I wanted to be healthy for my grandchildren

Oct 5, 2017 1:36:33 PM

My name is Kathryn Hashagen and #ThisIsMyKnee

Being a mom brings me so much joy, and having children later in life helped me to keep feeling young. And now that I have two children in their early twenties, I feel like I have a lot to look forward to. I can’t wait to watch them take on life’s challenges, especially parenthood! My family means the world to me, and in many ways, I feel like I owe it to them to do everything I can to stay healthy and active.

Most of all, I want to be able to play with my future grandchildren and be the best grandma I can be! As a family, we have always loved to travel and create new memories together. Recently we took a trip to Mexico where I was able to walk along the beach and even do a bit of hiking to the Mayan ruins. And it reminded me how different things were just a few years ago. My knee pain was constantly holding me back and keeping me from living my life to the fullest.

My knee problems began in college when I played lacrosse. I injured my left knee and needed physical therapy. Unfortunately, I reinjured my knee while I was in physical therapy! I had surgery to remove my meniscus, but there was also damage to my ACL that was not repaired. I wore a brace for many years and continued to be as active as possible. I even ran a 10k race. But the problems with my knee continued and eventually my brace wasn’t fitting properly. The pain became unbearable. I was not able to handle many of my daily responsibilities. Previously I had worked as a physical therapist, and I knew the signs. My knee was deteriorating and it was time to consider getting a knee replacement.

Over dinner one evening, my husband mentioned a segment he was watching on the JTV show Mad Money and saw an interview with Dr. Philip Lang, the then CEO of a company called Conformis. They made a fully customized knee replacement that is based on the patient’s own anatomy. I liked the idea of having an implant designed just for me to ensure a better fit. I live near Baltimore, Maryland and did some research about customized knee implants. I learned that Dr. Barry Waldman at OrthoMaryland was using this implant with his patients. I told Dr. Waldman about my desire to remain active and be a great grandmother. He described the advantages of the customized implant and I went into the surgery with all my questions answered.

With my experience in physical therapy, I thought I knew what to expect when it came to post surgery recovery. But I even surprised myself with how fast I was back on my feet. After the first day, I used a Continuous Passive Machine(CPM), a device that gently flexes and extends the knee joint. Right away my therapist was impressed with my range of motion. At the physical therapy center where I work, I have seen many patients who recover from knee replacement with a limited range of motion.

It may sound silly, but these days I am happiest when I’m doing daily routine things like walking up the stairs and cleaning the house without any pain. Before my surgery, I couldn’t keep up with my dog, but now you can see us taking walks around our neighborhood. It’s a great feeling to be able to live life again without the restrictions caused by knee pain. And best of all, I am ready for grandkids – hoping my children feel the same soon!

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