Loth...or anyone with exp in ortho issues

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    As many of you know I have degenerative joint disease in my knees, hips and spine.

    I went to the ortho today since I finally got insurance again. I have had two scopes done on my knees back in 2004 and 2005. Had the synvisc done twice in left knee and once in right knee. Have had numerous steroid/lidocaine shots done in both knees over the years. I had another set done today.

    Xrays today show that the degeneration has continued and I am basically at the seriously severe stage in both knees. It was confirmed as severe when he opened me up the last times.

    He has given me some options. I go back in two weeks to see how the steroid shots have worked but we all know that is just a bandaid.

    1. Get another round of the Synvisc lubricant and see how much time that buys me.

    2. Schedule the replacements for both knees.

    Then we have the hip issue. He is going to xray the hips which lock up on me when I walk or stand and I cant lay down on them. He is going to do the steroid shots in them and he says that only hurts "moderately"! Ok...in doctor speak that has to mean Im gonna scream...lmao.

    How bad is this gonna be?

    Im terrified of the replacement surgeries. I have seen pictures and videos on the web and it looks like torture. I also have the added bonus that with fibro we dont do as well with healing.

    Basically Im scared.

    What do you think? Give me some ideas.
  2. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My mother in law who in her 80's now has had both knees replaced and both hips (one had to be redone about 10 years later). She is in much less pain and wishes she had done it sooner because by the time she did it her pain was so chronic that she can't exercise to lose weight, but the pain is virtually gone. She calls herself Bionic Granny.

    I have RA in both knees and as soon as my doctor says I'm ready, I'm going for the replacements.
  3. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    My mother in law just had the right knee done the summer before last. She's absolutely thrilled. Her advise was to decide from the beginning that you are going to break your chops in the rehab. exercises. She got friendly with 4 other women that had the surgery in the same week. 4 (herself included) were in their mid 60's and one was in her early 50's.

    All but one had a great rehab attitude. The youngest one had the most problems (she was really bitter about having to get the replacement - very negative person).

    I hate to admit it, but Mom takes the stairs faster than I do!
    (Well, unless there's chocolate somewhere on the 2nd floor!! lol - then it's a tie).

    As we say around here: Keep your chin up (or your neck will shorten!). You'll make the right decision!


  4. Sondar

    Sondar New Member

    Janet, this is strictly experiential ... my husband had both hips replaced within a year and wishes he had done it sooner. He had a combo of arthritis and years of pounding on the pavement (basketball and a runner). He is in no pain now and feels like a million bucks.

    But here's the caveat that made me want to respond to you. Physically he was in excellent shape. Given your other health issues, can your doctor tell you realistically what rehab would look like? I think that will be the key to your success, how hard can you work on it after the surgery has done its part?

    We were just talking about this because a friend had hip replacement in July and has really struggled. husband finally admitted to me he was in pain during the rehab but he pushed through it because he wanted so badly to get back on his feet and back in the classroom.

    Good luck with this big decision.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    See...thats my problem. Im mid 40s, very obese, probably wont have that great a rehab experience since I have fibro and everything that you do to me hurts like almighty heck! I dont care if you hug me it hurts! Sigh.

    I just cant see rehab not hurting tons.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    There's a new minimally invasive replacement surgery being performed. I recently talked with someone who had hip replacement at Rush hospital in Chicago by the pioneer of the procedure and she said it was 2 incisions, outpatient, and far easier recovery than traditional replacements.

  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    Sorry, I've been gone all day. My aunt had hip replacement done in her 40's. She's obese. She should have had her knees done several years ago, but is too out of commision now to go through with the rehab.

    Any ortho will tell you that the first line of defense in treating this condition is to lose some weight. 10 pounds, 20 pounds, whatever you can. Losing weight will help with the fibro pain also. I know it's a double edge sword; you are in pain so you can't exercise. Even if you can do some light stretching, daily, it's good for your body and your joints.

    There is another type of visco elastic injections call Hylagen. It is a series of five injections vs. three.

    If they are that bad, then do one surgery at a time. Go through the rehab and then the best line of defense, again, is try to walk, stretch and lose some weight to keep from damaging the knees and having to replace again.

    You can try the minimally invasive way, but some of the docs who do those procedures generally do not take insurance (at least not up here), but it may be worth a try looking into. They make smaller incisions, cutting less muscle, which makes healing time faster.

    If you have the traditional surgery, depending on how motivated you are, it's about a six week recovery.

    Did I answer your questions? If you have any other questions, let me know. There is a website, from I think it's Hackensack University Hospital that you can watch the minimally invasive surgery on webcast. If you want it, let me know and I'll look up the link.
  8. Janet,

    My 80 year old Mom has had both knees replaced. Both surgeries and rehabs went very well - and she's not the type to push herself.
    My sister in law, who is in her 50's had both done at the same time last year. She has done wonderfully well! I was a little worried about both at once but it went swimmingly.
    by the way, her insurance called her problem - osteoarthritis - prexisting and they absolutely would not cover the surgeries. She was in so much pain and was so limited she decided to go ahead and pay cash. The hospital bill alone was $90,000. But my brother in law, who is a very smart man, went to the accounting office - checkbook in hand. He asked how much they would take if he wrote a check that day.... The bill reduced magically to $35,000. He has taught me that it always pays to negotiate- even with medical bills!
  9. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    SO's dad had both knees replaced last year. He was always a runner but his knees were getting so bad that he was doing good just to walk.

    The recover time was pretty quick. He was up and pretty much normal after a week. He's back running marathons again now.

    My knee surgery was a bit rougher than a knee replacement from what I could see. I was in a brace for a week from my hip to ankle but that's because they had to cut through my ACL and put it back together again.

    You are a big girl. You can handle it. :smile:

  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I think you should go for it, it'll make you better in the long run. My cousin had both hips done at the same time-(OUCH!), but she felt she would rather get it over with. She's perfect, take your advice fron the doctor. If it hurts now getting a hug, think about how your quality of life will improve.-Alyssa
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    My f i l had both done at the same time. He didn't look so hot on his first day of rehab. He was brutally anemic but he did perk up. He wasn't working too hard. Mostly he was socializing. The PT's got on his case big time because he wasn't doing the routine. He is doing great today. He has a whole new lease on life. He wishes he had done it years sooner.

    You are young and may need to think this through. Will the surgery have to be redone? if so how long?
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Janet, I'm looking at this from the fibro side of things. How you handle surgery and rehab will depend on a lot of things, but mostly it will come down to - what is your response to pain now? Do you fear the pain and do what you can by avoidance to minimise it? Or are you so accustomed to pain that you tend to not notice pain in other areas, such as banging your thumb with a hammer? How good is your pain management?

    From my own observations, people who try to minimise movement to avoid pain are going to have a much harder time with the necessary rehab, but the people who are already so accustomed to pain that they have their own methods of dealing with it, will probably sail through rehab.

    The rehab exercises - these are not so much weight-lifting, load-bearing exercises so much as mobility and stretch exercises. You won't be expected to overdo exercise with muscles except to make your legs learn how to move again.
    I would suggest you talk to a physio NOW, to find out what will be expected of you and why, and to assess for yourself what you feel you would be able to do, fibro-wise.

    Only you know how you deal with pain, and how this will affect you later.

    And your weight - is it related to the joint degeneration? I mean, is it the joint pain that has stopped you exercising and allowed the weight to pile on? Or is it the fibro? Or both? Because if it's the joint pain, the surgery may make it possible for you to move a little more freely, which could help the weight reduce to a more comfortable level.

    Something else you could do, is make sure you are doing your utmost to get your pain managed as best as you can. Also do homework with a pain specialist on how post-op pain could be controlled, in order to allow you to do the rehab.

    If you discover it's not going to be as easy as you hoped, either with pain management or the degree of exercise needed in rehab, now is the time to try to put something positive in place. But if you find you CAN put something in place, it's got to help you feel encouraged.

    And if you DO decide to do this, and come through it, think how unstoppable you will feel!

  13. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Rehab would be awful, but if you wait it will be worse. I have had 70 yr old obese women who had knee replacements and had a horrible time. Even with all your other conditions, I can't help to think that it would be easier at 40 than 50 or 60. It does not sound like they are going to get any better. I would talk to a Physical or Occupational therapist to find out there opinion. Occupational Therapist (OT) help you find ways to do things your self that make life easier. Like long handled shoe horns and adaptive equipment. You do not have any cardiac or pulmonary diagnoses do you?

    I have also had 70 yr old obese women who had no problem with surgery. I think some is determined by how you feel about the surgery, and also by who your surgeon is
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Marge...you make some good points.

    I am one who avoids things that cause me pain. That could be because I dont have good pain management. Right now I just got back with my GP who gave me 30 lorcet to last me a month. Im also on lyrica for fibro.

    I simply dont do things that are going to make my pain worse. I dont have the life I used to have. I cant. I cant walk through an entire grocery store without having to go sit down and wait for the rest of the family to come find me. Walmart means either finding the electric scooter or I have to go sit. I might be able to run in for one or two items but them Im done.

    I have had to leave items at the check out with one of the kids and go to the car because my hips were giving out and I was going to fall. I did fall one time and slid down the pole in the middle of the store...so embarrassing.

    They just put me on one of those wheeled walkers with the seat on it so that I can sit down when I feel those times coming. Someone can push me around then.

    Lovely...at 45.

    As far as how long the replacements will last? I think that depends on which type they use. I have been told there is a new titanium/ceramic one that lasts longer and may last upwards of 15 to 20 years. Before that they life expectancy was only about 10 years or so. I still could have to redo it again if I live to 60 or 65. But that isnt a given considering all my other problems.

    Hey...bipolar has a mortality rate too.

    Some of my weight is from lack of being able to exercise from joint pain, some from fibro pain and some from the medications and some from just plain bad eating habits. I wont deny that I have fork to mouth disease. Being poor its not as easy to buy the better foods especially when you have to feed a crowd.
    I dont know...I know I will have to do this...but Im scared. Im going to talk to my gp about putting me on the chantix to stop smoking first because there is no way I can go through being in the hospital and not having my cigs for all that time and having fits over that at the same time...lol. I have to be done with smoking first.
  15. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Janet, SO has had his shoulder replaced, and both hips - at the rip old age of 41. The doctor could not tell him how long his hips would last because of his age -they thought maybe 12 to 15 years at the time because they usually did these procedures on the elderly.

    I can tell you one thing for sure. You do not want to wait until your knees blow out on you. SO thought he would wait for the hip surgery and one night his right one just blew out. I have never in my life seen someone scream in such pain - he couldn't stand, he couldn't sit, shoot he couldn't move

    The day after his surgery, they had him up and walking around a bit. It did hurt, but he said it was almost nothing compaired to when it blew out on him or the pain leading up to the blow out. He spent a couple of weeks in a convalsecent home so he could get his therapy.

  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think we can all sympathize with the fear of pain. I can tell you that my mom's sister, who is 65, just had one knee done this summer and is doing the other one in Feb. My mom spent three weeks with her post surgery. In all honesty, she was in some pretty bad pain at the beginning, and during the first couple of weeks of therapy. But, all in all my aunt is so amazed what it is like to live without pain that she can't wait for the next knee surgery!!!!!!!

    You and the doctor will make the best choice for you. I know the weight is an issue - I suffer as well. Hugs.

  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, I PM'ed you.


  18. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Janet, I too am facing knee replacement in the near future. I had artho done on both this summer---8 weeks apart---and am now finally able to walk pain free for the first time in several years. I have spend three days a week in rehab since late June---I feel like a regular there. My ortho says that I will most likely have to have replacement done in the next three years. There have been a lot of improvements in the surgery in the last few years. Rehab is not the hard. Most PT's will not push you past the point of pain. Just make sure you find someone you are comfortable with. And start riding a stationary bike NOW. Build the quad muscle as much as you can. After my second surgery, my right quad went dormant. It was hard to bring it back!