2019: summary – The first 12 months after a knee replacement

Wow, what a year it has been indeed! So much to think about, so much achieved! I needed to use my photo gallery on my iphone to help remind me of all the stuff I have actually done!

January 2019

The year started off in rehab. Knee replacement rehab. I took the stationary bike from work and parked it on my porch. I rode that blessed thing EVERY SINGLE DAY since I went to my 8 week surgeon follow up. With Kiwi the cat as my guardian I kept that ritual up until I could ride my actual bike again. Many of the medial professionals I was dealing with believed I might never ride the TT bike again. I measured the flexion angle before the op. I knew exactly what was needed and I was bloody determined to achieve it!

February 2019

Getting my walking fitness back was my first major milestone. I used to love walking the local tracks, and managed to keep it going until the day before the TKR, when I walked my favourite Forest Hill loop for the last time with two knees. This slightly shorter walk close to home was my first major milestone post knee replacement. I achieved this (with poles) just 4 months post op.

March 2019

I never thought the Surf to City ICC social event (16km, run, walk or cycle from Oreti Beach to Queens Park) would ever be a fitness goal for me, but this year it actually was.

I was only 5 months post op and so proud I managed to get this bionic knee to propel me from the beach to the city! This is the second time I have done it. A fabulous event for everyone young and old.

I was so freaking proud of this! My beloved Forest Hill – 5 months post op and I got up the hill faster by over 5 mins than I was able to before my op. This was the first time I had tried it, I left this challenge till I was absolutely sure that I could get to the top. I hate failure!

April 2019

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. Finally I got out on the TT bike, yes that bike that a lot of people believed I would never ride again post op. It was a lot lot harder than I thought, quite a wake up call on how much fitness that I have lost in my 9 years of nursing this injury. I kinda thought I could pick up where I left off but it didn’t quite work like that! Still, cycling makes me happy, even if I do miss running like mad.

I have a few things to settle with this track. The last (and only) time I walked this (whole 3 day hike) I really struggled big time. It was the start of the end for me and my knee. I managed a 1 day hike along the coast, ALMOST reaching the turning point where the coast path comes to the hump ridge track junction (and the start of the monster hill). I consider this as a triumph indeed! DAY HIKE – AROUND 9 HOURS

July 2019

I joined Zwift!! This was like a major turning point because I was struggling to love the bike again, the horrid weather, the limited local routes and the lack of hills to really train these legs to climb again. So Zwift really was a blessing and I am still loving it even now.

October 2019

The days were numbered for my favourite coffee shop Zookeepers, which shut down for good this month. The whole city block was shut down, and with it many small local businesses to make way for a new city centre development: a new Mall.

RIP Zookeepers.

November 2019

Gold Coast holiday! now struggling with another injury (left leg this time!!) however I still managed to knock out 250km of cycling and 15km of swimming in the two weeks that we were there!

And I absolutely loved the sunshine, warm weather and therefore perfect training conditions! Every morning at the open water pool, or on a bike ride down the coast or up the valley.

I could only have dreamed of this pre TKR.

December 2019

Even though this did not quite go to plan, I still consider it to be a perfect way to end this landmark year. I actually stood on the start line of a multisport race again. I never in a million years thought this would ever be possible.

I completed 1900m lake swim and 50km of the 90km bike course, crossing the line RUNNING on two feet and freaking proud of myself and what I had achieved. This medal is my hardest earned and outweighs all my world championship medals in personal importance. This signifies the start of my new life, post TKR

Summary of achievements so far

2019 has been a tough year. But I have also achieved a LOT of landmarks in the last 12 months.

I have proved that a knee replacement does not have to signify the beginning of the end.

I have proved that anything is possible, if you set your mind to it. You should not be limited by other people’s beliefs.

Still to be done

Actually starting the Oxman was a wake up call. It taught me that there is still a considerable amount to be done to get anywhere near the fitness that I used to have. I had no idea how far back I would be. I didn’t expect to be registering my first DNF either.

Let’s look at the bigger picture, though. Very few people who have had a TKR return to competitive multisport. So much so, I cannot even find any stats on it at all. I can only find one or two worldwide that have been written about. Most people with a TKR are happy with recreational sport.

Considering how RARE it is to do this makes me even more proud of what I have achieved to date.

Whats next?

To actually achieve what I wanted to this year, I think I actually need another 12 months. I think my goal was a little too ambitious given the massive fitness and rehab mountain I had to climb, which was way bigger than I ever thought it would be.

So, therefore…. watch this space!!!

Author: Melanie

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete, blogging life thru a disability lens. On wheels, with flipper and occasionally on feet.