Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MONUMENTAL Day! New Knees + Head-High Glassy Waves + 4 Months, 3 weeks + I Gotta Surf Now = YES, It Can Be Done

Breaking News....You guessed it...I SURFED!  With 4 months 3 weeks of rehab under my belt and that "OK...Today's the Day" mental signal, I gathered my gear and went for it.  The actual day of the surf session was 2 days ago on December 20, 2009; my Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement (BTKR) surgery date was July 27, 2009.

So, for all of you surfers and joint replacement brothers and sisters that may have been wondering...Yes, you can have both knees replaced after BTKR and SURF.  Yeah Baby!  I've still got some more rehabing to do, but Life is better now that I've got my new knees and some salt water back in my veins. 

For all of you that are considering joint replacement, especially if you're quality of life is going down hill because of your bad joints; then getter done.  Evaluate the doctors, the type of knee joint, the type of surgery, (old school methods vs. minimally invasive and computer assisted), and your mind set.  You can review all that went on with me and my BTKR by reviewing my blog.  You gotta be positive and have faith that all will be good (prayers work); and you gotta rehab....push it....and don't stop.  Occasionally, there may be some set backs, but don't give up.  I did both of my knees at the same time only because I've had bi-lateral ACL knee surgeries in the past (twice) and just wanted to get it over with.  Either way, one knee or two, you need to be in shape...cause it's not a cakewalk.  A great health supplement also helped with my recovery (see notes in column to the right).

So here's how the surf day went down...

The day before, I was riding my bicycle around town; to the gym; to visit a few friends; then back home...I was feeling pretty good both mentally and physically...and spiritually too!  No surf check that day, but I was following the conditions online....hmmm.

The day of the session, was slightly overcast in the morning...got up late.  Went to Church at: 11:30 am.  Weather was looking good now, sun was out and NO wind.  I decided to stop by a temporary storage unit that we had rented to store some stuff left over from our move back to Los Osos from Pacifica in September; the stuff included my Surfboards and wetsuit.  Went back to the house; did an online check....hmmm the tide was dropping from a 5.9 to a 0.4 between 11am and 6pm, was the tide to low over the reef now that it's 2pm???...naw, it's still workable....go for it!

I then drove to top of hill for that anticipated surf check, and yes, the ocean surface was smooth and clean with lines and A-frames; I new that the surf would be good at ......(can't  tell ya where)...Yep, sure enough, some of the boys were out, but coming in as the tide was dropping; especially hazardous on the rights.  Some of the boys (I say boys cause there were no females in the line-up) were at the beach break surfing close-out barrels.  OK, I'm out there on the lefts...worst case, I'll get a good paddle in.

Paddled out on my 8'6" high-performance longboard and NO knee braces for the first time in about 12 years.  I'm thinkin that I might be surfing on shorter boards again....

So I surfed 4 waves with 3 of them about 100 yards each! 2 other unknown guys on the lefts. First wave I was tentative but made the drop while finding my feet and gingerly making the turns...how hard could I turn?  The next wave jacked up; I took off late with weight on the back of the board, just pulling the nose up in time and making a good bottom turn into a nice wall....then bigger cut-back toward the white water, then quick cut back into hollow section for a ways, then to the nose...yes!  Good One.  Ok ...next 2 waves broke on my head; I found enough energy to keep going; here comes another so I spin and gooooo; ah oh, bumpy face, I got it; oh no, where are my feet....boom; I fell off!  Ok, one more wave, where is it...the sun is going down...sure is beautiful out here!  There it is, I'm going for it; paddle, paddle, paddle; got it, I'm late, weight back,  I'm floating down, yes, make the drop and turn....need to get off the tail; Ok I'm good ...nice wave, cut back and work the inside!  Alright, that's enough for now....so I caught an insider to the shore north of the rocks.  This is a Good Day!

I'd like to give a special shout out to my wife for her love and patience and to my fellow knee replacement friends for their support/encouragement: Surfsister, Fish, Greg Cochran, and all at BoneSmart.org.  And to all my family, friends, doctors, nurses, PTs...and dogs :)

Peace, Love, and God Bless!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Happy Holidays to all!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ocean Paintings, Seascapes, Giclee Prints|Annie Bauman Artist

http://www.PureSourceFineArt.com - Critically acclaimed surreal artist, Annie Bauman, presents her spiritually inspiring Seascapes and Ocean Paintings! See More Art: http://www.PureSourceFineArt.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cruisin!!! 3 Months Post Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement - Surfs Up!

That's Me.... (I first rode my bike at 9 weeks post op; see details of progress at bottom of this post)

That's My Bike...

That's My Left Knee at 9 weeks (distorted perspective view with phone cam; the knee is not swollen; needs some calf work though)

That's My Right Knee at 9 weeks (distorted perspective view with phone cam; the knee is not swollen)

That's THE View...Can you see Morro Rock in the distance? On a side note: Morro Rock (San Luis Obispo County, CA) is the western-most in a series of "volcanic stacks" that trend from the coast in Morro Bay into San Luis Obispo about 15 miles to the east. These "stacks" are the remnant resistant interiors of extinct volcanoes; the less resistant exteriors have long since worn away, but the "volcano" shape still remains in some cases.

OK...Here's a close-up of the "Rock" (650 feet high)

THE Knees at 12 weeks ... check out those quads; still got a ways to go, but making progress!


THE Knees at 12 weeks....(shows old ACL reconstruction scars on right knee)

Watch the Video (above) to check out the product (MAX-GXL) that I've been using for past 1 3/4 years to reduce inflammation, pain, and increased energy and why I've been healing so well; aside from my faith in God and a great surgeon!!! (Watch this Video with Dr. Daria Davidson).... I first mentioned the incredible benefits of MAX-GXL, the Glutathione Accelerator, in my first post (see July 26, 2009 post). For more information, please visit: www.LivetotheMax.tv (watch the video on front of web page then click on products - Max-GXL).

OK...You gotta see this (above)!  Are you an Athlete?, then watch what MAX-GXL does for Bill Gillespie, former strength and conditioning coach for the Seattle Seahawks, current world record holder in the bench press!!! Amazing!

Well I was riding the stationary bike in Physical Therapy, so I figured why be confined; so I jumped on my mountain bike and rode to the top of the hill by my house. After all, I gotta check the surf, right !!! Note that the bicycling pictures were taken 3 weeks ago; so at 9 weeks post surgery I started riding the bike....awesome!

I'm down to 1 day/week on Physical Therapy now with a few more sessions to go, but I joined the local Gym (Los Osos Fitness) so that I can successfully continue my rehab. During the last PT visit on Monday, my flexion was 136 and 133 degrees, in my left and right knees, respectively!!!

Because I had both knees rebuilt at the same time and because my knees/legs had been deteriorating for sometime prior to surgery (see first post and x-rays; July 27, 2009), my legs started in an atrophied condition. Therefore, I have more muscle mass to build back on to my legs than those with better leg conditioning.

MAJOR Pain Breakthrough. I have not had any major swelling or pain in my knees over the last several weeks!!! Just intermittent healing pains; some associated with possibly over doing it in physical therapy. However, up until about a week ago, I was still having night time sleeping issues and was popping that occasional Vicodin as my knees after a days worth of activity were still letting me know that some healing was going on. But, starting last week, I've been taking a couple of Advil before bedtime, and am sleeping relatively well!
Peace be with You!


Monday, September 21, 2009

BTKR - 8 Weeks Post Surgery

Lost the last pesky remnant scab and small stitch that was still hanging out on the right knee today. Compare my last blog post knee pics with these...see the difference!

Hey look, my saggy knee skin is clearing up! Amazing what some good physical therapy will do for you! Thanks Audrey, Denise, and Terry (Sunnyside PT and Los Osos Fitness)!!!...and MaxGxl (www.BeWell123.com)!!!

Every time I look at my "leg make-over" (straight legs from bowed), I'm totally Stoked, but it freaks me out cause I don't recognize the new look....BUT I CAN WALK..>>THE SURF is coming!!!

....And they bend too! Physical therapy today: Flexion: 133 and 127 degrees in the left and right knees, respectively...Now that's respectable! How far will they go? My extension is Flat on the Mat... at 0 degrees; now that's far enough!

Oh Yeah....This is where my knees belong... Locked in a Room with a View...

...I can drive my Van...whata ya think :0)

OK...I had to post this photo as it is just too cute! This is our very Handsome and very Smart friend Dylan with his friend, Sy....that's nice!

...And Have a Nice and Peaceful Day!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

YES - I'm a Happy Camper!!! 3 1/2 Weeks Post Surgery

YES, I'm a happy camper...I've got new knees and a whole new outlook! Kawabunga...Surf On! Thank You Lord!

Do I look taller...??? The answer is Yes, by about 1/2 inch! 6' 1/2"

Look Ma, no staples, no steri-strips...just a little scab action on the right knee :0) 3 weeks and 3 days post surgery!

...and the Close-UP. Man, I need to bulk up those leg muscles! Note that the swelling is way down in both knees; thanks to MAX GXL (www.BeWell123.com)

Physical Therapy yesterday (8-19-09): 125 and 110 degrees flexion in left and right knees, respectively! Road bicycle and the eliptical machine (frontward and backward), and balanced on disk while throwing ball at bouncy backstop (no gum chewing though).

Have a Peaceful Day!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Staples are Out - But No Shower Until Friday

First thing in the morning yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009), I went to Physical Therapy, where Sherman, my PT, proceeded to WORK my knees! PT included riding the elliptical machine, lifting weights, and Stretching/Bending to break down that scar tissue and increase my Range of Motion. Flexion after PT on Wednesday was 110-112 degrees in my left knee and 103-104 degrees in my right knee. I'm pleased with these results so far. I use crutches for assistance but was practicing walking in PT without the crutches!

Later in the afternoon yesterday, I visited my Knee Doctor (Dr. Reyes)for my 2 week post-surgery check-up. Dr. Reyes was pleased with my progress! All 40 of my suture-staples were removed, but were then replaced with steri-strips (see photo) as final back-up to assure complete closure of the incisions. SO NOW....SHOWER ON FRIDAY!!! Note the lovely Anti-Embolism socks for prevention of blood clots; I have to wear these for 6 weeks.

I am still working through various pain levels, but pain levels, movement, and walking are getting better!

I hope to be riding the bicycle by next week!

Have a Nice Day!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let's Go Surfing!!! with TKR, of Course!

Yep, that's me Surfing in Southern Nicaragua at Playa Iguana, Rio Colorado (Nov. 27, 2008)! By that afternoon, during my second session, my right knee was swollen and unstable. Must of been the 2 days of golfing and 4 days of surfing! Between the arthritis and the failed ACL, I was done. The time for Bilateral Total Knee Replacement was at hand, hence my journey to my BTKR surgery that was completed on July 27, 2009.

Note the 2 custom carbon fiber knee braces in the photo that were supposed to hold my joints together. Now that I have new Knees....NO MORE BRACES! YES, I will REHAB to the MAX!

Stay tuned for latest updates, I went to PT today and I get my staples out this afternoon....SHOWER time!



For more Information about Surfing in Southern Nicaragua, please visit:
http://www.NicaraguaSurfCondo.net and http://www.NicaraguaSurfCondos.com

Friday, August 7, 2009

Not Just Another BTKR...We're Talking About an Extreme Leg Make-Over - from Bowed to Straight - WOW!

Tom's Leg Orientation Pre - BTKR (July 27, 2009 - just before going to hospital)

Tom's Leg Orientation Post - BTKR (August 6, 2009 - 10 days post surgery)


Yep, those leg shots above are my legs, I can barely believe it. I'm truly amazed and very thankful! As you see from the pre-surgery photo (above) and the pre-surgery x-rays (in 7-26-09 post), that my walking days were going downhill fast.

When "they" say, wait as long as you can before getting TKR, well I did and wore down a centimeter of bone on each knee in the process. I'm glad it's done; I'm excited and looking at life in a whole different way now. I'm looking at surfing beyond knee braces!!!

My recommendation to anyone that is waiting for TKR and that has severe osteoarthritis, pain, instability, etc., that is hindering your life.....don't wait, get the surgery done now so that you can enjoy your life now!

Physical Therapy

PT was good today! This is my second outpatient visit with Sherman, he's da man! and know's what it takes to beat the 120 degree Flexion - Scar Tissue race. The goal is to get to at least 120 degrees of flexion in both knees prior to 6 weeks Post Surgery.

Well Sherman worked me today, in a good way. My left knee has 105 degrees of flexion, while my right knee just made it to 95 degrees today. Last Wednesday (8-5-09) the flexion readings were 95 and 90 degrees, for the left and right knees, respectively. My wife Annie and I were so pleased with the PT results, that we went to Costco and bought a new doggie bed for our old dog Bob. Bob has been hanging and watching over me during my recovery; he's a good boy (shephard - border collie mix) While in Costco, I was again riding one of those electric shopping carts; great fun, a little bit slow though with some knee pain to boot.

I'm pretty much taking it easy otherwise, the Doctor wants me to minimize my "walking" time; right now it's all about "Range of Motion"! Yep...in case you were wondering, I do have knee/leg pain, mostly related to being on my feet, but still need to regulated when horizontal with pain meds.

A big breakthrough came earlier this week on Tuesday morning. As you recall, I left the hospital last Saturday (8-1-09) after an active day. Well, Saturday evening and all day Sunday and Monday, it felt like my shin and calf muscles had been ripped with extreme shin splnts on top of that; It was hard to bare weight on those legs at all and I was hesitant about getting to my feet. If fact it took 2 trys; stand up first time to let all blood rush to my knee/lower leg areas; sit down to let pain equalize; then stand up again. So, Tuesday morning rolled around and that severe pain was gone. Thank God!



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tom's New Knees - Triathlon® Knee by Stryker

Here they are!!! Installed on July 27, 2009.

I saw my new Physical Therapist (Sherman) and Dr. Reyes today. Both Sherman and Dr. Reyes were pleased with my progress! I'll be blogging out more details tomorrow about the last few days, but for now.....

I left Physical Therapy today with flexion of 90 degrees on my right knee and 95 degrees on my left knee; my extension hit 0 degrees! I've met these 2-week goals within 9 days post-Op. Staples come out next Wednesday...then can I surf??? Oh yea, the shower is first in line :0)

I want to thank my wonderful wife Annie for taking care of me!!!

Peace to you All!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


One Week Beyond Surgery

I’m Back……at home that is! And I have Two New Knees (one per leg :o) and Two Straight Legs! Remember how bowed my knees used to be (see X-Ray from previous post); Well, now my knees touch each other when standing with heals together….Yes! I will be posting X-Rays of my NEW knees on Wednesday, stay tuned.

WOW, what an adventure this BTKR thing is. I’m VERY pleased with my “make-over”.

I was in the hospital for 6 days (Monday through Saturday 7-27–09 to 8-1-09). This was a major operation, especially with two knees. Post OP Pain Levels have ranged between 0 (low pain) and 10 (severe pain) , mostly dependent on body position, activity, and drug state. Current pain levels with legs elevated is kept at 0 -3 but has gone up to 5. Most pain is during initial and/or prolonged standing (blood rushing down to knee area) and during work outs (pushing the flexion limits; although this is a Good pain :o).

I currently have about 90 degrees of flexion in my left knee and 83 in my right knee; and can straighten both legs while doing stationary leg lifts. I upgraded my walking equipment from a “walker” to crutches on Monday morning (8-3-09, way more mobile). But I have Ye Ole Walker in the room… just in case I need to take it for a spin :o). I went from dangling my legs over the edge of the hospital bed to walking the complete 680 foot length of the rectangular hallway and walking the stairs on Saturday! Yeah, real stairs! And on my way home on Saturday we stopped by Safeway for supplies: I’ve always wanted to ride one of those electric shopping carts, so I did!!! I was cruising in Safeway….that was fun :o).

Except for Monday – Wednesday, I have continued to take MAX GXL (http://www.BeWell123.com) which appears to be assisting positively with my recovery so far …stay tuned !
Regular Physical Therapy starts on Wednesday (8-5-09). Next Doctor Appointment is also on Wednesday.

And remember, it’s all about the Bowel Movement in Hospital Circles ….you’ve never been so open about your BMs…it’s amazing :0)


Monday (7-27-09): Surgery day!!!
• Check into hospital at 6:30 am, back in room by 2:00 pm after recovery; not feeling to bad at this point
• Covered with mega blankets and feeling like I couldn’t move
• Sat at side of bed with legs dangling over edge….yeah, that really happened, but definitely not my choices
• Anesthesia: Epidural catheter remained in my back until Friday morning; but stopped pushing the pump Thursday at 6:30 pm. Pain killer cocktail absorbs through outer sheath of spinal cord; inserted adjacent to upper spine area
• Small appetite: water, ice, gelatin, soup)

Tuesday (7-28-09) – Wednesday (7-29-09): Gnarly Recovery Days!!!
• Days of adjustment, discomfort, and pain.
• Stood Up at bedside each day with walker; shuffled to the right then back to the left again; light headedness and drop of BP upon standing
• Stood a little bit longer on Wednesday than on Tuesday
• Groggy from medication
• No appetite: water, ice, gelatin, soup

Thursday (7-30-09): Break Through Day!!!
• Adjusting medications; using Percocet (1-2 tabs every 4 hours as needed)
• Stood up and walked (2-stepped with walker) a total of about 180 lineal feet; between bathroom, window, and hallway
• Sat in chair; ate dinner with feet down on floor and/or on foot stool
• Small to moderate appetite
• Resumed Max GXL (http://www.BeWell123.com)

Friday (7-31-09): More Food and Distance!!!
• Stood up and walked (regular steps with walker) a total of about 1,400 lineal feet; Two laps around rectangular main hallway of 7th floor (morning and afternoon PT; Got to say Hi to everybody)!!!
• Sat in chair: ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner with feet down on floor and/or on foot stool
• Big appetite: ate 3 full meals

Saturday (8-1-09): Discharge Day and Stairs!!!
• Walked a hallway lap
• Walked up and down stairs (in stairwell) with handrail without walker, about two-thirds of one flight!!! Yeah, that happened!
• Stood at rail in hallway without walker; under PT supervision and did some small squats and toe raises
• Big appetite
• Discharged at 2 pm from Hospital
• Stopped at store for supplies; this is when I drove the electric shopping cart in Safeway (hand-controlled throttle, in case you were wondering)
• Back at home…!

Sunday (8-2-09): Recovery Day
Oh man, I think I over did it yesterday. My knees, shins and all other leg parts are hurting. Needed to do some pain medication adjustments; Still taking MAX GXL as it is aiding my recovery.

Stay Tuned for more. Post Op X-Rays will be up by Wednesday evening. It's a beautiful day... Peace and God Bless!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS - Extreme Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS - Extreme Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement

Good Day! Well I’m finally getting this blog up and going, just the day before my Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement (BTKR) surgery on July 27, 2009. I’ll check into the hospital tomorrow morning at 6 am with the surgery scheduled for 7:30 am. I’m ready! The purpose of this blog is to provide information for those planning and/are preparing for TKR; especially for those surfers that may be searching for more information.

I’m a 54 year old surfer (that also rides a motorcycle) that wants to keep on surfing, hiking, golfing, walking, biking, etc. on into eternity.

Check out the X-RAYS of my knees to see what this adventure is all about.

I have extreme arthritis in both knee joints and, in fact, have worn down about one (1) centimeter of bone in each medial knee joint compartments! In addition, my legs are bowed and my right joint is again unstable due to failed ACL (3rd time). I’m still walking, but it’s not a pretty picture. Do I have pain….well NO (at least not much). See information at the end of this blog, to find out how I quit taking Celebrex that I formerly used for knee pain back in February 2008 and why I predict that I will heal faster!


My Doctor is Michael Reyes of the Peninsula Orthopedic Associates in Daly City, CA (just south of San Francisco). Check out his website for more information: http://michaelreyesmd.com/ . I chose Dr. Reyes, as he is a gentle soul who has a great reputation and has successfully replaced other surfer’s knee joints while he was practicing in Hawaii. Dr. Reyes uses the Triathlon® knee by Stryker. These joints have greater flexion and longevity. As a surfer, the added flexion and life span of the new joint implant are optimal. In addition, the Triathlon® knee utilizes a computer assisted mapping system that will optimize the success potential of the surgery on my rather complicated knee joints.

Yeah, none of this one joint at a time stuff for me, I’ve been there and back twice already with ACL replacements (2 times in both knees) plus a tibial osteotomy and multiple meniscus removal adventures. I want this surgery to be done with so that I can rehab and continue on with my life adventures. Granted, one needs to be in relatively good shape and of sound mind (?) to make this decision.


I have severe Osteoarthritis and mild instability. I played football in my younger days, jumped off one to many high places, play golf, and have been surfing for 40 years. My Knee doc (Dr. Reyes) indicated to me last December 2008 (based on review of my x-rays above) that I had worn off about a centimeter of bone from each of my medial knee joint areas and that I should have surgery within a year or he may not have enough bone for the BTKR.

Most of my meniscus in both knees is gone, beginning with total medial meniscus removal in my right knee back in 1970. Both of my ACLs have been replaced twice; the first time with experimental Gortex ACLs back in 1985; those ACLs wore out and were replaced with cadaver ACLs in 1998. I also had a tibial osteotomy on my right knee in 1985. The last injury occurred to my right knee while surfing in Nicaragua last November 2008 where I apparently popped what was left of the ACL in my right knee and along with irritation of the arthritis caused my knee to swell. The fluid was drained by a local Doc in Nicaragua. You can check out my braces and photos of Nicaragua on our website: http://www.NicaraguaSurfCondo.net .

I've been wearing knee braces to surf since 1995. I used to wear one brace on my back right leg, but switched to 2 braces in 2005 when I popped my left knee out while surfing. After my most recent knee injury in November 2008, I waited about 3.5 months until my right knee gained back some strength at which time I strapped on my old (more stable) knee brace to my right knee only and have been surfing intermittently up to now.


I found a product that WORKS. It’s called MAX GXL (MAX) and is a Glutothione Accelerator that reduces cellular inflammation. There are over 70,000 articles written about the benefits of Glutathione. For all the info, go to: http://BeWell123.com . As a scientist (I have a Geology degree from UCLA and work as an Environmental Consultant) and an athlete, I have researched and tested many health related products. NONE of the products that I have tested do what MAX does; this is due to its compositionally patented formulation.

Aside from giving up Celebrex that I formerly used for pain associated with my extreme arthritis, I have experienced increased energy, greater mental clarity, excellent health, and faster recovery after workouts. In preparation for my BTKR, I have been getting some dental work done which has included a couple of root canals and extraction of 2 rear upper teeth! I had these teeth pulled last Friday afternoon (7-24-09 at 4:30 pm); each had very long roots…good times! At the time of this writing (7-26-09), I HAVE HAD NO NOTICEABLE SWELLING in my jaw/mouth areas! And by the way, just to test my pain threshold, I did not take any Vicodin and still have not. The Extraction Dentist indicated that I would be swollen and to take the Vicodin for a week. I have been taking my antibiotics though.

I will be carefully monitoring my BTKR rehab progress including: pain and swelling reduction levels, range of motion, and general mobility. Based on my experiences so far with MAX (and my faith in God), I believe that I will be surfing sooner than later.

Until the next time, surf on! I’ll talk to you after my surgery. Kawabunga!