A response to the jealous haters: Life after a knee replacement

I have spent most of my knee injury journey putting a positive spin on things, so when I was asked recently (on more than one occasion) was I making this whole thing up, you can image my reaction!

In response to my most recent 7 month vlog update, I have received the following comments:

Is this for real?

Listen to this blog as a podcast:

#53: a response to the jealous haters: life after a knee replacement
The scar: yes this is quite real. 41 staples in total

Yes, this is most definitely for real. The cardio demos were speeded up for aesthetic reasons, but I can assure you that I really can do all of the following:

  • Jog (i have really only gone very short distances and it’s really only for lifestyle type reasons that I wanted to be able to (to run and get the door/ phone / get across the road etc). It has taken me a very long time to achieve this, and lots of hard work.
  • Lunges (both ways). I wanted to be able to do this for exercise demo reasons mostly.
  • Star jumps. Again, the need for this was really only for demo reasons, but yes I can do them, medium and high impact versions, for short times.
  • Step ups. The height of the step in the video is the height used for a fitness test we use regularly called the queens college step test. Clearly it’s important that I be able to demonstrate this and the last time I tried, I got up onto the step but couldn’t step back down again
  • Foot grab quad stretch. If you have been following me, you will know how very hard I have found this and how hard I have worked at both ham string strength and knee flexion to actually achieve this.
The video blog that has caused so much controversy

I know many people who have had knee replacements and they can’t do even half of what you can do. This must be fake.

The bike I borrowed and parked on the porch, 2 months post op.

I cannot tell you how much this frustrates me. Equally, those people I see at knee class that complain that they can’t do what I can do, yet aren’t making even a fraction of the effort that I do on a daily basis also frustrate the hell out of me.

To get amazing results like I have, you need to be prepared to do those exercises till they hurt.. a lot. Then you need to be prepared to do that over and over again, day after day after day.

My main motivation was to get back on my bike. This motivation was borderline obsession. I was actually told it may never ever be possible, but all that did was fuel my fire even more. Once I was able to just about get a pedal rotation on an exercise bike, I borrowed one and parked it on my porch. Every single day from exactly 2 months post op, I rode that bike. It made me cry – sometimes scream with pain, but I kept on riding it each day until it STOPPED hurting. The first time I did this I pedalled for an hour and it still had not stopped hurting. Once it was comfortable to pedal, I started lowering the seat incrementally as much as I could. It took another while longer before I could then get a rotation on my time trial bike attached to the trainer – because it has a much more aggressive riding position. Then the process went again, until I could get on my bike on the trainer and START pedalling without pain. Only then was I prepared to try it outside.

That’s only one element of my story. On top of that I was working on a gruelling daily strength and flexion rehab program, attending hydrotherapy and physio therapy 3-4 times a week as well as building my swim fitness back up again from scratch. This was all almost a full time job in itself in those early months. Sometimes that would mean a bike ride, rehab and a swim session all in the same day. I’m not messing about here.

So don’t you dare tell me this is fake. I got to where I am today through blood, sweat and lots of tears with the addition of a large dose of determination and a heck of a lot of grit, pain and time spent on fitness and rehab.

4 thoughts on “A response to the jealous haters: Life after a knee replacement

  1. Melanie…the same grit, determination and damned hard work pushing through pain barriers that made you a GBR triathlete has been honed into your knee rehabilitation….ordinary people just don’t get it and will always say it can’t be done…which technically is right if you can’t be @rsed to take it beyond where doctors are ‘satisfied’ with.
    You’ve just not been satisfied by what they’ve told you so you’ve gone above and beyond…to hell and back…and now you’ll show them how to race in NZL colours!…
    You are totally inspirational woman!
    From one very proud GBR triathlon team buddy! XXX

    • Aaaw hun thank you so much ❤️. You’re right, I never take no for an answer! It actually happened today again in knee class: new person to the class: have you ACTUALLY had a knee replacement she says as she sits with her feet up and watches me do barbell squats! Pfffff to them all is what I say!

  2. I’ve been watching her since surgery because of my husband’s TKR surgery. Everything she has experienced is spot on. My husband’s success for a 70 yr old is pretty spectacular. Not as spectacular as Melanie’s but that wasn’t his goal, it’s her goal. He was told from the start that you get out of physical therapy what you put in. Melanie has put in the work of a professional athlete. Her success is to be revered and celebrated.

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