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!
The content of this post is not considered to be medical advice or replace consultation with a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Speak to your doctor to decide if joint replacement surgery is right for you. Individual results may vary and not all patients will return to the same level of activity. The opinions expressed in this post represent the experiences of the author and not the opinions of ConforMIS.