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my first TKR (right knee) set for March 2

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by yesyvonne, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    Hi all,
    (warning: lengthy intro)
    I’ve been lurking and occasionally commenting while I get my head around what’s coming and my courage up. I’m so grateful for all the knowledge and experience in this forum.

    My knees started hurting from arthritis years ago and I’ve been living with the pain. Maybe four? or five? or so years ago I started getting a cortisone shot in each knee approximately every three to six months, spaced more widely at first, closer together as time went on and cortisone helped less. For a good long while it did the trick — until it didn’t.

    Early part of last year I went for a slightly longer time without getting the shots because I knew I was going to Eastern Europe from the States in early June and knew I was going to be walking a lot there. Waited until a week before departure to get the shots again, thinking that would get me through all the walking.

    Long story short, it didn’t. I pushed myself thru a lot of pain. About 2 1/2 wks worth of seeing the sights in Warsaw, Krakow, and Prague, much of the time on foot and in pain.

    When I got back I immediately called my OS’s office to report the pain and unhelpful cortisone shots. Was told come right in and we’ll try another set of shots. Really? So soon? Yes, let’s just try it. So I did, to no avail. That was late June 2017. So the next week I went back and they started me on a weekly series of hyaluronic acid injections in each knee for three weeks. SinVisc? I think they called it. Again to no avail. It did nothing for me. So that was end of June & first half of July. And of course it made me realize time was up, time for the surgery.

    BUT I had further travel plans, three more trips then already booked in late July, early August, and mid-September. So surgery was going to have to wait until after the September trip.

    And life’s what happens when you are busy making other plans. In mid-July my FitBit alerted me that my heart rate was racing. What?!, stupid FitBit or stupid app, I said; I thought there was something wrong with *it*, not me. I felt fine other than my hurting knees.

    Turned out it was multiple pulmonary embolisms and the ER doc told me my FitBit may have saved my life. Spent a couple days in the ICU, then the next six months on anticoagulant (Eliquis) while we waited for the clots to go away.

    CT scan in mid-January ‘18 showed they are now “resolved,” i.e. gone, and the hematologist said I can now have the first knee done. Immediately made an appointment with my OS, and saw his physician asst today to get the ball rolling toward a surgery date.

    Scheduler will be clearing it with my health insurers and setting me up for the various pre-op visits and tests. Surgery is probably going to be about six to eight weeks from now. Both knees need TKR; right is worse so will go first. My doc’s way is to do them separately, at least three to six months apart.

    Meanwhile, the pain has gotten much worse. So while I’m fearful I’m also now saying bring it on; let’s get this over.

    And I decided last summer that the silver lining in the cloud of waiting in pain is the opportunity to lose weight that’s further stressing those poor pitiful knees. Down about 30 lbs so far, in about six months. Only 20 or so more to go to get to top end of normal BMI for my height. Yay. Now most of my clothes are too big. A good problem to have. Bright Line Eating works well for weight loss; a neuroscientist is behind it. No sugar, no flour, no snacking; three generous meals a day of measured quantities of protein, veggies, and whole fruit, plus a little fat.

    Also did some pre-op PT and started water aerobics classes this winter.

    Told my OS’s PA today that if he has a cancellation please put me on the list to go sooner. But there’s still all the pre-op tests and appointments, and insurance clearance, to complete first.

    Already got myself an ice machine with a knee cuff, very cheap used, offered on NextDoor. And I’ve read all the pre-op standard advice folks are given here, but won’t mind at all, will very much appreciate, those resources being posted here again for me.

    Will be asking more questions, I’m sure.

    Oh btw was told today it will be a Zimmer titanium prosthesis. My surgeon is Dr Ramiro Miranda with Muir Orthopedics; surgery will be at John Muir Hospital. He’s done hundreds, maybe even thousands, of knees.

    If you read all the above, thank you.
    Best to all who have surgery upcoming and to you who are healing,
    Yvonne,
    age 68, living in the SF Bay Area, northern Calif, where today it has been gorgeous, sunny & warm.


    Sent from my iPhone using BoneSmart Forum
     
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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  2. mswalking

    mswalking new member

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    You've been in pain for a long time, sorry you've had to put up with that. It's just been one year, and one knee, for me, and that feels like a long time. I share your enjoyment of walking while traveling, and hope you can be back doing that, but pain free, in a year or less. Congratulations on losing the weight, and on getting your surgery lined up. It takes courage. I'll be interested to hear what happens next.
     
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  3. Pumpkln

    Pumpkln FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    @yesyvonne ,
    Welcome to BoneSmart! Glad you joined us!
    You have been through a lot with your knees, glad you are moving forward with TKR's.

    Here is your copy of the reading you requested.

    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
     
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  4. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Hi @yesyvonne, and welcome! Your story could be mine: years of pain, shots of cortisone that stopped working, the Synvisc shots, and a final painful trip that convinced me to have the surgery. Good for you losing weight while you wait. :)

    Have you considered having both knees done at the same time? You mentioned that both are bad.
     
  5. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    Yes, both are bad and so I did consider it. But my surgeon won't do that. Only one at a time, and minimum three months wait till he'll do the second one. I did consider going in search of another surgeon in the SF Bay Area who will do both at once, but Dr Miranda and John Muir Hospital are both close to home, and honestly I think maybe one at a time will actually be better for me. I'm not sure I can explain that very well other than to say with one leg intact each time, I think my healing process will go better. Already, even without a date set but knowing it's coming, when I think about the surgery I get a bit ...um... woozy? I am really quite scared. But at this point there's no choice; I can't live my life with this pain. I'm hoping that after the first TKR, I'll know better what to expect and can head into the second surgery feeling a little more confident.

    The other thing is that my second knee, the left one, has something additional going on besides just the arthritis in the joint. There's arthritis and shrinkage in my spine (I've lost 1.5" in height) that's had a neurological impact on that left leg and is apparently causing both surface numbness and nerve tinglings around that other knee. The spine doc (same orthopedic practice as my knee guy) gave me a targeted epidural shot in my spine, maybe a year ago or so?, which got rid of the tingles but not the numbness. Now the tingles are back. So I'm thinking maybe better to treat the two knees separately for that reason, too. I may need another spinal injection before the left TKR but not until after the right knee is done.

    Meanwhile, I have braces for both knees, some pain lotion that actually seems to help a little, a TENS unit I wear constantly on the worse knee and use often, an ice pack I use when I'm watching TV sometimes, and a cane to hobble around with. And down one more pound today, yay. Each pound gone brings elation. :) I have prescribed pain meds too, but am reluctant to use them as I have a busy life and caregiving responsibility for a much older husband, and using the meds makes my head fuzzy and I sleep all day long.

    I will be so glad when both knees are done and I'm more fully mobile again. Oh, except there's another new issue that I'm taking to be another form of arthritis -- in my neck. Such a pain in the neck...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2018
  6. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    Date is now set: New right knee on March 2nd. Uh oh, this is getting real. Deep breath...


    Sent from my iPhone using BoneSmart Forum
     
  7. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Keep taking those deep breaths, @yesyvonne. It gets realer. The good news is all the pre-op stuff will keep you busy. :) March 2nd will be here before you know it.

    If you've picked a surgeon you trust, then do the TKR in whatever way the surgeon wants to do it. I picked my surgeon, and my surgeon made all the other decisions about implant, hospital, etc.. My job after that was to manage my recovery from the surgery. You will definitely know lots more about recovery for your second knee! After all, there's no better teacher than experience. :wink:
     
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  8. SherrieT

    SherrieT senior

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    How exciting @yesyvonne to have a date. With me it seemed like so long to find a surgeon, see them and then they gave me a date and suddenly time sped up and it was a race to get everything done before surgery.

    Today makes my 1 week knee-versary and, so far, I couldn't be happier to have it over with and working with recovery to get my life back.

    Soon you will be in recovery and planning all the wonderful things you are going to be doing when you have 2 working knees.

    Best of luck to you
     
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  9. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    @SusieShoes, I’ve been avidly reading your lengthy recovery thread. Still not all the way through it but it is fascinating! It went so well for you — yay.

    Besides all the “official” pre-op stuff to do, I am thinking about how better to prepare at home. Luckily we have a small apartment. Not many steps between bed bathroom kitchen and living room. Starting to cook in quantity to have good microwaveable meals available when I come home. If I have a grab bar on one side and counter top on other, do you think I still need a toilet seat riser? My husband is 85 and has mild cognitive impairment so I’m thinking about hiring someone to come in, maybe weekly for a few weeks, to clean bathroom and kitchen (he can run the vacuum); how many weeks do you think I should book before I’ll be sufficiently mobile again? I know I’ll have more questions; am so grateful for this forum.
     
  10. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    I did not mean to quote the posting I was replying to... not sure how to avoid doing that.
     
  11. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    Happy knee-versary, @SherrieT! Will go in search of your recovery thread. Am especially curious to learn whatever I can, of course!
     
  12. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    To answer or comment in a thread, just scroll down to the bottom of the page, just below the last comment, and you will see your charming avatar beside a blank box with editing icons above it. Write your comment in the box and... post when ready. :)

    As to the toilet riser... YES. Get one. The only exception is if you have comfort height toilets. Regular, lower toilets will, for the next few to several months, be your mortal enemy. Worse if you have bilateral implants, but single implants appreciate a higher toilet just as much, I hear. Getting off low ones can be difficult and, well, painful, at first. The grab bar and counter set up will work for pushing yourself up and easing down. I have comfort height toilets, and in my upstairs bath I did very well with a counter and a windowsill. If you have very strong arms, maybe you can do okay with a lower toilet, but... I still would recommend a higher toilet seat.

    Hiring someone to clean is a brilliant idea. Just making a sandwich wiped me out for several weeks. Cooking a simple meal took it all out of me. Cleaning would have been too much. If you can afford to do so, hire someone for two months for certain. Three months would be even better. You might feel up to cleaning a little by two months, but if you want things cleaned really well, three would get you over the hump, at least for most recoveries.
     
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  13. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    It appears to me that when you use the “reply” box at the bottom of the iPhone app screen, it gives no choice whether to quote the whole message — it just does.
     
  14. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    Oh wait! This time it didn’t! Thank you @SusieShoes!
     
  15. MSgirl

    MSgirl senior

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    @yesyvonne, your big day will be here before you know it. Great that you are cooking and freezing. I did it some for my first one and really filled the freezer for the one last month. It has been great. I just cooked up lots of spaghetti sauce, bean soup, barbecue and gumbo and put in ziplock bags. It has been so handy to thaw and microwave. As far as the toilet seat goes, we do have raised (comfort height) toilets but I did buy a toilet riser from the Walmart website, delivered to our door, anyway. I am so glad I did. The handles that are attached are so helpful. I don't have a lot of upper body strength so I just plant the good leg, extend the new knee leg and push up on the handles. Some of the best money I spent in preparation. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
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  16. Jockette

    Jockette Senior BoneSmartie Forum Advisor

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    I vote for the toilet raiser!!! You’re a brave soul to have arthritic knees and not have one already! I’ve had them for several years now and always will.

    4 months post op I had quite a set back due to visiting friends for the weekend and struggling all weekend with their standard low toilet. I have since bought a portable one so that doesn’t happen again! I made a lovely denim tote bag to carry it in so it’s very descreet.
     
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  17. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    It’s really getting real. Yesterday was all about my upcoming surgery. In the morning, a class at the hospital about how to prepare, what to expect while there, and getting ready for the long healing recovery back home afterwards. I found out that I’ll be given a polar ice machine of my very own, to take home from the hospital as a souvenir. So the used one I bought from a neighbor is redundant. Jumped the gun.

    Also I had a call from the company that will deliver the CPM machine ordered by my surgeon, in which my leg will rest and be kept moving for the first three weeks whenever I’m in bed.

    All afternoon was spent with a nurse practitioner reviewing every single detail of my entire health history, plus lab work and ekg (heart is in fine shape), and receiving instructions for now till Surgery Day. She’s going to look into making food arrangements with the hospital and seemed completely understanding and supportive of my wish to keep my bright lines intact. Yay!

    I’m a Bright Line eater. I eat no sugar or any kind of artificial sweeteners either, no flour or ground grains, no snacking, only three meals of specified amounts of particular foods. Breakfast is protein, fresh fruit, and a small amount of whole grain. Lunch: protein, fresh fruit, and veggies. Dinner: protein, veggies, salad. And no dessert.

    And I realized I had been thinking I’d get my whole life in order before Surgery Day. Uh no. There is just not enough time to get the whole list done. So will do my best and then surrender into a time of pain meds and recuperation — and what’s not done will wait. That word “surrender” has been coming at me from various sources in my life recently, I’ve noticed.

    In the evening I joined my Harmony Singers group at church to sing our quiet songs of deep spirit. “In the quiet of this moment, I am at peace; all is well.” “Easy, rest easy; let every trouble drift away. Easy, rest easy, love enfolds you and holds you safe.”

    May it be so for you, too. ️

    Sixteen days to go.
     
  18. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    And it will continue to do so. It's a really appropriate word for recovery from TKR, when you get down to it. "Surrender to the Knee!" pretty much sums it up.

    This song sounds lovely, and also speaks to your upcoming recovery. Resting easy is so very hard for many people. If you can rest easy and let your troubles drift away for a few months, you will have a better time of it than those who have yet to learn how to do this.

    Oh, and keep that redundant ice machine. People have had their units break down. Not often, but it happens. If it happens to you, you'll be glad for the back up!
     
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  19. Jockette

    Jockette Senior BoneSmartie Forum Advisor

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    You can also have an ice machine in 2 different areas which will be very convenient.
     
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  20. yesyvonne

    yesyvonne junior member
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    @Jockette, true! Good point! I hadn't thought of that, which surprises me because the plan is to do the other knee X months later.

    Nor had I thought of the potential for the thing to fail, @SusieShoes, and being saved by the back up.

    So okay then, I'll keep the extra. :thankyou:
     
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