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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I don't know about this whole Total Knee Replacement shit....

Anybody that knows me knows I don't go into anything consequential, especially something I don't know about, without doing my research, my due diligence.

So with a recent downturn in my left knee market, I decided it was time to start shopping for a.....

New Knee.

Which in the world of medicine is known as a TKR - Total Knee Replacement.

So I visited the quintessential visual encyclopedia, YouTube and found this 14 minute video of an actual knee replacement surgery, which I have to tell you up front, if you tend to be a little queasy about these sorts of things, you probably don't want to watch this.  Put it this way, I had to pause it 3 times and walk away, drink some strong coffee and try it again:

I called my son and talked to him about the absolute gruesome nature of this surgery based on this video and his comment was "You know - if everybody viewed a video of a surgery they were considering before they had the surgery, it's likely there would be a lot fewer surgeries".

Amen to that.

Then I got up this morning and googled "Knee Replacement Rehab" and went through these links....

Recovery Timeline: Rehabilitation Stages and Physical Therapy

Arthritis: Knee Replacement Surgery

Total Knee Replacement: the First Year

Knee Replacement Recovery Time Guide

After reading through these and some of the stories related by people as far as how their recovery went, the level of pain they were in throughout the rehab process and even after full recovery and their level of mobility and range of movement, I kinda started rethinking the whole TKR thing.

In addition, the left knee, while still being somewhat painful in normal activities and obviously being bone to bone,  has improved somewhat over the last 5 - 6 days.

I am walking around the house and short distances without too much pain and have actually started doing body weight lunges of 20 - 40 reps for a few sets at the gym.

I've also been putting at least 45 minutes to an hour and a half per day on my bicycle.  The cold and icy Santa Fe weather has let up a little bit and allowed me that luxury.

In addition, and I hesitate to reveal this, but have to stay true to my policy of full disclosure, I have taken the next step in supplements and have ventured into the realm of PEDs starting a Testosterone supplement about 5 days ago.

And ironically, that's when the knee started improving dramatically - I'm not making this shit up.

I started rubbing in the dime size portion of Test on my left shoulder on Thursday, 02/05/16, and 5 days later the knee is dramatically better.

Now, it could be that the bicycle riding is helping which I'm sure it is... and I'm taking a lot of other natural supplements and I am 5 weeks into the "recovery" from the knee blowout on 01/04/16, but still, I think it is too much of a coincidence that I start the Test supplement and Voila, the knee pain is reduced 50 - 75% and the knee is stronger and I have more mobility and flexibility with less pain.....

Just saying.

And this morning, I made a climb on my heavy Trek 3700 mountain bike with 2 racks and an Ortlieb pannier on it, 5 miles up NM 475 which is the route to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

It's a decent 5 mile climb and I was bearing down on the pedals pretty hard intentionally at a slow < 60 cadence and the left knee did good.

I had to turn around where the ice started on the first series of S's after the hill past the 10000 Waves spa, and I did a pretty good descent hitting 35 mph top speed on the way down.  I averaged 10 mph for the 10 mile ride which is not bad for a 1 legged old man on a heavy mountain bike going up and down 1/2 a mountain.

Incidentally, I did this same ride except all the way to the top and back down again back in May, 2010 on my Trek 1500 Road Bike with a Canon PowerShot on a handlebar bracket recording the fast ride down.
It's not particularly good footage because of the vibration with the handlebar mount of the camera but this 11 minute video gives you some idea about how fast and fun this descent was.  I think I hit 48 mph top speed on the stretch passing Hyde State Park and averaged 38 mph on this 11 minute run.

So, if you're so inclined, take a Dramamine and sit back and enjoy this 11 minute joy ride.... when I was a younger, more adventurous soul with 2 good knees and no fear!

Watching this video again for the first time in a long time, I am amazed at how fast I was going through the turns, how far over I was leaning and how I dodged the many potholes, road cracks, guardrails, vehicles and other road obstacles.

Would I do it again?

Hell Yeah!

And God willing and the creek don't rise, I will do it again this May!

I told you I don't plan on living forever nor do I want to and I think you have to do Things of Significance in order to Give Your Life Significance.

Let me say that again.....

You Have to do Things of Significance to Give Your Life Significance.

Making the climb from Santa Fe to the Santa Fe Ski Basin and back down again at full speed is a Thing of Significance.

So, in summary, after doing quite a bit of research on total knee replacement surgery and the year long recovery from it, I'm still gonna fly into Houston in a couple of weeks and have the evaluation with Dr. Gregory Stocks of the Fondren Orthopedic Group and get a lot more information on the whole process but suffice it to say....

I'm going to do everything I can to keep the knee I have as long as I can.

And if I can get back to a reasonable level of activity with light weights and can walk at least half a mile without a limp, I'm not gonna have the TKR until the ability to do those activities are taken away from me.

It's all about Risk and Reward.

At this point, I'm not sure the knee is bad enough to justify the Risks that a TKR represents.

And I still have some options left to help with the knee.

I don't think I'll get back to where I was before the beginning of year blowout but I think I can get back to a reasonable level of activities.

I know the bicycle riding is helping, the Testosterone supplements are helping and I still have a few more cards on the table including Human Growth Hormone (HGH) supplementation.  Based on my research and the anecdotal evidence provided in several discussions with people who have used HGH, this shit can work miracles in restoration and regeneration of damaged muscle tissue, bones and joints.

It's expensive but I'm willing to give it a try in lieu of a surgical procedure as body devastating as a TKR appears to be.

Yeah - there are risks to this sort of aggressive supplementation, but there's risks to TKR to and there's no guarantee you will even get back to where you were before the surgery.

At least that's the way I view it now based on what I know.

I am always open to new data and new information and will change my perspective and plans based on that.

But for now.....

I'm rethinking this whole Total Knee Replacement thing.

There's just something about having your fucking leg cut in 2 and reattached with metal and plastic components that doesn't set well with me.

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