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: . 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: .

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: . 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!



  1. This is the most riveting personal story I have read anywhere online in a long time. You are awesome, Tom! I can't wait for the next chapter, and the next and the next! Amazing stuff...
    Jim Marshall

  2. Tom
    Best of luck. I have been reading Surfsister trip as she rehab her knee and saw your name. I am a 52 year old New Jersy surfer that is getting a TKR in Sept. I already had a hip replacement 4 years ago and surf better than I have in years. We go to El Salvador every spring. Like you I played a lot of football and have been surfing 40+ years. Looking forward to your full recovery. I will keep an eye out for your post.

  3. Tango Bravo,
    You're my surf hero dude! I'll have my money all saved for the next Nica trip by the time you're recuperated and ready to go!
    Over but not Out,
    -Echo Charlie

  4. Tango
    Just checking in to see how you are doing post-op. Hope your well. Hang in there.

  5. Hi, I stumbled upon your Blog. Your legs look great. I'm 10 days away from BTKA/ have really inspired me. How did you get your x-rays up on your blog. I'm trying to journal my little adventure....this is something really hard to describe to people and I'm trying to also reach out to others while blogging also seems to be theraputic too. Thanks!

  6. I think what you did with your blog is fantastic! To help others, that are looking for answers and someone else that has gone through the same they are looking at in the near future! I wish others out there, would do the same thing ;) I use to be an RN and what killed my career was 41 surgeries to date and 2 autoimmune diseases. I am still facing more surgeries in the future. I always do my research before each surgery. This is excellent what you have done here for others! My best to you in your recoup and enjoying the rest of your precious life doing all the things you love so and helping so many others out there!

  7. Tom what a great post on your recovery. I enjoyed reading it especially because I am at 6 mo after my Bilateral Knee Replacement. I have been a little disappointed as I love to snorkel and scuba dive and putting on the fins caused to much stress on my knees. I have also had one knee healing slower and causing more problems whereas the other knee is ready to do so much more.

    Didn't it hurt paddling on your knees? My knees are so sensitive to kneeling.

    Keep up the great progress and I hope to join you soon.
    La Paz, Mexico

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