Friday, July 14, 2006

TKR-plus-22-months --- almost two years after unilateral total knee replacement, and loving it !!!

For those of you who had been hoping that I would be posting more frequently, my humble apologies. As it does with many of us, life post-TKR has really changed my normal patterns.

For those of you who have emailed me, I hope that I have gotten back to you in time to have been of service. The gmail address bounces twice before it gets to a box that I monitor on a routine basis, and sometimes that path is less than reliable. I do, however, try and check the gmail account directly every month or so.

Now, the update.

It's been just about 22 months since my unilateral (right) TKR. If you've been here before, you know that my experience has been incredibly positive. If not, I encourage you to read your way through the archives --- the whole story is in there. My experience continues to be absolutely positive.

About ten weeks ago, I decided that my post-TKR body was still not balanced or symmetric. 30-plus years of favoring my right knee had created many bad posture and balance habits which I still unconsciously retain. My solution was and is) to go to a personal trainer 3X a week for an hour. 6 AM, MWF. Yes, ouch. And on the "off days", I walk or bike for an hour.

As comfortable as I had been pre-trainer with my TKR, things after 10 weeks of effort are much MUCH better. Flexibility, balance, strength --- all are improved. This enables me to do more, and protect both my knees and my back much better than before.

For example, I've mentioned kneeling in here more than once. "Can you kneel with a TKR?" is a frequent Delphi forum question. Although my experience may be unique, and yes, my TKR is uni, not bi, let me tell you: I CAN KNEEL. We do yoga-type stretching from kneeling positions all the time, and I am able to comfortably go into a yoga "prayer" position. The trainer does not call it that, but it resembles the arms-forward variation of the balasana, or yoga child's pose. I can almost sit on my heels, and can almost put my chest onto my thighs. Interestingly enough, it is no longer my KNEE that limits my flexibility, but my lower back and hips.

What has this done to my daily life? I now garden on my knees, wearing gel-filled knee pads, rather than always sitting (because I was unable to kneel).

I have NO pain, even after extended exercise. I routinely walk 3 to 5 miles at a time, at a fairly fast pace. No pain.

My two-year anniversary is at the end of September, 2006. I expect to be posting a full update at that time.

I would encourage those of you who read this to simply know that with persistence, hard work, a good surgeon, and a good PTist, you will get through the TKR experience. There may be days or weeks when it doesn't seem like it. There will be weeks where the incremental improvement just doesn't seem real. But it will be.

Or at least, that has been my experience.