All about bowlegs, arthritis, pain managment….

Savor the Moment

33 years of arthritis pain taught me to appreciate the good moments in life. No matter how small that moment was. I learned to appreciate the days when there was a little pain and not the excruciating pain I often felt. I thought I had savoring the moment or appreciating the moment mastered. After all, I had 11 surgeries on my knees and legs, 1 back surgery and countless painful physical therapy sessions. These experiences taught me a lot about life and how to appreciate it.

Friends watching sunset at Huntington Beach State Park

Friends watching sunset at Huntington Beach State Park

Then something completely unexpected happened. One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. I was completely thrown for a loop. I remained calm, hopeful, caring and supportive as I could be. Then two weeks later her oncologist upgraded her to stage IVB cervical cancer. Her cervical cancer had metastasized. It spread to her lungs and lymph nodes. I was numb. I was afraid. But I had to support my friend so I pulled myself together and supported her in whatever way she needed, when she needed. This situation was truly eye-opening. Acts 9:18 speaks of the scales falling from Saul’s eyes. After which he could see the truth.

Acts 9:18 (NIV)
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…

Spending this past weekend with my friend removed the scales from my eyes. I knew I didn’t fully understand the pain of cancer, chemotherapy (chemo) or chemotherapy induced menopause because I hadn’t personally experienced it but I had no idea the depths to which it ran!

To celebrate her last chemo and the size reduction of her tumor, we (my two best friends and myself) went to Myrtle Beach SC. We had a great time. We smiled, laughed and truly enjoyed ourselves. None of us had flown in a helicopter so we took a helicopter tour of the area. It was great. Over the course of the weekend she talked about her experiences and the aftermath. Chemo stopped six weeks ago but it takes around six months for some of the side effects to leave or stop. I didn’t know that.

Helicopter Tour Myrtle Beach SC

Helicopter Tour Myrtle Beach SC

I watched and listened as she spoke. The evidence of her experience is obvious. Her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are gone. Five weeks after chemo stopped her eye lashes continued to fall out. They are all gone now. She talked about how she never realized how important eye lashes were until she had none. Debris of all types constantly get in her eyes.

She even spoke briefly about being unattractive now. That is so far from the truth. She is as beautiful as ever. She is a truly beautiful woman. Her physical beauty is only enhanced by her beautiful and light-filled spirit. One might think am biased because I am her friend. But that is not the case. Everyone that meets her is drawn in by her presence. She is the kind of human being everyone wants to be near. People meet her once and never forget being in her presence. She is the kind of person that makes you feel special.

While we walked along the beach holding hands, taking pictures, playing in the surf and sand, singing, laughing and giggling as we always do, I realized just how great these moments are. We do things together every year. We always have a great time but somehow this weekend was different. My level of appreciation for life grew exponentially because of this experience.

Enjoying the beach

Enjoying the beach

Playtime

Playtime

I learned that when I thought I knew something for sure, it was just the tip of the iceberg. I thought I knew how to truly appreciate life. I have a completely new level of consciousness or awareness because of this experience. Everything from a cloudy overcast day to holding my cat has new meaning. A new depth of appreciation.

I cannot image what the experience was like for her. And it is not over. Chemo is but she has 25 rounds of radiation next which is followed by immuno-therapy. However, be assured that I am here to do whatever she needs, when she needs for as long as she wants and needs.

What I learned and am still learning is that life is precious. Savor every single moment, in health and in sickness, richer or poorer. Life is beautiful. Life is sweet. Life is full of mountain highs and valley lows. Life in and of itself is the greatest gift no matter what it looks like. Savor every single moment!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


After the storm  Author: Sandy Matzen

After the storm
Author: Sandy Matzen

A few days ago one of my YouTube subscribers sent me a comment about developing arthritis. An ankle injury resulted in surgery and now they were feeling down or sad at the future chances they may develop arthritis. The viewer asked how I handle moments when I feel down. I answered the question informing them to avoid playing out ‘what if’ scenarios in their head and to focus on the positive.

Today I want to elaborate just a bit on ‘what if’ scenarios. “What if” scenarios are situations where we ask ourselves “what if this happens then that happens”. An example would be “What if I lose my job then I won’t have any income.” You haven’t actually lost your job so you are worrying about a future event that you have no way of knowing if it will happen or not. Another example is when we are about to try a new activity or venture and we ask ourselves “what if I make a mistake” or “what if I fail”. Making such statements make us less likely to try new and different things based on the fear that we won’t succeed. The truth is everyone makes mistakes and we all fail sometimes. However the “what if” scenarios only terrorize us and create panic over situations that haven’t happened.

“What ifs” are based on fear and only cause more anxiety, worry and stress. Which is pointless in these situations because the event we are stressed-out about has not occurred. “What if” questions only make us fearful about the future and terrorize us.

The list of “what If’ questions is never-ending.
“What if this treatment doesn’t work?”
“What if I never get better?”
“What if the pain gets worse?”
“What if I can no longer work because of pain?”
“What if physical therapy hurts?”

The list goes on and on. One “what if” question leads to another “what if” question which leads to another. All of these questions only pull us further down into the depths of despair. The more we think about the “what ifs” in life the more worried, stressed-out and anxious we become. Stay in this state long enough and it can lead to feelings of sadness, depression or chronic stress.

When we have chronic pain, an injury or surgery (total knee replacement or any other surgery), it is easy to get caught in this cycle of questions. These questions do not benefit us in any way.

It’s important to focus on the positive when we find ourselves thinking about future events. Focus on the positive by paying attention to what is going well in your life currently. Sometimes we have to look for the rainbow but it is always there. Rainbows only appear after it rains. So when it rains in your life look for the rainbow. It’s there, you just have to pay attention.

Look at every situation as an opportunity to learn. We learn the most from painful situations whether it is physical pain or emotional pain. Then take what you learned and move forward. Don’t stay stuck in the same place of sadness or pain because a bad situation happened. Make a conscious decision to move forward, to grow, to become stronger and to prosper in every situation.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


5. More Knowledge

Every situation in life creates an opportunity to learn. I approached knee replacement with the same vigor I give everything. I asked questions from everyone involved, my surgeon, the physician assistant, nurses and the physical therapist. I took notes and I learned. Having knee replacement gave me a wealth of knowledge and experience. Having both knees replaced gave me more information. Every surgery is different. It was a great opportunity to compare my experiences knowing the history of both my knees. Because of these surgeries, I have a new audience I can relate to and more importantly, a new audience I can serve.

4. Renewed appreciation of life

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I am not a fancy person. I always enjoyed the simple things in life, wildflowers, birds singing or a clear blue sky. Since knee replacement surgery, my appreciation of nature and life grew exponentially. I appreciated being alive every day when I had arthritis. And although it was really bad and I was in a lot of pain, I was aware that life could be worse. I appreciated my portion of good health even on my toughest days. Knee replacement gave me what the bible refers to as double portion. I got back everything I lost plus more. My relationship with God is on a firm foundation because of my journey. My trust and faith is unshakable and my love for God is unconditional. Simple pleasures are even more valuable today than ever. I don’t take anything for granted. I appreciate my life. I appreciate my new knees, I appreciate walking. I appreciate every new day that greets me because I realize I am truly blessed.

3. More active, socially and physically

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Total knee replacement gave me my freedom back. Before surgery, pain held me hostage. Today I feel free. Today I am free. I enjoy social activities in a way that I haven’t in years. I look forward to meeting friends for game night, a movie or brunch that turns into an all-day affair.

As I write this blog, I sit on a bench in Durant Nature Preserve in Raleigh NC. I went for a hike around Gresham Lake and then found a nice spot to write. Hiking is a dream come true for me. Total knee replacement allowed me to break down the walls of imprisonment that arthritis built.

Gresham Lake, Raleigh NC

Gresham Lake, Raleigh NC

Gresham Lake Trail Raleigh, NC

Gresham Lake Trail Raleigh, NC

2. Less day to day fatigue

What many people don’t realize is that chronic pain saps your energy. Every day is a struggle. People with chronic pain and other chronic illness must practice energy conservation regularly just to get through the day. Simple activities take a tremendous amount of energy. On more than one occasion, I spent half the day preparing for an evening out.

The routine was:
a. Take 800 mg of ibuprofen
b. Shower, elevate and ice my knees
c. Get dressed then elevate and ice again
d. Do make-up and hair and elevate and ice again.

I followed this routine to prevent the flaming, burning pain that accompanied standing for more than a few minutes.
Knee replacement stopped the burning, flaming pain I had as a result of chronic arthritis. I have much more energy. Simple activities such as getting dressed or doing house-hold chores are no longer a burden. The fatigue that comes with chronic pain sometimes lasts for days. Now a night of restful sleep is enough to replenish me after an active day. With chronic pain, a full night sleep is seldom achieved. I truly love sleeping through the night.

1. No More Arthritis

At The top of this list all day, every day is no more arthritis. No more arthritis, means no more arthritis pain. Arthritis in its chronic state is a constant nagging pain. On every occasion, the pain is there. On the best day, the pain is still there in some form. People with arthritis try to take advantage of days with mild pain but they are always careful not to overdo it. Do too much on a mild day and the result is several days of excruciating pain. Knee replacement made arthritis pain an obsolete issue. It’s still hard to believe. I don’t have knee arthritis anymore. After 33 years of it, I don’t have knee arthritis anymore! Wow, I’m in awe. I wake up with a smile on my face every day because the first thing I feel is not pain.

I made the video on March 27, 2015, three days after my right total knee replacement. It was an emotional moment. That was the first time I woke up with arthritis pain in many years.

Total knee replacement truly changed my life. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)


Have you ever heard these expressions?

I have a touch of a cold/I have a bit of a cold.
I have a touch of asthma/I have a bit of asthma.
I have a touch of arthritis/I have a bit of asthma.

I grew up in a rural area in NC. Expressions such as these were common. People often used them when they were not feeling well or were in pain.

© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Recently I began to wonder why people use these expressions. I thought about this all day. In the middle of the night the realization hit me like a ton of bricks! People use these expressions to minimize their suffering. That realization led to another question. The big question! Why do people minimize their own suffering?

The answer to that question is simple yet complex. People minimize their own suffering for two reasons.

– People minimize their suffering for the sake of their family and others in their immediate circle. People are more concerned with their children and/or spouses well-being than their own well-being. This concern often manifests as protection. Parents and spouses feel they must protect those around them from pain (physical pain and emotional pain). To protect others, people hide the extent to which they are suffering personally.

– People minimize their suffering when they are in denial. A painful or life threatening illness or condition creates anxiety and fear. Minimizing pain and suffering is a self-protection mechanism people use. We think if I ignore this pain or illness, then it will go away. Unfortunately, that is wishful thinking. In many cases people know something is wrong long before they visit a doctor. This denial sometimes leads to the condition worsening. Ignoring your body’s warning signals can have harmful effects.

The next time you make or hear such statements, imagine someone telling you they are a touch of pregnant. After you stop laughing, your immediate thought is either you are pregnant or you are not pregnant. You cannot be a little pregnant.

The same is true of a cold, asthma and arthritis. If you have a touch of a cold, you have a cold. It might be minor but it is still a cold. A touch of asthma is still asthma and a touch of arthritis is still arthritis. Ignoring these do not make the magically disappear.

I used to do it. I didn’t want my family and friends to worry about me so I didn’t tell the complete truth. I left out important details, very important details. They knew I had arthritis, they knew I experienced pain but very few knew about the excruciating pain I experienced daily. In the beginning, I only went to the orthopedic when I could not stand the pain any longer.

Trying to protect others was a tremendous burden. That burden increased my suffering because I was in pain and I felt alone. Over the last 10 years my approach changed but in the beginning I spent a lot of time suffering.
Don’t spend your time and your life suffering unnecessarily. You are not protecting anyone when you sacrifice your physical or mental well-being. Taking care yourself is vital.

You take the best care of yourself when:
1. You are honest with yourself and others. Secrets are a burden.
2. You are proactive with your health and well-being instead of reactive.
3. You seek support when you need it whether through a medical professional, a counselor or life coach.

Become an active participate in your life. Determine your destiny by making decisions and choices that support your overall well-being.

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain. Visit: http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com
Ask about my post-TRK support!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)



Re-post from Nov. 2012 (some minor changes made)

Almost everyone has experienced pain in some form. Maybe you had a headache or a stomach ache. You may have even had an injury that caused temporary pain. But what happens when the pain last longer than a day, a week, a month, a year? What happens when the pain is constant for years? People with arthritis, fibromyalgia and auto-immune diseases often experience chronic pain for many years.

Devastation

Pain that endures is devastating. You can’t imagine the toll it takes unless you have experienced it. It affects you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It makes you fearful; fearful that you can’t get through today, fearful about the future and fearful that you will never get relief. Such a heightened state of fearfulness leaves you tired, anxious, stressed-out and in distress.

Comfort

Your doctor and medicine only get you so much. Your doctor can give you the best medical care but they can’t handle with emotional effects pain has. You have to do that. When pain is not alleviated and it endures, you need something greater to rely on. You need someone greater to rely on. A spiritual connection to God allows you to have peace in the middle of a bad situation. It provides comfort and it eases fears.

My experience

My spiritual connection to God was the only thing that allowed me to get from one day to the next when my knees were their most painful. At one time, thinking about my future caused me much anxiety. I wondered what my life would be like at 60 if I could barely stand the pain at 38. I was afraid. I didn’t tell anyone about my fears so I also felt alone.

I have attended church most of my life and I gave my life to God a long time but it wasn’t until I began to talk to God about my situation that I began to get a grip on my life. I leaned on him when I felt I was crumbling. I asked him for peace. And when I felt tired and fatigued beyond anything I ever imagined, I asked him to give me a hiding place, a refuge.

That spiritual connection saved me. Today I am not fearful of anything. I have more peace than I ever felt. I am happy; happy that I am alive, happy I am walking, happy I didn’t let the pain destroy me and happy I used this experience as an opportunity to learn. Now when I face a new situation medical or otherwise, I think, “what can I learn from this and how can it be used to help someone else. I face new challenges with a new boldness and confidence that not only will I survive, I will prosper.

Here are some of the scriptures I use to keep me in a place of spiritual well-being.

Psalm 27:1 (NIV

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 23 (NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

(I love the entire book of Psalms. The message of God being your strength, your resting place and your refuge is repeated throughout it).

Matthew 11: 28-30 (NIV)

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Be sure to check out my books on arthritis, preparing for knee replacement surgery and what to expect after knee replacement surgery as well as my surgery companion journal!

Available on Amazon.com.
Click link to go directly to books http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

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invest

What does it mean to invest? Most of us invest in some way whether through a 401k or individual retirement account (IRA). We invest in these things so that we reap dividends as well as have a secure financial future. But what does invest mean? To invest means:
Expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture. Some synonyms for invest include: put money into, provide capital for, fund, and buy into.

We don’t think of total knee replacement or any other surgery as an investment but it actually is one. Just like financial investments secure your future, total knee replacement helps to secure your future. With financial investments, we pick funds that do well in the market over time. Just like a market investment TKR investments take time.

We spend money initially with the hopes that we will reap dividends in the years to come. Total knee replacement too requires you to spend money upfront with the hopes it pays off. Initially you spend money for the surgery. You pay for the doctors and physical therapists time and service. The cost of your hospital stay covers your room and board and the cost of the artificial knee.
However, TKR reaps a different kind of dividend. It is different in that it is not monetary however it has a huge impact on your life. These dividends affect the quality of your life. The dividends you get are

1. You can walk with no arthritis pain
2. You engage in activities you gave up due to pain
3. You engage in new activities
4. You begin to social with family and friends again
5. You can play with your children or grandchildren
6. You can stand for more than a few minutes
7. You can walk through the airport instead of using a wheelchair
8. You can attend concerts and other events without worrying about parking
9. You can walk on the beach or any other surface
10. You can do your own grocery shopping
11. You can get in or out of the bathtub
12. You no longer need to wait to use the handicapped bathroom stall in public places.

The list goes on and on.

The one time investment (or in my case two-time investment for both knees) continues to pay in ways that are immeasurable. The initial investment with TKR is the pain, frustration, irritation and sadness that you feel while recovering. The first investment lasts for several months. However, the dividends you get lasts many years.

Investment-feature

Just like the financial market to make lots of money you have to “play big”, take calculated risks and know the timing of the market. “Playing big” with TKR means that you trust the process when it doesn’t feel or look good. Taking calculated risks means you use the walker and cane to walk on your new knee until you are strong enough to walk without them. Knowing the timing of the market means for TKR means you act when the time is right. That means that you don’t wait for 15 years to get the surgery. Playing the waiting game with TKR affects your end result and the amount of damage you do to other parts of your body trying to compensate for a “bad” knee.
To reap the dividends with TKR or other joint surgeries we must buy into the process. Buying into the process means that you follow your prescribed regime of physical therapy and walking, not giving up even when you feel down and trusting that the end benefit (dividend) exceeds the initial investment.

Make investments in you that allow you to win big! TKR is an investment in your future. Invest in you!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at Amazon.com. Click the link to go directly to books.

goo.gl/QaqFF6

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IHadaKneeReplacement3Durl

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Aretha Franklin was definitely onto something when she sang the lyrics TO Respect. “All I’m asking is for a little respect…”

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As a respectful adult I think other adults are respectful too. That is not always true. While at the hospital recently I saw a disrespectful adult. His behavior stunned and appalled me.

The man was across the hall from the person I visited. Every time he wanted or needed something he yelled incessantly until someone came. The nurse calmly explained to him how to use the call button. He retorted, “I’m not using no (expletive, expletive) call button. You’ll come when I say come.” He spoke to the nurse with vile words and a hostile tone. She calmly asked him not to use such language and to use the call button because yelling was disruptive and disturbing to the other patients. He said, “I’ll do what I damn well please.” His behavior blew me away. He had no regard for the hospital staff or other patients.

When you are in the hospital for surgery (whether for total knee replacement or any other surgery), you depend on nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and various other people for everything. To treat people caring for you, administering medications, and nursing you back to health with such little regard is wrong and quite frankly foolish.

You want the staff to help you with personal care, bring you meals, help with bathroom visits and give pain medication. They do all of things regardless of how you treat them. However, people are at their best when they feel appreciated and valued. Yes, you are in the hospital and you might be in pain and feel vulnerable but that does not give you the right to treat people poorly. They do all of those things because it is their job, but you certainly won’t get their best. When you are kind, considerate and appreciative people caring for you become vested in you.

It doesn’t cost you anything to treat people well but it can cost you if you don’t especially when you are in the hospital.
It shocks me the way some patients talk to receptionists, nurses and even doctors. You want them to make your care their top priority but you treat them like servants. Yes, it is their job but they are not servants and shouldn’t be treated like servants.

Being in pain especially long-term chronic pain is frustrating and irritating, but that doesn’t justify bad behavior.
Treat people you meet with respect and courtesy. You never know what impact it may have.

I remember calling my doctor’s office for a pain medication re-fill a few years ago. I typically called in the morning and picked the prescription up on my way home from work. On this occasion I went to the pharmacy only to discover that the prescription had not been sent. I frantically called the Dr.’s office praying to get through before everyone left. I felt relieved when the receptionist answered. My heart dropped when she said everyone was gone. I was in a tremendous amount of pain because of my arthritis and I needed that medicine badly. Before I finished telling her my dilemma she said hold on Ms. Dixon. I heard the phone receiver hit the desk. I patiently waited for her to return. When she finally came back on the line, she apologized for cutting me off and explained that she ran outside to see if the nurse was still in the parking lot. Luckily for me the nurse was and after hearing my story she came back in the office, signed back into the system and called in my prescription. I thanked her. She then stated that I was one of their best patients and that she would do anything to help me. Kindness pays in ways you never expect.

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Everyone was gone for the day and the office was technically closed yet she ran outside to get a nurse to help me. People go above and beyond to help when you are kind, appreciative and respectful.

Treat doctors, nurses, receptionist and other staff members with respect. As your caregiver, they deserve it!

Are you the patient everyone loves or the patient everyone hates to see? Behaving poorly leaves a bad impression of you. Don’t be that patient.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

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It would seem that the purpose of a total knee replacement (TKR) or knee angioplasty is self-explanatory. However, it recently came to my attention that it is not. After a lengthy conversation with my orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist, I learned that some patients expect something different after knee replacement surgery.

So lets clarify the true purpose of a total knee replacement.
The purpose of a total knee replacement is….(drum roll please)

1. Reduce pain
2. Restore function

Reducing pain is the clear aim of joint replacement surgery. Arthritis causes mild to excruciating pain. It also causes snapping and cracking noises, knee buckling or giving way, stiffness, burning sensations or a dull ache. Replacing the natural knee with an artificial one eliminates the pain associated with arthritis.
Arthritis pain interferes with your ability to do everyday tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of bathtub, shopping, house cleaning and other every day task. Restoring function means that after TKR your ability to do such tasks greatly improves.

Here’s what TKR does not do.

1. It does not make you feel like you are 20 years old again. It does not do that because you are not 20 years old. Whether you are 45 or 85 years old, nothing exists that transforms you or your body into that of a 20-year-old. It just doesn’t happen. Improving your lifestyle (diet and exercise) improves the way you feel and look. However, even it doesn’t make you feel 20 again. Don’t expect TKR to make you feel 20 years old again. You are disappointed if that is what you expect.

2. It does not turn you into a world-class athlete. Your ability to do many tasks greatly improves. Walking, getting in/out of the car and bathtub, shopping, attending outdoor events and festivals are all possible after TKR. The fear of not having a parking space close to the door leaves. TKR restore your ability to do everyday tasks.

Problems arise when patients expect to suddenly start running marathons. Patients that were athletic and involved with sports prior to surgery may be able to return to such activities afterwards. However if you had chronic arthritis many years do not expect to be able to run or do other high impact activities and sports. It is possible that you may but truthfully that is not the purpose of TKR and many orthopedic surgeons do not recommend you prefer such tasks even if you are able. During activities such as running and jumping, both feet are off the ground at the same time. When you land, your knees feel 3-4 times your body weight on impact.

Squatting is another activity you may not be able to do. Squatting involves the knees but it also requires a lot of hip and ankle strength and flexibility as well as balance. Don’t expect to squat in a few months. If you couldn’t squat before TKR, don’t expect to afterwards. If that is your goal, then work towards it by doing wall squats and gradually go deeper as your strength and flexibility improve. Do your physical therapy faithfully and set goals that move you closer to your desired result.

TKR can transform your life in many ways. It rids you of the constant nagging pain arthritis causes and it offers you greater mobility and ease. It deeply saddens me that some patients are unhappy with their results and quite frankly upset and angry with their surgeon and physical therapist because they had expectations of a different result.

Prior to TKR every step I took was excruciatingly painful. Today, I no longer experience any kind of arthritis pain. I am grateful and thankful for that! I walk with no pain and can climb stairs for the first time in many years. I attend outdoor events. I park at the end of the parking lot intentionally and I smile inside and out every time I take a step. I used to avoid any activity that might involve prolonged periods of walking, standing or sitting. Everything increased my pain so I did nothing. The days of doing nothing are gone.

I am completely happy with my results and my life after TKR.

Be grateful for the reduction in pain and focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do.

Accentuate the positive and the value of your artificial knees increases. Accentuate the negative and the value of your artificial knee(s) decreases. Celebrate you and the newfound freedom you have. Enjoy every moment of every day.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly


Have you ever asked yourself, Now What?

Inevitably in life there will be challenges. Some challenges are minor while others are major. When we experience those major challenges, it has a profound effect. In most circumstances things settled down and normal life resumes. Unfortunately, things down always go back to “normal”.

What happens when that challenge is ongoing or permanent is an entirely different situation. You find yourself asking yourself, God and those around you, now what? What do I do now! What am I supposed to do with this new situation, this new diagnosis, or this ongoing pain that is part of my life now.

We often ask this question when we reach the end of the proverbial rope. We feel backed into a corner. We feel afraid, lost and alone.
I know about these feelings because I struggled for years with my own now what questions. I struggled with feelings of loss, loneliness and fear about my arthritis, my pain, and my future.

I created the Now What? book series to help answer some of the questions, to dispel some myths and to empower, uplift and inspire chronic arthritis suffers.

Physical pain has more than a physical manifestation. Pain slowly seeps into your soul and spirit and will literally rob you of you, your dreams, your goals and your life. It even has the power to steal your joy if you let it.
I created the Now What? book series to help people by sharing part of my story and the lessons learned through 35 years of arthritis pain and 11 knee and leg surgeries.

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I Have Arthritis, Now What (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain) takes a holistic approach to arthritis pain. Discover some of the medical interventions available as well as other ways to ease arthritis pain while healing your mental and spiritual pain.

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I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery) walks you through the steps you need to take before surgery. This book fills in the gap between the medical profession and the health insurance industry. These steps are taken before surgery but no one shows you what to do or how to do it. This book is your guide to help you get ready for surgery from a physical, financial, and psychological perspective.

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I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery), walks the patient through the recover process. It teaches what to expect in terms of pain, physical therapy, recovery experiences and reconnecting to life.

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I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal) is designed to use during knee replacement surgery recovery to record your thoughts, physical therapy sessions goals, water intake and medication schedule. Take pain medication for a few days, every 4-6, 24 hours per day and you will forget what time your last dose was. This journal takes the guess work out of it for you.

Use the Now What? book series to take back your soul and your spirit. Don’t be a victim be a VICTOR.

Books are available on Amazon.com

Purchase for yourself, family or friends that have arthritis or need surgery.

Live Joyfully
Kimberly


  • Contact email: kimberly@bowlegsandarthritis.com
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