Bilateral Knee Replacement Surgery — Two months and back to yard work

Mark finished physical therapy for his bilateral knee replacement surgery on March 30th. I think he broke all records for recovery there. Maybe they’ll put up a plaque. I’m just very grateful that this whole process went as smoothly and as quickly as it did. We lived with the worry and fore-knowledge that someday we would have to face this knee replacement surgery, and now it is behind us. That’s a very good feeling.

Mark is living pretty much a normal life, although his leg muscles bother him if he tries to do too much, and he is still under prohibition of three movements (twisting his knee back and forth to put his foot in his shoe, crossing his foot over his knee in a sitting position, or kneeling) until the 3-month mark at the end of April. Mark also continues to do his at-home exercises that basically consist of leg lifts using ankle weights. He continues to ice his knees down after he exercises or if he has used them extensively like in the following slide show.

I took these photos April 1st, after we lost our redbud tree. The hill he’s walking down is very steep. I never attempt to go down it, but always go the long way around. Although Mark doesn’t bend his knees to work as he might have before the surgery, as you will see, he is perfectly capable of getting the job done. I offered to help him, but then decided sometimes I am the most help by just staying out of the way.

It’s nice to see him working in the yard, as he loves to do that and I wasn’t sure that would be possible this spring.

It’s also very nice to see him able to take out the trash.

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You can see links to the complete series of posts about Mark’s bilateral knee replacement surgery here.

109 thoughts on “Bilateral Knee Replacement Surgery — Two months and back to yard work”

  1. Good grief Charlie Brown! He is so lucky!!! Such a relief to know he had such a successful outcome!!! You guys did such a great job being prepared and following PT and OBVIOUSLY had an awesome surgeon!! Go get ’em Mark! But do be careful on those hills. They can be sneaky and hide holes and … well never mind! He’ll do as he pleases! He is feeling like a SuperMan!

  2. Kathy McCullough just sent me over to your blog, as my husband just had knee replacement surgery last Wednesday. He went to his first physical therapy appointment today in town and is now sleeping in bed. 🙂 Will find time to read some of your other blogs about this…and show Barry the pics of your husband. He told the physical therapist that his goal is to be able to cut our wood for the winter. We have a huge load of logs in the driveway. Sounds like your husband has recovered nicely. Barry also has to get his right knee done in August. It’s quite a year for us. It’s good to know that others have had good results. Thank you for sharing, Another Kathy

    1. I’m glad you found us. I hope everything goes smoothly for you too. I don’t know when he has to cut the wood, but I suspect he will be in good shape by the end of the summer. I think Mark would say one of the secrets of his success was to do all the home exercises religiously.

      Stop back later and let me know how he’s doing.

      Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

      1. I just mentioned to you on my blog that he has to have his second knee done in August. So his left knee may be doing great by the end of the summer…but the right knee will just be going through the process again. Your husband had both knees simultaneously done? Our doctor wouldn’t do that.

  3. It’s good to see him out and about! Looks like he had a nice sunny day to enjoy while he was working. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blessing.

  4. Christine,

    I am planning to have bilateral knee replacement in about two months. I really appreciated the opportunity to read your blog and to get tips on things to do and what to expect. It looks like it will be very helpful


    1. I couldn’t really say, because I think everybody recovers at their own rate. I think the one-month idea is a little optimistic, but I suppose it depends on the job. I don’t think Mark was driving at one-month.

      Two months may be more realistic. Your doctor can probably give you a better idea.

  5. Hi Christine, I am 40 and will have bilateral knee replacement on Oct 10th. Mark’s determination is inspiring and I hope I can do 1/2 as well as he has. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. It will also help me appreciate everything my husband will have to do for me. We have an 8 year old daughter who I know will be a big help too! 🙂


    1. Hi Lesli,
      You’re pretty young for a knee replacement, but that can be good. You will likely heal well and do well with the therapy. Everybody is different, but I never had to actually physically help Mark get up or walk. I did a lot of the bringing meds, drinks, and food to him, and I kept the ice machine charged with ice—all things your little helper will do a good job with.

      Best of wishes for an uneventful surgery and fast, full recovery. Mark is able to do everything he wants to. He played golf yesterday.

      Just keep the ice on, and follow your doctor’s advice regarding therapy.

      Let us know how it goes.

  6. I am struggling with the decision to have both knees done in November. I’m 63 and run a bed and breakfast inn which means going up and down three flights of stairs daily, as well as being on my feet a lot. Some days are worse than others. And I am frightened when it comes to doctors, hospitals, etc.. Reading your blog has been very helpful to me. I will be seeing my surgeon in a couple of weeks to discuss the game plan and I not only have a better sense of what is in store but I also know what questions I would like to ask him with regard to my own surgery, and post op therapy. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am so happy to hear that Mark is actually playing golf. That’s great!

    1. There is simply no comparison between his ability to go up and down steps before and now. His legs feel so much better. I was frightened about what the whole experience was going to be like for us, but it turned out better than I expected. Mark was able to do much more earlier than I thought he would. However, the people I saw in the hospital who only had one knee done made it look so much easier. So that could be an option for you. Once you’ve recovered, you will be so glad you had it done. At least Mark is.

  7. Hi Christine and Mark. Thank you for your very helpful blog. Mark, congratulations on your quick recovery! Christine, after the feed-back I’ve heard from others, your day-by-day notes have really helped to de-stress the next few weeks. I’m 71, and will be having a bilateral knee procedure on 10/25. I live alone, so will go to a rehab facility for 10-14 days after discharge, then to a friend’s house because there are 22 steep steps to my own front door – and I’m outside the travel range for the PT. I’d just purchased ankle weights, so am exercising during the remaining 2 1/2 weeks. How do Mark’s knees feel, now that it’s over half a year later? Any tightness? Can he kneel? Best wishes to both of you. CarrieM

    1. I’m glad you found the post helpful. Hopefully your recovery will go smoothly as well. Mark is outside cutting up fallen trees in our woods as I write this. We were dancing at a wedding reception last night. I asked him just this morning if his knees felt different. He said they felt “stronger.” He can kneel, but is still hesitant to do so. I think it’s just psychological. He hasn’t had any problems on those occasions when he has knelt, largely doing yard work.

      I hope you have a successful, noneventful surgery and quick recovery. This was the best decision we’ve ever made.

      Best wishes, Carrie. Let us know how you are doing.

      1. Thanks so much, CMSmith, for your encouragement! The surgery and recovery went even better than I expected. Reading comments of those who had ‘been there’ was a huge help, and doing just a bit more than the therapists asked has resulted in a phenomenal come-back. My surgeon says I’m a ‘poster girl’ for the procedure. I’ve concluded that, if a patient needs both knees done, it’s better to do them both at once. The procedure involves pain, but it doesn’t hurt that much more to deal with the second knee at the same time. Going back for a second procedure, though, takes courage after recovering from the first. More and more surgeons realize that a bilateral procedure stresses the body less in the long run. Just know that you’ll have adequate pain relief to get through it and, as the therapists said, one knee always heals a bit faster than the other so you really do have “a leg to stand on” soon after you start walking. I was nearly unable to walk before the procedure and now, 4 1/2 mos after, not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for the ability to walk and climb stairs. I wear a pedometer and on the 3rd monthiversary I walked 11,066 steps. Haven’t been able to do that in years! Good luck to all who face the surgery, and congratulations to those who have completed it. We’re all fortunate to have this option available.

      2. Good, good, good. So glad you stopped back to let us know how you are doing. And I’m thrilled you had such a “poster girl” experience. You’re doing great. So glad all that fear, anxiety and PAIN are behind you. Well done.

  8. Great blog and just what this nurse-to-be needed before my wife gets both knees replaced in March. At this point, the apprehension of the unknown is toughest. Thank you!

      1. It’s been 10 weeks and the Doc just cleared my wife to golf! Still have a way to go regarding range of motion but the walker and cane are officially and permanently retired. Thanks Christine for sharing your experiences and for your well wishes. Life is good again!

    1. Keith, I had double knee replacement 4 months ago and found Christine’s blog very helpful and comforting as well. I started playing paddleball and racquetball at three months post surgery and am now getting ready to play tennis. Good luck with your wife’s surgery.

      1. Thanks Bill. Three weeks until BLNR day and wish I could have turned the clocks forward three weeks instead of one hour last night. Every step Patti takes is painful to watch. Thanks for the good wishes.

      2. It’s my wife Patti’s BLKR tomorrow. We’re both scared, apprehensive, anxious, nervous and excited. Strange. Here’s to hoping for the best with a speedy and successful recovery. Thanks for prepping me Christine!

      3. I hope everything goes well. I had trouble waiting through the surgery. And the first couple of days were tiring and a little scary. Hopefully it will go really well and you two will be dancing again. Let us know. Thinking of you both.

  9. Christine,
    I just returned from the orthopaedic surgeon’s office yesterday…and am contemplating BTKR. Reading your blog gave me encouragement…I dread the procedure and after effects, but getting it over once and for all sounds like the way to go. Mark sounds like superman! And what a blessing for him to have you as his nurse. Best of luck to you both.

    1. He would say it’s the best thing he ever did. I can’t promise you will recover as easily, but if your knee pain is truly changing your life, it will probably be worth it to you. Let me know how you do. Best of wishes.

  10. I just found your blog, thanks to my husband. I am having bi-lateral total knee replacement one week from today. Like many, I have been putting this off. Your husband is certainly an inspiration.

    1. I’m glad you found the blog. I know it must be scary thinking about going through it. Best of wishes. Follow the directions given by the doctor and the therapists. I believe the exercises really helped.

      Let us know how it all goes.

  11. this blog, you, your hubby–all a blessing.
    i have to get my knees done in a few months.
    I am scared, but I’m also excited because I will be able to walk again and be normal.
    I’m also a blogger (as you’ll see by the links below).
    I have to lose more weight first, so this is my life right now. I wish he could take me sooner, but he wants me down more in weight before going under.
    I’ve also started pre-op P/T early to get my legs nice and strong. I love the therapy, the exercises truly help, a lot. So if anyone else reads this, DO THE PHYSICAL THERAPY. It works wonders on getting those muscles nice and strong!
    As my time gets near I know I’ll become more scared so I would love to email me, if you’re up to it. I need to have as many supportive friends as I can since I don’t have family; just a loving hubby and best friend.
    Thank you so much for posting all this!

    1. I’m glad you found the blog helpful. Mark and I have both been very grateful this surgery was available to him. There is no comparison between what he is able to do now and what he was limited by before the surgery.

      I agree about the P/T – I think it made a lot of difference in how well and quickly Mark recovered.

      My advice would be to be as prepared as you can be, which it sounds like you are doing. And then don’t think about the actual surgery—look to the future. Your life should be greatly improved. Best of wishes. Let us know how it goes.

      (I think I may have inadvertently lost another comment you made somewhere on one of these posts. If so, my apologies. Feel free to comment again, or as often as you need to. You might also read through the others’ comments to see how they were feeling and how things have gone for them.)

      1. Hello Christine. My husband is having BKR on 7/31. We live in an older home with no way in without climbing flights of stairs. Once inside again flights of stairs. His surgeon said he will be climbing stairs on day 2 postop. I am wondering if I should get a room set up on the main floor with a bed etc. I am so worried how I will get him inside the house when he comes home. My husband is a 63 year old general surgeon that has not been to a physician of any kind in 40 years. He is fortunate to have never been ill. He is a very stubborn man as well. I also know physicians are the worst patients. Any advice would be so helpful. We have an elliptical trainer but should I purchase a stationary bike? I am so scared but so excited for him. Your blog was very helpful and so encouraging.

      2. Now in the 8th month after BTK surgery, I must congratulate your husband on his decision to have the procedure. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health! I have 24 steps to climb to my apartment and, because there were significant complications due to prior injuries, spent 3 weeks in rehab, then went to a friend’s house for a few days before returning home. He only had 14 steps to the 2nd floor and I’d been climbing steps during rehab week 2 so was able to do the 1-step-at-a-time climb every day. Prior to homecoming, handrails were installed on both sides of the stairs and I managed my steps with no problems. I recommend a first floor bed for your husband’s discharge and he can practice steps each day, which will inform him when he’s ready to graduate to the 2nd floor. It’s better to be cautious in the beginning, than risk a fall that would seriously complicate recovery. And professional rehab is worth every moment spent. Good luck to you both!

      3. I think they probably will have him going up and down a step or two. We didn’t need to go up or down a whole flight, so they didn’t work on that with Mark. But they told us if he needed to be able to do that they would make sure he could before he went home.

        I was worried about simply getting him in and out of the car and into the house like you are. I asked our youngest son to be there to help me, but it turned out we didn’t need his help. But Mark only had a couple of porch steps to go up.

        I don’t know what to tell you about the bed on the first floor. If it was me, I might consider doing it if it wasn’t too much trouble. Mark used the bed a lot because of the EFX machine. I don’t know if you’ll have one of those or not. So he was in and out of his bed several times during the day.

        Mark would not have been able to use the elliptical trainer at first, I don’t think. We have a recumbent bike, but he never used it. He had to go out to therapy where they had everything he needed. The other therapy exercises that he needed to do at home did not require special equipment.

        I remember being very scared too. I’m glad we overcame whatever fear we had to have this surgery done because It truly has changed Mark’s life.

        I think you should ask the doctor and/or physical therapists for reassurance and see what they think about going home, the steps, and whether to move in a bed.

        Let us know how it all goes.

        Best of wishes.

  12. I am quite glad to have found your blog. I am having bilateral knee replacement next March 2014. Your husband’s recovery is an inspiration…of course, I have been known to be a big hard headed and resolute as well. I am bookmarking this blog for encouragement at a later date.

    Thank you!

  13. I am having bilateral knee replacement done December 26. Looking back is there anything you suggest? I am determined to be up and back to living in as little time as possible. I have been a very patient woman. I finally have had enough pain from my knees. Even with pain meds I can barely walk at times. I have been a prisoner to pain for too long.

    1. Wow. What a Holiday present. Mark was pretty patient too and put up with a lot of agony before he finally had his knees replaced. I agree, you have been a prisoner to pain for too long. You will be happy you did it, probably within a couple of months, if not weeks.

      My only advice would be to do any therapy/strengthening exercises your doctor recommends. Do them faithfully. I believe they will help you with your recovery.

      Let us know how things go.

      Best of wishes.

    2. I had both my knees done 10/25/12 and am SO PLEASED with the results that I highly recommend it to anyone who is experiencing pain and problems walking. My daughter, a physical therapist, advised me to have a rolled-up towel (it doesn’t take much – one towel rolled lengthwise & placed under both heels only slightly raises the heels) placed under my heels immediately after surgery AND to avoid having a pillow or other support put under the knees. This is because patients who don’t follow this often are unable to completely straighten their knees when healed. I did as she said and my surgeon is delighted at the full range of motion I have – particularly when straightening the knees. Good luck to you! You’ll soon be amazed at how good walking feels.

      1. Thanks for sharing your tip, Carrie. I’m glad it worked out for you. Hopefully others who are searching for information will read through these comments. I think they do.

  14. Hi, just found your blog. It’s 215am and I can’t sleep. I’m scheduled for bilateral knee replacement day after tomorrow!!! I’ve read lots of good & bad online & hope my story will be one of the good ones like your husband’s was. I’m slightly worried of the added risks from Bilateral but both my knees are in terrible condition & I am only 52. I work a very sedentary job & I am hopeful that I will be able to go back to work in about 2 months. Do you remember how soon your husband was able to drive? I have to drive about 20 miles sometimes in rush hour stop n go traffic. Thank you so much for posting your husbands story.

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      I feel for you. I would probably be having trouble sleeping as well. You will be better off just getting it done and starting your recovery. Mark’s knees were terrible too and he was only just 55 when he had the surgery. He’s a new man.

      Mark started driving short distances about three weeks after the surgery. I posted about it here: Partly it depends on whether you still need strong pain meds or not. Mark gave those up fairly early.

      I don’t know if you found the page that links all my posts about the knee replacement surgery. In case you didn’t here’s the link:

      If you have time, try to read through all the comments. Some of my readers have left their own success stories and tips.

      Best of wishes on a successful surgery and speedy, non-eventful. Let us know how you’re doing.

    2. I understand your worry. However, before long you’ll be SO GLAD you did this! My rehab took a bit longer because, even though both knees needed replacing, the R one was so bad that the L leg had taken over most of the “work” of the bicep muscle, which had shrunk & needed many hours of PT to reactivate. However, all is well now and my Dr calls me a “poster girl” for the procedure. Walking is a joy and I no longer fear that either knee might “give” & cause a fall! We are so fortunate to live during a time that worn-out joints can be replaced.

  15. Hello,

    I am so happy to of found this blog. First how is your husband Mark doing today? Is he still pleased with his decision to of had this done? Has there been any complications in these past 2 years?

    I am a 49 year old female who needs to have a bilateral knee replacement. I saw a surgeon on Jan. 3, 2014 and am told as long as I am cleared by the cardiologist he will do both knees. I have been receiving injections every 6 months along with cortisone 4 times a year. They have stopped working. Within the last 6 months they have gotten progressively worst to the point of, not being able to stand for more than an hour or walk on them.

    I am at the point where my quality of life is not pleasing to me. There are so many things I am not able to do or enjoy anymore b/c of my knees. I do not feel “old” but my knees are! I have so much energy inside of me but again b/c of my knees everything takes longer due to stopping b/c I needing to rest them. I know what I need to do (TKR) but I am SO, SO SCARED.

    I think some of my fear is knowing that a young woman I work with lost her father one day after having just one knee done due to a blood clot that developed and broke away and traveled to his heart. He was 47. I know there are risks with everything along with no guarantees, but seeing this co-worker everyday is a constant reminder of what (could) happen. Especially after having my 3rd child (17 yrs) ago I had a blood clot along from bad veins in my legs that to this day cause swelling.

    I have discussed this concern with the surgeon who said it is not a problem, (he feels). I really do want to have my life back again, to be able to walk, dance and do active fun things with family and friends. If you or anyone can offer any information or words of encouragement please do as I need to find the strength to overcome this fear. I am trying to stay positive and trying hard only to find positive uplifting people to help me.

    In ending I have always believed “That we don’t meet people by accident, they are meant to cross our paths for a reason” which is why I found your blog!

    1. Mark is doing fantastic. There is no comparison to how he was before. He has not had any complications. The only two things he says about it are:
      1. His doctor told him his knees might feel “klunky” and Mark agrees that they do, a bit.
      2. He doesn’t feel quite as stable.
      Also, the doctor told him he is able to do anything he wants except run or jump. (I have seen him jog a few steps on occasion.)

      None of these things are of any significance to him.

      You sound like Mark was before his surgery. The pain in his knees really affected his life. The Christmas before his surgery we were in Barnes and Noble doing some shopping and he sat down on the floor when he couldn’t find an available seat. When we go someplace now, I am the limiting factor with my bad knees and hip.

      I don’t know what to tell you about your concern about blood clots. I know they can be extremely dangerous. And anytime you undergo surgery you are taking a chance. The young girl who has been in the news lately with the tragic consequences of a tonsillectomy is another example of a surgery gone bad. That is the rare exception, not the rule. I think you’re going to have to consult with your doctor on that one and either trust him or not.

      I understand your fear. I think I would feel the same. All I can say is that in Mark’s case there is simply no comparison to how he was before.

      If you read through some of the other readers’ comments you will see how others have faired following their surgeries. (Some of these comments may be on other posts in this series – the link to a list of all the posts in this series is at the end of the post above.)

      I wish you peace as you make this decision. Let us know what you decide.

      Best of wishes.

      1. Diane

        I have commented on This blog previously. I had bilateral knee replacement in September of 2012. I had reached the point where the pain and discomfort were all that I thought about each day. My knees have been incredible since the surgery. After a 3 month rehab I was back playing tennis and racquetball. I currently play racquetball 3 days a week and tennis 2 days a week, all pain free. I believe that the most important thing to focus on post surgery is maintaining the rehab program. I still go to the gym regularly and ride a stationary bike and do leg strengthening exercises. I can’t comment on the blood clot issue. Only you can really deal with that. But I wish you luck and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

    2. Hello Diane,
      (I’ve commented before), and certainly understand your fear about blood clots. I had them too. About 45 years ago the veins in both legs were stripped, where the surgeon found multiple clots in the knee area. When I had bilateral knee replacement about 15 months ago there was no issue – the doctors were aware, and after the cardiologist cleared me they took two pints as autologous donations where they again analyzed the blood each time. You’ve made your surgeon aware and he/she will be prepared with anticoagulants, if required.

      The leg swelling is GONE, probably because of the return to walking, which improves blood circulation. An important factor in healing is a positive attitude. If you go into this procedure knowing that you have the best surgeon available, who is aware of any potential problems, and then you work hard in recovery and rehab, you will come out of it with a powerful new lease on life.

      I wish you the same wonderful results that I feel – each and every day!

      1. Hello CarrieM,

        Thank you for commenting on the blood clot fear that I have. I cannot wait to get back to walking and I agree it does help with the leg swelling. I am so happy that you are doing well and the more I read and find wonderful blogs as this the more positive I become. I really want a better quality of life for myself and am praying to overcome my own personal fears.

        Thank you,

  16. Hello,

    I made a comment last night Tuesday 1/7/13 and I was curious to know if you have seen it yet. It stated that it was waiting modification.

    Thank you,

    1. I saw it this morning and then the day got past me. Thanks for reminding me and forgive my delay. Although I didn’t actually have the surgery myself, I can imagine how stressful the idea of it might be. I’ll answer your comment above.

      1. Hello,

        Thank you for the reply. I am so happy that Mark is still achieving success and enjoying his new knees! Your words are uplifting and they do give me encouragement. I will definitely be making a decision very soon and I will let you know. I do want a better quality of life and I am tried of the constant pain.

        It has been 2 years since I could really walk like I used too. I used to walk anywhere from 3 to 6 miles a day, I still go to the gym but the only thing I can do is the Elliptical, it is too painful to do anything else. Believe I know what the right decision is and I have read every article on your husband Mark and every comment from the posts.

        Thank you again, I will be keep you updated.

  17. Hello Bill Hanft,

    Thank you for your reply and for sharing your success and thoughts. I hope I will be able to achieve what you are already doing.

    How long were you in rehab for and how many times a week did you go to PT? May I ask do you work a full time job? that is another concern of mine not being able to return to a full time job, as I do not have a choice, I have to work.

    Thank you,

    1. Dianne

      I was in the hospital for 4 days after the surgery and that went to a rehab facility for 9 days. I then returned home and went to PT 3 times a week for two months and then 2 times a week for one month. I also went to a gym on non PT days basically to do stationary bicycle and stretching. My gym had a pool so I also did stretching in the water. I returned to work one month after surgery to a desk job.

      I also found a book called “Total Knee Replacement and Rehabilitation; A Knee Owners Manual” very useful. It had different exercises based on a one year cycle post surgery.

      1. Hello Bill Hanft,

        Thank you for the reply and recommending that book. I will definitely be getting that. I am happy to hear that you returned to work in one month, I hope to be that lucky as I too have a desk job. Did you attend any prehap classes before surgery to improve strength and conditioning before hand? Or any pre-op classes? I have been looking into those.

        Hopefully between the classes and the book you have recommended I will be able to overcome some of these fears.

        Thanks again,

      2. Diane

        I did not do any specific pre op strength work before surgery. I was relatively active before surgery and was playing tennis right up to surgery, albeit in pain. My doctor in conjunction w the hospital had a two hour class before the surgery to go over the surgery and answer questions, including what to expect post surgery. The book I recommended also answers a lot of those questions. Good luck.

      3. It warms my heart to see you all supporting each other. I have a question for you too, Bill. Mark was told he shouldn’t run. You mentioned you play tennis. Are you allowed to run?

      4. I discussed running with the doctor because i wanted to try to run road races. He said he didn’t want me to run. I play doubles tennis and singles racquetball. He didn’t want me to play singles tennis. I also did work in rehab on side to side movement and forward back movements specifically designed to get me back to tennis.

  18. Hello Christine:

    I am considering having bilateral knee replacement surgery in August. I visit the orthopedic surgeon on Thursday and will hopefully get the green light. It’s ironic that you speak of the anxiety you and Mark experienced prior to the surgery. Currently, my anxiety is in anticipation of a two-week trip to the UK in June (two months before my anticipated surgery). I’m a community college English professor and I’m going with a group of 10 students to study abroad. I’m so afraid that I won’t be able to climb hills and stairs or keep up with my students and the other faculty guide. I’m deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

    The main reason that I want to undergo bilateral replacement NOW is because I will be repeating this trip in 2015 and 2016 and I know that my knees will continue to get worse. I was in NYC two weeks ago with my daughter and I was crying out in pain because I had so much difficulty climbing up and down the stairs to ride the subways. People stared at me in sympathy. I felt like I was 80 years old, but I’m only 51.

    My MAIN concern is that I am 100 pounds overweight– primarily due to a thyroid problem, heredity, and the sedentary life I’ve lived since having to quit playing tennis (as a result of severe knee pain in my early thirties). With my weight, knee surgery will be a complication for me even if the doctor decides to do just one knee at a time (hopefully she will at least agree to staged therapy in which both knees are replaced about four months apart). Fortunately, I won’t have to return to campus until September 22, five weeks after the surgery, and most of the classes I will be teaching will be online. So in the meantime, I am at the gym or swimming every day and doing my best to get this weight off.

    Thank you so much for posting this blog, Christine. I have a lot of good years ahead of me and I want to live them to the fullest. My husband and my daughter love me so much and they want me to travel and dance and play tennis again.

    I am so impressed with Mark and his courage and determination. He is my hero. You are too.

  19. Boy are you bringing back memories. We really started to limit our lifestyle before Mark had his surgery. The Christmas before, we were shopping at a Barnes and Noble and he sat down on the floor. He was really in a lot of pain. I understand your anxiety about the trip. Can you doctor give you a steroid shot or something before you go to help with the pain? I would definitely ask.

    I personally know someone who is over weight too, and she did well with having one knee replaced. Probably the biggest thing is how strong your upper body is. Mark had to use his arms a lot, especially at first.

    I hope you have the surgery. You will have great trips in 2015 and 2016 if you do.
    Best of luck. Let us know how you do.

    1. Christine: I met my surgeon yesterday. She is fabulous! She has me on a comprehensive program to get ready for my trip to London/Scotland (pre-surgery). She wants me to be as pain free as possible. She is also receptive to doing bilateral surgery in August– about six weeks upon my return from the UK, as long as I remain healthy and lose about 20 pounds before then. I am so excited and grateful for your inspiration! One more question: How long will I need someone with me 24/7? I’m trying to schedule my mom.

      1. I’m sorry I don’t remember exactly how long I needed to be here with him. I want to say a week, but that might not be right. I was afraid to leave him alone until I was sure he would be able to get out of the house on his own in an emergency, but that happened pretty fast. Less than a week.

  20. Hi Christine. I am so happy to have found your blog (actually it was my husband who found it really!!!) However I am very happy to have read it. My husband Andrew is due to have bilateral knee surgery early in June. We live in Australia, and although a lot of things are different, many are the same.

    I have to say I have been a bit blasé` about his surgery, partly because it wasn`t happening to me, but partly because it concerns me greatly!!! After reading your story, it has answered a few questions I had in the back of my mind, but it also has given me an insight into what he will have to go through, and the things I shall have to do pre and post op.

    Andrew sounds very much like Mark. Both very determined and single minded men. I do hope that Andrew has as much success as Mark, and that his recovery is as quick as Mark`s.

    Thankyou for sharing your journey, and so good to hear that Mark is going well.

  21. Thank you so very much for writing this amazing blog! I am 51 year old labor and delivery nurse and having a BTKR in 4 months. Reading this blog has helped with growing anxiety.

  22. Gretchen,

    Thus blog was extremely helpful to me. I also found the forums at to be helpful. I am a 911 paramedic (54 years old) and just had both knees replaced on March 25 of this year. I went back to work full time on June 25!! I kept a blog at You can do it!!!!

  23. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to do this. I am having this done in the spring as soon as school is out, and am so glad to have a more in-depth picture of it all!

  24. I had bilateral replacement of the compartment under the patella last Thursday. I was discharged from the hospital the same day with a walker. I went to my first PT yesterday and I did fine. I was at 115 and 120 with a 5 percent bend in eac leg. Today however I can barely walk. Does anyone think this is normal?

    1. It doesn’t sound normal to me. For a couple of reasons. One, you got out of hospital really fast. I don’t understand your numbers. What does the 5% bend mean? I also think it is a cause for concern that you are going backwards after this much time. Maybe there is swelling. I would contact a medical professional to make sure everything is okay. Best of wishes.

  25. REMINDER: If your surgeon, like mine, insists on lifetime antibiotic protection prior to dental or other invasive procedures, be sure to follow his/her advice – even if there is resistance about the need. Following a dental issue, I developed an inflammation in one of my knees that (fortunately) wasn’t a bacterial infection, but that necessitated fluid aspiration and a 3-week drug regimen. It was a good reminder that the surgeon knows best how to care for your new joint(s). And don’t forget to keep up-to-date with dental care. After joint replacement, that’s more important than ever. Nearly 2 1/2 years later, I LOVE my “new” knees!

  26. Thanks for your informative postings. I am scheduled for bilateral knee replacement next month and your writings along with others comments have helped calm my anxiety. Grateful for the internet people willing to share their journey.

  27. Lesli,

    Thank you for this blog. I’m scheduled for bilateral replacement on May 19th and the experience you communicated in this blog is by far the most helpful information I’ve read thus far regarding what to expect. My wife will find this helpful also. Really, very nice of you to do this!

  28. Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing this experience. My husband had BLNR and is in his 3rd week post op. He’s doing very well too, but is so frustrated, as he was very active and wants “back to normal” fast. Your story is my go to reference as I have nothing else to compare him to and again I thank you for the details. Good luck to you and your husband

    1. Hi Shirley,

      I too have found this Blog very helpful. I would go to it before & after I had Bilateral Knee Replacement done. (Many thanks CMSmith) Tell your husband to hang in there as it does get better. The first 3 months (for me anyway) were the hardest between getting used to the new knees and the therapy but after that I felt great!

      I am a 49 yr old female who had both knees done on 3/25/14. I try to keep up with exercise and I walk on my lunch break 2 miles (5 days a week). I recently went on a trip to Hawaii (June of ’15) for my 50th b-day (I turned 50 in Oct. of ’14) n I was able to do a 4 mile hike up and down a steep mountain (plus living on the East coast…a very long plane ride too). I also just recently went back to waitress-ing (a second job) just on Sat. nights!

      Please tell your husband and anyone else out there reading this that there is “Light at the end of the Tunnel” !!! For me this is the best thing I ever did as it gave me my “Quality of Life ” Back 🙂

  29. I just wanted to write and tell you how grateful I am that you took the time to share your husband’s experience with Bilateral Knee Replacement. I underwent Bilateral Knee Replacement just 3 months ago and your blog helped me face the inevitable. Since I am only in my 40’s, I felt way too young to have the surgery, but genetics prevailed. I wanted you to know that your blog helped me trememdously, every step of the way. Even when I was in a rehabilitationi hospital, listenting to what the Dr’s and Physical Therapists said, I always ran to my iPad to look up where your husband was at various intervals in his recovery, which helped me feel normal. Thank you again and God Bless.

  30. I echo the above comments in thanking you for thins information. I am going for my surgery in a few months (pre-surgery weight loss) and I really appreciate the real life details. Thank you, again.

  31. I had both my knees replaced on June 11! Have great range of motion at close to 120 degrees and both knees are perfectly at 0 degrees extended. My only problem is the numbness in both knees especially on the outside of them. PT says I’m doing great and only nature and time will help with the numbness. Any problems for you with numbness?

    1. Hi Mary,
      Mark says he had some numbness that gradually went away over time. He thinks it took about two years before he didn’t notice more than just a little bit. That small amount of numbness has remained, although it doesn’t bother him anymore. Congratulations on a successful surgery and awesome recovery.

  32. Well I have read this blog about five times over the past month and a half. I am 57 years old and have to get both knees replaced but can only do one at a time due to existing coronary issues. Well today I am at less than six days to surgery day, had to come off all Arthritis meds, aspirin etc for surgery. Never have I hurt so bad in my whole life. Also am scared to death of this surgery, so it is very soothing to have a feel good story to go back to and read at my leisure. Thanks for your writing and you guys take care.

    1. Hi Bobby,
      I’m glad you found the blog helpful or reassuring. As you can see, if you’ve read through the comments, Mark was not alone in having a positive experience with his surgery and recovery. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was clearly doable and well worth it. Good luck to you. Let us know how it’s going.

  33. I will be tackling this tall, tall mountain in May. I found your blog today and have poured over every word. I have it bookmarked in my computer now and I know I will return to it often in the next 7 months as I prepare myself mentally, emotionally, and physically for this hurdle. Thank you for such insight and for sharing this entire experience.

  34. Hi everyone, I just want to let you know I did have bilateral knee replacements on October 20, 2015. My wonderful surgeon, Kace Ezzet, practices at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla. After two nights there, I transferred to the Acute Inpatient Rehab Center at the Scripps Encinitas Hospital. I’m walking with a walker, but it feels like I’m close to letting it go. Just got the staples out today! As I live on Maui, I’m going “home” to a friend’s house in San Diego tomorrow, and will spend another month or so doing outpatient PT here. I’m very happy with the outcome so far.

    I’m facing some tricky insurance questions that I thought were resolved through pre-certification. I need an advocate who understands the Blue Shield system. I’ll watch for replies here, Thanks!

  35. Hi I had BLKR on 30 Sept 2015 in the UK and am now in my 7th post-op week having thrown away all walking aids, raised toilet seat etc at week three because your blog gave me confidence to push through the pain and walk! THANKYOU isn’t a big enough word. To any one out there facing the surgery don’t be afraid, pain can be managed, tiredness can be overcome in time and physio is your friend. You WILL walk again and be free of debilitating, depressing arthritis pain. Be kind to yourself.

  36. Having bi-lateral knee replacement on Dec21st 2015 ! I will update. Went to hospitaloreintation today! Doing stretches leg lifts and some biking before!


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