I went to my one-week post-op appointment yesterday. To say I had fear and hesitation was an understatement. I wasn't fully clear on what my recovery would look like in the coming weeks.
The good news:
- My knee is healing just as it should - no concerns from my doctor
- I was able to say goodbye to my bulky, sweaty knee brace - wahoo!!
- I was finally able to BEND my knee for the first time in a week.
- I can start driving again this weekend!
The not so good news:
- I need to remain on crutches for another month - I am to bear no weight on my knee until I return for my next appointment at the end of July.
- I can shower, but no pool for six more weeks (there goes my swim program).
- Instead of just one place where I was missing cartilage, there were two 'bone on bone' locations that the doctor had to treat in my knee.
At first I was so relieved to remove the knee brace and start bending my knee again. Soon enough the reality that I can't bear weight on my leg for another month has hit me and I'm feeling depressed by it. I was ok to lay low for a couple weeks but no exercise for more than a month is pretty terrifying to me. I really thought the pool was going to be my refuge during this period, but to learn that I can't swim in addition to not even being able to walk is pretty tough on me emotionally. Even when I donated a kidney, I was able to walk immediately. I feel like a bird with clipped wings right now. My Garmin Vivofit is lucky if I break 1000 steps a day, and I think 500 'steps' are from brushing my teeth.
I stepped on the scale for the first time since the morning of my surgery. I've gained two pounds. I really can't stomach the idea of gaining two pounds every week for the next month so I'm going to have to figure something out. I just don't see any cardio options available to me right now but I can start back on my upper strength training again this weekend.
I know this surgery was necessary and I know it's best I took care of this now before I get any older and develop additional damage but this won't be easy. Today I'll focus on bending my knee and starting in on the muscle stimulation therapy - which is a really fascinating treatment and crazy to watch. In a nutshell, it uses electrical pulses to prevent the disuse of muscle atrophy in my thigh muscle above my knee.All I do is apply the sensors, push a few buttons and sit back for 20 minutes 3x a day. It's a very odd sensation to say the least - like an electrical current shocking you. By the end of the 20 minutes, it feels almost like a massage. Of course the first thing my husband said when he saw this is "you are just like Bruce Lee now" - yes, just like Bruce Lee, that's me. (apparently Bruce Lee used this sort of treatment to build his rock solid physique decades ago).
Here is an article that explains it all if you are interested: