Osteotomy Scar update, 2 years on

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation 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.

Oh, the memories of the metal plates supporting my tibia. I keep forgetting, its major surgery

With Covid-19 lockdown restrictions still in play in the UK, I have tried to keep up my fitness and exercise regime. Getting back on to my mountain bike and cycling on quiet roads on a sunny day, are great! I have been logging my activities on Strava and have covered 250km per month since march; not bad considering I cycled 200km in total between 2018-2019.

The activity I miss the most is weight training. The loss of muscle mass around my knee is telling and some pain has returned. At least the gyms reopen in July. I guess I lack motivation of weight training at home as I really want to get out of the house for a change of scene; especially when working from home.

I wanted to share the status of my operation scars. If you are part way through your recovery journey, it may serve useful to set some expectations.

My initial tibial Osteotomy was in January 2018, and in March 2019 I went back to hospital to remove the metal plates and screws.

As a reminder, this is my leg post operation:

metal pins applied where incisions were made below the right knee

What the scarring looks like today

Scarring shows up in the summer but not as prevalent

I am left with a 7.5 cm scar and using Bio Oil (or similar products) has helped in hiding some of the blemishes. The a vertical cut (as seen in the previous picture) and is barely visible. I am still experiencing loss of nerve sensation on my shin, but you get used to it.

Until my next post – I wont leave the next post too far away.

Maintaining an exercise routine under COVID-19 lockdown

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation 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!

The last 4 weeks has forced all of us to live in the ‘new ‘ world and having to adapt to social distancing. For me, work is no different as I mainly worked from home and used tools like Skype for Business and Teams for meetings anyway. If anything, the working hours have started to get longer.

To exercise and to keep muscle strength at a decent level has been a challenge as my Gym has been closed for 4 weeks now. I have been doing some basic weight training and keeping the strength in the knee. I have started to feel the pain in the knee though and do miss the gym. It never goes away completely.

I did fix up my mountain bike ( got a decent TREK 6500 MTB from 2011) and have been cycling every other day and am able to clock up about 60km per week. I only have 45 minutes for lunch but fewer cars on the road does make cycling more relaxing.

In addition to the cycling, taking yoga classes (via Youtube) is helping with the stretching and muscle building. If folks are thinking Yoga is lame, I urge you to have a go, you will use and stretch muscles you never knew were weak. For stretching muscles in the legs and simply doing the breathing exercises does help relieve knee pains. I may start to do Yoga every morning (starting next week!)

2020 and finally seeing the difference after my Osteotomy

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.

In 2019, I went under the surgeons knife again to have the metal plates removed from my leg. I am writing this blog to help others who may be starting their own recovery journey

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

Its been a while since my last post in December 2019. The rubbish winter in the UK has been extremely wet and damp, I did miss the snow. 2020 is my year to be surgery free and to get stronger.

At work my role changed to become the regional lead for the Microsoft Azure Professional Services practice for DXC Technology (large American IT systems Integrator). This does mean longer hours but at least I am able to work from home.

Working from home has allowed me to visit the gym more frequently and for 2 -3 days a week, I focus on weight training and it really has helped. The key exercises that made a difference are shown below.

Hamstring building
Leg extension

I did have to take my time and build up strength gradually.

Prior to my operation, I never focused on leg weight training and it was only when I went through Physiotherapy the physio explained the impact of muscle mass improving stability and stamina.

For me it has helped with better leg movement, reduction of swelling and increased stamina. As the months have elapsed I have noticed the difference.

I am probably at 75% mobility in my knee and the pains have substantially decreased (but still not gone)

Cycle or Running event ? decision made…

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy operation 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.

It has been a long time since I posted a blog, recovering from an umbilical hernia and then getting mad busy at work have caused distractions.

This is the second year of operations for me and requiring time to recover (removal of metal plates from leg and then an umbilical hernia repair) just makes things look shitty as you are forced to make life adjustments to make sure recovery is good. Now I have clear runway to do more challenging things..

I met with a good friend this week who wants to do a few triathlons, 10k runs and cycle sportive in 2020 and he got me excited – however a reality check is needed.

So…I have been scratching around on what I can do physically….I’d love to take part in running. I can run on a treadmill but road running is painful. Also my knee is still suspect to heavy workouts…if I walk more than 8km, I feel swelling and pain. I have been adding muscle mass to compensate but the pain is still there.

Cycling it has to be !

Maybe a few 30 and 50 Mile events in the UK for starters that commence in March. At least there is a target and a training plan to make up; from now until then..

Later in the year, would be great to take part in the UK Coast to Coast cycle, a few days on the road on a MTB. See here

Some days I feel like I can swim, bike and run, other days it feels like I need to get an electric bike and pretend to burn the calories.

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.

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

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.