Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Year After Surgery

This will be my final entry for this blog.

I am happy to say that I have survived my total knee replacement of the right knee with amazing success. As of December 8, 2011, I celebrated my one year anniversary with my new knee. I visited Dr. David Denzin who performed the knee replacement one year ago for the one year evaluation. An x-ray was taken, and everything looked good. My knee flexion after one year is 125 degrees, which is in the normal range. By comparison my left knee can flex to 135 degrees. Dr. Denzin noted that while most knee replacement patients improve up to one year after surgery, some continue to improve up to 3 years post surgery. So, I might get a few more degrees as well.

At the one year evaluation, I asked Dr. Denzin about carrying weight with the knee replacement, such as lifting and moving a couch across the living room or carrying something heavy in the 100 pound range. He did not seem overly concerned, and only commented that I should use commen sense when lifting anything, but not to limit myself because of the knee prosthesis alone. The only restriction he stated was to avoid running as a sport, but that running was okay if I needed to move quickly across a busy street.

One other item to note was bowling with my knee prosthesis. I bowled for the first time since the surgery on December 21. My bowling form was off, and it fell awkward rolling the bowling ball. As I am a right-handed bowler, I had to balance and bend my right knee while releasing the 16 pound bowling ball with my right hand. My knee was not comfortable with the motion, as the bowling position required the full weight of my body on the right leg with a bowling ball in motion with the right knee flexed at about 40 degrees. It was not painful, but the knee felt stiff and uncomfortable. I suspect with exercise focused on that particular movement, I could regain comfort when bowling. Since I bowl infrequently, I will not give bowling further concern other than to note it here in the blog for readers who may be avid bowlers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

11 Months After Surgery

This will perhaps be my shortest status update. With shorter days and colder temperatures here in Michigan, I have stopped road biking and switched back to swimming. In addition to morning workouts on the elliptical machine, I am now swimming two times a week for 45 minutes at the local Bally's Health Club. My leg feels very strong swimming.

Other than continued good news, I have nothing else new to report at a little over 11 months post surgery for my right knee replacment. Everything is fine, and I am looking forward to the one-year follow-up visit with Dr. David Denzin who peformed the surgery. I will be seeing Dr. Denzin sometime in December for an x-ray and evaluation. I am expecting to hear very good news on my progress.

Thought I would throw in a picture taken this past weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is my wife Margaret and I. We attended a wedding celebration for my youngest sister Tonya who lives in Grand Rapids.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

10 Months After Surgery

Another month has passed, and I am happy to report only good news once again. My new knee continues to feel fine. I traveled via plane to Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE conference last week. Everything went well. Security check-in at both Detroit and Philadelphia went smoothly. Both airports had the full body scanner which made the "security check" fast and easy.

I also traveled in Canada from Windsor, Ontario to Niagara Falls, Ontario  with my wife Margaret, her sister Gudrun, and her husband Jim via train. We had a great time and walked several miles each day seeing the sights of  Niagara Falls. Probably the most walking I have done since surgery over a short period of time. I would estimate that we walked 12 miles over the 3 days in Canada, and my leg felt fine the whole time. There was no swelling or stiffness.

Only one disconcerting thing happend when I was traveling. While in Philadelphia at the Sheraton hotel, I was in the fitness room working out one morning, and I accidentally stepped off a three foot step into the weight room and landed with my full weight on the surgical leg. With the full force of my weight coming down on the right knee there was a sensation of discomfort, but no subsequent swelling or pain. Doing this, quickly reminded my why Dr. Denzin recommended against running with a knee prosthesis as the continuous impact (like this) will prematurely wear out the prosthesis.

Only two more status reports (11th and 12th months) before completing this one year blog on a total knee replacement. The December report (the one year anniversary) will be the last blog entry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nine Months after Surgery

Very little to report at the ninth month as things continue to go very well. My knee feels great. Perhaps the only thing to report is that I have noticed gradual improvement of the stiff feeling in the outside of my surgical right knee when doing stretches. Until recently, I have noticed stiffnes in my knee when doing "potatoe picker" exercises or any stretching exercise where I stand with my legs spread far apart. In one stretching exercise, I stand with my legs spread wide apart and bend at the waist to touch my right foot with my left hand, and then swith to the other foot with the right hand. The stiff feeling in the outer side of the right knee is nearly gone. I suspect that healing continues as the bone of the knee area continues to adapt to the embedded prosthesis.

One other small item to report is the discomfort I feel when kneeling down on my surgical knee to wash floors or do yard work. I have noticed that my surgical knee does not feel comfortable in a kneeling position against a hard surface such as a wooden or cement floor. If I am kneeling on a soft surface such as a couch, bed, or cushioned chair, there is no discomfort. Wearing kneed pads as some carpenters or roofers do is the solution to kneeling on hard surfaces.

I will report progress on my total knee replacement for three more months, thus completing this one year blog on knee replacment surgery. At the 12 month report, I will be visiting Dr. David Denzin for the one year follow-up which includes an X-Ray of the knee.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eight Months after Surgery

Just returned to work after a two week vacation. I spent time in Grand Haven, Ludington, and East Tawas Michigan enjoying the Great Lakes--Michigan's fresh water Mecca. I was on my own the first week and traveled to Grand Haven and Ludington with my Mustang and my bike. I rode my bike 20 or more miles each day along the lakeshore, worked out at a local fitness center, and played golf, walking without a cart. My prosthetic knee survived very well without a single problem. In Ludington, I discovered the Health and Racquet club owned by Bob James. The club is a bit dated, but has all the equipment you need for a good workout--out in the woods too on the outskirts of downtown Ludington.

For the second week, Margaret and my sons Chad and Eric joined me at the family cabin on Tawas Lake in East Tawas. We had a great time biking, golfing, fishing, and visiting the beach. Again, my knee survived everything very well. The picture below shows a view of the sunset from the back of the cabin that the family fondly refers to as the "Red Cabin.".

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seven Months after Surgery

Two events to report at the seven month status update. One is my first trip in an airplane since the knee replacement. And the second item is my first competitive 40 mile bike ride with my new knee. For both events, I am happy to report good news....

In late June I traveled by plane from Detroit Metro to the Chicago O'Hare aiport for a three day conference. I was anxious about the trip as I expected a long delay at security including a pat down. I arrived 2.5 hours before the flight departure. I was pleased to learn, however, that both Detroit Metro and Chicago O'Hare airports had full body scanners which made the "security check" brief and easy. At both airports I informed the security personnel that I had a knee prosthesis that would not pass the metal detectors. They responded saying that I should stand in line for the full body scanner. The line was short as many passengers were still not comfortable with the new scanners. I was asked to remove everything from my pockets including paper. I then stood on the footprint templates and raised my hands over my head during the scan. The scan took a few minutes, and then they informed me that I had passed the scan. With full body scanners moving into all US airports, I believe there will be no additional wait time at security with a knee prosthesis.

This past Saturday, July 9, I rode my bike 40 miles in an organized biking event held in Chelsea, Michigan. There were six different routes ranging from 15 miles to 100 miles. I selected the 40 mile route as I regularly work out with 15 mile bike rides. I rode the 40 miles in 2 hours and 35 minutes and only stopped twice at the refreshment sites for water and fruit. My knee survived very well. I did notice a bit of stiffness after the ride, but it abated after a few hours. Below is a picture shortly after I finished the bike ride.

As testimony to the durability of the knee prosthesis, I worked out for 35 minutes the following morning on the Precor Ellipitical machine without any problems.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Six Months after Surgery

I have had my first real awareness that my new knee is not a replacement for the knee I was born with. Over the past few weeks, I have seriously taxed my knee by doing painting and maintenance on my house. With summer weather upon us, I worked the entire Memorial Day weekend from sun-up to sun-down painting, standing for extended periods of time on a 32 foot ladder, moving the ladder, bending and walking about working. At one point while moving the heavy ladder, I felt a strained sensation in my knee and observed a tiny bit of swelling on the outer knee area. The knee also had a slight stiffness feeling to it. Fortunately, there was no pain.

I am assuming that I strained the knee area from all the work, but will watch carefully over the next several days/weeks to be sure that nothing more serious is going on. Of course, several depressing thoughts crossed my mind such as a loosening of the knee prosthesis where it was cemented into my knee or even a possible infection since I had cut my finger a time or two from working on the house.

A few weeks back, I did go to the Dentist for the first time since the knee replacement. I  took 4 capsules of 500MG amoxocillin (antibotic) as a precautionary measure one hour before the dental cleaning. All this went without incident.

I am next scheduled to see my doctor for a follow-up evaluation on the knee replacement in December. December will be the one year mark since the surgery. At the one year follow-up visit, the doctor will take another x-ray to review status and progress of the knee prosthesis.

And as a final entry to the 6 month update, here is a short video with me playing golf with my new knee and my three sons on Father's Day.