A slip whilst walking, my knee resembles a balloon

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation as I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed an alternative to a knee replacement operation.

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nothing like a good slip on the sidewalk !

In October 2019, I took the family to San Francisco for a 5 day break. Flying non-stop from Heathrow was great as the flight left the UK early and arriving in the USA at 1pm, this meant we still had a full day; however American immigration had other ideas as we queued for over 2 hours to go through passport control.

The holiday was going well, I was walking freely and pain free and I did forget about my operation earlier in the year until day 2 when we were walking to a breakfast diner and slipped on the pavement. As I walked over damp metal grating, I lost my footing. All I remember was trying to retain my balance as much as I could so that I don’t look like a complete lemon as I hit the deck.

I hit the ground with my right knee (my operated leg) and boy did I feel it. The kids and Loiza helped me up; I didn’t want to make a fuss.

As we sat in the diner, my knee began to throb and by the afternoon, I had to switch out from the trousers I was wearing and into a pair of shorts. My knee was aching and the swelling around the knee was excessive.

I didn’t take a photo of my own knee but the image below sums it up..

Sums up the size of my knee!

I felt annoyed and sorry for myself (stupid, I know). I am seriously doubting if my health can ever be 100% again if a simple fall can set you back.

I ended up buying a knee brace from CVS to help me walk (and cycle over the San Francisco Bridge) and taking Naproxin to reduce the swelling. 4 days on and the swelling and pain is under control.

Doubt is now creeping in about my recovery – thinking I am back to normal to soon.

On a side note, I did manage to walk up to the Coit Tower to take this amazing picture of the bay bridge.

Quickfire questions – 1.5 years after Tibial Osteotomy

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

If you enjoyed reading my blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Was having the Tibial Osteotomy worth it?

No doubt there have been some days recently where I have been questioning myself on the same point. I have started to feel some of the pre-operation pain from time to time in the last few months. As I had the metal plated removed 6 months ago, there is still some pain and swelling as the bone re-grows- I may confusing this pain with what I experienced a few years ago. I need to see in another 6 months.

The Osteotomy is not a miracle cure: rather it has halted the arthritis and its pain giving the patient many aspects of an active lifestyle back.

The inevitable action of a knee replacement is just deferred and on that point I would say yes, it has been worth it.

What would have happened if you didn’t have the operation?

It would have been expensive physio sessions and Cortisone steroid injections while I wait for a knee replacement (partial or full). I am still in my 40’s so what happens after 15 years ? Knee replacements are meant to last between 15-20 years right?

What changes have you noticed?

My leg is a lot straighter than it was before. I am more active now and travelling is back on the agenda.

I am losing weight but its not fast enough. I guess I am more cautious in not pushing myself too much and I need to rest up more.

What lifestyle changes have you made since the operation 1.5 years on?

  • Eating a healthier diet and trying to lose weight.
  • Keeping to the physio strength exercises as a regular routine
  • Building strength and stamina around the knee (I never did this before and has made a big difference)
  • Knowing my limits and resting more

Would you have the same operation on the other knee?

I am experiencing pain in my left knee but it is not as painful as my right knee. I am 50/50 at the moment as the operation/ recovery time/ adjusting to work is not easy and takes a lot out of a person. Maybe a question to ask next year.

If you have any questions, drop me a question in the comments boxand I will be happy to share my experiences with you.

Guest Blog : My souvenirs from Mexico and their meaning

This weeks blog is written by my daughter Priya, a budding blogger still at school.If you enjoyed reading her blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Some of my memories of Mexico are that there are a lot of tourist souvenir shops that sell tequila, sombreros, magnets and decorative shot glasses. However there are a few boutique shops which sell some really unique and charismatic souvenirs which tell a story at first glance.

This decorative purple skeleton represents a typical Day of the Dead tradition. This festival is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of the deceased. The holiday is actually celebrated for two days. The first day, also know as All Saints Day, is the day to remember the deceased children. The 2nd of November is known as All Souls Day, meaning remembering those friends and family who have passed away.

The pink skull below represents a typical sugar skull that would be made for the celebration. The skulls are meant to reflect the happy and joyful memories associated with lost loved ones.

Another souvenir we picked up on the way back from a tour was a mini Mayan mask made out of Obsidian stone. Obsidian was widely used in the Mayan and Aztec times and it is created by the rapid cooling of lava. It is a strong protective stone and in the Mayan era it was used to make sharp objects, such as spears and knives. As a family we all thought that this was an unusual stone and we liked the peculiar design.

Post Tibial Osteotomy- recovery from the removal of metal plates

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

If you enjoyed reading my blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Its been a while since I last blogged an update as my daughter guest blogged about our family trip to Mexico; she is writing another post and will appear once she is done. 

OK, so my last post ended with me returning home after the removal of the metal plates that was conducted by Mr Minhal Chatoo at the One Hatfield Hospital in March 2019 (earlier this year).

Whilst at home I realized that I get a very bad reaction to Codiene so had to stop taking that pain killer; rather stayed on the Ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Lets focus on the recovery points..

2 Days after operation

The swelling had reduced. Pain killers were working and I was able to move around slowly on crutches. The arrow was drawn on my leg by the surgeon (so he doesn’t carve open the wrong leg).

2 Weeks after operation

Mobility was better as I was using the crutches on occasion and visited the gym to do light cycle work. I wanted to build up stamina. It did help that prior to this operation that I had continued doing the exercises given to me by my physio as well as the work done in the gym. This way I was moving and recovering much faster than the previous year.

3 weeks after the operation

So a close up of the scar and I am pleased with the outcome. No infection but just the pain expected from further bone healing after the removal of the plates and screws.

In my next blog I will return to a Q & A post sharing questions I was asked by friends and family.

If you are about to go into surgery or at home in recovery mode, why not shoot me a few questions?

Guest Blog : Climbing a Mayan pyramid at Coba, Mexico

This weeks blog is written by my daughter Priya, a budding blogger still at school.If you enjoyed reading her blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Hi I’m Priya, and l recently visited Mexico with my family. When my parents told me that I was going to Mexico I imagined white sand beaches, poor WIFI and great beach selfies. Little did I know that Mexico had hidden wonders scattered all over the country.

I could have stayed chillin’ at the beach!

In my previous blog I talked about visiting Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is a Mayan ruin and one of the new 7 wonders of the world. On the tour to Chichen Itza, our tour guide told us pay a visit to two other locations, one being Coba and the other Tulum. As a family we chose to go to Coba because we were able to climb the main pyramid.

From where we were staying in Playa Del Carmen, Coba was about an hour away compared to Chichen Itza which was almost 3.5 hours!!

Going to Coba was a quick journey, so for most of it our tour guide was giving the history of the Mayans and the ruins. When we arrived, our guide told us it is a mile walk to the first pyramid and it was already 35° Celsius and it was getting hotter, so next to the visitor center were ‘tuk tuk’ bikes. They took us all the way to the main attraction.

Before we got to the pyramid our guide told us some information. I have found some hyperlinks which is similar to the facts and knowledge our guide shared with us https://www.locogringo.com/mexico/ways-to-play/mayan-ruins-archaeological-sites/coba-ruins/

The reason Coba was such an experience was because you can climb the pyramid. The central pyramid is 137 feet tall and has steps which are at least a foot high and extremely uneven so I suggest wearing trainers.

The view from the top is amazing, the surrounding areas is completely flat and other ruins can be seen poking above the tree line. On the way back from the pyramid on the ‘tuk tuk’ our driver took us round to the other ruins as he said we wont get to see them in the our tour it was a great experience going on the ‘tuk tuks’ and I highly recommend taking one instead of walking as it also helps the local people out as they are the ones taking you.

Our Tuk Tuk ride

Another great thing about Coba is that you are in the middle of the jungle and so there is tons of different wildlife. I saw lizards, gecko, loads of locusts and an eagle!! It is a great opportunity to see different wildlife in its natural habitat.

I am glad I went on this trip as I learned that Mayan civilization was advanced for its time but they died out quickly and suddenly, however a lot of their past life is there for us to explore and learn. I really enjoyed climbing the pyramid at Coba – it may not be open to tourists in the near future so if you have a chance to visit soon, go there before it becomes a site like Chichen Itza.

Thanks for reading

Guest Blog : go visit Mexico and get involved in their culture – Chichen Itza

This weeks blog is written by my daughter Priya, a budding blogger still at school. If you enjoyed reading her blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Hi, I’m Priya and I recently went to Mexico with my family. We stayed close to a small town near Cancun; called Playa Del Carmen on the Caribbean Sea.

As you may know there are many archaeological sites in that area. If you visit Cancun, then I highly recommend you go and visit one of these sights. They all belong to the native people of Mexico who are called the Mayans.

So, who are the Mayans?

They are an ancient civilization who were prominent in central America around 900 A.D. The Mayans were a huge civilization, at their prime, it is said that their population reached 22 million. They used to build temples for their Gods made from stone and only royalty would be allowed to touch it.

2 hours from our hotel was Chichen Izta, which is a massive Mayan temple, and is one of the new seven wonders of the world. 

 Chichen Itza stands 98 feet tall and it has 91 steps on each side which totals 364 steps. Plus the one large step on the top, the Mayans created 365 steps – matching the number of days in the year. The Mayans were ahead of the game, by understanding time and how the earth rotates the sun. The temple is a huge pyramid like structure in the middle of a clearing in the centre of the jungle!

 When I first saw it, I was in awe of its size and condition, as it was very well kept. I stood there wondering, how on earth did they build this.  IT WAS SO BIG!!!

There are also other ruins on the site, such as a Mayan sport court. They played this game that was similar to hand ball (and Quidditch!) but much harder, they have to use all of their body to get the ball into a goal over 3m above them. It was very interesting to hear and see what they did for entertainment. Our guide told us that the winners would sacfrice themselves at the end of the game as a reflection of their devotion to the gods. I was surprised to hear that, as was everyone else. What an amazing place!

I learnt a lot from going to Chichen Itza and it was definitely worth it.

My advice when visiting this site is to go as early as possible, many tours leave at 7am and get there around 12, at that time it is intense heat and very busy. If you want a calm cool(er) time then try and get there as early as possible.  😀

In my next blog I will write about my trip to the Mayan ruins of Coba.

Returning to the operating table – removal of metal work. Osteotomy concluded

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

If you enjoyed reading my blog entry, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!

Returning in 2019 to remove the metalwork

The osteotomy had given me a lot of improvement. The physio work and muscle built around my knees in the gym has given me 90% of my life back. The knee issue hasn’t gone away but I feel so much stronger, some pain does remain but this differs from day to day – that’s just the ageing process!

RHS shows healed bone

As the metalwork in my leg did irritate me from time to time, I took my surgeons advice and booked myself in to have the metalwork removed on 27th March 2019. Mr Minhal Chatoo would be my surgeon again. He was brilliant.

The metal work extraction procedure would be a day case. The procedure would take up to 1 hour to remove the screws and plates. Due to the nature of the operation, I would be under general anesthetic, meaning the time in the operating theatre increases to allow for the time to recover as well.

Upon arrival and being allocated a room at the hospital, one of the nurses came in and read my BP, went through standard paper work, handed over a gown, pants and socks – I’m not sharing any pictures of that!

Shortly after, the anesthetist came round as well and confirmed that Mr Chatoo would be operating on me as the first patient of his day.

Mr Chatoo came in to mark my leg before the operation and we had a light hearted conversation. He mentioned the operation is very quick and low risk so was happy to proceed.

Once he left, I was taken downstairs to the operating theatre. As I walked down someone talked me through the procedure again and kept me assured.

Once I was asked to lay down on the bed, I was connected to the ECG and given the anethestic. In seconds, I was out.

Coming round after the operation

I felt groggy after the operation. It was about 10:20 am as I noticed the clock. They showed me the metalwork that was removed from my leg – 2 pins 4 inches long, 3 screws 3 inches long and 6 other smaller screws. They told me I was unable to keep the screws due to protocol; though I wish I could have kept them as a souvenir…

The pain was unbearable and the nurses gave me strong pain killers. 20mins later, it still felt bad so they gave me more – but I think it was codeine. 

Shortly after I was taken back upstairs to my room and Loiza was sat waiting. 

I remember falling in and out of sleep and still in pain. To me, this felt much more painful than the osteotomy last year. 

It took a while for me to eat lunch (soup and a sandwich), just the tiredness from the drugs and the pain. 

I remember the Physio “Saul” visit . He got me out of the bed and made me go for a walk. We made it to a stairwell and then down a flight of stairs. He did say the pain will be high but I will need to get moving sooner. The recovery period would be :

  1. Next 2 days full rest and some movement
  2. Use crutches for a few days after that
  3. Walk without crutches thereafter
  4. Keep moving and apply icepacks if there is swelling

The recovery period was a lot shorter but I kept in mind that there was a deep cut, stitches and several holes in my tibia that would take time to recover.

I was able to walk however I was very tired due to the drugs. I made it back to the room and then met Mr Chatoo again. I remember him telling me that he placed “wax plugs in the screw holes!” to reduce the bleeding from the bone. 

Mr Chatoo also said the operation was uneventful- this is good news.

I rested again and of course, fell asleep. When I came round again I was still in pain and was given more painkillers. 

The nurse mentioned that I could be discharged once Mr Chatoo comes round at about 5 pm. The discharge was quick and easy and everything was set for me to go home.

I was wheelchaired to the car – We drove home in my Audi. The ride was great as I was glad to be going home. 

When I got home, we took the picture below.

I was exhausted. I slept in Aroon’s room and was out as soon as I hit the pillow. I know I woke up in the middle night and Loiza had to help me to go to the restroom – it was still to early and I was unsteady on my feet – the drugs were not helping and as it transpired I had a bad reaction to the codeine.