Monday, June 28, 2010

The Road to Recovery

So it has been a little over a month since I have given you a glimpse into my everyday life. These past few weeks I have been traveling down the road of recovery, and what a journey it has been.

It wasn't, and still is not an easy path. Having both knees taken out, and new ones cemented into a freshly formed and filed sockets. Having a total of 51 staples holding together two 10 inch incisions that would eventually heal into 10 inch scars. Having those same 51 staples ripped back out one at a time. Being asked the day after your surgery to not only start therapy, but to be expected to walk as well.

I walked. I walked a total of 15 steps that morning. Those may quite possibly have been the 15 most difficult steps I have ever been asked to take in my life. But that's something I don't let just anybody know. To most of the world those 15 steps were the best steps I have ever chosen to take. Those were my first 15 steps toward a new, and promising future. Both renditions of those few seconds on May 26th are correct. They were the most difficult, and liberating steps I had ever taken. As I collapsed back into my chair, I cried. I cried tears forged from pain and from relief. I was going to be able to do this, and from that moment on I knew it was only going to become easier.

Which it did. Within three days, with the help of a walker I was walking to and from therapy. Gradually, my dependence on the walker diminished as my strength and balance came back. Three weeks after my surgery date I was rising and walking unassisted, that is two months earlier than my surgeon and therapists predicted. I often get asked the question how. Attitude.

Attitude truly is everything. I was never a victim and therefore, never acted like one. I didn't feel sorry for myself and wasn't looking for pity. I wanted this. I needed this. I knew no matter how difficult it was, or what my pain level reached, I had lived through worse, and made it, just as would this time. I knew that those times that I had lived through before, I didn't have an answer. I knew I was in pain and every medication and treatment I had tried failed me. I also knew, my pain was getting worse. This time it was different. This time I was getting better, and every time something was difficult I knew it was going to get easier. Every time I pushed through for just a few more steps, or a couple extra reps, it wasn't going to be in vain. I was going to get through this and become stronger. I was going to be able to return to a life that wasn't wheelchair accessible only.

I know my journey is far from over and I still have miles to go. I understand that now that my knees are healing, that doesn't affect the pain or flares in other joints. I have learned that the surgery did not cure the illness or fatigue that plagues me. I realize that rheumatoid arthritis is a monster that I have to battle daily, but at least I am doing battle on two new titanium knees, that for now, seem quite up to the challenge.


  1. I've been waiting for an update - so thank you! I'm glad to hear that you are doing well (as far as these things go). You're right - attitude is everything - and it sounds like you've got a great one! Can't wait to hear more of your challenges - and successes!

  2. I've been wondering how you were doing, also :) I'm pumped to hear that you are moving along fast and furious. It's true that the pain and craziness are easier to deal with after a surgery cause you know it's going to keep getting better. We may have to deal with crappy RA in the meantime, but at least we get to do it with some titanium joints!

  3. Thanks for the update – you are amazing! Way to go! :) L

  4. I am glad you posted. I have been thinking about you!

  5. WOW!! Thank you all soo much for all the support! It really does mean a lot. I wish everyone well!