is time". So, I have surgery scheduled for November 28th....and I am super nervous!

    Interestingly, I had a left hip replaced in 2014, so you would think that I would be more calm about this upcoming procedure. But, I've heard so many awful stories (as many of us have) about pain, long recovery, clunking implants, etc. that this whole thing is making me very anxious! I am looking forward to reading about everyone's knee replacement experiences!
     
  2. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Hi, @cami515. and welcome back to BoneSmart, or at least to the Knee Side of BoneSmart. :welome:

    Here's some pre-op reading to help you along. You might especially enjoy the Stories of Amazing Knee Recoveries at the bottom. :) Lots of people have wonderful results. I'm one of them. My two new knees have changed my life.

    If you have concern about pain with this surgery, Plan For Pain, can be helpful for having this discussion with your medical team.

    New BoneSmart members like you are in various stages of their journey to joint replacement. Making the decision whether or not to have surgery and preparing for surgery can be easier once you have done your research and know what lies ahead. Here are some tools that can help you decide what is best for you.

    If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:

    Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic knee?
    Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
    BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement 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


    If you have any questions, fire away - we're here to help.
     
  3. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Seeing as you are already scheduled for TKR, here are our Recovery Guidelines to help you prepare for your recovery. Yes, recovery from this surgery can be long, and a test of patience, but you'll have lots of support!

    Oh, and have you signed up for the November Nimbles support group? They're near the top of the page. A fun group!

    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

    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.
     
  4. cami515

    cami515
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    @SusieShoes - Thank you so much for all of the links! I will check them out for sure! I am so glad this forum exists! It sure helped me when I was going through my hip replacement and I am sure that I will find this forum comforting and helpful again for my knee replacement!
     
  5. PolarBear60

    PolarBear60 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Everyone is different. I had little serious pain after my replacements, but I had nagging pain for over a year. Two and a half and over one year respectively after my replacements, that's mostly gone. I had clunking with my left knee but not with my right. I solved the clunking problem by paying attention to my gait and ensuring I picked my foot up more deliberately until I reset the habit. Since then, I've only noticed an ocassional clunk when I'm tired. For whatever reason, people experience various causes for clunking when they do experience it, but I'm sharing what worked for me.

    I was nervous in different ways before each of my replacements, so I think it's perfectly normal, even though you've had one successful joint replacement. Each one is different, and you just don't know beforehand how they will manifest. Most people come through just fine, and I am confident you will too. Best of luck to you, and feel free to ask any questions you come across before or after.
     
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  6. kneeper

    kneeper FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    It is a long recovery, but one I found well worth it. Interestingly I could tell the new knee was better than the old immediately after the surgery--strong and stable. So long as you don't expect to control the recovery and instea follow your knee's lead, you'll be fine. The knee is the boss. :)
     
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  7. SpaceGirl

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    Hi @cami515 I too am nervous about my upcoming surgery in November. I continually remind myself the outcome is going to be worth the pain of recovery. I mean the pain can't be as bad as the daily pain now that pain meds don't touch, right?? lol at least that is what I tell myself! :D I think no matter how many surgeries you have, you can still be nervous and unprepared. I have had 2 c-sections, neither planned, but the I knew it was a possibility with the last kiddo, but it was not nearly as bad as the first. Every surgery, even if the same is going to have a different recovery and process. The best thing we can do is prepare ourselves, read up on all the links posted above, talk to others and read some recovery threads. Sending calming prayers your way!
     
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  8. cami515

    cami515
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    Thank you all for your words of encouragement! I know that tons of people have been through this surgery - I am reading all of the different posts and experiences!

    @SpaceGirl - you are about a week and a half ahead of me so wishing you calming prayers, too! I will look for your post on the other side :)

    I saw my surgeon this past Monday and surgery is all set for November 28th. Now, it's just getting through the disability paperwork and lab tests, plus stocking up on stuff at home. I have three cats and I have to figure out if I will get a pet sitter to check in on them while I am in the hospital for two days or take a chance on one of my neighbors....as long as they are taken care of, I can feel a little less nervous!
     
  9. SusieShoes

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    Settle the kitties, prepare your recovery nest for your return, and... go! As the date gets nearer and you clear away the necessary busy-work (pre-op tests, interviews, whatever), you will, I hope, start to feel amazingly calm. I too liked to read all the posts about people’s experiences! It really helped during my recovery. When something new popped up, I could often say, “Oh, I’ve read about this!” Then I could just deal with it and move on.
     
  10. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I had 13 rescued cats at the time of my surgery. I bought a long handled litter scooper, which was a real help. Of course, I had bought loads of cat food and litter ahead of time. I used a cup to scoop fresh litter into the boxes as needed. Hopefully, you can find someone to check on them while you're gone and come in every few days to check on you, too, once you're home.
     
  11. cami515

    cami515
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    Wow! 13 cats! I bought a long-handled litter scoop so that should help. I have a pet sitter coming by a few times for the two days that I am in the hospital and possibly the evening I come home. How did you get all of the scooped litter bags out into the trash? I think I can scoop the litter ok but then have to use my walker down 2 steps to get outside to take out the trash. I do have neighbors that might help, but they are not always around. I hope to be able to manage as much as I can on my own even if I can't move to fast with my walker!
    Surgery just about two weeks away!!!
     
  12. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I have rails on both sides of my steps, so I hung on to them. I kept an aluminum walker by the steps outside to grab on to. I have a rolling walker, that I used inside, that had a seat on it to place things on to transport. I put the used litter parts into a Walmart shopping bag, tied it, rolled it to the steps then used the 'handles' of the bags up on my wrists as I came down the steps and used the outside walker. I had a friend that checked on me 3x that first week, and once a week the next few. She took my trash away for me. She also washed my hair for me! That was heaven!
     
  13. cami515

    cami515
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    Good to know! I think I have a friend that might stay for the first couple of days after surgery and, hopefully, my neighbors will be available some of the time? When I had my hip replacement surgery 3 years ago, PT taught me how to manage the two steps outside and how to lower the walker and then my legs (one at a time of course). I just don't know what to expect with a new knee!!
    I am going to a mandatory joint replacement class over at the hospital this afternoon, so that should offer some tips - although, I've learned many tips so far from all of you by reading these forum!
     
  14. cami515

    cami515
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    Went to the mandatory joint class - I was the only one there! So, got to ask questions that were particular to the hospital. I think I’m less anxious...maybe? 14 days....


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  15. SpaceGirl

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    Morning! That is good to have a class to yourself sometimes! Nice to be able to ask questions alone and can ask as many as you want without worrying about tying up other people. I hate I had to miss mine, but no sitter, so alas I had no choice. Hopefully their info will come in the mail today or tomorrow since my surgery is Thurs. Would do not good to show up on Thurs :heehee:
     
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  16. cami515

    cami515
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    @SpaceGirl - I hope all went ok!!
    It seems like all I hear about is the PAIN after surgery! Is it really that bad? I have my pain meds all set and ready to go! 12 days!


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  17. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Well, this a major surgery —about as major as a commonly done surgery can get— and the recovery is a long one. There is a significant amount of pain in the mix. Think about what’s being done: bones sawed and drilled into new shapes, pieces of bone removed, metal hammered into place, and of course all the cutting, moving around, stretching and resuturing of soft tissue surrounding the knee joint. And all of this is expected to MOVE immediately after surgery and while healing, and also bear the weight of our bodies while moving, and... well you get the idea. There is pain from all that.

    Is it bad? Depends on who you ask! Mine was there, but I had been in such HORRIBLE pain from my arthritic knees before surgery that afterward... it wasn’t any worse! Seriously. Walking was no more painful after surgery than before, and soon it was lots less painful. It was “I can do this” level pain. Now, I am happy to say, I have none.

    Other people will tell you different experiences of their pain. Each person feels pain uniquely.

    You have a pain control plan in place and you’ll do great. :) You felt pain after your hip surgery, and you’ll feel pain after this one. In the end, though, you will get through it to a wonderful new knee and life.
     
  18. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    My description of the pain is that it's worse than childbirth. But, the pain meds and ice are a wonderful pain reducer! I iced the whole time I was sitting or laying down. This really helped to control the pain. My suggestion is to never run out of ice or pain meds those first few weeks. If you don't run out you'll be just fine!
     
  19. Celle

    Celle FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    The pain can be bad, but it can also be controlled with a good regime of medication that is taken on a strict schedule.
    Keeping to a schedule means that you won't be constantly playing catch-up with the pain.

    The other important thing is not to do or allow any exercise that increases the pain:
    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.​
     
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  20. SpaceGirl

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    I am doing well minus the pain. I feel like it is pretty intense right now. I would agree it is prob worse than childbirth but the end result of both are worth it, right!?? The surgery itself is a cake walk lol t least for us but recovery is going to be tough but I am looking at the end result.


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