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!

 

Neapolitan Krispie Treats

Last week while cruising Pinterest I came across these amazing Neapolitan Krispie Treats from Bakingdom.com.  Do they not look amazing?

Strawberry-Nutella-Krispies-Treats-from-Bakingdom

Since my family and I all love rice krispie treats I thought this would be a good thing to try for our memorial day cookout.  One of these days I will learn to follow a recipe as written instead of thinking I know what I am doing.  First of all, this recipe called for nutella along with plain rice krispies to make the chocolate layer.  I did not have any nutella, but I had cocoa krispies to substitute.  That layer actually turned out just fine.  Where I really got into trouble was with the strawberry layer.  Her recipe called for strawberry jam and freeze-dried strawberries.  I had the strawberry jam but no dried strawberries.  I decided to substitute some real strawberries I had by throwing them in the food processor.  The result was less than perfect.  The strawberry layer was too moist and not nearly pink enough.

Neopolitan-Rice-Krispies

I must say though that they tasted just great and we had no issues emptying this platter.  The next time I am at the store I am going to get some freeze dried strawberries and try this again until I get it right.  Fortunately the smoked ribs and the grilled salmon turned out perfect thanks to the hubby.

RIbs-and-Salmon

On a post-surgery recovery note, I am pretty close to losing the cane but still having issues with range of motion, meaning I can not get my knee to bend more than 95-100 degrees.  Optimal for post TKR is 125 degrees.  My physical therapist tells me the issue for me is that I still have a significant amount of swelling in the joint and until that is reduced my knee will just not bend any farther.  I need to spend more time laying on my back with my knee iced and elevated above my heart.  Still looking for a way to do that and keep working my day job.  Maybe my IT guy can rig up something that will project my computer screen to the ceiling.  Any ideas?

 

Post-Op Update

I am quickly approaching the five week post-op mark since my TKR (total knee replacement) and have made great progress in many areas.  I have  replaced the walker with a cane, started outpatient physical therapy and drastically reduced my pain meds.  All of those milestones are good things, yet I can not seem to shake the “feeling sorry for myself” phase.

Two of the last three weeks the MR. has had to travel out of town for business.  This means I have had lots of alone time which has contributed to this mental state.  My daughter was with me in the evenings the first week he was gone which was a good thing since I was mostly confined to the second level of my house.  I was just starting to come up and down our 17 stairs and did not feel comfortable doing that with no one else in the house.  I have a little fridge in my master closet and we stocked up a basket with fruit, crackers, peanut butter and other snacks for my lunches.

foodbasket

I did not need anything and got along just fine, but you can only watch so many episodes of Million Dollar Listing without going a little stir crazy.

This past week when the hubby was gone again,  a friend took me to my physical therapy appointments and even out to dinner one evening since I am not suppose to drive yet.  It was great to get out of the house.  She even forced me to have ice cream after one of my sessions!

Sonic-sundae

I have also gone back to work, which in my case means commuting down the hall to my home office.  I started part time a couple of weeks ago, but this past week I worked full time.  I do not recommend going back to work so early in the post surgery recovery.  Between physical therapy and the stress of work, I have been REALLY tired.  Bedtime has been about 8:30 or 9:00 each evening.

I am so looking forward to this holiday weekend and trying to move closer to my regular routine.  We will be attending a wedding, cooking out with family and working on a couple of home projects.  I already feel the fog lifting.  Have a great weekend friends!

A week out

One week post-op and I am alive to tell the tale.  Overall I am doing well but I have decided that TKR – Total Knee Replacement must be similar to child birth.  The pain is quickly forgotten in retrospect.  That must be the case because I totally do not remember having this pain a year ago with my other TKR.   I know that I never cried at physical therapy before, but that is exactly what I did at my first home session on Monday.  My PT is as nice as can be but he totally reminds me of a retired marine drill sergeant.  He is built like a bulldog and sports a totally bald head.  He ask often if I am doing ok, but does not let up on pushing me to do one more heel slide.  He is intense and totally the meanest most serious of all the PT’s I have worked with.  I know he is just what I need to push past this pain, I just wish it was more of the “licked on by kittens” pain instead of the “my leg was just sawn in half” type of pain.

To help get past this “feel sorry for myself” phase I decided to look back at one of my pinterest boards created just for occasions like this.  The board is titled, “Things that make me smile!” and here are a few items included.

MOM (via Taylor Lampson)

HokeyPokey(qualitypeoples.com)

gladyour home(via SherryCurrie)

Baby(murat Tavli)

To see all the things on this board you can follow it here:

You can be sure I will be looking at this Board many times over the next few weeks.  If you can think of other items that will make me smile, please send them my way.  I need all the help I can get!

 

 

Bits and Pieces #7

1.  My husband is an enabler………he knows my weakness.  Hello my name is Theresa and I have a problem.  I love PEEPS!  My kids always received PEEPS from the Easter Bunny and they did not even like them very much.  Bad bunny!

Peeps

2.  Went shopping at Joanne’s last Sunday and picked up some material for a couple of new projects.  Here is a sneak peak.  Any ideas what I might be making?

fabric

3.  Everytime I go to Joanne’s I stop by to drool over watch the Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Machines do their magic.   I really, really, really want one of these.  This time I even picked up some brochures and brought them home.  Maybe if I lay them around the hubby will take notice and surprise me someday.  You think?

Viking-Husqvarna-Sewing-Emb

 

4.  Although I have had my spring chalkboard up for a LONG time, it seemed to take forever for spring to finally arrive.  Hopefully it is here to stay now.

Spring-2014

 

5.  In less than 24 hours I will be undergoing the last of my four joint surgeries!  I am very much ready to conclude this journey I started four years ago.  I have many plans and goals to pursue and I am READY to get started.  However, those first 3-4 weeks post surgery are excruciating for me.  Sure, there is pain and mild physically therapy torture but that does not hurt me as much as the dependency on others and inconvenience to my normal schedule and activities.  To say that I have a lack of patience is a little bit of an understatement, so if you hear a little (or a lot) of whining for the next month, please bear with me, I will get over it!  See you on the other side!

Never-said-it-would-be-easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Countdown Redo

You would think I am ready to give birth with all the “nesting” that has been going on around here.   I am pretty sure it is related to the event that is going to happen in less than two weeks.  A couple of months ago I mentioned I was on a countdown for  knee-replacement surgery.  What I have not mentioned is that the weekend before my surgery I came down with an ugly virus.  It seems that dr’s do not like to cut you open when you are running a fever.  It was probably for the best since I was feeling pretty rotten, however, since my ortho doc is scheduled two months in advance, I had to wait eight weeks to get on his schedule again.  So now I am in countdown mode once again.

One thing I have been doing in preparation is “refreshing” my master bedroom.  Not really redecorating, just switching some things out and spring cleaning like crazy.  No drawer or closet is being spared!  Since I live in a two story house, those first few weeks after surgery I will be spending the majority of time in my bedroom so I do not have to climb my full flight of stairs too often.

stairsjpg

It is not such a hardship staying in my room with my favorite recliner, a 40″ HD TV, Netflix, my laptop, kindle, and a small refrigerator in my closet.  However,  it will not be a vacation by any stretch of the imagination.  I am already having nightmares about those dreaded white compression hose.

post-knee-surgery

The pain isn’t much fun either, hello happy pills!  I figured anything that can help brighten my mood during those first two weeks is a good thing, so I started by ordering a new duvet from pottery barn.

PB Essential Duvet Cover & Sham

I am typically someone who likes to decorate using lots of color.  However, for my bedroom I was thinking  about keeping it very neutral and calming.  The walls are painted my go-to color, Sherwin Williams Trusty Tan and the woodwork is painted white.  There is one slight problem with selecting this white duvet…..I have a black cat who thinks my bed is her bed.

Sleep-on-bed-2

I may regret this decision down the road but the good news is that this duvet can easily be thrown in the wash.  I will probably also keep my handy 3M lint roller in my nightstand drawer.  Oh the things we will do for the love of a family pet!

I also would like to get some new curtains, a couple of new lamps and a few new things for the walls.  Do you think I can get all this done in less than two weeks?

 

Bits and Pieces

Life has been incredibly busy for me the last month or so, mostly due to work.  The hours have been long and the days stressful.  SOMEBODY MAKE IT STOP!!!!  I joked with Dave that I think I will have some surgery so I can take a couple of weeks off.  Pretty desperate, huh!  Actually, that is really not very funny because I am scheduled for surgery in about a week and that by itself is stressing me out!

*For the most part we have all been snowbound around here for the last week.  I can not remember a time before when school was cancelled for an entire week.  I know we have received this much snow (10 inches) and more before, but I think last friday’s ice event and the brutally cold temperatures have really hampered the street crews ability to get the streets cleared.  If you can make it out of your neighborhood, the main roads and highways are good, but the side streets are just downright dangerous. I am so over winter……

Feb-2014

*In the few hours per day that I am not stuck in front of my computer or brain-dead, I have been working on my first floor update which includes switching up some tables and chairs, a new rug and mostly new accessories.  I am not ready for the big reveal yet, but I will share a sneak peek.

decorcollage

*If you know me well, you know I love to entertain.  When thinking about my personal goals for the year I decided I would like to host a dinner party once a month using the time of year to inspire the menu.    I am starting this project I am calling “Small Gatherings” with a  Valentine’s Day celebration.  This means I have been searching recipes and trying to decide on the perfect Valentine menu.  There are a MILLION dessert recipes perfect for the occasion, in fact I have found so many I have had a hard time deciding which to choose.  Here are a few of the final contenders, although not the one (or two) I finally decided on.  I am saving that to share with you later.

Valentine cookies

  Source

valentines cake

Source

I am pretty sure Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale will also be on my Valentine table since I was able to get a couple of bottles on the day it was released.

Chocolate-Ale

*Finally, speaking of surgery, my 4th and final (hopefully) surgery will be happening in just a little over a week.  Since I will be recovering over the hubby’s birthday and we (at least me) will be stuck in the house for a few weeks after,  we decided to spend the weekend before in a jam-packed two days of revelry, merriment and fun.  That means no work, no laundry, no cooking, just good times.  So far we lined up:

  •  A movie or two– thinking The Monuments Men, Labor Day and/or Lone Survivor
  • An hour at the shooting range – (guess who picked this activity?)
  • Lunch at Oklahoma Joe’s
  • Shopping for a “poor me, I have to have surgery present!”
  • Dinner at Em Chamas – A Brazilian Grill and Dave’s idea of heaven, people walking around with all you can eat big hunks of meat
  • Sunday Brunch (maybe Avenue’s Bistro in Brookside)
  • And anything else we can think of, any suggestions??

I am going to focus as much as possible on this weekend and not the days that will be following it.  So NOT looking forward to doing this again!

Happy Friday!

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!

Seven Week Update

Long-Time-No-Chalk

I have been MIA from the blog for several weeks.  I was always taught if you do not have anything nice to say then say nothing at all.  (I really should remind myself of that more often.)   In the fourth and fifth week after my knee surgery I was in a dark place, not seeing much progress in my physical therapy and still having more pain than I anticipated.  On top of that, we have had the worst spring I can remember, torrential rains with no sunshine for days upon days.  Days without sun are not good for me.

However, these last two weeks have been much better and I have forced myself to participate in life and guess what happened.  I am seeing real progress in my knee bending (although still have a long way to go) and the pain has improved.  I am walking without my cane and even went to the gym pool yesterday to walk and do strengthening exercises.  I think I may actually survive this surgery!

I have even completed a project I have been thinking about for a while and that is creating a chalkboard for my kitchen! I love the idea of a changeable venue for menus, messages or inspirational quotes front and center in the room we live in the most.   Although I love reading, I have known for a long time that I am a visual person which is probably why I have always been interested in  typography (the art of making language visible).  I even have a “ChalkBoard Art” board on pinterest.  Look at some of these fun creations:

Children will be given

Source

Birthday Board

Source

Trust God

Source

The chalk board I made for my kitchen is even more special because it is a frame my dad made for me many years ago.  I painted it white and used chalkboard paint on the hardboard backing.  Easy!  I have another chalkboard I made hanging in my office that currently lists my goal categories for the year.  It is a great way to keep those items close 0n a daily basis.

Chalkboard-Goals

We have had several other fun activities going on here in the last week and I will be sharing those soon!

Craving Normal

At three weeks post surgery I am doing pretty darn good.  I am walking with a cane more than the walker, working part-time (nothing can stop an accountant and month end close) and started outpatient physical therapy today.  I still have much more pain than I expected to have and still having a hard time bending my knee.  The goal is 120 degree bend and I am at about 96 degrees.  Today’s therapy was more about recording a  baseline of what I can do so they did not push me too hard.  I am a little worried about the next six weeks, I see more pain in my future.

flexMost of all, I am craving normal, at least normal for me.  I want to be able to:

*Take my camera outside and shoot pictures of spring emerging.

110a

*Go to the grocery store, wander leisurely up and down the aisles.  Bring the groceries home and cook dinner.

*Shop for cute baby clothes for my soon-to-be-born grandson, Levi.

Polo

*Move freely between the first and second floors of my house without having to have my “spotter” standing in front or behind me, making sure I do not lose my balance on the stairs.

stairsjpg

*Sleep in a position other than on my back.

*Go out of town for the weekend.

FirePit

*Be able to walk without thinking about how strange my knee feels.

In summary, I am ready for this whole TKR (total knee replacement) experience to be behind me.  Gail, my wonderful in-home physical therapist, told me life would be closer to normal at about the eight week mark.  Five more weeks to go……seems like five years!