This Surgery was the Best Decision I Made in My Life
My name is Cheryl Taylor and #thisismyknee
There is nothing like a long bike ride around the neighborhood or a competitive basketball game to clear your head. My passion for sports and physical activity was always an outlet for me to let off steam after work. I am a supervisor at the U.S. Post Office in Georgia and my job requires me to spend hours on my feet. I need to be in good physical shape. Even during my vacations, I have always left time for a daily pick-up basketball game. In 1987, I was playing a game overseas when I injured my knee. I am no stranger to sports injuries, and just tried to deal with the pain. I kept at it for about ten years before I finally reached my limit.
Between 1997 and 2002 I underwent three separate knee arthroscopies. After each surgery, I told myself that this would be it, the one procedure that would relieve my pain. But that wasn’t the case. I went from being an athlete used to biking on tough terrain to someone who had knee pain when I put my foot on the pedal. The pain forced me to sit on the sidelines at basketball games. I traded in my focus on competition on the court to a new focus – facing daily challenges at home. My biggest opponent became the stairs. It was almost embarrassing having to tightly grip the handrail and turn sideways to climb up and down a flight of stairs. After years of trying to accept this as my new normal, I decided to meet with Dr. Levengood at Gwinnett Medical Center and get an MRI.
Dr. Levengood looked at my results and told me I would need a total replacement on my right knee. He also told me about a fully customizable knee implant produced by Conformis. The thought of another surgery and lengthy recovery period terrified me. What if I went through this whole process and still had pain? What if this was my last hope and it didn’t work? Would I ever get back on my bike or back on the court? I decided to try one last time.
During this process, a replacement knee was designed and produced exclusively for me. My surgery took place in January 2015. I was in shock when I was able to use a walker to go up and down the hospital halls just a few hours after my procedure. I was discharged the same day and returned home where a nurse helped with my recovery. My progress was going better than I imagined, but I tried to keep myself from feeling too hopeful after my past surgeries had let me down.
Then one day without thinking I simply walked up the stairs. I didn’t even realize what had just happened until I reached the top. I did not need to clutch the railing or turn to the side to take each step. I felt like my old self for the first time in years.
It has been about two years since my surgery, and the stairs are no longer my main opponent. I am back to facing talented players on the basketball court and am currently looking for a women’s league to join. Just the other day I went for a long bike ride, and even walked five miles with friends after work.
When I look back at my experiences, I wish I hadn’t tried so hard to cope with the pain for so long. It’s one thing to be tough on the court, but I feel like I missed a lot of my life during that time! If I had to go back and do it again, I wouldn’t even hesitate. I tell people this surgery was the best decision I made in my life.
Getting Back on my Feet FAST
My name is Linda Bilardello and #thisismyknee As a physical therapist working and living outside Columbus, Ohio, my job is to help clients achieve the best physical mobility that they can. Many of them are living with congenital disorders or were born with cerebral palsy,
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