Sorry to be MIA for a few days. My husband Del had full knee replacement surgery last Tuesday. The doctor told him about 10 years ago that he had arthritis in that knee and at “sometime in the future” he would need a knee replacement surgery.
For the last 10 years he gradually lost the ability to do things. He didn’t really cause much of a fuss because after all, he could still walk and he wasn't keen on a major surgery. The walking he did wasn’t without pain and the pain slowly got more and more frequent over time. Last fall he took a trip to visit his brother Farron in Seattle and the touristy walking really caused him problems.
That pain from his vacation lead to another trip to the doctor and an MRI. Of course the arthritis didn’t go away, and in fact had gotten got worse. He had bone cysts and inflammation of the bone surface due to bone-on-bone contact between the femur and tibia. The doctor told him he could continue to put off knee replacement surgery as long as he could stand the pain.
That was the problem. His ability to tolerate pain for so many years gradually stole his mobility and most importantly the fitness in his bad leg. Now that he is post-surgery the physical therapists are saying that the quadriceps muscles in his bad leg barely fire. Those muscles have limited strength and his range of motion is not good. In short, physical therapy will be longer and more difficult for him than for someone that kept a higher level of fitness before surgery.
The big lesson is not to wait too long before getting a bad knee replaced. The lower the fitness is in your bad leg/knee prior to surgery, the longer and more difficult knee replacement rehabilitation will be for you.
I received the question below from a young endurance athlete with a pacemaker. If you have some helpful advice for him, please post it here on the comment section of the blog. Let’s keep all the helpful advice in one spot - rather than splitting it up to Facebook too.
In advance, thanks for anyone that can help Jeff ~
Good morning (from here in Orange County, CA). I am curious if you might, by chance, have ideas, info, resources that might be helpful for my situation.
Earlier this year, I underwent cardiac catheter ablation surgery for supraventricular tachycardia (fast heartbeat, but you know that’s what SVTs are!). That surgeon was unable to trigger the tachycardia, hence, no ablation occurred. I then passed out in the parking lot upon discharge and was re-admitted to the hospital. After a day and a half of monitoring, a decision was made to implant a pacemaker. I wasn’t happy then, nor am I now, about that. I don’t think the day and a half sample size of heart-rate data is enough to get to that conclusion. As a 44 year-old athlete who was riding 3-4x a week (road cycling) and was in the gym 6 days a week, it didn’t add up. I was 205 lbs. 12-13% bfp, 26” quads… not a small cyclist, but the muscle I had was pretty lean and didn’t hinder my cycling. The SVTs DID, however, wreck any aerobic capacity I have, so I could ride to LT in my legs and then either sit up or stop and rest.
In any case, I’ve been trying to find a way to become a better climber (though I am now 180ish and don’t have the dimensions I had before). With the surgeries, there have been byproducts/unintended consequences (post-traumatic stress syndrome with tremors, high anxiety, insomnia, etc.), but I soldier through them as best I can. It’s difficult to believe that I am the only 44 year-old who has (a) a pacemaker, (b) has hadsome serious difficulty coping with it and, (c) trying to find their way backto something that was part of a daily/weekly routine to establish some normalcy. The norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin from cycling workouts (and resistance) are missed too!
Are there any coaches, articles, books, etc. out there? I know there are Ironmen (and women) with pacemakers. I’ve just had an incredibly bad time with my physicians not being of any real help or wanting to help.
Sorry if this is a way-off-base question, but someone has to know how to make a better mousetrap, so-to-speak, so I can maybe progress and get some normalcy on the bike. It’s been a really horrible road. Any info you can provide is more than what I have now, so it’s all appreciated greatly!!!