Pain has been my nemesis throughout my bilateral knee replacement recovery. Especially weather-induced pain.
If you’ve read any of my previous knee-replacement blog posts, you’ll know that every change in the weather (especially big rain fronts) has caused extra pain for me.
Several clear, sunny days in a row have been heaven. On those days I would be more mobile.
And on those days I actually believed that – one day – I’d hike again.
But there was always a big weather front waiting, ready to sweep across Northwest Georgia and bring me pain in the next few days.
And bring me doubt, as well.
Doubt that I’d ever be pain-free. Doubt that I’d ever walk normally and not hobble. Doubt that I’d ever be able to walk a mile at once – much more that I’d actually be able to pull on a pair of hiking boots and hit a trail again.
But now I’m a believer.
Because on Tuesday I had a breakthrough!
For the first time since my surgery in mid-September a weather front full of lots of rain did NOT make me hurt more.
In fact, the big front that came through this past week, the one that became Winter Storm Riley as it swept up the east coast causing flight cancellations in the major Northeastern cities . . . well, it didn’t cause me pain.
I was mobile and not hurting. I even took a walk (a very short one) in town on Tuesday, the day I’d usually begin feeling the effects of the front that was a day away. And when the rains came on Wednesday, I could still walk well without extra pain.
And even on Thursday, the day of my LAST physical therapy (another rainy day), I could do my exercises without my knees hurting.
That’s a quite a breakthrough.
My physical therapist told me that I’d have pain for six months after surgery – and that it would take a full year to heal completely.
But since I’ve been “behind” with most of my healing (in PT almost three months longer than the good-case scenario), I figured I’d be dealing with pain for another two or three months.
What a wonderful surprise for the pain to recede a couple of weeks before my six-month surgery mark!
I’m not completely pain-free. The muscles in my hips and legs in general get sore as I walk and do more. I still get a twinge of pain every now and then in my bones when the weather changes, especially that place below my left knee where the surgeon probably had to do some extra “carpentry.”
BUT the pain that has kept me from doing much, kept me from being on my feet for any length of time – the pain that makes me wince when I get in the car or get up from sitting – that pain is greatly diminished.
I’m still stiff when I get up after sitting for too long. But that stiffness subsides pretty quickly as I get moving.
And then I can walk – without hurting!
And that makes me believe that in another six months or so I’ll be walking pretty easily – pain-free – and even hiking a bit as the leaves start to fade and fall is on its way.
This breakthrough has arrived with spring, just as the trees are budding and the first flowers are blooming.
Sunny days (like today) make me want to get outside and take a walk.
And so I do!
I’m not up to real yard work, to walking more than 10 minutes or so, to standing for long periods of time. Yet.
But I can walk a little, stand for a bit, do some chores around the house – without much pain at all. And sometimes with none!
This breakthrough has really helped my spirit. I feel more like myself – if that makes sense.
Even though I tire easily, can’t be active too many days in row without a rest day, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I now actually believe that I’ll be walking, hiking, doing my own yard work at some point.
And I believe that point isn’t terribly far away.
So until then I’ll gradually be walking more, being more active in general, getting out and about more.
Feeling more myself.
And feeing grateful for this latest breakthrough.
And feeling hopeful . . . again!
Just in time for spring.