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 (

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: and

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"! 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 ( 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 (

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!