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Looking Forward to New Lease on Life after Bilateral Knee Replacement

February 23, 2017
Published in: Joint, Patient

Susan Blanton organizing a display in her store

Susan Blanton had always maintained an active lifestyle; being a small business owner meant that Susan had to be on her feet for hours on end, despite dealing with excruciating pain in her knees due to a severe form of arthritis. Instead of complaining, she'd just take another dose of her anti-inflammatory medication and keep going. Susan kept this pace going for more than ten years, grinning and bearing the pain until her knees hurt so bad she could barely stand.

It was clear that the pain in her knees was just too much to bear. Desperate to stay on her feet, Susan tried steroid injections in both knees. "The shots would give me about a week of relief, but the pain always came back," Susan admitted with a sigh.

It was apparent that the temporary fix offered by this treatment wasn't going to cut it with Susan's active lifestyle. She considered braces at one point, but suffering from a severe form of arthritis made her a poor candidate for this option which lead her to consider knee replacement surgery.

Feelings of Helplessness and Frustration Can Be Overwhelming

The sense of helplessness and frustration were overwhelming for Susan. "It was all I could do to get through the work day," Susan reflected. The pain was so intense that she would collapse on the sofa the minute she walked through the front door. "I couldn't go for a walk or play with my dog in the yard," she recalled. Worse yet, she started avoided going to places that she knew had stairs because her knees would give out when she attempted to climb steps. She knew something had to be done, but Susan was so busy and burned out it was hard to take the first step, so she put off scheduling her surgery just a bit longer.

Just before scheduling her bilateral knee surgery, she traveled to the beach with her family for vacation. Susan missed out on much of the excited on the trip though due to the pain. Only walking across the street to the public beach was an impossible task. She couldn't enjoy a romantic a romantic walk on the beach with her husband or wade in the ocean. The only thing she could do was swim in the hotel pool. Susan vowed this would be the last time she would spend a family vacation in her hotel room.

Susan Couldn't Be Content with Sitting Around Doing Nothing

Susan petting her dogBeing such a go-getter, Susan couldn't be content to sit around and do nothing so she opted for bilateral knee replacement. Getting both knees done at the same time made sense because she wouldn't be subjected to two separate recovery periods. With so much to do, Susan made no bones about it. She simply didn't have time to sit around for months on end. "I'm not retired, and I have no intention of retiring anytime soon," Susan shared. The only regret she says she has about the surgery is not getting it done sooner.

Since she's a lifelong resident of the area and a local business owner, Susan was already familiar with Dr. Esteban and the Augusta Health Joint Center. Susan was also aware of Dr. Esteban's excellent reputation through one of her friends who also had both knees replaced the year before. Her elderly aunt had also had the same surgery with excellent results. Knowing that she was going to receive expert care during her surgery and recovery helped put her mind at ease.

Bilateral Knee Surgery Offers Patients a Shorter Period of Recovery

Susan had to undergo a battery of tests and a physical exam before the procedure to ensure that she was fit enough to handle surgery. After receiving a clean bill of health with no underlying heart issues or high blood pressure problems, she was cleared for surgery. Having surgery performed on each knee meant she was undergoing two procedures at the same time, an event that can be too stressful for some candidates. The recovery period is a bit more arduous, but for folks like Susan, who need to return to an active lifestyle as soon as possible, it's worth it to avoid having to go through two separate recoveries.

Susan was pleasantly surprised that bilateral knee surgery didn't lead to an extended period of rehab. Grateful that she would be recovering in her home, Susan remarked that being home helped her to heal faster and feel more relaxed because she could stay in a familiar environment. In fact, Susan says she was ecstatic when Dr. Esteban explained that she wouldn't have to be waited on hand and foot, she could do most things on her own without having to call for help. Being independent by nature, Susan found this prospect incredibly appealing.

Having More Control Over the Recovery Experience Makes It Easier

Susan was also very pleased with the help and advice she received from the joint class offered by Augusta Health to prepare her for recovery after bilateral knee surgery. Instructor Beth Joyce provided eye-opening insights into the recovery experience that Susan took to heart. She believes that having someone like Beth to point out that her surgery was elective. Therefore an event she had some control over, was empowering. Once she realized she could control her recovery experience by getting her house ready and lining up extra help, Susan felt like she was on top of the world. Having a physical therapist and occupational therapist come in and share advice on things to purchase in advance to make life easier was incredibly helpful. "Oh, and they also reminded me to bring along some athletic shorts and a t-shirt," Susan confessed. "Patients don't wear hospital gowns after knee surgery," she shared with her eyes gleaming.

Susan credits Dr. Esteban for getting her through the first couple of weeks of recovery. Before her surgery, Dr. Esteban warned her she might not like him so much then, but she's glad he wasn't shy about pushing her to go the extra mile. Susan insists he was pleasant and personable throughout the entire process. Recovery may not have been nice 100 percent of the time, but she pushed through those difficult days knowing that her future was much brighter.

Susan is Excited About Her Active Future with Her New Knees

Susan climbing the stairs at her storeWhile it's only been a month since her surgery, and she's still in the recovery stage, she's pleased as punch about her results. "I've seen the x-rays of my knees, and they're gorgeous" she exclaims, and she's right. Her knees look perfectly straight. There's no doubt that once she's completely healed, she'll be back on her feet and running circles around the rest of the world.

"I have had such a positive experience with Dr. Esteban and his team", says Susan with a smile. When asked if she would recommend Dr. Esteban and Augusta Health to others needing knee surgery, she nods emphatically. Being well-informed and guided throughout the process was a huge relief for her. Susan never had to spend a moment wondering what would happen next because Dr. Esteban and his staff were so willing to walk her through the experience, step-by-step.

The orthopedic experts at the Augusta Health Joint Center are ready to help get back your active lifestyle. If you're ready to take action and get on the road to recovery, call us today at (540) 332-5047 to talk to one of our experts and take the first step to taking back control of your life!