Aging can be difficult. It is a fact of life that parts of our body begin to wear out as we age. I have struggled with osteoarthritis in my knees for many years. In the Fall of 2011 I took a trip with my two daughters to New York. It was the first visit to New York for all three of us and we had an incredible time! It was a once in a lifetime experience. It seemed we walked a hundred miles that week. For my knees, it was the beginning of the end.
The pain in my knees became increasingly worse making simple tasks excruciatingly painful. My doctor recommended cortisone injections. The injections are uncomfortable, but definitely worth it if they alleviate some of the pain. The first set of injections were very beneficial. The pain relief lasted approximately 4 months and I was back for another round. To my disappointment the second set of cortisone injections were not successful. Again, at my doctors recommendation I consented to a series of viscosupplement injections. These injections brought no relief to the pain in my knees.
As a last resort, I began to research knee replacement surgery. I knew that would be my next option. I don’t personally know anyone that enjoys or looks forward to surgery, myself included. There were anxious days before my knee replacement surgery in August 2014. All went very well and I was up and standing on my new knee by the evening of the surgery. One recommendation I have is don’t try to be a hero…keep track of your pain medication and take it! Physical therapy began in the hospital the next morning. The physical therapists were wonderful and so encouraging. I spent two days in the hospital and was so glad to go home. If you have experienced a hospital stay you are aware that you don’t sleep much there!
A physical therapist came to my home for the first few days and then I was off to the clinic for physical therapy. If you want your new knee to be the best it can be, physical therapy is critical. My advice would be to work hard, stick with it and it will pay off.
My second knee was replaced in December 2014. I was told by my doctor it would take a full year for each knee to completely heal. I now realize he was correct. As my knees have continued to heal tasks become easier. Things that had become impossible for me became possible again. The very important things such as a long walk with my husband, traveling or attempting to keep up with my grandchildren became a reality.
I am so grateful to live in an age that a knee replacement is possible! It has changed my life. I encourage you, if you are living with pain and contemplating a knee replacement….don’t let fear hold you back. Go for it! If you’re like me, you will be glad you did.