Knee Replacement #3

The Initial Injury

Reflecting back on the initial injury:

Today was spent at the Mayo Clinic doing all sorts of pre-op work for Monday morning’s surgery for knee replacement surgery #3.  As I prepare for yet another surgery, my mind can’t help but going back over this journey that began on January 31, 1981.

I think about how essential living life from a position of having a bended knee is. Bending our knee (the knee of our souls)  to the One who Created us and has a plan and purpose for our lives.  Bending our knee means saying…”I submit myself to you and to your will and I surrender trying to be boss of my own life.”  I don’t know about YOU but I know I kind of like to “control” life..mine and others.  The journey of my physical knee began on that day in 1981 but so did a spiritual journey of brokenness.  I realize that I am STILL learning about surrendering and trusting the Lord of my life, Jesus. I am NOT in control and I desire to live from that place of brokenness,  humility and prayerful trust.

Thinking back on January 31, 1981:

  • I was a youth director with a great group of youth in Mankato, MN.
  • We were enjoying a great skiing weekend retreat at Welch Village.
  • Last run of the day, I was heading into the chalet to get things ready for the evening I had planned for them. The young people insisted I come with them for “one last run” and they would help me to assure I didn’t fall as I was such a novice.
  • Youth were at bottom of hill, side of hill, top of hill, yelling words of instruction and encouragement to me…..but none of the cheering on could help the icy conditions and the lack of snowplowing experience….off the side of the hill I went, landing knee first into a rock.
  • That fall began a journey. Even through the ambulance ride to Red Wing, and the news that I had broken my femur and my tibia, I STILL thought…..”I planned an awesome retreat..slap on that cast and bring me back there as I have it all planned out!”  Proverbs says:  “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
  • The beginning of this 33 year journey began with an ambulance ride from Red Wing to United Hospital in St. Paul in the midst of a blizzard strapped to a hard board while  in excruciating pain.

The journey included a month in the hospital, surgeries, screws and pins in the tibia,my  leg hanging in traction for a couple of weeks which didn’t work so rods were put inside the bone instead. Another month of rehab and recovery at home with my parents. Much laying on my back in broken surrender hearing the still small voice tell me “Be still and Know that I am God”.

It is 33 years later and back to a hospital I go. After many scope surgeries, countless hours of PT and  2 knee replacements and manipulations that have not worked… I am going for the third. I know this is yet another lap on my journey of life.

Here is what I find myself reflecting on as I approach this next surgery.

  • Perseverance:   How we Americans like things NOW. I am reflecting on the character of perseverance and patience. How patient God is with us. “Give me that same quality, Lord”.  I think about the verse..”ask and keep on asking”. That is what I am choosing to persevere in praying and seeking healing and the ability to walk without pain.

    Romans 12:12   “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”.

  • Surrender:  I think I am a slow learner on this one but I pray I can keep letting go and allow the brokenness to be inner and outer.
  • Be Glorified.  I trust and believe that what Satan means for evil, God can use for the good and for His glory. This is my heartfelt prayer that in this and through this that God would be lifted up and glorified.

So..some of you have asked, what are the details? Here they are!

Eric and I will go to Rochester on Sunday night. The surgery is Monday morning. My surgeon, Dr. Arlen Hanssen is one of the best surgeons there is.

He will remove the entire knee replacement (upper and lower). They asked me if I wanted it cleaned up to take home with me or if I wanted to donate it to grad research projects.  Hmm…let me ponder that.  Too funny! Can’t imagine keeping that thing. Although with hindsight maybe it would have been therapeutic to hammer it and cause pain to it like it has caused  me.  🙂

Dr. Hanssen has confidence that he will get my knee straight again with the hope that I will be able to keep it straight. He is not sure if I will get much more bend but if I can get it straight again then it will be well worth all of this.

I will be at Mayo probably until Thursday and then back home.  His philosophy is for me to do my own exercises as having someone else force your knee is much more likely to cause scar tissue. Sounds like a much nicer, smarter rehab plan this time around.  It will be a 6-8 week recovery with a strong reminder that it takes an entire year for full recovery so again I must be a patient patient!

I do have a vision of doing a 5k walk…maybe this fall or maybe spring of 2015 but I am hoping a whole group of friends, family and prayer supporters will walk with me to give God Glory for His faithfulness and His patience and His love.

Thanks for your prayers and friendship. I love you all.