The SPECIALIST'S OFFICE => The patello-femoral joint => Topic started by: JessJess28 on March 07, 2013, 06:34:23 PM

Title: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: JessJess28 on March 07, 2013, 06:34:23 PM
Hi. I posted before asking some questions about the TTT. I have a pre-op in about 2 weeks, TTT towards end of the month. I have a list of questions for pre-op before I fully decide. A lot of them I've gathered from reading hundreds of old posts on here. Thanks!

Some of my questions are what things would you recommend to have on hand for recovery? Shower bench necessary? Couldn't live without it? Can you use walking crutches at some point? Is a walker better? I can't stand crutches and I'm hoping they will let me PWB before 6 weeks.

Also advice from any Mom's? I have 2 kids, youngest almost 4. I have lots of help for rides and child care but will be home alone at least a few hours a day with 2 kids after the first week post-op. It is warm here so letting them play in the fenced in yard is an option.

I see different protocols for NWB and PWB after TTT. I'm really hoping they will let me PWB before 6 weeks. My VMO atrophied very quick after other knee injuries/surgeries. Is part of the recovery mind over matter? I think I have a high tolerance for pain, no meds during childbirth and I don't like to sit still. Ran many races last year on my painful knee (probably a bad idea since I didn't know the extent of how bad it was) I've read some scary posts on here and some encouraging ones.

Thanks for any tips. I'm getting nervous but hoping to focus that energy on getting everything ready prior to surgery.  :D
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: am7800 on March 08, 2013, 03:09:16 AM
Hi!  I would definitely recommend a shower bench. It was necessary for me since I was toe touch weight bearing for six weeks. But there were some days I just didn't have the energy to stand up long enough for a shower. It was just really nice to be able to sit and shower.  I only ever used crutches.  They are quite a pain though.   I also have 2 young kids. My youngest was a little older than yours.  Once my husband went back to work we would pile in my bed and watch movies. They thought it was fun to lay in pajamas all day.  After the first couple weeks, I would sit on the porch while they played outside.  The kids actually dealt with the whole thing a lot better than I thought they would.  My oldest loved helping with chores and the little one thought it was fun to bring me drinks and snacks.  I also got a few board games for us to play on rainy days. 
Make sure to ask if you will be in a brace at all. I was only allowed passive range of motion and was otherwise locked in a brace. Between that and the minimal weight bearing, my leg atrophied pretty quickly.  You just have to be really dedicated once you begin the aggressive pt. For me it was after my 6 week post op appointment.  My kids also helped me with that, they thought it was fun to do my exercises with me.
It was a really long and sometimes very frustrating recovery. But I'm really glad I did it. My knee feels better than it ever has.  I do get occasional screw pain but its nothing compared to the pain I had before.
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: JessJess28 on March 09, 2013, 01:34:21 AM
Thank you for your reply! I will definitely invest in some board games and more legos for the kids. Glad your knee feels so much better now. I can't wait to be able to walk stairs again without feeling like a grandma.

I did ask about the brace. I will be in a locked brace after. Need to clarify for how long though. I was told a few weeks at my appt but when I called with follow up questions the OS asst. told me 6 weeks.
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: Elle0383 on March 10, 2013, 05:36:23 PM
Hi Jess,

Even though it's only been 4 months since my surgery, I feel like it was forever ago, but I'll try my best to remember what I found useful during recovery (I also wrote pretty detailed updated post-op, so there may be some good info in there). 

Yes to the shower bench.  I had a shower stool, but in hindsight, it would have been so much easier if I had a bench that I could have propped my leg up on.  The first few showers were miserable, and beyond the pain of having my leg down and not really supported, it was gross to see my leg look purple from the blood rushing down.  If I could have propped my leg up, it would have made things so much easier.

I was on crutches right away and PWB (thigh to ankle brace locked), although I couldn't put any weight on it for a while due to pain.  I also had a couple other things done in addition to the TTT, so you may be in better shape than I was.  I was advised to do PWB for 6 weeks, at which point, they would do an x-ray to see how things were healing, and then graduate me to FWB and unlocking the brace.  I would say at the 6 week mark, I felt pretty ready to ditch the crutches indoors.  At about 3 months post-op,  I ditched the brace.  At 4 months post-op I was well enough to go on my first business trip and was able to navigate the airports just fine. 

I have a high tolerance for pain as well.  A few days after surgery, I was on Tylenol only because I started itching like crazy from the Oxycotin.  When I went in for my one week post-op, the nurse looked at me in disbelief when I told her I was only on Tylenol.  I was encouraged to try Vicodin, and I did and I'm glad I did.  I can't say I like taking prescription pain killers, but you will make your life miserable if you don't manage your pain, and it will slow your recovery.  That said, pain wasn't my biggest issue.  It was the lack of mobility that drove me nuts.  I'm impatient and don't like sitting still and feeling dependent on others.  Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about this.  If you push yourself during this recovery phase, you'll only prolong it and potentially hurt yourself.  You will have some dark days during the recovery where you will second guess whether you did the right thing and feel hopeless, but everyone goes through these low points in recovery.  Just recognize that it feels normal to feel this way and that the payoff down the road will be worth the struggle now. 

I don't have any kids yet, but I would highly recommend having lots of help around the first week.  The first week is the worst.  I think letting them play outside and having movies on hand would be helpful.  Also, think about having easy snacks/meals on hand and maybe juice boxes for your youngest.  Even getting up to pour yourself something to drink is a heroic effort.  Definitely overestimate the amount of help you'll need. 

Good luck with your surgery!  Just remember to follow your surgeon's protocol exactly.  I would also highly recommend having a good physical therapist.  My physical therapist came recommended to me by my surgeon, and she also had two TTT's done herself!  I don't think I would have been in this good of a place 4 months post-op without it, and even long-term.  The surgery is scary to think about, but think about the long-term.  I feel like I'm getting my life back again.  I'm starting to trust my knee again and see doors opening that have been closed for so long.  Best of luck.   
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: JessJess28 on March 10, 2013, 09:39:31 PM
Thanks Elle!

That's great that you thought you didn't need more than Tylenol a week out but Vicodin as needed. I am the same way with the motility. I'm impatient and don't like relying on others either. That is probably my biggest worry right now, not the pain. I have my parents and in-laws both ready to help, they are retired or close to. My husband is taking at least a week off work just to be at home with me since I do not know what to expect pain wise and obviously I can't care for my kids at home if I am asleep or taking a lot of pain meds.

Thanks for the snack/drink ideas. I'm hoping every weekend my husband can stock the fridge for us. The youngest definitely loves to help so I'm sure if I don't want to get up she can grab me a bottle of water.

I'll keep that in mind about the recovery stuff too. I hope to post on here after for some support. I'm sure I will have a few friends stop by for lunch too, that should help if I get in a funk or anything.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: JessJess28 on March 22, 2013, 05:19:23 PM
Had my pre-op yesterday. Getting nervous for surgery next week. Got my questions answered though so that has relieved some anxiety. I can try to ditch the crutches after 1 week and just walk with locked brace. We will see.
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: am7800 on March 25, 2013, 02:42:49 AM
Good luck!  Hope everything goes smoothly for you!
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: JessJess28 on March 25, 2013, 01:53:57 PM
Thank you! I will try to post a post-op diary once I am recovering. I just found out family is coming into town a few days post-op. Not sure how I am going to feel though so not making any plans. I'm ready to get this show on the road though. Friday is the day.
Title: Re: Advice for recovery from TTT
Post by: randomlife on March 25, 2013, 06:51:04 PM
Good luck with your surgery! I had a TTT along with my cartilage graft last September, and I can ditto what others have said about recovery. Especially the shower chair. I could not have showered for the first four weeks without it. Sounds like you'll have lots of help, so my only advice is to LET them help! I have a terrible time being dependent on others, so I had to learn this. But they want to help, and you need to focus on healing. Again, good luck!