Knee Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

As of today, it has been almost six weeks since I had surgery on my knee. Initially, I was VERY nervous for this surgery. It was my second surgery for the year (yep…I had my gallbladder out in January) and it was my leg being operated on. My means of getting around. I was terrified. Thankfully, my knee surgery went well and the recovery has gone pretty well too. These do’s and don’ts for knee surgery recovery are super important.

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knee surgery

Knee Surgery Do’s and Don’ts

One of the biggest things that will help you after any surgery, especially knee surgery, is to follow ALL of the post-operative directions. Failure to follow the directions can make your recovery longer, or…worse, it you can injure yourself further. While some of the directions seem silly, just follow them!

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DO take your physical therapy seriously

Like the directions your doctor gives you, the directions and exercises your physical therapist gives you are important too. I do physical therapy twice a week for two hours each day. On my days at home, I do the exercises they have told me to do. I can’t tell you how many people I see at PT that walk in with flip flops on (and they are on crutches because of a knee surgery) and then proceed to complain about everything they are told to do. Do you want to walk normally again?

DO ice and elevate

The best thing you can do for your knee surgery recovery is to ice and elevate regularly. We tried propping my knee up with pillows, but it became very annoying to constantly have to fuss with them to get them right. A week after surgery, I bought a blue wedge designed to elevate the leg higher than my heart. Even now, almost 6 weeks later, I am swelling or I have pain when I’ve done too much, simply elevating my knee and icing alleviates almost all of my pain.

DO follow a healthy diet

This is probably the last thing you want to hear, but prior to my knee surgery, I joined Weight Watchers. I figured that would be the easiest plan for me to follow. The last thing you want to do, when you are recovering, is to gain a bunch of weight. That added weight will not be good on your knee. Not to mention, I am a firm believer that if we fuel our body with healthy foods, those healthy foods will help us heal faster than sugars and unnecessary carbs.

DO find the best place to sleep

Your bed may not be the best place to sleep. Not only is it usually on the second floor of the house (unless you are lucky and your bedroom is on the main floor) and the stairs will most likely be tricky, but the potential to roll over and tweak your knee is high. I have slept on a recliner down in my family room for almost 6 weeks now. It is truly the most comfortable place for me. I tend to roll over to my side when sleeping and right now, that would not feel good on my inner knee.

 

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DON’T sit in the front seat in the beginning

In the very beginning, I could only sit in the back seat. My kids loved it because one of them always got shotgun! Every movement the car made was felt by my knee. So what I did was sit in the backseat with my back against the door and my leg propped up. Piece of advice, pay attention to the person driving. Sudden stops can’t always be avoided. Paying attention will hep you stabilize your knee so it’s not tweaked too much.

DON’T overdo things

While you need to work hard at PT, know your limits. If you are going to the store, use one of those motorized carts the stores offer. Yes, they can be frustrating and embarrassing, but overdoing it by walking (even with your crutches) will do nothing positive for you and it will prolong your recovery. For instance, yesterday I did not use my crutches at all the entire day while I was home. Today I tried to walk in Sam’s Club to do our shopping and 10 minutes or so into the trip, my husband had to go get me a cart. My physical therapist told me the minute I start walking with a limp, I need to grab the crutches.

DON’T get discouraged

The one thing no one tells you when you before surgery is the amount of emotions you will go through. I can’t tell you how many times I broke down and cried. The first time was the day after surgery and I could barely bend my knee at all when I was doing the heel slides exercises my surgeon told me to do. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not that! The most recent time I broke down into tears was yesterday when I panicked about my second knee surgery in 2019 and all of the recovery involved with that one. Despite ALL of those emotions, don’t get discouraged. If there is one thing I know, while the recovery is slow, I am getting better and so will you. Just follow your directions!

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I hope this list of do’s and don’ts for knee surgery recovery is helpful. Remember, every single person’s recovery is different. Try not to focus on where you think you should be. Instead, focus on doing your best at each and every PT session and listen to your body. If something is causing you pain, stop and speak with your therapist. This way they can determine if you should continue on with that exercise or stop it. Good luck!

Helpful Tips for Kids with Braces

When parents hear the words, “you may want to consider getting your child an appoint with an orthodontist”, they probably cringe. Not only is it a TON of money for orthodontic work, but lets face it, it’s a pain in the butt having to hound your kids to follow the braces directions. I’ve already been through braces with my son, now we are embarking on that journey with my daughter. Here are some helpful tips for kids with braces.

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kids with braces

Image via Pexels by Pietro Jeng

Did You Get Multiple Quotes?

If you’re like me, you got many different quotes for braces for your kids. Your quotes probably ranged from $3500 to $6500. Lucky me, my sons braces cost us over $6000. The frustrating part…you pay all this money to fix the teeth in their mouth, yet it does nothing for the actual teenage mouth! I’d totally pay extra to fix that teenage mouth! All joking aside, get multiple quotes.

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Agree with the Treatment Plan

This probably seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how some people just go with everything and don’t ask questions. My son had a very narrow jaw and barely any room in his mouth for his teeth. One consultation we went on, the orthodontist wanted to pull 6 adult teeth to make room for the rest of his teeth. That did not make sense to me. The next consultation wanted to use an expander. That made sense to me and we ended up going with that office.

kids with braces
This week, my daughter got braces. She is one of those crazy kids that is super excited to have them! She thinks it’s fun to be able to pick different colors for the brackets. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but she went with dark green. Dark green is the color for her travel soccer team!

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Braces are really no fun for anyone involved. They are no fun for parents having to pay the bill and they are no fun for kids going through the treatment. These tips for kids with braces are things I have found, either from my personal experience with braces or from my kids experience, that have helped us get through the different stages of treatment.

Tips, Tips, and More Tips

  1. Flossing – Such an important aspect of taking care of our teeth. Probably more so when we have braces. Food gets stuck around the brackets, in between the teeth, and just sit and fester. Not good. The ortho will give you flossers that you thread under the wire to floss your teeth. They are time consuming and really hard to get right. Your best bet…get a Waterpikkids with braces. They are amazing and work so much better than floss.
  2. Mouthwash – There is a mouthwash by ACT that is specifically for braces. It has aloe in it to help soothe the gums. Get it! I found ours at Walmart.
  3. Wax – Pick up some dental wax for braces (in the toothbrush section of the store). It takes a bit for kids to get used to having the brackets on their teeth. There will be some rubbing on the gums. The wax helps kids with braces by placing the wax on the area that is rubbing funny.
  4. Eating Tip #1 – Soft foods are your friend. The first three days after they get them on and after each adjustment, are the worst. I always got my kids ice cream the first day. After that, soft foods are easiest for them.
  5. Eating Tip #2 – If you are eating finger foods, break the food with your fingers into bites or cut with a fork and knife. The last thing you want to do is pop a bracket off or get food stuck in your braces at school. My husband has been making my daughters lunch for school and he cuts her sandwich into strips so it’s easier for her to break bites off.
  6. Good Foods vs Bad Foods – It stinks to not be able to eat your favorite things. Make sure to have good foods available. Foods like fruit you don’t have to bite into, soft Nutri-Grain bars, etc. Things like chips, popcorn and sticky foods are no no’s.

Sound Helpful?

These six tips have been super helpful for my kids. Especially the Waterpik. I highly recommend that. At any rate, the hardest part (at least I think so) is getting the kids to not eat the foods that are banned and getting them to wear those rubber bands. I’m really hoping things go smoother for me (and my daughter) this time around. My son gave me a run for my money!

What are your best tips for kids with braces?


WW Mobile App – How to Add Exercise

As you know, I have been doing WW (Weight Watchers) for the last couple months. I’m really liking it. Switching from Keto to WW was a big decision for me. If truth be told, I was scared to make the switch. Keto has worked so well for me. But it’s been a good switch! Being apart of various WW online Facebook groups, I’ve noticed a lot of questions about activity tracking. If you’re having trouble with your WW mobile app, then this post is for you!

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ww mobile app

Image via Pexels by Lukas

WW Online vs WW Meetings

Choosing whether to do WW online or to go to meetings is a personal decision. For me, I tried the meetings route years ago and it was not for me. It could have totally been the place I went, but I felt like I was being judged when I had a slight gain. I didn’t like feeling that way. So doing it solely online, especially after my success with the Keto diet, it just made better sense to me. I have much better self control now, than I had years ago. Only you know what is best for you!

 

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Using Your WW Mobile App

Getting used to your WW mobile app takes a little time. Adding food is relatively easy. Type in the food you ate or scan it, select your serving size and click to track it. Where things get a little tricky is when the activity needs to be added. Adding your activity (exercise) for the day is very similar to adding your food. However, what happens if you forgot to add your exercise and it’s now the next day? Can you still add it? Should you still add it? The answer to all of those questions are YES!

ww mobile app

As you can see, I currently have 5 Fit Points (I’m recovering from knee surgery so I am getting around very slowly). Let’s say I am sitting here and I realized I forgot to add to my exercise the day before. Adding it the day after is super easy.

ww mobile app

Simply type in the exercise you did and it will pull up a screen like the image above. Put in the appropriate duration, intensity and then select the day you completed the activity. That’s it! Your Fit Points will be added to your total.

What If Your Fit Points Don’t Show Up?

On the WW Facebook pages I belong to, there was a question about the Fit Points not showing up in the total. Assuming there is not a glitch with the ww mobile app, and lets be completely honest here, it can happen…I mean, it’s technology! But…assuming no glitch, the ONLY reason I can find that your Fit Points would not show up in the total is if you are currently on your weigh in day and you are trying to add the exercise for a day prior to your weigh in day. Once you hit your weigh in day, a new week starts, so you will not get credit for that exercise for the current week. Make sense? I’d still add it because I like to make sure I add everything, but in the grand scheme of things, you don’t really need to if you don’t feel like it. Adding it will just reinforce the habit of adding everything to your tracker.

Want to Join WW?

Are you thinking about joining WW? I would love for you to use my link to sign up. By using my link, you receive a free month and I receive a free month! How great is that?!?


Knee Surgery Recovery Tips

On October 10th, I had knee surgery. I have been dealing with this bad knee since I was 12 years old. I’ve dislocated it a few times over the years and really did a doozy in July of this year. It finally became apparent that I need to do something about the knee. In talking over things with my surgeon, he came up with a very good surgical plan. Despite all of that, my nerves were shot the day of surgery. I was nervous as all get out! Hopefully these knee surgery recovery tips help you!

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knee surgery recovery

About the Knee Surgery

Like I mentioned, the surgeon had a good plan for my surgery. Since I deal with very little cartilage, the first thing he wanted to do was clean up my kneecap and take a biopsy of the cartilage. That biopsy will then be sent to a lab so they can grow more of my own cartilage! Unfortunately, in doing that procedure, it means that I need to have a second surgery. During that second surgery, I will have the new cartilage implanted and then the surgeon will use donor tendons to reconstruct all of my tendons so my knee is more stabilized.

Since I had my gallbladder removed in January of this year, my deductible was gone and my out of pocket was nearly gone. In working with me, my surgeon made sure that my surgery was the last of his day so that in case I was not a candidate for the Maci procedure (the biopsy), then he could go ahead and do the tendon reconstruction at that time.

 

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The Knee Surgery

Everything went well. I woke up very weepy and freezing, but the nurse told me that is very common. The pain I had was a bit much more than I thought it would be at that time, but they gave me something and covered me with some sort of heater thing. I warmed up quickly and thankfully, the tears stopped! Other than that, I felt amazing. I had no anesthesia “hang-over” feeling like I did with my gallbladder surgery. The nurses kept remarking how good I looked. I take it I had a good anesthesiologist! I ended up being a great candidate for the Maci procedure so I will be having a second surgery some time in 2019.

Knee Surgery Recovery

Knee surgery recovery has not been that bad. I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised. Friday (two days after surgery) was the worst day. I could not get comfortable to save my life and I took the most pain pills that day. Other than that, I haven’t really needed the pain medication.

So…What have I been doing?

I am, by no means, an expert, but here are the knee surgery recovery things I’ve been doing that has helped me tremendously over the course of the last for days.

  1. One of the things my surgeon told me to do, was take Tylenol three times a day. If I need a pain pill in between taking the Tylenol, then take it. So that’s what I did from day one. Total, since surgery, I’ve only taken four pain pills.
  2. Another thing the surgeon recommended is that I take magnesium. Apparently there are studies that taking magnesium with the Oxycodone will help prevent the patient from needing to up their pain pill dose due to tolerance.
  3. If you are having surgery and your hospital does not send you home with an ice machine, ASK for one or BUY one. I have the DonJoy Iceman Clear3knee surgery recovery and it is amazing. For the first four days after surgery, I was able to continuously ice my knee. It really helped with pain and swelling.
  4. Do your exercises. My surgeon gave me a list of four exercises that he wanted me to start the very next day. Do them. Even if they hurt…do them. It will get better, but it will help the recovery process.
  5. Take Colace. Trust me on that one. Take it. The last thing you want is to be laid up and constipated. Pain medication will constipate you.

Aside from those five knee surgery recovery tips, I have been keeping myself busy by reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. I have to say, after being as busy as I am on a daily basis, it is rather nice to be able to sit back and taking it a bit easy for a little while!

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Top 5 Tips for Dieting Success

Making the decision to make drastic lifestyle changes can be a difficult one. If we’re being honest, it’s WAY too easy to not make changes. However, my about three years ago, my husband and I made the choice to drastically change our lifestyle. We were done being fat and out of shape. Over the course of the last three years, I have learned a lot about my body and what I needed to do for dieting success. These are my tips.

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dieting success

Pre-Plan Your Day

One of the first things I found to help me be successful day after day, whether I was doing the Keto diet or Weight Watchers (WW), was to pre-plan my day. Whether you are using apps like My Fitness Pal, Carb Manager, or the WW app, start your day out right by pre-planning it out. What I do is, I eat breakfast, log that information, and then I input my dinner. That way I know what I have left for the rest of the day. I used to say I didn’t have will power. However, I think that by pre-planning my day, it taught me how to have will power. I never ate something I didn’t have tracked in my app. Try it…it’s a great tool for dieting success!

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Drink Your Water

I know…I know…this is one of those dieting success tips that we are always hearing about, but it’s so true. Not staying hydrated is so bad for us, for so many reasons. If you are like me, you may get bored drinking water. One of the things I do every day is fill my glass water bottle with ice, put a few drops of Young Living lemon oil, and fill with water. I find that drinking the lemon water helps me get my daily intake of water in, and not get bored with plain old water.

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Take Measurements

This is probably one of the most important dieting success tips. So many times, people (me included) will get discouraged when they are making lifestyle changes because the number on the scale is not budging. The day you decide to make your lifestyle changes, take measurements. Write them down. Once a month, take new measurements. Even if the scale doesn’t seem to be moving, I promise, if you are sticking to your diet, you will see your measurements changing. For almost one entire year, the scale didn’t seem to budge. However, I dropped another pant size and I went from needing an XL shirt to needing a L or sometimes a M. So pick up a measuring tapedieting success and get measuring!

Don’t Worry What the Scale Says

This next dieting success tip goes right along with the last one. You will never hear me say, “don’t step on the scale” because I don’t believe that. I believe we should weigh ourselves. Shoot, when I did the Keto diet, I was so freaked out that it wasn’t going to work, that I weighed myself every single day for a few months. The idea of eating fat to lost weight was one I could not wrap my mind around in the beginning. However, if your scale is not budging, don’t worry. Remember, take those measurements. Plus, at the end of the day, if your clothes are fitting looser, then you know you are doing something right, despite what that scale says!

Tomorrow is a New Day

We all slip up. It happens. Don’t let it completely derail you. At the end of the day, remember that tomorrow is a new day. If you allow a slip up to completely throw you off course, it will be harder to get back on track. Simply finish out your day and start your next day back on track with pre-planning your day, etc. I know you can do it!

Figuring out what works for you takes a little time. These 5 tips are what helps me stay on track. I have one more tip for you. We can call it a bonus tip. For me, paying for a service, whether it be the premium version of My Fitness Pal or Carb Manager, or signing up for Weight Watchers online, has helped me stay accountable. I don’t like to waste money!

What are your dieting success tips?