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.
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.
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!