One year after double knee replacement

A year ago I was finishing my week in a rehab hospital after having both my knees replaced.

I thought that by now I’d be healed.

I was only partially right.

I don’t have the excruciating pain of a year ago. But I’m also not pain-free. And I’m certainly not walking well – especially when the weather is unstable. Which seems like every day! (I’m very weather sensitive. Any weather changes make some place(s) in my body hurt. Some changes make my left knee hurt a lot).

In June, I got in too much of a hurry with my exercising at the gym and strained the hip flexor in my right thigh. And that has kept me from walking for exercise. I kept tweaking it in my daily activities so the healing was slow. But now, finally, it is almost well.

My savior during the last several months has been yoga.

I’ve started working on an individual basis with the perfect yoga teacher for me. She is encouraging. She doesn’t push. She tailors each lesson for me.

And most importantly: She trusts me to know my body. 

That is such a breath of fresh air, because I feel many in the medical establishment (particularly doctors) are hesitant to to that. They seem to be focused on the prescribed methods rather than individualizing for the specific patient.

I’m such a “tight” person that yoga is exactly what I need. I need to stretch my muscles so that I can open up to better posture.

I was resistant to yoga for many years, though. I didn’t want to be the “worst” person in a class. I need to hold the stretches for a long time, and classes don’t do that. I had all of the excuses.

But the right teacher came along at the right time, and now yoga is my daily practice.

I especially need to stretch my legs. My big challenge after surgery wasn’t bending my knees. It was straightening them, and that means stretching muscles.

When I look at photos from 10 years ago, I see that my knees stayed bent all of the time – even that long ago. So I have many years of shortened muscles to stretch out. Stretching them should also help with the joint mobility that I work on every night before bed.

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This was the torture stretch early on at physical therapy before I “graduated” to a harder, taller heel rest.

I do what I call the “torture” stretch where I sit on my bed with my heels propped up on a pool noodle in front of me – and gravity pulls my knees down. It hurts like heck every single time. I hated that torture stretch during physical therapy. I hate it now. But I do it every evening.

The other stretches I do, the yoga ones, should also be helping. They certainly are helping my whole body, and that will ultimately help my knees.

Because, after all, everything is connected!

So my one-year report is that I still have a long way to go before I can walk easily. Or hike.

Is that discouraging?

A bit. But one of my discoveries in the past decade is that I don’t heal on the average schedule – especially after my cancer treatments seven years ago. I need to be patient and listen to my body. It will heal on its own schedule.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I really do feel that healing will come in time.

Complete healing?

Probably not. But that’s okay.

I’ll continue my daily yoga practice. And I’ll start walking when the heat finally breaks – my hip flexor should be healed enough by then.

People have asked if I’d have double knee replacement if I had it to do over.

I’m not sure.

But I can’t do it over, so I’ll deal with what I have now.

And I’ll do what I can now to keep healing.

Little by little. Day by day.

Until I regain my mobility.

Or not.

But at least I’ll be improving.

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My view just over a year ago on my last day in the hospital. Apparently I was getting a break from the support hose!

 

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