My Double Knee Surgery and Recovery — An Update after 12 Weeks with Complications

A lot of friends and good folks have asked me, “How are things going with your knees now that its been almost 3 months?” So, here is a short update.

Knowing that it takes one year for the full benefits of knee surgery, I have to be patient (which I am not). I’m the kind of guy that tells the Lord, “I want patience — and I want it now!” I know the whole operation and everything leading up to it were completely divine providence, so I am waiting to understand why there are recent complications.

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My left knee is doing very well with good mobility and only minor  pain and discomfort. I can now consistently get a 120° bend which is quite good. That means it bends back more than 90° which is as good as can be expected.

However, my right knee is the “problem child” and has caused me a good bit of pain and discomfort. I can get around, but this knee makes it difficult. The scar tissue and other complications brought me back to the hospital June 14 (one week from this update) for a further procedure.

The knee was not bending like the other one — I could only get about a 90° — 105° bend and with pain. It was always stiff like a piece of wood — and sore. The doctor does not know why this knee is responding differently.

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So on June 14 he put me under anesthetic and did a non-surgical “manual knee manipulation” which means he pushed my leg from a 90° angle backwards to 120°. Yikes indeed!

Wow — I was glad to be out cold and unaware. The nurses said they could hear the cracking and grinding and crunching as the scar tissue and obstructions were broken away in the new titanium knee joint. Happily, there was no resulting pain the following day other than the normal swelling.

I can get more motion now with the right knee but it is still swollen and sore. They assure me the joint will improve with time.  Today I was measured at 113° bend after a lot of massaging and the therapist’s magic hands.

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We all have an IT Band that runs on the outside of our leg from hip to ankle which stabilizes our legs as we walk. I learned that this IT Band is inflexible and can withstand 2000 pounds without stretching. It runs over the outside of the knee joint.

For some reason my IT Band is either rubbing the titanium joint or is inflamed but with certain movements it feels like a red hot poker jabbing me on the outside of my right knee. The therapists are massaging and kneading  with it but it has not helped for the last six weeks. I’ve learned to grit my teeth, grin and bear it. But they assure me this too will fade away with time.

I am doing physical therapy every day day for two weeks since the knee manipulation. But normally three times a week. The wonderful therapists are very encouraging, but I have to admit it is difficult. I am offering up the pain when I remember and continuing on with daily life. It is the uncertainty that drives me crazy. I meet the doctor again on June 29 for a medical update and we leave with 60 pilgrims for Poland on August 2.

Thanks for continued prayers for my patience, endurance and eventual full recovery in this right knee.  I know many other people are suffering far more than me with much more serious matters so I am not going to be a whiner, but I am learning empathy and sympathy for those who suffer. Until now I had no clue.

One last thought. I have learned a lot more of God’s marvelous handiwork. Our bodies are so complicated and wonderfully made. Each detail was careful designed by a incomprehensible Artist. It takes a lot more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a theist.

Psalm 139:14  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”