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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Knee Replacement Similarities

One year ago tomorrow my Mom embarked on a brave journey. Debilitated by pain, she opted for a double knee replacement in hopes of rediscovering her active lifestyle. Although the past 12 months have been anything but easy, we are all thankful that she is better off today than she was before the surgery.

Much like my first year after my amputation, the past year has been a learning experience for my Mom. Once the surgical pain waned, she was confronted with a harsh reality. Her knees, although now functional, felt foreign. I can certainly relate to that experience!

It took a long time for my residual limb to feel like a natural part of my body. Although I wasn't in pain, I didn't feel normal either. Slowly I began to adjust, and my amputated leg felt normal. Although I'm now comfortable within my own skin, I have come to realize that I will never feel like I did before my amputation. It isn't better or worse, it's just different. For me, embracing and accepting the differences instead of making comparisons between my pre and post amputation life has been my key to adjustment.

On numerous occasions throughout the year I have listened to my Mom lament the different feel of her replacement knees. They are working and she isn't in pain, but they continue to feel unnatural. Feeling disconnected from part of your body can be frustrating and sometimes depressing.

As a family, we were prepared for the physical recovery. We had a timeline provided by the surgeon and, although we wanted to believe that she would progress faster than predicted, it was fairly accurate. What we didn't realize, perhaps we were naive and ignoring the obvious, was that the knee replacements would not immediately feel natural. The knees will function and allow her to walk without pain, but that they will never replace her biological joints. 

Before this experience I never thought about the similarities between a joint replacement and an amputation. Both are permanent changes within the body, and both force the patient to adjust to a new normal. With time, I'm sure that the replacement knees will feel more natural, just as my residual limb has become my new normal.

Despite the physical difference, there is no doubt that the knee replacements were a success. Last year my Mom couldn't walk her dogs up the street. This past week she spent the afternoon walking and shopping. Her life is fuller and more active since the surgery.

1 comment:

  1. I lost my leg when I had a knee replacement due to Mersa ( infection ) this is very common.