Count The Cost – Part 3

I decided Total Knee Replacement (TKR) was going to be a part of my future and that I needed to maximize the chance for success and minimize the risk of failure for the procedure. As such, I needed more information in order to move forward with confidence so I researched and established a list of requirements to be satisfied  prior to scheduling my surgery:

  1. Find an experienced orthopedic surgeon and hospital with a low infectious complication rate – this is critical for your peace of mind and safety!
  2. Make adjustments during open enrollment to change coverage so that you can see the surgeon that best meets your acceptance criteria.
  3. Get in shape! Lose weight, build up your lower and upper extremities because your upper body strenght will be needed for using walking devices post op.
  4. Plan on having support during your recovery – someone should be with you for the first 2 weeks for the majority of the time. You will be very dependent!
  5. Take your pain meds on schedule – stay ahead of the pain curve because it will hit every 4 hours like clockwork!
  6. Get your sleep during the day – take naps because you will not sleep well at night!
  7. Plan on using a bedside urinal at night – its safer and conserves your energy.
  8. Plan on the first 2 weeks as being the very worst in your life insofar as pain and suffering!
  9. Don’t be surprised if all the various meds wreak havoc on your attitude, thoughts and emotions! Opiodes are commonly prescribed and have a psychotropic affect.

The aforementioned are the practical steps I strongly advise you to follow and each is important. Try not to omit any of the above for convenience or sake of finances.

This surgery makes one look inward to find the courage to proceed with it as the operation is an elective procedure. This is where one draws upon their faith:

‘Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you’ – 1st Peter, 5:7

I know that God cares about what we go through in life and that pain and suffering is a part of life. Obviously there are many people in the world suffering fates far worse than TKR and I have the advantage of competent medical attention.

I am learning to view my experience more objectively in just knowing that God cares about me…in the midst of my trials – this brings great comfort and confidence!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father (knowledge)” – Matthew 10:29

I think about what Christ must have felt as the Roman guards, beat him, whipped him 39 times with a cat of nine tails. His life slowly draining from his weakened fleshly body as he was left to die of pain and dehydration. The point is; I doubt I would be so inclined to think about what His body felt like if I wasn’t able to relate to how I experience such pain in my body. Here are some pictures of my experience:

Sorry if the picture on the right grosses you out… but this is what TKR looks like at 2 weeks post op. It’s no joke… But every day brings more progress! Until next time be blessed and you can learn more about us at: 

Count The Costs – Part 1

There is nothing like physical pain that causes us to rethink our priorities! Most, if not all of us would do just about anything to avoid pain! The word pain is something that can mean different things given how it’s used. Sometimes we think of pain as losing, as the old saying on the Wide World of Sports: ‘The the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.’

In this analogy, we associate defeat in a sports competition as pain (agony).  While there is certainly an emotional connection with the love of sports and the feeling of deflation when your favorite sports team loses, this is not the type of pain I am referring to. Also, while we acknowledge that individuals can experience severe emotional trauma, this too is not the type of pain I am writing about.

I am talking about real – in the body – physical trauma that require medical attention. Situations like broken bones, lacerations, deep piercings and open flesh type wounds are the type I am going to focus upon. Sometimes life brings difficult, unfortunate situations that result in trips to the emergency room or trauma centers. Other times, we make decisions to have elective medical procedures.

As I write this post, I am recovering from major surgery (total knee replacement). About seven years ago, I began to experience pain in my right knee that had it’s roots in an old sports injury that occurred many years ago. Old injuries that you think are long behind you, can come back to bite in your older years!

When I was in my twenties, I loved to play basketball and my favorite player was Ervin ‘Majic’ Johnson. I remember watching Majic run full speed and fake to pass in one direction and throw a no look pass in the opposite direction for an assist to one of his team mates! Magic’s passing abilities were legendary – even to this day! Since we like to idolize and emulate our sports heroes, I too thought I could do what Majic did….and one day in a pickup game of full court basket ball I attempted that same pass.

I remember jumping in the air and twirling around in a 360 degrees turn only to pass the ball to a team mate (I think). I don’t honestly recall whether I completed the pass or not because when I landed my right knee instantly exploded in pain and I limped off the court in mid-play of the game. I was done…

My buddies came over to check on me but I knew at a ripe old age of 20 that something was seriously wrong with my knee. I don’t recall how I got home that day, I think one of my friends drove me home.

This mishap was not just a mistake in judgement for trying to make a fancy pass without the requisite skills…it was a mistake in judgement for playing basketball while under the influence…the mistakes of youth can create life long implications.

I recall going to the doctors a couple weeks later. The doctor injected a huge syringe filled with dye and took an image and he said ‘you have a slight tear of the lateral meniscus’. I remember thinking ‘this sounds bad’…I asked ‘What are my options’?  I was told open knee surgery or rest and ice it (to see if it would get better). Well… given those two options I chose to ice, wait and see…

Decades later…that same knee became arthritic and began to hurt so bad that I went to great lengths to alleviate the pain by undergoing a different combination of therapies, modalities and treatments. I took health supplements, performed exercise, accepted injection based therapies (prolo-theraphy, synvisc-one, PRP, acupuncture) but none of these attempts to mitigate the pain of osteoarthritis helped. I even had an arthroscopic knee debridement procedure….but it still came down to the undeniable reality that a ‘knee replacement’ was the only thing that had the potential to alleviate my chronic knee OA pain.

So here I am 21 days post knee replacement surgery and experiencing the challenges of recovery and experiencing ongoing pain. If you have experienced this procedure you understand my situation. Because I tried lesser invasive approaches, I have come to fully accept and embrace the need for this procedure – otherwise I would never have opted to under go the surgery. There is a point at which one can no longer deny the inevitable.

In my next posts, I will go into greater detail (Including posting some pictures) about the effects of the challenges (recovery, rehabilitation, psychological, and spiritual etc.) of this most daunting procedure. The decision to resolve the problem of chronic pain (advanced osteoarthritis) by undergoing a painful procedure has become a decision quality of life.

As a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I know my future recovery is in His hands. In closing, one can be assured that no matter the challenges we face, our Heavenly father promised to never leave us or forsake us. In that promise and others, I am placing my confidence for a full and complete recovery but it will certainly be a challenging process…

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Until next time, be blessed!