Saturday, August 16, 2008

Four Months Post Op Recovery - PCL Surgery

Would I do it again? Heck yeah I would.

Todays the day, four months post op! Wow, what a journey. It's been demanding to say the least. I will list what I can and can't do at this point of recovery.

I can bend my knee max 118 degrees after being warmed up and someone pushing hard enough to make me cry.
I can finally ride in the front seat of the truck instead of being stretched out in the extended cab.
I can walk in public places with one crutch. I have to really concentrate on my heel strikes and leg extentions when I walk but for the most part I do it.
I can walk inside my home w/o any crutches but have to be super careful of my large dogs.
I finally was able to sleep on my side for a few minutes the other night after being flat on my back for so many months. Yesterday marked 6 months post injury.
I still can't walk up regular stairs but I'm beginning to get up small ones while bending and carrying my weight on my knee. I don't want to walk up regular sized stairs until I have more ROM so I don't develop bad habits. I have enough bad habits to break already.
I am getting around my house better and able to do more house work which my husband greatly appreciates.
I still use my ice machine at night and my knee aches and burns like crazy but instead of 24 hours a day, sometimes I get a break.
Anyone considering this surgery please beware, it's going to take a huge commitment on your part. You have to grit your teeth and you have endure months of pain. You know what though? I wouldn't trade these four months for anything. I am going to run again. I am going to drive and be independent very soon. I can feel it. I am so very lucky to have been given this gift. I am grateful. This journey has just begun.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey skinnygurl:

I understand the aching part, but what's up with the burning? Does your OS have any explanation? My OS said my early pre-op burning was from blood in the joint cavity. I didn't have any burning after the reconstruction.

In any event, you are on the upslope now, as far as the aching is concerned. It seems like it's never going to end, but it will. One day (mine was around 7 months post-op) you will notice that the aching is not as bad. And then you will go days without icing. I really noticed improvement in the aching at 9 months post-op - I ice very rarely now. But I had a cortisone shot, too, so maybe that's why it doesn't ache anymore:-)

Keep up the daily controlled rehab efforts - they will pay off.

Best wishes,

Molly

Skinnygurl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skinnygurl said...

His only explaination at this point is arthritis. I hate to even type that word!! Personally I don't agree. I just think it's my way of healing.
You can actually put your hand on top of my knee and feel how hot it is. At first it was hot all the time, now it starts 'cooking' after a long physical therapy session. I bet you could put an egg on it and get it to start frying. lol, that's what it feels like sometimes! My husband said "Hey, have breakfast in bed". LOLOL, I know, I know, not as funny as I think but hey, gotta get your laughs where you can. I do have tears of laughter streaming down my face and it's hard to type. I hope you at least crack a smile.
Anyway, your post really lifted my spirits. I was just telling my husband this afternoon I was so sick of always aching and avoiding everyday reckless sports I used to tackle. Next year is mine, I promise you that!
Today I got all the way to 108 degrees on my CPM machine. Typically I start at 90 and get things moving. Three hours a day.
Really glad to see you today Molly! You just have no idea. Thank you girl.

Linda said...

You have both come so far. Thank you for being so generous to share your recoveries. . ups and downs.

Skinnygurl said...

Linda,
Today-August 18 is day 25 for Dan. Say hello to him for me, would you?
Linda, you as my husband have to do as much, if not more to get through this surgery than Dan and I do. I couldn't do this surgery without my husband as I'm sure Dan couldn't do it without you. How is Dan doing?
Molly is a great inspriration to me as well!

Anonymous said...

SG: Tell your sweetie that you'll cook if he cleans up;-)

My knee ROM came slowly, too. I was able to reach 110 degrees (twice), but only after a lot of work and with great pain. At rest my best ROM was 75-90 degrees. In my case, I had developed a lot of scar issue in the joint due to an abnormal healing response called arthrofibrosis. I was able to stretch out the scar tissue during PT, but after I cooled down it seized back up again. Five months ago my OS put me back under, cleaned out the scar tissue, and bent my knee for me. The surgery was no big deal and the results were fantastic.

Linda, I hope your son is doing well. Just keep assuring him that the painful acute phase of his recovery does end eventually. He will feel a lot better and will be moving around a lot more by Halloween, by Christmas he'll be regaining his strength and mobility, and by Spring he'll be able to ride do appropriate physical activities. If he hasn't started settings goals, he could do so by targeting the holidays for certain post-op milestones. His therapist could help him with the goal-setting. Doing that helped the time go more quickly for me (taking it in little bites rather than thinking about the entire next year). I set and met goals of driving by mid-December and getting rid of the crutches by New Years Day. I had hoped to ride my bike by day 100, but didn't meet that one (it wasn't until 6 months post-op).

Pretty soon he'll get to start wearing a very cool functional brace. I wear the Breg Fusion, which is used by many pro quarterbacks. Several guys at my health club recognized it and seem impressed (at least with the brace).

Molly

Linda said...

Thanks so much for the support. Dan is doing well and says hello. The hardest part for him is not being as active as he likes to be.

One thing that has been different for Dan is that doesn't have joint pain. He ices, elevates and takes an anti-inflammatory for swelling, but his pain has been minimal. Maybe that will change when he begins PT in 2 weeks???

He had a bit of a scare the other day. His left crutch slipped out, leaving him standing on his "non weight bearing leg" Hopefully we are far enough out that he'll be fine. I have seen that some rehab protocols begin weight bearing much sooner than Dan's surgeon, so hopefully no harm was done.

Benjamin said...

My 19 yo son will be 77 days post op PCL tomorrow! Gaining flexion was the most painful part of therapy for him too.
His PT was pretty intense and painful the first few weeks. A condition of the surgeon was that we return to his specially trained physical therapist daily for 2 weeks post op. We actually saw this PT for 3 weeks post op and then switched to our local therapist.
The first few weeks post op were spent getting the quad muscle to start firing again because the trauma of harvesting a strip of quadricep tendon for the graft temporarily shut down the quad muscle. The other major part of early therapy was working on flexion. Starting day four the immobilizer brace was taken off for therapy. While flexing the knee, the therapist protected stressing the graft by applying constant pressure to the back of the upper calf to preventing the tibia from flexing backwards during flexion. After 2 weeks of this very painful passive stretching my son was not quite at 90 degrees of flexion so he had a closed manipulation,under anesthesia his knee was bent by the surgeon. After that he had less pain with flexion and progressed as expected. He has worked very hard doing his exercise program up to 6 hours a day.

Benjamin said...

Actually "Benjamin" is momofsprinter!

Skinnygurl said...

Linda,
Please let me know that Dan's knee is okay. I agree that he was far out enough, no harm was done. My fingers are crossed! Truly, there is nothing easy about this surgery!

Molly, you rock and I can't thank you enough for joining my blog. There is hope for all of us!

Benjamin,Momofsprinter
Isn't it funny we all have different protocols, we're all getting through it and we all happened to end up here? It just amazes me to no end. I can't thank you enough for your progress notes. Doesn't matter how we get to the end because we'll all cross the finish line. I truly believe that.
My friend Pete is facing whether or not to have surgery and I hope he finds success as well.
Hang in there everyone. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

hey hi friends...this is Dr Deepak Saini here and i m at 70 days post op pcl...i have started weight bearing and can take small steps without crutches inside my room..initially i had never imagined that post op the surgery would bring so much pain and restrictions because i was never stable with the idea of lying at bed for around three months....but gradually i got used to it and always kept myself telling that ok its not gonna last forever...now after suffering so much i came to realise the spirit of all those who have faced it ....my flexion is still at 90 degrees and taking it higher gives me a nasty pain in my joint.....4 more months and i will be running again!!!!!!!!

Skinnygurl said...

Welcome Dr Deepak Saini,
Yes, this is a long and painful recovery. I look forward to hearing of your milestones and the day when you can finally run again. Take it one day at a time.
Skinnygurl

mikecliff10 said...

Hi everyone, i'm mike, 24 and i'm 8days post pcl op! Its great to see all these helpful blogs here and how your getting on at different stages. It is definately not easy and sounds like your all coping pretty well and staying positive. I wish you all the best :) I had a complete pcl rupture and dislocated my right knee on april 6th this year playing football (soccer). how i keep wishing you can turn back the clock.. but you have to kep lookin forward! Had to sadly cancel my travelling plans, which were all booked for july 1st and decided to use the money to have a private pcl reconstuction op insted of waiting on our never ending nhs waiting list! I've had an artificial lars ligament replacement and think all has gone well so far - been in quite some pain and it does ache a lot and i can flex about 45 degrees so far. I can substain a fair amount of weight on the leg but not able to loose the crutches just yet. I find it crazy how you have to get through pt on the initial recovery, i was back walking again.. almost even a light jog then you have the op and it all starts over again!!!! but it starts off even worse! but ahh well it could be worse hey. Good luck to you all and wishing you the speediest of recoveries!
Mike C :)

Skinnygurl said...

Mike C.
So glad to see you and your positive post! We hope you keep us up to date on how you're doing.
Keep up the great outlook!
Skinnygurl.