Home Knee

Patient Story: Stephanie from Columbia, MO

  • Name: Stephanie
  • Location: Columbia, MO
  • Replacement Type: Knee (Right)
  • Hobbies/Activities: Walking, Biking, Swimming, Dancing

"I am Pleased With the Decision to do Surgery"

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in summer 1993 at age 21. The degeneration of my joints was a gradual process. I slowly lost the ability to walk very far, to endure the pivoting required to dance earnestly, and the quick movements necessary to play racquetball and volleyball. By summer 2014 I could no longer make it through a box store on my feet or park more than a few yards from a store front. To go to the gym required me to walk further just to the entry than I could tolerate most days. Participating in family events depended heavily on the terrain I would have to walk through or the slope of the walkway. Cleaning the house and fixing meals had become major challenges.

I started a dream volunteer job and realized I could not do the minimal physical tasks necessary for the position, so I decided to have my knee replaced.

My surgery was in late August 2014. Within three weeks I descended our home's stairs one foot after the other. At one month I bent to trim my own toenails. Within six weeks I shopped most of the day, outlasting my physically healthy spouse. In early December I walked throughout downtown Portland, OR, occasionally walking faster than my spouse. In late January I danced as long as I wanted to at a party. I can pedal a bicycle now. I'm not scared to try ascending and descending a grassy slope. I can be active for most of the day, and still be able to be active the next day, too. Last weekend I stood in place for more than a couple minutes on three different occasions. I am pleased with the decision to do surgery.

The age-related restrictions around joint replacement are unacceptable. I should have pushed HARD for replacement 10 years ago, but my doctors were resistant because I was in my early 30s then. My life experiences and those of my family may have been much different. I spent significant time asking questions of friends with knee joint replacements, which was a mixed experience due to the stories I heard. I was open with my support systems about what I was facing and what I needed, and they were incredibly kind and generous. Repeatedly I was advised to do the rehabilitation exercises diligently, and I continue to do them a year out. The knee feels different, but not painful. Have surgery when you are ready.