10-19-2017, 07:05 PM
#1
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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Long story short.

I've been plagued with worsening bilateral osteoarthritis in my knees for 12 years. In that time I've had 3 arthroscopies (2, right and 1, left), two years of physical therapy, a bajillion and one cortisone shots, two rounds of hyaluronic acid "gel" shots, stem cell therapy and PRP therapy. I've exhausted all medical options short of total joint replacement. Tried like hell to avoid such major surgery.

This afternoon I consulted with a third doctor, with 2 more surgical consultations scheduled over the next 2 weeks. I liked today's surgeon the best so far - his attitude, approach, overall presentation, thoughts, etc. He listened to me. This doctor was recommended by my friend and chiropractor who had a total knee replacement operation with him a few months ago.

Despite the upcoming final two consultations, I scheduled a date of December 11 with today's doctor. I am sooo ready!

Please share your experiences.

Thank you.

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 10-19-2017, 07:15 PM
#2
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I don't have any personal experience with joint replacements, but you're approaching this rationally.  You're resorting to a joint replacement only after spending years exploring non-surgical options.  It's possible to return to normal activities after this surgery.  The minister of a church I used to attend was an avid tennis player and a regular at the gym.  He had hip replacement surgery in his 60's and was ultimately able to return to tennis and the gym.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery Charlie.

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 10-19-2017, 07:41 PM
#3
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Good luck Charlie! I hope that the recovery is swift.

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 10-20-2017, 01:50 AM
#4
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All the best Charlie !


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 10-20-2017, 02:36 AM
#5
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-19-2017, 07:15 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I don't have any personal experience with  joint replacements, but you're approaching this rationally.  You're resorting to a joint replacement only after spending years exploring non-surgical options.  It's possible to return to normal activities after this surgery.  The minister of a church I used to attend was an avid tennis player and a regular at the gym.  He had hip replacement surgery in his 60's and was ultimately able to return to tennis and the gym.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery Charlie.
Thank you, Ricardo. The surgeon yesterday referred to a patient who returned to playing tennis in under 4 weeks. I'll be happy simply to turn, bend and walk without stabbing pain.

(10-19-2017, 07:41 PM)bullgoose Wrote: Good luck Charlie! I hope that the recovery is swift.
Thank you, Phil. So do I. I'm determined to get my life back. And give up the damn cane! It really rots living like this.

(10-20-2017, 01:50 AM)Jags009 Wrote: All the best Charlie !
Thank you, Jagdeep. I'm ready to start feeling better!

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 10-20-2017, 04:57 AM
#6
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
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(10-19-2017, 07:05 PM)chazt Wrote: Long story short.

I've been plagued with worsening bilateral osteoarthritis in my knees for 12 years.

Despite the upcoming final two consultations, I scheduled a date of December 11 with today's doctor. I am sooo ready!

Please share your experiences.

Prologue:  Over a period of two plus decades, both of my knees experienced a long decline:  no traumatic injuries, just a simple wearing out of the cartilage between the femur and tibia. (I used to take a walk of six miles a day, rain or shine, so the knees had a lot of mileage on them.)  In 2007, I received a cortisone shot in the worse of the knees, and it worked a miracle for eight years; my orthopedic surgeon had warned me that the shots would wear off over time, but mine was nearly 100 percent effective when I got the shot, and was near 90 percent effective eight years later.  If you had asked me at the beginning of July 2016 if I was a candidate for knee surgery, I would have answered, “Not now; not ever.”

The nine year old cortisone shot really deteriorated rapidly in July and August last year, and one day in August, when I tried to arise from the table after breakfast, I could not do so without putting most of my weight on my hands and arms; from that day, the knee did not bounce back, and a couple weeks later I scheduled an appointment with the same orthopedic surgeon, who gave me a second cortisone shot in mid-September.  By the time I had got to the doctor’s office, only a month after the breakfast chair incident, I was using a walker just to move between rooms on the same floor of my home.  That second shot had the same immediate palliative effect as the first shot had provided, but the 2016 shot completely wore off after only two to three weeks.  At another meeting with the same doctor, I scheduled knee replacement surgery for my right knee for December 21, the winter solstice.  That date did not hold, for various reasons, and the surgery did not take place until ten weeks after the original date, but the delay provided some education that I was really glad that I had had before the eventual surgery on March 1 of this year.

●  So after that l-o-n-g prologue, this paragraph is the real beginning of the reply to your request.  We had had a vacation to Sorrento, Campania, scheduled for the beginning of October last year, which we cancelled at the last minute when the second cortisone shot started to wear off in late September; instead, we went to a bucket-list destination, a Japanese onsen (natural hot spring) in Yamagata Prefecture (my bride of 45 years is a native Japanese woman), where I soaked in glorious hot water for three days (highly recommended) before we visited my wife’s sister in the Tokyo area for another three days.  My sister-in-law had been experiencing her own severe knee problems, and she lent me the use of an inexpensive (but not over-the-counter) liquid topical analgesic that her doctor had prescribed for her.  The active ingredient stated on the label of the analgesic was written in katakana as ヂクロフェナク (phonetically: DE KU RO HUe NA KU).  I had been using various OTC balms and creams (Ben-Gay, etc.), and the Japanese lotion, which by no means was a miracle cure, was moderately more palliative than the American OTC products were, so I mentioned it (sounding out the katakana) to my primary care physician when I had my regular annual check-up after returning home from Japan.  He responded, “Diclofenac.  It is an NSAID, like aspirin, acetominophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium, and it comes in an oral form, also.”  And he wrote me a prescription for 35 mg caps of diclofenac sodium.  

Short story:  For me, diclofenac tablets (they are timed release; one tablet per day) is a miracle analgesic.  Frankly, had I discovered diclofenac earlier, I probably would not have scheduled surgery at all; it is that effective for me.  By that time, however, I already had crossed the Rubicon of committing to surgery, and I really did not want to start a regimen of taking a pain pill every day for the rest of my life, so I went through with the surgery, and in retrospect, I am confident that was the right decision.  But you may want to discuss with your physician whether you should have diclofenac caps in your pain relief arsenal for the time between now and your surgery and -- trust me -- for the time after your surgery.

Coda:  for the last week before surgery, I was not allowed to take any NSAIDs of any kind (due to NSAIDs’ blood-thinning effects), which caused me a painful run-up to the day of surgery.  The staff (nurses) at the hospital where the surgery was performed had a mystical allegiance to acetominophen (Tylenol), an NSAID that never has had any pain-relieving effect on me.  When they offered acetominophen to me the evening and next day after the surgery, and I declined, telling them that acetominophen just does not work for me, their only response was, “then take more.”  (I declined.)  My orthopedic surgeon prescribed two different strong opiod pain relievers for the (weeks long) recovery period after surgery, and the opiods were fairly effective, but I really, really did not want to get addicted to opiods, and after a week or so into the post-surgery recovery, I asked the doctor permission to drop the opiods entirely and to substitute the diclofenac capsules instead.  He gave me the o.k. to do that, and I found anew that the diclofenac NSAID is, indeed, more effective for me, even for post-surgery pain, than the strongest opiods.

One last note:  There is some debate about the ultimate effectiveness of CPM (continuous positive motion) appliances for recovery after joint surgery.  Your orthopedic surgeon may or may not suggest or prescribe CPM, but you should discuss the matter with her or him so that you may make an informed decision.  My medical insurance does cover the (high) cost of rental (we rented the CPM device for three weeks), but only if the treatment: (a) is prescribed by the surgeon and (b) is commenced within 24 hours of the hour of the surgery, so I had to tell the nurses in the hospital to start CPM the same night as my morning surgery; if I had waited until I was back home, my insurance would not have covered the rental cost.  Timing counts.

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 10-20-2017, 05:02 AM
#7
  • Steelman
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You’re ready for it. You’ve exhausted conservative care, and you’ve found a surgeon you like.

Total knee replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in this country. Best of luck and quick recovery!!

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 10-20-2017, 05:14 AM
#8
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Hang in there. You're going to be looking back on the surgery a few short months from now and enjoying your renewed mobility. Everything you're gonna go through and have gone through already has been the right move. 

A coworker of ours had a knee replacement last year and is very pleased with the outcome. He's got a glint in his eye and a smile on his face we hadn't seen in a few years before.

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 10-20-2017, 07:03 AM
#9
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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Tom, Ron, Todd

I'm at work on a two minute break and must return to my caseload momentarily. Thank you for your concern and good thoughts. I will reply this evening when I can take the time to do so properly.

CJ

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 10-20-2017, 11:57 AM
#10
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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Tom, I really enjoy reading your posts. This was no exception. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm glad to hear that cortisone worked so well for you for so many years. It had limited effect for me. 1-2 weeks tops. Ingested NSAIDs wreak havoc with my duadenal ulcer, so they're out of the equation. Narcotics don't agree with me. Between the upset stomach to tinnitus to constipation, they're just not worth it. For the life of me, I don't know how people become addicted to them. They make me physically sick! I neglected to mention that I've tried many topical preparations; from numbing agents to NSAIDs to creams and balms infused with tetrahydracannabinol. Nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Replacement surgery is finally my last, best resort. It's good to know it worked well for you!

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 10-20-2017, 11:58 AM
#11
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-20-2017, 05:02 AM)Steelman Wrote: You’re ready for it. You’ve exhausted conservative care, and you’ve found a surgeon you like.

Total knee replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in this country. Best of luck and quick recovery!!

Thank you, Ron. I appreciate your kind words and optimism. I know rehab will be a bear, but I'm ready! Smile

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 10-20-2017, 12:00 PM
#12
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-20-2017, 05:14 AM)bakerbarber Wrote: Hang in there. You're going to be looking back on the surgery a few short months from now and enjoying your renewed mobility. Everything you're gonna go through and have gone through already has been the right move. 

A coworker of ours had a knee replacement last year and is very pleased with the outcome. He's got a glint in his eye and a smile on his face we hadn't seen in a few years before.

Todd, I've been grimacing so much over the last six months, it'll be nice to smile more comfortably again. Thanks for your concern Smile

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 10-20-2017, 12:33 PM
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Charlie, here's another true story to motivate you.  I've been a runner for many years, and fortunately have not had any serious joint issues.  I do know one runner who had to get a double knee replacement.  He's back to running, and was able to complete a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on his new knees.

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 10-20-2017, 12:46 PM
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Charlie, my neighbor, like you put it off as long as possible. He has a moron sister in law who had it done and because she has the IQ of a rock and is cheap besides she decided that she wasn't going to pay the copayment for the therapy. She is in agony after the surgery.

My neighbor got in an exercise machine pre-surgery, and after the surgery he exercised and followed the therapists regimen. He's a spring chicken today and doesn't regret the surgery one iota. Just the opposite in fact. Somewhere in there is a lesson that you probably didn't need but maybe someone else did.

If it's time for the surgical solution it's time. Get well soon! And please get back to us to let us know how it went. Giving a periodic update wouldn't hurt, many of us are getting up there in age and face the same things.

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 10-20-2017, 02:10 PM
#15
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I had back surgery about 10 years ago, one that I contemplated for quite a while.  Happy I did it.  Lessons learned...
  • found the right doctor/surgeon for me through getting many opinions
  • committed to the post surgery PT
I am very glad I did it and have no regrets.  Ultimately, I may not have had a choice about getting the surgery, but going through the process made me comfortable with it, and reinforced my seriousness about doing what needed to be done.

All the best!

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 10-20-2017, 04:06 PM
#16
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-20-2017, 12:33 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Charlie, here's another true story to motivate you.  I've been a runner for many years, and fortunately have not had any serious joint issues.  I do know one runner who had to get a double knee replacement.  He's back to running, and was able to complete a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on his new knees.

Thank you for the extra motivation, Ricardo. I never really enjoyed running much, but I plan on walking anywhere and everywhere my wife wants to go!

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 10-20-2017, 04:09 PM
#17
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-20-2017, 12:46 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Charlie, my neighbor, like you put it off as long as possible. He has a moron sister in law who had it done and because she has the IQ of a rock and is cheap besides she decided that she wasn't going to pay the copayment for the therapy. She is in agony after the surgery.

My neighbor got in an exercise machine pre-surgery, and after the surgery he exercised and followed the therapists regimen. He's a spring chicken today and doesn't regret the surgery one iota. Just the opposite in fact. Somewhere in there is a lesson that you probably didn't need but maybe someone else did.

If it's time for the surgical solution it's time. Get well soon! And please get back to us to let us know how it went. Giving a periodic update wouldn't hurt, many of us are getting up there in age and face the same things.

Thanks for the good wishes, Brian. Yes, I'll update my progress periodically. Right now I'm working on strengthening my quads prior to surgery.

I agree. Rocks are notoriously moronic.

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 10-20-2017, 04:12 PM
#18
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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(10-20-2017, 02:10 PM)wreck | fish Wrote: I had back surgery about 10 years ago, one that I contemplated for quite a while.  Happy I did it.  Lessons learned...
  • found the right doctor/surgeon for me through getting many opinions
  • committed to the post surgery PT
I am very glad I did it and have no regrets.  Ultimately, I may not have had a choice about getting the surgery, but going through the process made me comfortable with it, and reinforced my seriousness about doing what needed to be done.

All the best!

Sounds like you did the smart thing, Tom. Thanks for the good wishes Smile

Btw, how's the situation in Northern California now? We're not getting many updates in NY lately.

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 10-20-2017, 04:22 PM
#19
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Sounds like the fires are contained for the most part and folks are moving on to the rebuilding stage. We had some rain today which probably helped too. Lots of folks out of work as well as out of their homes.  Shelters and donation centers are turning away donations of clothes and personal hygiene stuff (they are overwhelmed with donations) and requesting folks donate cash or gift cards instead-- it's easier to meet each individuals needs with a gift card at this point it seems.

I spent 3 days this week doing some volunteer work ... two days cooking and delivering meals to first responders and victims, another day with a team from my work doing safety inspections of apartments that had been evacuated but not burned...making sure they were safe to return.  The deficit in housing in that area, which is already experiencing a shortage, is going to be a significant challenge that the community will be dealing with for years to come.  The silver lining is the huge outpouring of community support and donations.  It was very nice to see and I am hoping that it can sustain its momentum during the long rebuilding period.

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 10-20-2017, 05:20 PM
#20
  • chazt
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  • Bayside, NY
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And life goes on.

You're a good guy, Tom. You done good Smile

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