TKR: Two Years and Counting… Fighting Disability

Do you ever wish you could turn back the clock?

Two years ago my life changed and not for the better. The total knee replacement I pinned my hopes on that would allow me some modicum of normalcy aka would allow me to rejoin Pilates and Yoga, Zumba, walks on the beach and go body boarding with the grandkids again etc. has turned my life into a living nightmare of pain and frustration. I can’t even take a bath or get down on the floor. At least before the operation, I could do both.

I can’t go anywhere without planning the trip re. access such as steps, parking etc. When we were on holiday in France it was suggested we take a boat trip on one of the lakes until Mr. Piglet reminded me I would not be able to get down into the boat. … gutted! I wanted to see my grandkids in the adventure park set in a forest. Nope, not a chance.

I am effectively disabled without even the benefit of a disabled parking badge.

The operation has completely changed my life and not for the better. My first mistake: allowing a general surgeon as opposed to a knee specialist to perform the operation – I was swayed by a few recommendations. The second, going to a surgeon in the same group for another opinion and was told it was mechanically fine. No, it’s not piggin’ fine otherwise I would be able to walk without pain and a tight band feeling.

There are reasons why some knee replacements fail. Some issues can be corrected and others not. I accept this. Yes, I am overweight but I was overweight when I had the operation but that should not have been an issue. If it was, the operation should not have been performed until I was at the optimum weight.

So consulting a private sports surgeon who specialises in knees is my last horah! I’ve been tasked to lose a lot of weight (he explained why) my goal is 20kg so back on Keto and low carb diet. AND, despite the pain, I must build up the muscles around my knee. There are also a couple of other things he picked up from the MRI scan … we will see. Fingers crossed as I fight to regain my mobility.

I’d love to hear from other people who had problems with their TKR and the dreaded tight band feeling.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

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21 thoughts on “TKR: Two Years and Counting… Fighting Disability

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  1. Sounds like you had a bad surgeon. Tina had a total hip done where bone was grinding on bone. She is up walking in a walker everyday. But then she’s 75. She still takes pain medicine but no narcotics at all. She’s been using CBD medicine and it works well for her pain and keeps a clear head besides. She also had a total knew done on the same leg and a rod in her neck and another in lower spine. There is nothing holding this woman down.

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  2. My weight also tends to plateau when loosing weight. It’s like I can loose ten or even twenty pounds then it’s done and starts fighting to gain it back. I have no answers. I’m just resting my knees as much as they seem to need and they’ve recovered a tiny bit so that I can ride my stationary recumbent bicycle and move around the house and garden a little bit. If I overdo it, I’m toast and/or need crutches. I got what I think was termed a spa stool—a comfortable wheeled stool of adjustable height that I can sit on and move around the kitchen to do some tasks without stressing the knees. I sometimes go to a health club that has a pool and that is the best when I can get myself to do that. I swim backstroke and only use my legs a little—gently. This helps with aerobics and feels good. In the garden, I eventually got a kind of adult trike that I can get on and off without bending knees and that has a place on back for my gardening tools. My garden beds are raised beds, so I can get to them and even do some weeding without standing if I need to. The best luck I’ve ever had loosing weight was wearing a Fitbit watch and syncing it to my iphone to track my activity, and recording everything I eat in the fitbit app on my phone. It’s a pain in the b_tt but it’s pretty accurate if I keep to it. I just get tired of recording everything. I’m currently tired of doing that, but I will hopefully do so again soon. I try to do cortisone shots as least often as I can because they too can cause decay. I’m trying to keep it to once or twice a year for now. I think what’s helping me mentally with it is, after the initial shock and depression, I just seem to be living my life as well as I can. Not trying to put a happy face on it or anything, and not dumping on myself either… just doing what I can. I took up crocheting and knitting so I have something enjoyable to create in the evenings when I need to rest my knees a lot. I don’t know if any of that is useful to you but I’m wishing us both very good luck in finding out what works for each of us.

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    1. Lisa, you are in a worse state than me. I’ve been there and have made some progress albeit very slow… I echo your words: “I think what’s helping me mentally with it is, after the initial shock and depression, I just seem to be living my life as well as I can. Not trying to put a happy face on it or anything, and not dumping on myself either… just doing what I can.”
      There is truth in this. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
      Pain and disability are companions I have learned we eventually learn to live with … people ask … but only half listen to your reply. Now I tend to limit a reply to okay, I’ll live. We do discover alternative hobbies and interests and we find ways to get mobile etc. Mobility that people take for granted. Gardening is also my passion and I grow most of my plants in pots … no dig … and I can move around to create colour. Gardening brings peace.
      Writing everything we eat down is a pain and if I’m honest makes me obsess about food more.

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  3. Oh my… I feel your pain… literally. My knees suddenly gave out a year and a half ago. I also am overweight and it’s always been really difficult to loose weight despite being an active person who is a vegetarian and conscious about what I eat. Both knees are bad and I sometimes need crutches to walk now. Pain. I got cortisone shots in both knees. My surgeon won’t do surgery on me until I loose weight, which of course is even harder now that I can barely move. The good news is that though I could not even bend my knees enough to ride my stationary bicycle at first, now I seem to be able to do that, so that is a mercy. Just want you to know you have my full compassion! -lisa

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    1. Lisa, thank you for sharing and compassion. I wish the surgeon who performed my op had taken that stance. IT is tough losing weight when your knees hurt and you can’t exercise. I have made some changes to my diet and have already lost some weight… not much just 3kg steady. So plateaued which is dangerous for me as I lose willpower. IT’s tough to stay positive so perhaps we can work on this together?

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  4. Hi Sami, I don’t blame her. the only advice I can offer (in hindsight) is make sure the surgeon specializes in knee surgery. Mine did not and I now pay the price. I will take a look at the blog you suggest and see if I can pick up any tips. 🙂

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  5. So sorry to hear the knee replacement didn’t work out. No wonder my 84 year old mom has been refusing to do it for a few years and just bears the pain. Best of luck with your diet. Hubby and I have done the low carb (he’s diabetic and has high cholesterol) and his blood tests went back to nearly normal, as well as we both lost weight. Quite a few nice recipes in this UK blog – http://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.com/

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  6. I had a TKR in 2017, by I think, the same surgeon as you had, also a total disaster. I am, like you, constantly in pain, can’t walk far, have to plan “every step of the way” not funny!!! I need to have the other knee attended to, but, guess what, I am NOT going to do it. Medicine/surgery is supposed to have advanced, but has it really? – in some ways, yes, but in others no. I have friends who have had successful TKR’s and hip replacements, they are the “lucky ones”. At the moment we are trying to get Stan a disability sticker, it’s a nightmare, they don’t reply to your e-mails or “CTT post”.

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  7. I am so sorry to hear of the problems caused by your TKR and hope that you will find a way to improve your mobility. Regarding weight loss, what worked for me is fasting. I started the regimen of 16hours fasting and 8hrs eating. I started in June of this year without great expectation and have lost about 15 stone to date. I eat nothing from 9pm until 1pm. If I feel hungry during the morning fast, I have one banana or some type of fruit or a handful of almonds. For fluid intake, I drink water or herbal teas. During the non-fasting hours you can eat anything you like. My sister is over 70 and has been doing it for several years with no I’ll effects.

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    1. Wow, I am not sure I could do that. So you have lost 15stone since June? That’s only 3 months.

      I only have a greek Yogurt for breakfast. I’ve cut our cofeetime biscuits or cakes. a small lunch such as cheese salad or Ryvita style cracker with cheese and salad. and evening meal. Meat or fish. and usually no potatoes other than sweet potatoes. I’ve cut out pasta and rice (still have on rare occasions). And have cut out bread.

      Breakfast at 7.30/8ish lunch 12.30ish dinner 18.00ish

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      1. Yes, I did not realize that I had lost so much weight until I went for my annual check up. This has really worked for me. I don’t feel weak and so far, I have no ill effects. I’m trying to eat more during the non-fast periods to slow the weight loss.

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  8. Being of medical background I am sadly not surprised . . . at this stage do not look backward at what may have been but forward one small step at a time. Sadly most knee reconstructions do not bring forth the anticipated results ! Personally speaking after studying nutrition since 1994 I would NOT use any diets – good carbs are absolutely essential to the body – but correct portion control, a cutout of most processed foods, no snacking and a continuously increasing gentle exercise regimen – that will rebuild the muscles around the knees. Best of British ! Smile !!!

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    1. Thanks, Eha. I am trying to stay positive and have devised a daily exercise plan with set targets. Sometimes it gets to nearly midnight and I realise I’ve not completed my 6000 steps or 300 revolutions on static bike with #3 resistence. (I will gradually increase this) so there I am frantically pedaling away or walking around the house LoL

      I do include some natural carbs and try and avoid processed carbs. STrangely enough I don’t eat that much … far less than I use to.

      I keep smiling 🙂

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  9. Good luck with the weight loss. I struggle to lose weight despite keeping to a low carb diet for over a year (not at the moment – I got so bored of cauliflower). I hope you get some relief from the pain.

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    1. If a ‘diet’ does not begin to show results within a month or two – why continue it ? Cauliflower steaks are delicious . . . I have literally dozens of appetizing ways to prepare . . . but, with ALL the other possible choices why prepare it more than once s month or so . . . ? The best ‘diet’ just means being grown up !!!

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    2. I am surprised you never lost weight adjusting carbs in your diet. I lost 10kg even with a few blips. I wonder if another diet such as counting calories would work better? Cauliflower rice has to be the worst thing ever!

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