Positive Changes Don’t Only Apply To Knee Replacements

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I haven’t written a blog post for who knows how long, so it’s time to catch up.

It’s now been 13 months since total knee replacement surgery on my right knee and 17 months since having my left one done.

With Spring 2017 on the horizon, it’s time for me to add more changes to the ones I began making on New Year’s Day. As of this post, I dropped 29 pounds and my blood pressure fell by little over 7 percent since January 1 by eliminating “bad” carbohydrates and fats, eating only serving sizes (or cutting those portions in half if I found them too large), resuming my workouts (I’d gotten lazy over the holiday season), and undergoing a supplement regimen: calcium, magnesium, fish oil, and Vitamin C.

My plantar fasciitis is finally healing! In addition to keeping up with treatment recommended by my podiatrist since September, I discovered an incredible line of footwear by Vionic and recently purchased a pair of the Action Sunset Mary Jane style as a birthday gift to myself (pictured below).

 

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Not only did these shoes help alleviate the plantar fasciitis pain when standing, walking, and exercising, but also have done wonders for my now-not-so-new knees. I’ve noticed less swelling and stiffness after increased activity. My Vionics are the next best thing to going barefoot and I already have my eye on another style on sale. Vionic shoes can be found for reasonable prices on sites such as 6pm.com and Amazon for those of us more budget conscious.

Back to the additional changes I mentioned earlier. Giving up bad carbs and fat was only the beginning. With my health coach, a home workout was developed for me to keep up the strength I’d built working out at my gym from last spring to mid-November. I don’t like going out in cold and snow but didn’t want to risk having to start over when the weather eventually cleared.

I also ended a relationship that was turning destructive and plan to explore other “options” the world has to offer while continuing to work on improving both my physical and psychological being. Splitting from a partner is never easy but it’s time to let go when that person does one’s morale more harm than good. A burden lifted from my shoulders once I made that decision.

Remember me mentioning some time back I could go without my cane at home and to walk on flat surfaces but had to use it in public to negotiate hill sides, high curbs, and uneven sidewalks due to balance issues I had from post-op complications?

I no longer need a cane for anything! For the first time in 17 months, I am completely free of needing any type of assistive device. And I’m looking forward to returning to the gym on Monday.

Bad carbs, bad fats, lousy men, and a cane. All of them gone…and I’ve never felt better. Sometimes knee replacements can play huge roles in other aspects of our lives. How are they improving yours today?

SEX AFTER A JOINT REPLACEMENT: THE DEFINITIVE HOW-TO GUIDE

 

Sex

Discussing sex in any amount of detail with a medical professional can be uncomfortable. So much so, it can take mature adults right back to that “sinking in chair” feeling from junior high sex-ed class. Take the topic of sex and add it to the fact that you’ll be undergoing surgery, are in pain, and have likely endured limited mobility for some time, and the topic becomes even more overwhelming. For these reasons, we’ve decided to put together this no-holds-barred post on all things post-op sex.

Read More (Courtesy Peerwell.com)

When We Turn the Corner: Best Days Ever!

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Anyone who has had knee surgery (specifically total knee replacements) is well familiar with the recovery process. Sometimes healing and returning to function is relatively quick (as was the case with my right knee) while other times bring complications and longer periods before returning to normal.

The journey with my left knee was a long process – eight and a half months, in fact. Total healing takes 12-18 months, but I was spoiled from quickly bouncing back after the January 2015 surgery on my right knee. Unfortunately, the second post-op period wasn’t as simple.

From bleeding out during surgery on my left knee, dropping blood counts, blood transfusions, painful physical therapy, days I nearly passed out, the whole lower leg (including my left foot) remaining swollen for months, walking everywhere with a cane, not being able to clean my apartment without either taking ten-minute breaks between each room or having to split tasks into separate days, and forget standing long periods of time or using a regular cart for grocery shopping without dealing with agonizing pain later. Short of a few recommended sitting exercises in addition to the physical therapy ones, any degree of working out was also out of the question. As result of the latter, I regained lost weight and then some.

I finally turned the corner in mid-May with small steps at first: gradually walking farther distances without the cane (with little pain or no pain to boot), all the cleaning chores done in one day without breaks, and once again able to comfortably stand while folding the laundry, to name a few examples. I still take my cane when going out, but it’s mostly used to negotiate hill sides, potholes, and uneven sidewalks.

When I recently started working with a health coach, she suggested joining a gym to help further strengthen my knees and shed the regained weight. I shot down the idea at first; expensive membership fees, potentially being locked into contracts, and horrifying thoughts of exercising in crowded gyms among scornful, mocking eyes of strangers didn’t exactly excite me. I have some equipment at home and felt content doing my thing there.

The health coach then brought me to a Planet Fitness that opened near my home a few months earlier. The place changed my negative views of gyms moment I walked through their front door. Friendly, well-informed staff, great equipment, small classes, lots of perks for affordable fees, no contracts, and – most important – I felt comfortable working out there. As of this post, I’ve lost almost 25 pounds since mid-May.

Joining Planet Fitness may have been the best post-op thing I’ve done for myself. Sure I felt odd wobbling around the huge building on my cane at first, but when someone in a wheelchair came in one day for their own workout session, I couldn’t help but think to myself “If they can do it, why not me?”  I continued to push forward despite the rest of my body remaining sore the first few days.

 

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Yesterday was the best day since joining Planet Fitness. I not only walked through the entire gym during my latest session (entire workout takes little over an hour) without my cane, but also had confidence to wear shorts for the first time in heaven knows how long. In addition, I neither became winded nor had to stop because of pain while spending 30 minutes on the stair climber machine. Progress!

A man came up to me while I was working on free weights. He apparently noticed my knee scars and apologized for interrupting. He admired my courage and added his mother also had knee replacements done and  dealing with other health issues. He’d been trying to get her to come with him for workouts with a goal to make herself feel better both physically and psychologically.

I certainly hope he succeeds one day; we’re the ones who are living with these new knees, why not use them to our best potential?

I now have a new goal in place: walking the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in late October. Needless to say, I’m not putting all this training to waste, love a new challenge, and always dreamed of doing a 5K walk.

Turning a post-op corner is the best day ever – least in my opinion – especially after long period of dealing with limitations. Be patient and stay optimistic, difficult as it may be at present; the magic corner will happen!

Happy Holidays!

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I’d like to thank fellow knee warriors and other blog visitors for joining me on this new journey throughout the year and wish you a safe, joyful, and blessed Christmas.

If you already had knee replacement surgery, don’t overdo it! If you’re scheduled for surgery in 2016, my thoughts are with you for a successful knee replacement.  I can now speak from experience in saying you won’t regret your decision.

Christmas Moon

While enjoying the holiday, be sure to check out the Christmas Moon if you can!

Merry Christmas With Love,

Lori

Important Win In The Fight Against Arthritis

 

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Thanks to you and the work of the Arthritis Foundation Advocates, we have a victory to celebrate! Earlier this month, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill 2477 into effect.

This bill allows biosimilar medications to become available for people with arthritis and other chronic diseases. It’s because of you and your support that we were able to get this bill passed by leading lobbying efforts and testifying before the New Jersey legislature.

Thanks to your ongoing support, we are working tirelessly to advocate for improved access to better care and treatments for you and your loved ones.

As the year comes to a close, take a closer look at our 2015 Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Report Card.

Sincerely,
Ann M. Palmer – President & CEO – Arthritis Foundation

Dressing After Surgery: Looking Good, Recovering Better

physical therapy

If you attended a pre-op joint replacement surgery workshop, physical and occupational therapy were likely two important topics covered. The workshop facilitators may also suggested specific clothing and shoes you needed for therapy sessions.

We’re not going to be our optimum selves immediately following surgery; the last thing on our minds is the hideous hospital gown we’re wearing. However, attire will become somewhat important as we transition into the rehabilitation stages.

Dressing each morning will not only help prepare for therapy, but also boost one’s morale. How many of you felt tired and depressed wearing hospital gowns only to have an improved mood after a shower, dressed in favorite outfits brought from home, and hair combed? I can certainly vouch for the latter; as a matter of fact, many doctors and therapists agree that patients who dress in street clothing and shoes than remain in hospital-issue gowns and slippers progress further in recovery. I’ve kept up the habit of getting out of night clothes and dressing in favorite outfits for in-home physical therapy, and agree making the extra effort has played a role in my current stage of recovery.

Therapy involves a lot of movement and bending, so non-confining and comfortable things should top the list. A few favorite pieces of clothing may also bolster one’s spirits. I packed a favorite pair of sweat pants, loose pull-up jeans, and a pair of stretch pants I like to wear around home, along with three hockey jerseys, a gauze top, and a silky caftan for bedtime that could easily be lifted when I needed to use bathroom facilities during the night.

I also invested a bit more money in a pair of sturdy New Balance shoes in a slightly larger size to accommodate any potential foot swelling (which did happen after surgery). Since most hospitals tend to be cold year round, include a light sweater that can be put on and removed with ease.

Many joint replacement patients also offered additional suggestions:

Shorts and T-shirts
Loose sweat pants and tee shirts.
Loose fitting pajamas
Men’s boxer shorts
Soft pull on pants
Loose capri pants

What kind of clothing did you take to the hospital for your surgery? Did you feel a difference between staying in a hospital gown and finally being able to dress in regular clothes? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Don’t Pay More for Arthritis Treatments

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It’s unthinkable, but every month too many arthritis patients and caregivers have to choose between things like paying their mortgage and paying for life-changing—and sometimes lifesaving—treatments and medications.
That’s why we need your help to fight for H.R. 1600, the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (PATA). We need your signature on our letter to Congress demanding access to effective arthritis treatments.
This bill was introduced in 2013 but died last year when powerful special interests put profits before patients.

“We have the ability to advance therapy—to use, in some cases, safer and more effective therapy—but are prevented from bringing a patient together with the medicine that they need. What prevents us from doing this at times is a prohibitive cost.”

– Dr. Audrey B. Uknis,
American College of Rheumatology President

It’s happening every single day. Patients are denied access to proven treatments that would dramatically change their lives. Together, we can do something about it!

Sign our letter to Congress today and help fight for better access to effective arthritis treatments.
Thank you for your support!

Gratefully,
Ann M. Palmer – President & CEO – Arthritis Foundation