Physical Therapy

I conservatively estimate that I have been to 120 physical therapy sessions over the past 4 years.  That is 4 surgeries, at 12 weeks of PT each, at an average of 2.5 sessions per week.  So very thankful for good insurance!   Last April I had my final surgery and am now on the countdown to finishing my physical therapy.  Over the years I have heard people complain about how much they disliked physical therapy, how it hurts and how some even quit before they finish their program.  I have to admit that there can be pain involved and sometimes it is not very convenient to take time away from work to attend the sessions.  However,  I have been very fortunate to have great physical therapists who talk me through the exercises and encourage me to keep pushing through any pain I am feeling.  I definitely see the benefits and the progression (albeit slow) it has made in my recovery.

Christy

Christy has been my lead physical therapist through both of my knee replacements.  After my first knee surgery, we spent three months talking about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild.  This past three months we have been talking about the birth of her first baby.

updating the chart

I not sure she will be around for my final two weeks!  Warning, my matching scars are showing in this next pic of me working on the leg press machine.

leg-press

Like my first knee replacement, I am struggling with getting full range of motion in my new knee.  One of the tortures stretches I must complete involves the PT pushing my knee to help it bend more.  This is NOT my favorite exercise.

pushing

I still have hard work in front of me to meet my long term goals, but thanks to Dr. L and my very patient physical therapists(Christy and Lisa) my life has changed dramatically in the last four years.  I can walk around the grocery store and go to the mall without giving it a second thought.  I can walk around our neighborhood or local park for 30 minutes and have plans to walk a 5K next spring for the Arthritis Foundation.  Life is good and getting better each day!

 

A new countdown begins.

It was close to four years ago that I got the word from my orthopedic surgeon that there was not much left to do (after ten years of trying) for my hip and knee joints but to get replacements.  The news hit me hard, although I am not sure why since I had been battling arthritis for a long time.  I think it was the thought of having all four joints replaced that scared me.  Sure I know lots of people who have had one or two replaced but I have never meet or even heard of anyone who has had all four replaced.  Still haven’t for that matter, but Dr. L assures me he has other patients with all four joints replaced.

Having to endure four surgeries and four recoveries frightened me enough, but the unknown of what life  would be like after those surgeries scared me more.  How much would I be able to do?  Would I be trading off pain relief for a life of limited mobility?

I started this blog two and half years ago to chronicle my journey through the four surgeries.  At the time I was about three months out from surgery #1 to replace my left hip and I was preparing for surgery #2 to replace my right hip.  You can read about those experiences here and here. Those surgeries went extremely well and left me with so much more mobility that I just wanted to enjoy life for awhile.  I was able to do things I had not done in years, ride my bicycle on trails, get back on the motorcycle with the hubby, go shopping, go site-seeing,etc.

TKG-on-bike

I was able to go about two years before I knew it was time to start on the knees.  My left knee was replaced last April.  Everyone told me the knee replacement was a more difficult surgery to recover from and they were correct.  It took about four months before I stopped thinking about my knee with every step.  It is better all the time but there is still some swelling and occasional pain. I have been told by both my doctor and physical therapist that the healing process for a total knee replacement is about one year.

post-knee-surgery

The interesting thing is that this replaced left knee is now definitely my good knee.   It is funny how that happened without me really thinking about it.  The constant arthritis pain is now only in my right knee.  So in about six weeks, on February 18, I will undergo what I hope will be my final surgery, the total replacement of the right knee.  I am so NOT looking forward to that recovery, it is painful and seems to take forever.  Patience has never been a friend of mine.  I also hate relaying on everyone to take care of me, especially Dave.  He has been through as much as I have, with just a different source of pain :).

However, I am looking forward to the possibilities that the future holds, walks, hikes, bike riding and who knows what else.  The final countdown has begun.  Just one more time!

Physical Therapy

This past weekend convinced me that physical therapy is working.  My ability to shop (even though I took frequent breaks) demonstrates that my stamina and endurance are increasing.  For now I am doing pool therapy 3 times per week.  It feels great, the water is 92 degrees.  I am able to do much more in the pool than I would be able to do on land due to my other three non-replaced joints.  After my second surgery I will move to half pool and half  land.

I only have about two and a half weeks of therapy left.  Then I will have a month before surgery number two.  I need to find someplace with a WARM pool that I can continue these exercises so I do not lose the momentum I have gained.

Bicycling with the noodle…

Physical therapy is not always convenient, it is an interruption to the work day and takes time to dress/undress and drive to the pool.  However, I am hoping my efforts now will make my recovery from the second surgery easier and faster.