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I decided to have my knee replaced when..
How my life changed after knee replacement

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Doctors differ and patients become crippled

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Im 50 and have had two TKR in the last 9 months in Ireland.
I've always been obese but actively involved in sports such as Judo, Hockey, Powerlifting, Gym, Swimming & Aqua-aerobics. As a teenager, I sustained several knee injuries doing Judo. When I was 15 I needed to have the cartilage in my left knee removed (this was in the days before arthroscopic surgery so I was a week in hospital and left with a 20cm scar). Even then the surgeon said the kneecap was almost worn away. Before long I developed osteoarthritis in both knees. As time went by my knees started to veer inwards, and I became knock kneed. I also had swelling in both lower legs and later was diagnosed with Milroy's disease which is a rare form of lymphedema.
By my mid 40's I'd had enough of pain and was getting more debilitated every year even though I was in the gym daily, was competing internationally at the Benchpress as a heavyweight and had taken up swimming after 25 years avoiding the pool because of how I looked in a swimsuit because of my weight and my horrible swollen legs.
So my Doctor referred me to an Orthopaedic surgeon who looked at me and basically said go away and lose a load of weight and come back when you are 180lbs (I was 280lbs). I hadn't been 180lbs since I hit puberty. I was very disheartened. He did however refer me to an Endocrinologist specialising in Obesity. Three years later I finally got an appointment with him. He asked if I wanted a gastric sleeve - no - it was surgery on my knees I wanted, not on my stomach or if I was interested in doing a milk diet which was a 36 week programme consisting of 12 weeks of just skimmed milk, 12 weeks introducing minute portions of food and 12 weeks of small meals which is supposed to train you to eat tiny meals for the rest of your life. I wasn't really interested in that either. 9 months later I was referred to and completed an excellent 12 week programme incorporating exercise and dietary and health information along with a class of other obese participants. As a result of that I did lose maybe 40lbs but in doing the exercise I hurt my right knee and went to my Doctor who sent me for an MRI and referred me to a different orthopaedic surgeon.
So my new surgeon looked at the MRI and was able to access my old xrays. On looking at them he noted that my knees had grown wrong in childhood and there was no possible way I could have done the extensive damage to my knees through Judo or being obese. He said the only option I had was bilateral TKR but he would do an arthroscopy to remove the cartilage from my left knee to give me more comfort and hopefully a few more years before TKR surgeries.
The day of the arthroscopy he also took new xrays. After the surgery he came out and said the news was not good. That the extent of degeneration since the last x-rays was shocking and also there was no cartilage left in the knee. My only option was to have both knees done without further delay. To be honest, I was delighted and saw it as good news rather than bad.
A couple of months later I had the first TKR (the right one with the recent arthroscopy) and the left TKR was done 18 weeks later. Im now 18 weeks post the second one.
I'll post my experiences of the surgeries and recovery in another blog here.
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