Total Knee Replacement Recovery & Ramsay Hunt Diagnosis (Weeks 4-7)

Total Knee Replacement Recovery

It’s been a rough 4 weeks, I’ve been faced with some challenges, dealing with California state funded disability insurance (EDD) and trying to understand THAT system and trying to understand the short term disability I have at work and what that is to cover and struggling with getting physical therapy approved by my health insurance. I went 4 weeks before I had a check. It can be very nerve racking.

You know paying rent, bills… oh yea and the PAIN!!!

Insurance really gives two craps as to how to get “over” a knee replacement. My doctor provided a referral for 12 PT sessions. I received an approval for 6, then received another letter that it was only 3. THREE!!!

Are they kidding? (Met with my doctor for my 6 week post-op and he got 6 more PT sessions approved) THANK GOD...


 
knee-replacement-funny-meme

Everyone is different in how they recover. Personally, I suck at handling pain. Ask my friends. I think I’ve gotten better. My pain tolerance is quite low. I would have never made a good spy and would have given up ALL the secrets, the moment I woke from passing out.

 

Total Knee Replacement Exercises

My dogs, Charlie and Sawyer have been a great motivator, they make me walk. I have to take care of them and for some reason they BOTH ended up at the vets office while I’m on leave.

Sympathy Pain, perhaps? Who knows.

I have one that has more allergies than a dog should have and he obsesses about this feet, so I looked into a hypo-allergenic dog wipe for his paws. I’m trying a version from Burt’s Bees and he seems to be leaving his feet alone.

Hopefully they work.


Preparing for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

In the last ten years, I’ve had 3 major surgeries. This surgery however requires me to learn how to re-walk, how to bend the knee, it requires time and patience. When I met with my doc after looking at my knee he tells me that if the PT doesn’t do more I will need to have a knee manipulation performed!

Warning Scary Info ahead!

Knee Manipulation post-op is a procedure to treat knee stiffness and decreased range of motion. After trauma or knee surgery, scar tissue can form in your joint. Unfortunately this will set me back a bit, when I asked him what the recovery is like, he said it’s a couple fo days of more intense pain (again). The good news I would be put under anesthesia. The bad news is the pain that will follow, however, everything I’ve read says this is the best thing to do and completely changes how one recovers.

A part of me wants it done and the the other part says HELL NO!!

The knee pain that I used to experienced is gone. I walk and it doesn’t hurt like it used to. It is a MASSIVE relief. There is minor pain but it’s healing pain, it’s my knee skin beginning to feel again. Yes my knee is numb, it is slowly beginning to feel like my knee. What I notice now is the weight of the new knee, which according to my physical therapist will diminish as I strengthen my knee and the muscle around it.

They recommend that I massage my knee so I understand how it feels all while lessening the odd feelings that occur.

You are tired, your body doesn’t feel like it should so it is exhausting. Pain is not quick to leave. Which should be expected, I mean they literally REPLACED a part of my body. It’s going to take awhile for the body to feel normal.

It is VERY easy to become lazy. Binge watching MULTIPLE shows.Watched Parks and Rec through it’s entirely twice. Re-Watched Game of Thrones to get ready for the final season. Friends is ALWAYS on in the background if I’m not watching anything else. Discovered multiple moves that I had not yet watched.

I however and going to cut back and begin to dive into my books again. My brain feels like it’s become mush. Time to wake up!

I have developed a NEW appreciation of showers, HOT showers. The first two weeks out of recovery, it is very hard to stand in a shower. So I have a small shower stool, which allows me to just sit under the hot water, soak it up and relax. Everyday tasks were a challenge. They have become much easier. I am still trying to get the knee to work as it should. Marching is a hard movement. I can’t squat, I can feel pulling as I try and bend it to 90 degrees. It clicks a lot, but it doesn’t hurt, I just feel and hear i


Week 4 I finally began to feel like myself.

THEN..it all changed.
 
 Bells But No Whistles Bell s Palsy text background word cloud concept

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and Facial Paralysis.

Learning how to heal, cope and recover.

 

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Treatment & Exercises

ramsay-hunt-syndrome-pictures

Developing an earache as an adult is not much fun and I called my friend Kara to take me to the ER at 3am on Friday due to the amount of pain in my ear. After coming home from the ER, I slept and woke Saturday and began using the drops.

Sunday afternoon, I noticed my face didn’t feel right. Thought I had a stroke. It was EXTREMELY frightening. Half of my face is paralyzed or slanted. My left eye droops, and the muscles in my face feel like they’ve gone on vacation.

I panicked, cried, and googled.

My research and seeing my actual doctor on Monday November 5th we thought it may have been Bells Palsy.

Before this paralysis happened, I had not heard of this issue. For me I need to understand what it is and do the research, how long it will last, if there are therapies to help get over this quicker. Since I have drooping in my face, especially with my eye, they become tired very quickly and by 6pm, I m mentally and physically tired of trying to read, see, talk and pretty much do anything. Eating is difficult for any drink I HAVE to use a straw.

Bells Palsy effects 40,000 people a year (1 in 4). What I have developed is even rarer. Of course!!!

Couldn’t get in to an ENT doc until the 14th and I have officially been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Disease. It’s 5 in 100,000 a year that get this disease. Modern medicine still however has VERY little information as to why this happens, even less info than what’s been found on Bells Palsy.

It’s not deadly. I will survive.

It is however mentally devastating. Especially when recovering through an already hard surgery.

It should have been treated within 48 hours. It’s been 16 days since the palsy began. My ENT doc feels that regardless the treatment will help. She has put me on a very high strength of steroids and antiviral meds. I discussed the use of acupuncture and some other vitamins (B12, B6 and Fish oil). She said it’s been known to help and reverse the palsy. So now I’m going to try acupuncture…and for a girl that hates needles.. well it’s a massive fear!

My issue right now is that its effecting my vision, my eyes are tired much quicker, by the evening I have a really hard time talking, laughing and smiling. It has been a different struggle.

Everything I’ve read so far, says time and therapy will reduce the issue. While it never really go away and may return during stress and lack of sleep, I will at least know what it is and how to handle ~ The silver lining, (if there is one)…it happened while I am recovering from knee surgery. So while not something I wanted to happen, at least I have the time to try and get this taken care of before I return to work.

There are really hard moments. I’ve cried a lot. The meds don’t help, my body feels like it’s been tossed about, kicked, sucker punched and then stepped on. Trying to be positive is a HUGE struggle.

I’ve asked; why? Why am I going through all of these challenges?

I don’t ever get an answer but…

I mean WTF!

I believe that we are not given struggles, difficulties, and hard times without it preparing you for future issues. Why THAT scares me…what the hell is next???

After leaving UCLA and the ENT doc; I screamed as loud as I could on my drive home. I’ve cried. Stared into nothing and hid behind big sunglasses and a hoodie all day. Pretty sure I looked like someone that was planning a heist. 💰


What Will Be My Total Knee Replacement Recovery Time? How long will I have to deal with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Long Term?

Not sure if it was the constant news I lived while working at newspapers (i.e. death, sadness, loss) but I’ve learned to deal with pain, frustration, anger, sadness by allowing myself a day to be a complete mess. To cry, scream, be angry and sad. Then I determine how I have to push forward. I REFUSE to let anything beat me, push me down or continue to kick me.

I know I will survive...I am stronger than this.

No matter what happens in life learning how to move forward is the key to success. If I were to throw in the towel and say f*ck-it, well my life would not be my life, because that is not who I am.


My Photographic Journey


Sometimes song lyrics hit you when you least expect it and make sense during times of frustrations, sadness, love, and happiness. It’s like the radio gods KNOW what you need to hear at the time!

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE???

While this is not my current “theme song”, it was a smack and I heard this for the first time after I was diagnosed.

Yea.. I cried…

Hard.


I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough.
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
— "You Say" by Lauren Daigle