A New Beginning After Two Total Knee Replacements
by Belinda English
Who knew the year 2012 would be the start of life altering events that would forever change me? These events further were to foreshadow the need for two total knee replacements!
My name is Belinda English. I am 58 years young, lol. I am a retired federal law enforcement officer, a wife, and mother. And I am mother-in-law and proud “Noni” (grandmother) of five beautiful grandchildren under the age of 10 years.
My Three Life-Altering Events
My journey began in July 2012, when I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes – 1st life altering event. That September I awakened in a panic in the middle of the night. I realized I had forgotten to take my evening diabetes medication.
In my haste to run to the kitchen, I tripped over my grandson’s car seat in the hallway. I fell “full body” on my right knee on ceramic tile flooring. A torn the meniscus in my right knee – my 2nd life altering event. I literally felt the tissue/tendons “pop” in my knee: It was horrific pain.
The next morning, my right knee was terribly swollen. I could not walk on it at all due to the severe pain and swelling. Mind you, I was still employed full time in law enforcement, so the need for a diagnosis and treatment plan was first and foremost. Subsequently I had arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus and clean out bone debris.
I also underwent eight weeks of physical therapy before I was able to return to work. Further, I learned during this experience that the healing process and recovery time is longer for diabetics versus non-diabetics. It really took a long time before I felt like my right knee was functional again.
Events Come in Three’s, Right?
The 3rd life altering event occurred in August 2013. I was out shopping, and my left leg buckled unexpectedly. I immediately felt excruciating pain and had difficulty walking back to my car. A visit to the orthopedic surgeon who repaired my right knee in 2012 revealed a degenerative tear in the left meniscus. Extra pressure and altered walking pattern developed because of the right knee injury. Subsequently I had arthroscopic surgery to repair the left knee as well and thus began my journey of knee deterioration…lol.
The orthopedic surgeon I had at that time said I had very little cartilage left in either knee. To preserve my knee functionality for as long as possible I would need to lose about 50 lbs. to lessen the pressure on my knee joints. He further advised that once the cartilage in either knee was completely gone, I would have relentless, excruciating bone-on-bone pain. Additionally my knees would need to be replaced, as I had nothing left in either knee to repair.
Last Year, Total Knee Replacement Became Inevitable
Fast forward to August 2017. I awoke one morning and literally could not walk or put pressure on my right leg. The pain was excruciating and constant. So I knew I had reached the “bone on bone point of no return” and a total knee replacement (TKR) was inevitable.
I met Dr. Robert Ference, my current orthopedic surgeon in September 2017. Dr. Ference confirmed my right knee was beyond repair and would need to be replaced. Dr. Ference is an excellent and gifted surgeon. He is also a devoted believer of Jesus Christ and attributed his surgical skills as a “gift from the Lord”. As a result I immediately felt at ease with him. I felt very confident that I would have a successful surgery. My right knee was replaced on November 14, 2017.
A Traditional Recovery Program
My treatment plan consisted of three weeks of in-home physical therapy, daily use of a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine for 2-3 hours, 2x’s per day for 21 days and eight weeks of outpatient PT to strengthen my knee and regain range of motion. The recovery with the CPM and therapy was very painful and slow at first, but I eventually became stronger each day. I also knew that I was not going to wait for my left knee to deteriorate to bone on bone, so I mentally prepared myself to have the second surgery within six months of the first surgery.
An MUA and Knee Replacement
In March 2018 I scheduled the left Total Knee Replacement and a Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA) for the right knee for April 24, 2018. Mary Elliott and Yvonne Lacrosse, coaches at X10 helped me learn about X10. I was so grateful and excited to have the opportunity of utilizing the X10 machine. It was clear that I needed help with both of my knees the second time around. X10 would help with the MUA recovery and the new knee replacement recovery.
The reviews and results of patients using the X10 machine were excellent and I was ecstatic that I WOULD NOT have to use the CPM machine again. The use of the CPM during the first surgery was an awful experience, with poor recovery outcomes as well. I was looking forward to rehabbing both knees with the X10 machine.
Using My X10 Machine
I used the X10 machine on both knees. It was wonderful. It is a painless experience, and, crazy as it sounds…is kind of fun!! The staff connected with the X10 company is made up of warm and caring individuals. I came to love the frequent emails from X10. The articles cover a variety of very helpful topics that greatly helped in my recovery. At the end of 2.5 weeks on the X10, my range of motion was astounding to me! I had 0º degrees of extension and 124º of flexion in both knees. I could not believe it!! The best flexion I had in my right knee using the CPM machine and PT was only 108º. And it was a very painful journey to get to that number.
Having an excellent surgeon, a positive attitude, and the use of the X10 machine for both knees made all the difference. My second surgery, Dr. Ference, and the X10 knee machine were “my gifts from God.” So I thank God every day for putting these wonderful people in my life when I needed them the most.
My New Outlook
So happy am I to have a new and positive outlook on life with my “new knees.” I am very excited to see what my future holds!! How lovely it is to look forward to travel with my husband. And watching my grandchildren grow up and being an active part of their lives. Most of all, being able to exercise daily and finally lose my extra weight. I have tried for years, but now I know I can do it.
Since my TKRs, I have lost 25 lbs., and no longer need to take insulin for my diabetes. I am very motivated to lose another 30 lbs. This will eliminate the need for ANY diabetes medication!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the X10 machine for anyone needing any type of knee surgery. You WILL NOT be disappointed!!