Two weeks post op for TKR. Nausea, fatigue, depression.

Posted by mick2007 @mick2007, May 5 9:34pm

Hi. I’m a 69, almost 70 year old woman, and I’ve overcome numerous illnesses including breast cancer. I’m basically a healthy person, but this TKR has me down. Down not just with pain, but anxiety, gastric issues, depression, and incredible fatigue. I spent two years battling osteoarthritis arthritis in my knee, until I could no longer function. Now my surgeon is sending me to an endocrinologist because my bones are soft. I’m truly more afraid of how I feel now than I did when I was diagnosed with cancer. I need help, and I pray that I’ve found a forum here at Mayo who can help to ease my mind. I’m seriously not wanting to face tomorrow.

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I can't answer to the soft bones however I felt this way for almost a month. The pain meds made me tired and nauseous and I was depressed because I could not sleep with the pain. I did stop my pain meds at 11 days because of severe constipation and a bowel prep and I wasn't doing that again. That helped with the nausea and stomach issues. My anxiety stopped when I started being able to do the things again. Are you doing PT? I started at 4 days post surgery and it was hard but so necessary and glad I did it. I am 61 and had lots of arthritis in my right knee. Praying you get some answers but know that things will get better.

REPLY

Dear Mick: After my TKR in June 2022, I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train. In the past, I suffered kidney rupture in the USMC, cancer and heart disease, but this level of pain and dysfunction was like none other. At 75, I thought I was done for and would happily pass onto the next life. But I refused to succumb to the pain. For the first few weeks I lay immobile, hoping the pain would pass. Oxy made me sick so that was not an option plus I didn't want to get hooked like another patient I knew. After 3-4 weeks, the pain began to subside & I was able to eat again. In the interim I lost 15 lbs and that allowed my other knee (which had the same terrible arthritis) to work again. Rage overcame me and morphed into determination, I was not going to allow this procedure and my mistake agreeing to it, to end a creative and functional life. I rekindled my love affair with exercise and worked those joints and muscles not encumbered by the hideous pain and crippling dysfunction. Subsequently, I went thru an MUA to increase ROM, Genicular Nerve Block to mitigate the nerve pain, surgery to remove scar tissue and UltraSound to identify defective scar tissue in the patellar tendon. Whereas I was once a competitive racquetball player, I am pleased I can finally walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes before inflammation forces me to stop. Nine months after TKR my arms and other leg muscles are vastly stronger and I am able to perform Honey Doos and help my kids restore their camper. I had to fight like hell to overcome the pain, depression, anger and remorse. I had to learn about every procedure & every acronym to compensate for a health care system (not Mayo) that allocates a mere 11 minutes for a visit. I lost more weight to make it easier to move myself about. Find your courage, decide if u don't want to become a couch potato, and every day take another small step towards recovery. Some people recover quickly, that wasn't my situation, but it can be done.

It's 5am, time for morning (brief) walk. Best regards.

REPLY

Mick, I had TKR 10 months ago. The first few weeks are extremely hard. Lots of pain and difficulty sleeping at night. By week 4 post op, the pain started to lessen and I was able to sleep better. To guard against the constipation that pain meds can cause, I was faithful to take Miralax twice a day and drunk tons of water. It worked. The PT is hard because it hurts. No question. But it is the most helpful thing you can do. Also be patient with yourself. Healing takes a lot of time.

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Mick, i had same symptoms at 2 weeks as you. At about 4 weeks when i could lift my surgery leg i started feeling better because i could move it on my own.
I had nausea fatigue and pain. I did lots of napping. Sleep heals. Do exercises, take a nap. My pain meds were adjusted and ate lots of toast because my stomach couldn’t handle anything more. Talk to your surgeons team to adjust or change pain meds. They have experience with these problems and have heard it before. Mine were very helpful.

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@mrnomad

Dear Mick: After my TKR in June 2022, I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train. In the past, I suffered kidney rupture in the USMC, cancer and heart disease, but this level of pain and dysfunction was like none other. At 75, I thought I was done for and would happily pass onto the next life. But I refused to succumb to the pain. For the first few weeks I lay immobile, hoping the pain would pass. Oxy made me sick so that was not an option plus I didn't want to get hooked like another patient I knew. After 3-4 weeks, the pain began to subside & I was able to eat again. In the interim I lost 15 lbs and that allowed my other knee (which had the same terrible arthritis) to work again. Rage overcame me and morphed into determination, I was not going to allow this procedure and my mistake agreeing to it, to end a creative and functional life. I rekindled my love affair with exercise and worked those joints and muscles not encumbered by the hideous pain and crippling dysfunction. Subsequently, I went thru an MUA to increase ROM, Genicular Nerve Block to mitigate the nerve pain, surgery to remove scar tissue and UltraSound to identify defective scar tissue in the patellar tendon. Whereas I was once a competitive racquetball player, I am pleased I can finally walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes before inflammation forces me to stop. Nine months after TKR my arms and other leg muscles are vastly stronger and I am able to perform Honey Doos and help my kids restore their camper. I had to fight like hell to overcome the pain, depression, anger and remorse. I had to learn about every procedure & every acronym to compensate for a health care system (not Mayo) that allocates a mere 11 minutes for a visit. I lost more weight to make it easier to move myself about. Find your courage, decide if u don't want to become a couch potato, and every day take another small step towards recovery. Some people recover quickly, that wasn't my situation, but it can be done.

It's 5am, time for morning (brief) walk. Best regards.

Jump to this post

Love your letter. I’m facing bilateral TKR, then shoulders. Same age but I am female but ex military too.
Forgot have to have hiatal hernia surgery before the spinal stenosis, Part Deux, surgery that is more critical than all the above.
I hope I’m as brave as you.
I saw the USMC and thought of my dad with terrible injuries but able to overcome it, silently, and was riding his 3- wheeler bike the week he died at 92.
Hurrah Iwo Jima!
By the way, the military divisions did not have growlie “hurrahs “etc in his time, but he did come to think of it as cute and liked it.

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@cindymattern

I can't answer to the soft bones however I felt this way for almost a month. The pain meds made me tired and nauseous and I was depressed because I could not sleep with the pain. I did stop my pain meds at 11 days because of severe constipation and a bowel prep and I wasn't doing that again. That helped with the nausea and stomach issues. My anxiety stopped when I started being able to do the things again. Are you doing PT? I started at 4 days post surgery and it was hard but so necessary and glad I did it. I am 61 and had lots of arthritis in my right knee. Praying you get some answers but know that things will get better.

Jump to this post

Cindy,
This response to my plea has helped me so much already. I don’t like the phrase “Misery loves company” but sometimes a helping hand (or hands) is all we need to get us over the jump. I’ve had both anterior and posterior cervical fusion, and while the healing was a lot longer, it was less painful. Yes, I came home the day after surgery. The next day, home health care sent out a pt who worked with me for the first 2 weeks. I begin the real pt on Tuesday. Thank you for the prayers, and I will get some answers. Think the radiation and meds I had to take for 10 years for the breast cancer weakened the bones, but they will find out for sure.

REPLY

Hi I had a TKR on 5/4/23 the pain is awful the nausea and vomiting due to anesthesia and pain meds have not been kind. I used my ice machine today it helped with the pain. I also used my machine that help me bend my knee 40 degrees. How many time do you do it a day?

REPLY
@mrnomad

Dear Mick: After my TKR in June 2022, I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train. In the past, I suffered kidney rupture in the USMC, cancer and heart disease, but this level of pain and dysfunction was like none other. At 75, I thought I was done for and would happily pass onto the next life. But I refused to succumb to the pain. For the first few weeks I lay immobile, hoping the pain would pass. Oxy made me sick so that was not an option plus I didn't want to get hooked like another patient I knew. After 3-4 weeks, the pain began to subside & I was able to eat again. In the interim I lost 15 lbs and that allowed my other knee (which had the same terrible arthritis) to work again. Rage overcame me and morphed into determination, I was not going to allow this procedure and my mistake agreeing to it, to end a creative and functional life. I rekindled my love affair with exercise and worked those joints and muscles not encumbered by the hideous pain and crippling dysfunction. Subsequently, I went thru an MUA to increase ROM, Genicular Nerve Block to mitigate the nerve pain, surgery to remove scar tissue and UltraSound to identify defective scar tissue in the patellar tendon. Whereas I was once a competitive racquetball player, I am pleased I can finally walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes before inflammation forces me to stop. Nine months after TKR my arms and other leg muscles are vastly stronger and I am able to perform Honey Doos and help my kids restore their camper. I had to fight like hell to overcome the pain, depression, anger and remorse. I had to learn about every procedure & every acronym to compensate for a health care system (not Mayo) that allocates a mere 11 minutes for a visit. I lost more weight to make it easier to move myself about. Find your courage, decide if u don't want to become a couch potato, and every day take another small step towards recovery. Some people recover quickly, that wasn't my situation, but it can be done.

It's 5am, time for morning (brief) walk. Best regards.

Jump to this post

Mr nomad,
I certainly needed this tough talk…find my courage is right! I’ve never backed down from a fight. I taught high school for 38 years, and sometimes that was more challenging than the cancer treatment😂.
I’ve lost quite a bit of weight as well, and like you, my other knee has the same problem, but I’m hoping that by seeing this endocrinologist, we can find out a way to counteract this ongoing problem of soft bones.
I’m going to fight like hell as you did to get myself together and quit feeling sorry for myself. Not my nature at all, so I have to dig deep and find what I know I have deep within.
Thank you…

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@flaredhead

Mick, I had TKR 10 months ago. The first few weeks are extremely hard. Lots of pain and difficulty sleeping at night. By week 4 post op, the pain started to lessen and I was able to sleep better. To guard against the constipation that pain meds can cause, I was faithful to take Miralax twice a day and drunk tons of water. It worked. The PT is hard because it hurts. No question. But it is the most helpful thing you can do. Also be patient with yourself. Healing takes a lot of time.

Jump to this post

Flairhead,
Thank you for your response. I’m in week 3 post op, and because the soft tibia was an issue, the surgeon had to go deeper than anticipated so he could put an anchor on the bone. Kind of a double whammy. Great idea about the Miralax. I’ve been constipated bc of the meds, and I will start using some in my drinks. The pt will begin on Tuesday. I’m aware it will be intense but also know it’s the most necessary for healing. Thank your for reaching out.

REPLY
@mick2007

Cindy,
This response to my plea has helped me so much already. I don’t like the phrase “Misery loves company” but sometimes a helping hand (or hands) is all we need to get us over the jump. I’ve had both anterior and posterior cervical fusion, and while the healing was a lot longer, it was less painful. Yes, I came home the day after surgery. The next day, home health care sent out a pt who worked with me for the first 2 weeks. I begin the real pt on Tuesday. Thank you for the prayers, and I will get some answers. Think the radiation and meds I had to take for 10 years for the breast cancer weakened the bones, but they will find out for sure.

Jump to this post

I think TKR is one of the hardest surgeries there is and the recovery takes some time. I'm having some lower left back issues now with shooting pains but the tell me it's just a coincidence (never happed till 7 months out). I may have twisted wrong but I have also weaned by Gabapentin from 900mg to 200 at bedtime. Wondering if I should increase it. I have lots of arthritis (neck, back etc). You've got this and it will happen. Just be faithful to that PT as going in helps much more. It did me. They say 6 months to a year and I'm thinking a year.

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