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Need LTKR but can't face it

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Spingirl

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Hi Sarasotalady,
I am 8 weeks post-op and the worse is well behind me! In retrospect, two months is nothing compared to the years of bone on bone pain. The first couple of weeks post-op were tough, but my cognitive strategy was to remind myself that "this is temporary." And believe me, I had to use that strategy. But here I am to tell you that was a blip in time.

Talk with your surgeon about your tendency toward depression. Are you using any medication for this? If you are, you will want your OS to know. Home based physical therapy and a visiting nurse helped my spirits a lot.

I was worried about weight gain too (lifetime Weight Watchers member here!), but as others have mentioned, just the opposite occurred. I lost about 9 pounds initially (this made me happy!); now that I am no longer using the narcotics, I have regained about 4 pounds, but this is still less than I was and I am now at a weight I'd like to maintain.

The muscle strength you have built up is going to help you in your recovery! So, it's unlikely that you will lose it. And again, as others have mentioned, you will be able to do some upper body work. Physical Therapy will burn calories too.

I am the queen of not wanting to ask others for help! So, it was a good thing for me to learn how to accept the help of others. It started in the hospital, where the staff were awesome. And honestly, neighbors, friends, and co-workers are usually eager to lend a hand when they find out what you are going through. Also, I prepared and froze meals prior to surgery so it was not too big of a deal to defrost and heat up things. My husband was here to help me, but because he works freelance, there was a lot of stress on him about helping me and also getting his work done for his clients on time. We ultimately figured it out, but it was hard.

It's great that you are going to the class at your hospital. I did a ton of research (but stopped short of watching YouTube videos!) as well as mental preparation. I don't know what to say about getting a second opinion, unless you are not happy with your surgeon and his/her style (I adored mine).

You will come to the a decision about the right time for you. For seven years, my surgeon told me that I would know when it was time. He was right.
 

BigGene

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I won't repeat what others have said, but I have a suggestion.
Make a list of all the things you want to do, but can't anymore.
make another list of the things you do but suffer with pain, tightness, stiffness or other bad stuff.
None of us are getting any younger.
None of us know haw much time we have left.

One more list.
List the benefits of waiting, if you can.
 

Elsie Yan

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I remembered reading an article about TKR in our local newspaper some time ago. The OS related a story about an 80 year old lady who needed a bilateral TKR at the age of 50. However, she refused to do it and tolerated for 20 years. By the time she reached 70 years and desperately needed the surgery, she said she was too old to do it. Thereafter her condition worsened until she started to fall and suffered fractures. Eventually, she ended up being wheelchair bound. Now if she had the surgery, her life would be so different. So I suggest you weigh your options - do you want to end up like this lady or go through TKR which only gives you temporary discomfort during early recovery but you can gain back your life. You said that being active gives you a sense of being so I cannot imagine you ending up like this lady. You can still choose to gain your life back and be able to do all the things you love. Good luck!
 
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beachlady2

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Have made a list of things I want to do but can't. Would really like to hear from folks as to about how long it will take for me to do things like: walk on the beach; explore museums/new destinations without becoming exhausted and having to search for a bench every five minutes; walk the length of an airport terminal or train station easily, join friends for walk along the Bay, sit at a sidewalk cafe and be able to get up out of the chair easily etc.

I know it's hard to say, and everyone is different, but what could I expect to do off that list in 6 months or more?

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond to me.
 

BigGene

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We all heal differently and have surgery at different stages of our lives. That said, I will tell you a little of my TKR story.
Prior to TKR, I was still able to ride a bike, but I could not get out of a chair without pushing up with both arms. Walking was painful, especially going up or down stairs. I could not do either without use and dependency on a railing. Stairs without rails were out of the question. A curb was painful and awkward.

I could still ride a road bike but I would suffer with pain all night after a long ride. Sleeping was a big problem especially if I had done any physical activity.

The decision was not easy but I did not want to give up!

My goals were much more agressive than yours and those outcomes were in my mind constantly during my recoveries. I left the hospital after two nights using a walker. I live alone in a two story house. I was able to get up and down the stairs on my own as soon as I got home. I had help for 3 days then I was on my own. It was fine.

I started walking right away as well. I took my walker and went for short walks in addition to physical therapy.
I mostly iced, took my meds and slept.

By the end of week two, I was using a cane and put the walker away. I was walking up to a quarter mile.
I stopped using the cane around the house after three weeks and increased my walking outdoors. After 4 weeks I was able to ride my bike outdoors 8 miles. That cycling distance increased quickly.

At twelve weeks I went on a bike tour and rode 20-25 miles a day.

I still had some discomfort in my knee, I still applied ice regularly, but every day was better than the one before.
6 months after my second knee was complete, I was able to hike 5-6 miles, several time a week in the mountains in the Reno-Tahoe area where I live. But my knees have improved beyond that and continued to improve and get strong for more than a year.

I am now 20 and 16 months post TKR. I have returned to downhill skiing and have skied 19 days already this season. Sure I stay on easier runs and I am careful to avoid crowds, but I no longer am even aware that my knees are not the original. I could not ski at all for years prior to surgery.

I was fortunate to have a relatively quick recovery and have gone far in my recovery.

Your goas may be more modest, but not less important to you. They appear to be well within reason to expect to accomplish in 6-9 months.

Think of the alternative. Years of pain and discomfort and limitations.

There are risks. You can read here on the forum about those who have had more difficult paths to recovery, but very, very few regret their decision.

Good luck.
 

Titianlady

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Sarasotalady, I had my knee replacement in July..I can walk almost endlessly, sit yoga style, go up and down stairs, and even run!!!
I can walk the mall, the grocery store, museums, airports and all with NO PAIN.

I was walking the grocery store comfortably by month three, and it just got better, and better every day.
 

referee54

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I had my BTKR a tad over five years ago. Prior to my BTKR, I could do a lot of activities, but, boy, did I hurt. I hurt when I slept!

Looking back at recovery for me, it took me five months to lose a pesky little limp---but the week after I was dismissed from PT, I was out on the baseball diamond umpiring a baseball game---and pain-free.

As hase been said, recover, for each individual, is on a a different time schedule, and the knees are the ones that set the schedule. Mine, I believe, took longer due to being a BTKR as I could not count on a non-surgical knee to help out, and the fact that I went back to the classroom at eight weeks; I felt excited to do so,, but, in retrospect, I know know that it slowed down my recovery!

I can promise you this: When you are fully recovered, you will be amazed at what you can do---how long you can do it, and how great you feel! You will be able to walk for long distances and be pain-free.

Many of us here on the forum have regained a very active lifestyle---swimmers, cyclists (I regularly do 120-160 miles a week in he summer), walkers, hikers, etc---and you will be one of them, too.
 

ruppbike

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walk on the beach; explore museums/new destinations without becoming exhausted and having to search for a bench every five minutes; walk the length of an airport terminal or train station easily, join friends for walk along the Bay, sit at a sidewalk cafe and be able to get up out of the chair easily etc.
________________
All in six months. You will be free of joint pain immediately after surgery. Bone pain and incision pain will be controlled by meds. Stiff and sore ligaments, tendons and muscles complicated by swelling and numbness will continue but will be very much non-limiting by six months if you are wise about how you recover.

I am at two years post bilateral TKRs and still have a small amount of numbness, have clunky sounding legs, make all my muscles sore when I push too hard, but do not have any knee joint pain. So, I am able to do many things I thought I would never be able go do again.
 

Knitter4444

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Medicare will pay for rehab til you are able to manage alone in your home. I was in rehab for over 2 weeks after my bilateral knee replacements and another 2 weeks for spacer exchanges. I would suggest you visit some rehab facilities before your surgery to get the feel of them. And check with your surgeon to see which ones they recommend.

I live alone but do have family support. I understand about being independent and being able to function without pain and limitations. Unfortunately, arthritis doesn't get better.

And between you and me...I love being In a wheelchair at the airport. Going through security is a breeze now.
 
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beachlady2

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To all,

Thank you so much for sharing what you can do after several months. Quite encouraging.

BigGene-- amazing story, but you're way out of my league. Best of luck in your journey to become leangene..

Titianlady --you're where I'd want to be-- but you're also 13 years younger. That's bound to affect recovery.

Knitter4444-- will definitely check out rehab facilities with Dr , friends, and personal visits. Will also get help in the house But I'd rather not go anywhere if I had to take a wheelchair-- just me.

I'm going to the surgeon for a consultation this Friday and will learn more about implant, potential complications , and what I can expect in terms of recovery given my age and extent of arthritis ( he did arthroscopic surgery a year ago so he knows what's in there.) Will keep you posted.

Again, many thanks to you all.
 

Titianlady

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Sarasotalady, actually the younger the TKR patient, the HARDER the recovery can be!! Your age should not make it more difficult my dear.

Getting the knee replaced before there are ligament, tendon, or muscle problems is important. That and a good surgeon dearheart

You will do just fine. There are lots of members here that had single and even bilateral replacements that are your age that recovered absolutely famously!! Our Josephine can tell you how well she recovered from her replacement!!! She came home from the hospital after her surgery in a cab, and carried her own cases up her steps into her home!!! She was close to your age too!!

Keep a good frame of mind going in, and coming out. Follow our recovery mantra. Rest, ice, elevation, good pain meds by the clock, and easy, gentle heel slides and stretches. NO aggressive physio, and lots of rest and naps.
Your new knee will reward you my dear.

I just KNOW you will do fine, and you just try and relax and keep that in mind. You will be walking, going to museums, and enjoying things like you can't believe right now, but it WILL happen.

Remember, we have all been through this, and we know the apprehension, the what ifs, and the concern with what we can expect to be able to do with a new knee.

You are safe with us dearheart, we care, and will answer any question or concern. We are also here when you need to talk, to vent, to laugh to cry, and to cheer when you start doing those things you didn't think you would be able to do.

I'll be keeping an eye on you from start to finish here. Lean on us Sarasota..we will help you through this from start to finish. And remember.. You can ask us anything, any time.

You are part of our family now, and we will help see you through. :friends:
 

Spingirl

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Sarasotalady, thx for posting your question, because I sure benefited from everyone's responses too. I'm two months postop now and each day I too am doing better. When I get out of bed in the morning, I no longer have to unstiffen my right leg! This is huge for me! Yes, I still experience stiffness and soreness throughout my day as I continue to heal from surgery, but I can pedal a stationary bike so I know I can return to my spinning classes ( at my own pace) soon, and I'll be back on my road bike too. Hearing how far everyone else has come along is so exciting, knowing that is going to be me soon, and you too! Can't wait to hear how your consultation goes. :flwrysmile:
 

RestAssured

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You want to be active again without pain and who can blame you for hoping that it " will just get better!" Been there, done that, and it doesn't. You are one year younger than my Mom. She is fiercely independent, and she lives by herself. Last year, she was out breaking down tree limbs that had been cut when she fell and broke her wrist. It was over 100 out and she explained the situation, as I felt a little dizzy! She finally got back into the house, and thought that she should drive herself to the ER! From the x-rays she had her hand sticking out to the side because of the severity of the break! The guy who had been driving the tree limbs showed up after she fell 2 1/2 hours and took her to the ER. Do you think she thought about calling me? I am 2 1/2 hours away, but nooooooo, she did not want to bother me! Had surgery the next morning and when she got home, she finally returned all of my calls. Said she had to take a couple of Tylenol to relieve the "discomfort!"

I scolded her and she said she didn't want to bother me! :headbang:

Now let me ask you, do you have neighbors, children, or anyone that can come check on you? I know the active types, my Mom can't sit still, and walks 5 miles a day!

I always worry when I hear that people are by themselves. Friends are always willing to lend a helping hand.

Take care, and know that being a part of he BoneSmart family should be one of the best decisions you have made so far! We will be here to pray for you, cry with you, laugh with you! :happydance:
 

Janet2012

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Here's what I can pretty much garantee- it's not going to be as bad as you've imagined. I honestly think the worry before surgery and trying to make all the decisions is the hardest part. And this from someone that had both done at the same time. I never got depressed, i didn't gain weight other than some initial extra fluids weight that returned to normal. Everyone is different, but don't assume you have to have these side effects. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you'll feel younger and enjoy more of life sooner than later!
 

ruffian

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71 here. Had my R knee 2 years ago and am dreading the first 2 months of the second one (1-23-13) as I had a lot of nausea and difficulty with the meds, but wouldn't think of delaying to let things get as bad as I did the first time. Every day I am joyous with much restored ability to go and do and don't dread the future as I did, so hope you will be ablel to "just do it!"
 

1ELISEA

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Hi Ruffian
Welcome to the forum!
I have added you to the list of those having surgery in January
Click Here

Please do start your own thread and tell us about yourself!
Sounds like you have a lot to share that will help those that are waiting for their first TKR! :SUNsmile:
 

Roy Gardiner

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I've lost 60 pounds over a lengthy period of time and and have kept it off over 10 years thru daily exercise (spinning and weight training ) and watching what I eat-- but it's still a battle for me. Carbs are my problem.
How do I avoid significant weight gain during recovery?
Not everyone gains weight during recovery; your body is hoovering up energy to heal you, as you can imagine.

Carbs being a problem sounds like addictive behaviour to me (not wishing to be rude and armed with only that information), since cutting down oncarbs - you know, all sugars and bread, rice, pasta and potatoes - is key to fat loss.
** losing all the muscle strength I've built up over the years partic. upper body.
As others have said, your ability to do upper body exercise is not affected by TKR. You will be wiped out for some weeks afterwards, but that's unavoidable.
 

Dewey

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It just amazes me that just when I'm feeling apprehensive and scared about this upcoming surgery, I come here and read some incredibly, uplifting reports to remind me why I'm doing this! I love to read about those of you that have regained your life due to knee surgery! It helps more than you know to know that it really CAN happen! Thanks to all who posted here!
 

ruppbike

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It just amazes me that just when I'm feeling apprehensive and scared about this upcoming surgery, I come here and read some incredibly, uplifting reports to remind me why I'm doing this! I love to read about those of you that have regained your life due to knee surgery! It helps more than you know to know that it really CAN happen! Thanks to all who posted here!
Dewey - in that vain, I just celebrated my two year anniversary. This morning I went for a three-hour snowshoe https://picasaweb.google.com/RuppBike/Snowshoe122?authkey=Gv1sRgCMHm5KeW9p3fQA in my "back yard."

This year I rode over 2500 miles on my bike (mostly road riding, including 2, 100-milers with climbs over mountain passes).

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/221730379
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/225725751

Went surfing for the first time in my life this summer and resumed snowboarding at the same level as before surgery. Walked / hiked / ran over 100 miles in 2012. And all this was limited not by my legs/knees, but by a shoulder that had to be repaired in late winter.

Even more importantly I can just walk around the house and yard to do things I avoided before; and at work I don't have to keep cheerful when in pain. For longevity sake, I can now forsake OTC pain killers that I used to take like breath mints just to keep going. They were starting to affect my blood pressure and who knows what they were doing to my liver and kidneys -- I have not taken 1 mg of ibuprofin or Aleve in 6 months!!

Yes, it was very frightening going into the surgery. And very hard to recover. But oh so worth it!! Keep asking questions and seeking reassurance. HOW you recover and rehabilitate makes a huge difference. Best of luck, Dewey.

Kurt
 
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