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[TKR] Rockgirl4's Recovery---already full of surprises.

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Rockgirl4

Rockgirl4

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15 & 1/2 Week Update

I haven't been posting much lately because life has been so crazy. That's a GOOD thing because it means I'm out and about running errands, keeping up with the family, exercising again (though slowly adding things back in), and not spending too much time at home in front of the laptop.:yahoo: Here are the highlights:

1) The upper shin pain, right below the knee, is occurring less and less each week. It all comes down to how much standing or walking I'm doing. The amount of these activities have increased drastically each week though, so for anyone dealing with that awful shin pain, please know it WILL decrease as you heal.

2) I still get a lot of swelling above the knee and in my lower leg. No way around it----any standing and activity add to it. Luckily, it doesn't bother me a whole lot, as long as I take care in not letting it get too bad. It does limit my bending a bit by the end of the day, but I can still get down the stairs like a normal person, and that is my benchmark.

3) I've now walked our 1.1 mile subdivision, including it's massive hills, 4 times.:yahoo: The downhill parts are a little rough, and I get a few weird aches during the walk, but the only downside is a bit more medial
knee soreness and swelling. I have to be super careful and only walk every 3 days or so. I can go downhill better than I have in 4 yrs though. That made me cry the first time it happened last week!! :tada:

4) I wish my other core/abdominal exercises were a bit easier, but I tend to do them later in the day when the knee has swollen some, thus reducing bend. I have to be super careful to keep my hip alignment perfect while doing these things, as my left hip and L4-L5 move out of alignment so easily, but I CAN do it. It just makes the knee a bit more achy. Maybe this will be a good nudge to work out earlier, not later. :)

5) Life in general-----I'm no longer planning my life around my right knee. Yes, the left knee isn't great, but it's done remarkably well the last 4 months. I think I could even do a 2-3 hour road trip as the primary driver, though I don't have to test that out for 2-3 more months. I even get up in the morning and don't even think about the knee. I never thought this would happen!! :bolt:

6) Next week will be the first time I try to clean my entire house by myself. I hadn't been brave enough to try. My husband is my rock, and he hates for me to even try (and possibly regret it), so he's been insisting on helping with any cleaning.:loveshwr: I'm pretty sure I can do it as long as I don't walk the subdivision the day before.

7) To everyone struggling with getting their range of motion back----The best piece of advice I can give is do NOT focus on the numbers but what you CAN do and what you WANT to do. My numbers at PT never got above 104 when I finished at the 12 wk mark. However, within a week after that, I was able to go down stairs normally, lower the seat on my stationary bike, and do everything else I need to. The "wants" are a little slow to come (like certain exercises mentioned above), and I still need my right hip to get stronger, but it's all coming in time. I don't even care what my flexion ever measures, as it's JUST a number. My surgeon is all about function, and everyone needs a guy like him in your corner.
 

luvcats

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I'm no longer planning my life around my right knee. Yes, the left knee isn't great, but it's done remarkably well the last 4 months.
What a wonderful update!
I am definitely looking forward to the day when I am n longer planning my whole life around what my knees can and can't do.
 
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Rockgirl4

Rockgirl4

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19-20 Week TKR Recovery Update

Hi everyone. It's been about a month since I checked in, and I wanted to wait and see what kind of changes occurred before posting again. Many of you may remember my inflammation problems immediately after surgery and all of the uncertainty regarding ROM, pain control, and a "slower than usual" return to activity. I can easily say I am glad I had the TKR, even at 46, and I am getting more and more of my life back each week. Here are the major and minor improvements---though some of the "minor" ones are a HUGE deal to me....

1) I continue to have more swelling than I expected, but overall I can FINALLY walk my 1.1 mile subdivision 2-3 times a week. I've also been adding 1-2 strength training exercises each week to carefully gauge how the knee will behave the following day. I had waited on ALL strength training until the 12-14 week post-op mark at my surgeon's request, and I can truly say HE WAS RIGHT!!!! :thumb: After having so much aggressive PT following my 10 other knee surgeries, I KNOW this was the right way to recover this time.

2) I'm continuing to see slow improvements in strength and mobility. I walk completely normal and have had numerous people talk about the spring in my step. :) My hip strength is normal and I can go up and down stairs easily without really thinking about it.

3) When walking downhill, I no longer have that peg-legged feel to my right leg. My legs have a natural bend in them where my knees are absorbing the shock/movement. It is very hard to describe, but it reminds me of 15 yrs ago when my entire lower body moved in sync with itself.---with NO compensating. I had no idea how strangely I'd been walking downhill the last 10 yrs. :flabber:

4) I still get lots of late-day swelling, though I can do 3-4 errands in a day with plenty of walking if necessary. I have to limit exercise on those days, but at least I can do "normal" life stuff like grocery shopping, watering flowers, stand outside and talk to a neighbor. I no longer look to sit down within 5 minutes. :)

5) No sleep discomfort AT ALL!!!!:dancy: No problem standing on one leg to shave my legs in the shower. :spin:Last but not least----no problems cooking a big dinner and cleaning up afterwards----with energy to spare for watering my flowers afterwards. :)

6) My only true complaint is I wish I had more flexion (bending), but it's just for stretching purposes. I have some back issues and could use another 5-10 degrees to get into certain positions more easily, but it's not a deal breaker. I think I've been walking MORE, using no anti-inflammatories, and icing less (because I forget to now-a-days!!)-----I am going to make a concerted effort to ice more, hoping to see a difference. I'm almost positive that is part of continued swelling. I guess it's good that life is so normal I forget to ice/elevate though.

All in all, I am so glad I had this surgery. I know I have many more months to improve, and I'm good with that. But if things never improved past today, I WOULD say I'm better off. At least now I can go walking with my son and husband for 1 mile walks, which means vacation next summer is A GO!!!!! We are all very excited to start planning something.

Thanks to any and all who read and continue to keep up with me. I still check in every 3-4 days and miss you guys!

---Lisa
 

luvcats

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What a wonderful update!!! I'm so excited for you. All those little 'normal' things that had us feeling so left out when we couldn't do them. I'm really looking forward to being able to just stand and chat with a neighbor. It's a very big thing.

What's your summer vacation going to be?
 

sistersinhim

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Your update will be very uplifting to those coming up behind you. They will know that it will get better!
 

Macknit

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That is so encouraging!! I'm just at 4.5 weeks and really do see some improvements, though not where you are! I appreciate knowing that it is in the future!

:yahoo:
 
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Rockgirl4

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@luvcats We're not sure where we'll go yet. The plan was to go to Virginia/Maryland a couple of summers ago and hit a lot of the Civil War battlefields like Antietam and Manassas, along with Harper's Ferry. We would stay in a little cottage in the Appalacians and do day trips out from there for a week. The other plan was for Canyonlands Nat'l Park and Arches Nat'l Park in Utah, as both of us are geologists (by education), and I've been dying to see northern/central Utah for decades. We've only both seen the southern part.

We'll probably wait until Jan/Feb to decide, after we move into the new house. We should be moved by mid-January, and it's hard to make decisions in the middle of stress (ha)!!! :) We're also putting this house on the market in February, so it may depend on how easy it is to sell. Most homes in our area sell super fast, but one never knows. Luckily, wherever we choose should be easy to book. We always drive and don't have to worry about plane tickets, etc.

I'm hoping the knee is less cranky by then and have high hopes.
 

luvcats

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Both of those sound like wonderful trips. I'm looking forward to doing some battlefields ourselves once I can walk properly again. You'll have to let me know if you hit DC for a few days, we could slip off for lunch!

We used to live in Colorado and made several trips to the parks in Utah. They are all amazing. Arches is definitely a must see. I'd put Bryce Canyon next on our list of favorites. It's all orange creamsicle colored and has several very different amazing formations down in the canyon. Since you'll have your car, I'd recommend a little side trip for lunch one day while you're around Arches and drive out along the river. There are many beautiful spots to pull off the road and eat your picnic in the cool shade and check out the river gorge. It's one of my clearest memories.

Are you or your son sci fi fans? If so, a quick must-see side trip out near Canyonlands is Goblin Valley. It's the place where they filmed the rock-monster scene for Galaxy Quest and I assure you, if ever a place was going to spontaneously generate rock monsters, that would be it! lol. It's very fun but 30 minutes is plenty.

Good luck selling the house. Moving is one of the most stressful endeavors a family can face. I hope yours is easy. Having a decent leg to stand on will certainly help a lot!
 

Ladyala

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That's terrific news!! I'm doing similarly with fred...nice to be feeling 'normal' again!
 

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