Chronic Pain, Disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, health

9 Months Post-Op

As of today, it has officially been 9 months since I went under the knife and had my right knee surgically stabilised. I think my last blog post about my knee was Week 7, which is crazy to think about as I am still mentally in 2020.

I have now been discharged from both my surgeon’s care and rehab, so I thought now would be a better time than any to update you all on what has been going on over the last 6-7 months with my knee, and how my recovery has gone.

First of all I will say that I am so glad I had the surgery, it has and continues to be a very long recovery but it is so worth it. 9 months on and there is still zero sign of instability within my knee, something I never even dared to believe could happen. However, that is not to say that these last 9 months have been plain sailing.

So, what has been going on?

The biggest thing has probably been the nerve damage that I was left with as a result of my cutaneous nerves having to be cut in order for my surgeon to perform the surgery. The damage has left the whole outside of my leg completely numb to the touch from my shin to my thigh, meaning that any physical touch feels like an out of body experience. There is a chance I will regain feeling in that area but it’s unknown how long that could take. If I touch the numb area, I get a shooting pain on the other side of my leg. Mr M explained the pain better than I could in the sense that it is like the phantom limb pain you get after an amputation but my leg is still in tact.

Pain wise, I still experience pain in my knee occasionally and this is mostly around the area my lateral release was done, my VMO muscle that was surgically tightened as well as my scar. The pain is usually a mixture of dull aching and shooting pain with the worst internal itch thrown in for good measure. Luckily, the screw in my leg hasn’t caused many issues so far, although it is extremely uncomfortable to kneel as I can feel the head of the screw when I do. Technically the screw could come out now as my last set of x-rays showed that the bone graft is now perfectly healed, leaving the screw redundant. However, it was made clear to me from the beginning of this journey that my left knee would have to be surgically stabilised too at some point, and Mr M confirmed this last week. Because of that, I have made the decision to leave the screw in place until my left knee is done, so that both ops can be done at the same time.

Rehab wise, things were going brilliantly until I had to stop all of my exercises for 2 months due to being diagnosed with POTS and severe Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. I eventually got the all-clear to return to Rehab in April but it has been hard getting back to it as the issues with my heart have left me feeling extremely weak. Nevertheless though, the deadlifts and sqauts continue…

Overall, my recovery has been really positive and I am so grateful to my medical team consisting of my surgeon; Mr M, my rehab physio; Jordan and my sports therapist; Sadie. Between the three of them I have been in extremely safe hands and have managed to avoid any major setbacks through these last 9 months.

Now for a couple of years of working hard on regaining all of my muscle strength, before I let Mr M take a scalpel to my left knee.

If you’re in the same position I was in a couple of years ago and struggling to decide whether this surgery and the long recovery is worth it, I can 100% say it is.

Lauren x

Image 1: MRI Scan taken 10 months before surgery

Image 2: Final x-ray, taken just shy of 9 months post-op