Happy Kneeaversary - one year on.

Today is my kneeaversary! such a momentous day, and yet it was filled with such normal things. Which in itself is actually bliss, considering the space I was in 12 months ago.
Happy kneeversary ladies!
12 months ago I went through bilateral total knee replacement surgery. One of the biggest things I've ever done in my life, if not the biggest, and I was so nervous about it.

So nervous that I had put off doing it for over 10 years, and booked it in before and cancelled. My health fund changes also contributed to that but let's be honest, I was totally scared of the operation.

I remember sitting in the waiting room prior to the operation, and then waiting in the pre-op room, and the anaesthetist talking to me, asking me questions. I was sooooooo nervous I could hardly talk. Then he jabbed me and I couldn't move or think anymore (thank goodness) but it was such a terrible feeling, so out of control and helpless.

Afterwards, after all the surgery, recovery and rest, I can't believe that I had built it up so negatively in my head prior but the reality was so different.
Feeling so fit now!

When I talk to people about my experience, I often call it life changing. It was definitely a game changer in that I had forgotten how much of my life there was left to live, and how much I wanted to be an active and present participant in my own life. I had given a lot of that up because of the lack of mobility. In fact, my mental space was that I probably couldn't do it, so I just stopped trying. And took myself out of the picture by staying home and isolating myself.

But then I had the surgery which would change my life so dramatically. And I began to live again. Doesn't that sound dramatic, just like out of a book. Love myself a little MOD (moment of drama). Its a little OTT but its the absolute truth - I started testing myself and doing things even if I thought I would fail. And most the of the time I did ok too. In fact, I challenged myself to doing something new every week, and mostly I've been pretty successful at that.

So to celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm going to give you my top 10 list of things that have changed in the last 12 months. I'm going to call it early, there may end up being more than 10….

1. I can hang my washing out on the line. Yes, seems so simple but it was so difficult before, I couldn't stand for long enough so I converted to using my dryer. I still use the dryer because I can't be bothered but the difference now is that I can make the choice.

2. I go the gym. Yep, and I actually enjoy it too. #whoknew

3. I can power walk through the shops, and I don't need a trolley or the kids to lean on. Watch out Westfields is all I can say.

4. I can karate kick. Not that well, but the fact that I can get my leg up and then kick out (usually on Ben in a secret ninja attack) is a massive miracle. And it feels good too, especially when you yell out hi-ya at the same time. Which I do.

5. When I go on a cruise (you know I am #addicted), I can walk around the port and check out the local scenery. Plus I can walk around the boat as well and some of them are super big. No problems, and loving it.

6. I don't need a walking stick just to walk. I was super embarrassed and ashamed of this, but if I didn't have one as well as a buggy I would not have made it through Disneyland. So so so glad its gone and it will never be used again. #goodbyefastpass

7. I can fit into more clothes, from any shop. Plus side of all the exercise, and probably one of my fav's.

8. I can get up from a chair or lounge without twisting around like a weirdo. I use to have to twist around and use my elbows which was so hard, but I just didn't have any strength in my knees to push up.

9. I can do anything, including all the little things, like doing up shoelaces, putting on stockings or jeans, being able to walk or stand up for more than a couple of minutes. This was probably some of the most debilitating and limiting things about my life pre-operation. I just physically couldn't do things and was way too embarrassed and ashamed to let on about this, except to my family. Sure, some of it was because of my weight but I just couldn't stand on my knees because it was so painful, bone on bone.

10.Ppain killers are a thing of the past. I was living on them before, I would go through a pack of panadol every couple of days. I was so worried that I would get an ulcer from all the tablets but it just wasn't possible to get through the day without them. After a particularly busy day when I had had to walk a lot, I would cry when I got home from the pain. Sometimes Craig would take the time to rub my legs to try and relieve them a bit but I relied on a routine of painkillers, massage, ointments and sleeping with a pillow between my legs. Now, I would be lucky to have a panadol every week. And I worked hard to reduce the amount of pain killers after the operation too so that I wouldn't rely on them. Best. Feeling. Ever.

11. I have more energy to give other people. Before I didn't have enough energy for myself let along others but now I have heaps of pump.

12. I have a lot more sympathy and empathy for others. Its really made me think outside of me, and to be more considerate and positive.

Who was that person?!

I feel so lucky that I've learnt so many things from this experience. Plus, I made a whole lot of new friends along the way who were on the same journey - having their knees replaced. Just a shout out to a couple of special ones - Kel, Lisa, Sandie and all the other knee-friends who were so supportive with their comments and general advice. Thanks heaps, you really made an impact on my life.

Plus, I truly loved and appreciated all of my friends. Everything from the visits to the hospital - thank you so much Caroline, Carmen and everyone else who come in to cheer me on - I've never received so many beautiful flowers in my life! so special.  Through to the likes and comments on my posts. I am humbled. I know people say that, but it really is humbling to think that you are worth the effort to other people.  If I haven't mentioned you by name, please don't think I've forgotten you. I remember and appreciate you.

And after - recovering at home, going back to work, getting into the gym, walking - it couldn't have happened without my #supportteam to cheer me on and pump me up. I still need the motivation (Nadine is particularly motivating with the month of miles at the moment - work competition) but its ok - I've got the best group of friends who really have my best interests at heart.

It came as the result of a LOT of hard work, but those new knees really have delivered on their promise of a new life.

So happy kneeaversary - lots of health and happiness to my twins, and best wishes for many more years of practical good health and joy ahead.

How good is life - make sure you do everything you can to live it to the fullest. Laurel xx


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