Total Knee Replacement (TKR) – Part I

At 6:00am on the 29th September 2015 I sat in the waiting room of the Pindarra Hospital on the Gold Coast. It was one of the most miserable moments of my life.  Thirty one years as a runner were coming to an end along with my business which was closing down only a few blocks away. There was no way I could escape my looming TKR or the fact that I would be out of action for several weeks and in a financial black hole with no quick fix. To say I was depressed as I sat under the dim lights was an understatement.  To add insult to injury my 6:30am early surgery also meant no coffee. Sheesh.

For the previous three years  I had tried every snake oil remedy and charm doctor I could think of to save my knee.  I had spent hundreds of hours researching alternative remedies, stem cell treatment and I had even flown across the country to consult a surgeon who I hoped would give me a different answer to the ones I’d heard in Perth.  I’d spoken to physios, sports doctors and two surgeons in Perth.  I had also spent an equal amount of dollars on new shoes and changed my running gait (thus giving myself plantar fasciitis in both feet) to avoid the glaring fact that inside my leg, my knee resembled a crumbling Grecian ruin. This parrot was dead, deceased, gone. Kaput.

I looked at the door and considered a run for it.  A nurse appeared.  “The registrar will see you now.” She said.

Today, at 62 years and 11 months,  I work in the fitness industry.  If you had said to me that morning that by the end of the following year I would be a qualified fitness trainer with a new life I would have said you had rocks in your head. I was too old, too overweight and in too much pain.  Knees can really stuff your life around when they turn nasty.

Being the oldest fitness trainer in my gym and the only one with a titanium knee gives me a clear advantage. Every single day someone will walk through the doors who is either facing a TKR or recovering from surgery.  They come because their physiotherapists have told them they HAVE to come, not because they want to come. Most are out of shape because the downhill journey to a TKR is a long one. Most are over 50 and many of them come with the mindset that life as they knew it is over.

It’s my job to challenge them and change their preconceptions because nothing floats my boat than helping people achieve things they believed impossible.

I intend to write this blog in parts because the TKR journey unfolds in parts.  Much like a road race there is initial excitement, followed by a dreary slog, some uphills, some downhills and then, believe it or not, there is a finish line.

It’s taken me over two years to really understand the emotional rollercoaster and the healing process post surgery.  Along the way I have made mistakes and those mistakes have cost me in terms of range of motion.  As I roll out my journey and the steps I took to heal, I hope to help you avoid making those mistakes.  Failing teaches us a lot!

Stick with me kid, I’ll make you a star!

Next week – what you can expect during your stay in hospital and the first few weeks.

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