Getting back to the things I love - the farm, my family, and living history demonstrations

UPDATE: “I went back to Costa Rica this year and it was like I never had knee problems at all! Having a bilateral with the iTotal has been the best thing I have ever done. For the first time in my life, I am not “knock kneed”. One place we visited in Costa Rica, I walked through a shallow puddle just so I could leave foot prints on the colored concrete. I am still fascinated by the way my feet track now. My feet no longer turn out like duck feet and my stride is amazing!”

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My name is Susan Richardson and #ThisIsMyKnee

“I was born with a valgus deformity. I have had problems with my knees all my life and had a tendon rerouting at age 17 to correct patella dislocations. By the time I was in my late 20’s, mild arthritis was evident on X-rays. As time went on, I became the mother of 5 children and owned a small farm. When the children grew up, I became responsible for my elderly parents. By this time, I was suffering greatly with pain in both knees but was unable to care for my own issues while being responsible for 90+ year old parents.

There were many days Mom would call insisting I take her to the grocery. I would have to cry at home in anticipation of the pain. I did not want her to know how badly I was suffering and worry she would not be cared for if I could not be there for her and my Dad. This continued until they both passed, Dad in 2013 and Mom a year later. Since that time my ability to walk became more difficult. Since my husband is a truck driver and only home on weekends, I am also responsible for caring for our livestock (sheep, pig and chickens) and chores including mowing our 2 acres. Getting on and off the mower was excruciating! My gardening was limited to what I could do while sitting in a lawn chair. I had become a bent over “old person”, hobbling around with a cane.

I found myself doing almost nothing inside or out due to the pain in my knees. It got to the point I was having to limit the activity I love most, providing living history demonstrations for different local groups. I dress in 1860’s attire, set up a large antique spinning wheel, and process wool into yarn while telling the significance of this activity to interested individuals. Trying to load and transport my wheel and necessities, as well as, standing to use the wheel were becoming rapidly impossible. What finished my resolve to have my knees replaced was visiting my daughter’s house on a steep hill in Costa Rica for Christmas. After going up and down a minimal number of times and standing to greet friends and relatives, I spent most of my week on my back with my knees elevated due to pain. I felt horrible about not spending quality time with my two little granddaughters and vowed not to go back until I could enjoy my time with them.

Fortunately, in May of 2017 I was able to get an appointment with Dr. William Shell with Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance who scheduled me for a bilateral knee replacement which was performed on June 6, 2017. Today I am only 5 weeks out and I am walking well without a cane and am almost off the prescription pain medications. I mowed the yard last week with the riding mower without pain and trimmed two large shrubs today. I can now go to the grocery store and shop at a leisurely pace pain free. I am looking forward to my energy returning so I can get back to everything I love. In January 2018, a totally different person will get off the plane in San Jose CR and I’m so looking forward to it!”

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