As I suspected, now my right knee’s meniscus was torn – actually, not just torn but gone. I had torn it so bad that there was nothing left and I was feeling bone on bone and the pain was only going to get worse. Again, I went to see the orthopedic surgeon and to my surprise he said he couldn’t help me. The knee was too far gone and I would need a total knee replacement and he would have the surgeon that did that come in and talk to me. I was in total shock! That couldn’t be happening to me. My mother had knee replacements – not me. I was too young. I didn’t want a metal knee. How could this be happening?
The other surgeon came in and explained to me that, yes, I was young to need this but the fact was that I did need it and really had no choice. The problem was that artificial knees usually only lasted twenty years and then had to be replaced again. Since most people who had them got them at a more advanced age, they usually didn’t live long enough to need a second replacement but the odds were that I would and I certainly didn’t want to have to do this a second time. The surgeon explained that because of my age, he would be using a new type of artificial knee that had some part (he went into the technical names but I was so shocked they didn’t register with me) that is normally on the outside of the knee and rubs against a bone and eventually wears out on the inside of this new knee. My only limitations after the healing process was that for the rest of my life there could be no high impact exercise, i.e. no jumping or running – unless I was running for my life. I scheduled the surgery, again for April, and left there feeling really old and depressed and that my life would never be the same.
I had the surgery on April 15, 2014 early in the morning and woke up with my right leg in this moving contraption laying in my hospital room. They had me up walking with a walker the next morning and I did get a little woosie walking down the hall but I was determined to get my life back so when the therapist came back in the afternoon I was able to go twice the distance. By the next day I was going all the way to the end of the hallway and back and doing some of the exercises that the therapist gave me so that by the third day I was ready to go home. Two days later a physical therapist started coming to the house to work with me. Not only did I have to use that moving contraption on my knee 3 times a day but I had to wear these compression stockings 24/7 which were not comfortable but both were to prevent blood clots do I dealt with it.
By the second week of home physical therapy I had graduated to a cane and was walking up and down my block and getting fresh air. The home therapist had left and now I had to go to outpatient physical therapy twice a week. I did a series of blog posts describing my knee replacement journey you can read here: http://getfitnowwithcheryl.com/fitness-journey/fitness-restless-leg-syndrome-and-my-knee-replacement-part-i/ I was very determined and on the off days from therapy I did the exercises at home twice a day. My therapist there called me his superstar patient because I continued to push myself because I wanted my life back. He told me that because the knee device itself would only bend so far that I would never be able to get back into the Yoga pose, child’s pose again but I proved him wrong. The one thing I wasn’t a superstar about again though was my eating habits while going through all this. Again, I succumbed to temptation and ate whatever I wanted but I did have a strange outcome from the surgery that affected my eating habits. Some of the foods that I had loved now tasted terrible to me. My surgeon said that sometimes the anesthesia can cause this and sometimes it returns to normal and sometimes it doesn’t. For me it has not come back so some things that I used to eat or drink all the time, I can’t stand to have anymore. Such as Coca Cola. My grandfather and father had both worked for Coke when I was growing up so I was addicted to it and drank probably 2 liters of it a day. I had tried to quit before and had gone through terrible withdrawals and had gone back to drinking it but after the surgery it tasted like metal to me and I just couldn’t drink it. I had no withdrawal symptoms – I just don’t like it anymore and drink water instead. I also don’t like hot dogs anymore and find I don’t eat as much either. It seems like I’ll be eating my meal and I’ll just realize that I’m tired of eating – not that I feel full – I’m just tired of eating so I quit. Consequently, I’ve lost 20 pounds and while I feel better I still have another 20 to go and am on my way to doing it.
It’s been two years now with my new knee and I do live a normal life. In fact, I don’t even think about it much which I realized when I flew for the first time since the surgery last September and couldn’t figure out why the metal detector at the airport went off when I went through it. I workout 5 to 7 times a week doing both cardio and weight training. I’ve learned that I can modify almost every exercise to accommodate my knee and still get a really good workout. You don’t have to run or jump to work up a sweat and burn calories and I can do all the yoga poses that I want with some modifications too.
The bottom line is that no one is going to tell me and you should not let them tell you that you are too old to lose weight or get fit or that if you have bad knees; you can’t workout or any other excuse someone may use. It’s up to you! If you put your mind to it and believe that you can do it you will! I know it because I have come this far and I’m going to keep going on this journey and lose the last of this weight and stay fit and healthy for the rest of my life! If you’d like to join me on this journey, I’d love to have you, so just subscribe here to my blog so you’ll be with me every step of the way.