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June 28, 2016
No hidden agenda in this post. I am a 52-year-old, white, obese female with borderline diabetes and osteoarthritis who was seeking a full knee replacement. Let the story begin!
I am writing this for patients who delay, for those who are afraid, for those who cannot decide, and for those who think, “I can't do this.” Take a moment and listen to my story. It will not only get you to change medical doctors/clinics, but also let you know, “If I can do this, you can do this!”
Five and a half years ago, I began seeing Dr. Thomas Comfort. I was bone-on-bone and had a destroyed meniscus. On April 19, 2016, Dr. Comfort and his team completed a full knee replacement on my right knee (yes, the leg I drive with). Today, I have not one regret. My life is forever changed. This opinion is based upon the guidance I received; the support I received from medical staff; the precision of the knee replacement procedure; and the support I received overall from Dr. Comfort and his staff. They are amazing!
In October 2015, I watched and cared for my older sister when she had her knee replacement. It was at this point I realized preparation was not just important, but pertinent. I began the exercises outlined to build all of my leg muscles. I used an elliptical we had at home. On January 31, 2016, I quit smoking after nearly 30 years of smoking. I enrolled in the Quit Plan Program. On March 3, I joined Weight Watchers. I began eating healthier and exercising passionately. On April 19, 2016, the day of my surgery, I weighed in at 28.7 pounds less than my pre operative assessment with Dr. Comfort.
I was discharged from the hospital on April 21 and admitted to a transitional care unit. I was discharged from this facility after 10 days. Shortly after discharge, I was informed that my replacement post operative care was denied by insurance. This was a huge setback for me. I was scheduled for my second knee replacement on May 23. Emotionally and intellectually I was devastated. How could I afford to repay this debt when I did everything I was supposed to? The denial was because I “walked 200 steps before being discharged from the hospital.” I began working on my appeal and, AGAIN, Dr. Comfort and his staff supported me in this endeavor without hesitation. I was notified on May 2 that my insurance reversed their decision and agreed to pay for the entire replacement. My appeal documentation was over 19 pages. Hard work paid off!
I started outpatient therapy, and within four weeks my therapist indicated she had never discharged someone after five sessions. At this point my range was 135; average for a knee recipient, at best, is 120. We took two weeks off. I returned for three more sessions to support things such as getting off the floor, building my muscles in my hips, and gaining a stable gait. June 14 I graduated from outpatient therapy.
As of today, I have lost a total of 42 pounds, nine inches in my hips, and four inches in my chest. My healing is not over, but I continue to work to be healthy and mobile for future grandchildren. It was not easy. It was so painful—the worst I ever felt. However, my physician and professionals working with me did an astonishing job reinforcing the need to exercise and pushed me thru the pain. I am planning on a second knee replacement in April 2017.
What are your plans for your knee? If I can do it, seriously, anyone can!