I recently sold "It's Your Choice! Decisions that Will Change Your Life" to Loving Healing Press. It should be released before the end of this year. I'm one of those people who are always looking for wisdom. Whether it's from the mouth of a babe, the sight of the ocean, something you are reading, or a decision you made that turned out to not be so wise and boy are you ever going to learn from that. Life is simpler when you make wise decisions. Your health is better when you make wise decisions and most importantly, making wise decisons makes you feel that you're more in charge of your own life.
So recently I had to make a wise decision about my health and I needed to make it rather rapidly. I had elected a few weeks earlier to have a total knee replacement. An orthopedic surgeon had told me six years earlier that I had the knee of an 85 year old woman and needed a knee replacement. Since I was decades younger than that scary figure I couldn't imagine what I'd done to deserve this. Over the years I was an avid hiker, jogger, basketball and tennis player, and was overall in what I hoped was in excellent shape. I mean, I knew that all this physical exercise was going to add years to my overall health. But....there is a down side to everything and in this case the down side was I'd used up my knee way faster than the average person did. I asked the surgeon if I had any other options. He told me I could do knee exercises to see if that would build up the muscle around the joint and stall on knee surgery which I knew was major surgery that required several days in the hospital after the surgery and weeks if not months of rehabilitation. I opted for the knee exercises. Week after week, month after month I religiously did the knee exercises. While I was at it (I always overdid everything, just in case) I added waist exercises, leg exercises and arm exercises. It all paid off as I rapidly reduced inches from my waist and hips, firmed up my hips and thighs and added tone to my arms. After a couple of years I decided I was done. I'd beat the odds, liked the way my body looked and had no more pain in my knees. Hooray for me. I stopped doing the exercises.
Then, a few months ago (which was about four years after I'd stopped the exercise )I found the knee pain had returned. Another trip to the orthopedic surgeon only this time I chose a different one. He checked the exercises and said I needed a total knee replacement. I moaned and groaned, then went to a different surgeon. Surely someone would tell me I had other options. After all that work it should still be doing great. Nope. Once you stop exercise your muscles astrophied. By now, I'd heard many stories from friends about the horrors of knee surgery as well as the joy of it. I was beginning to think this was similar to giving birth. The labor was painful in the extreme but once they placed the child in your arms you forgot about all the pain as the joy flooded your heart. That was the message from the ones who were not only glad they'd done it but wished they'd done it sooner.
Then there were the ones who had horror stories beyond belief; there were stories about surgeons that botched the surgery, stories about people who needed three or four more surgeries just to get it right and people who weren't able to walk for more than a year and glad to have it even at that late date. This new surgeon recommend I try a knee brace along with a shot of some kind of fluid that was supposed to place a cushion where the cartilage used to be. I opted for the injection and had a brace put on my knee. The injection didn't work, but I found that the knee brace brought great comfort and very little pain. The surgeon had explained how it kept the two bone on bones that I had from touching each other causing the pain. But I decided I'd better go ahead and get the knee replacement done anyway. I took the required class along with my husband who was going to be my coach and was slowly losing the anxiety that the original decision had cost me. Then came the day for the pre-op with the surgeon who was going to do the surgery. This was the first time I'd met him. He introduced himself, shook my hand, shook my husband's hand and asked how I liked the brace. Great! I responded. "Is there any pain?" he questioned. "Nope", Are you able to live your normal life with the brace? "Yup", I said, beginning to feel like I was about to pass a test. "I take my Golden Retriever on a 45 minute hike every morning, keep a 15 room, 3 story house clean, do a couple house a day gardening, run all my errands, do all the finances and pretty much life is great.
"Then why do you want to have surgery?" he asked. My mouth hung open for a minute or two as I thought of a response. "Because I don't want to wear a brace forever," I replied in a feeble voice. "Why not stall as long as you can?" he asked. "This is major surgery, will be incredibly painful, often requiring morphine to deal with it and the physical rehab afterwords is grueling and can often take a year or more." While I digested his words he added, "You should never choose surgery except as a last resort."
I recognized wisdom when I heard it. It didn't take me long to realize that the knee brace and maybe some more knee exercises was the next best step. If things got worse instead of better I could always do surgery except as he put it, "the last resort."
After cancelling any more pre-op meetings, the surgery and any post surgery appointments I walked out of his office thinking I'd just met a rare human being. This doctor probably could have paid for a new BMW with the money he'd make off my surgery. And yet, he had decided to be bluntly honest with me, forcing my brain to look at a new truth. Wisdom, from any source was a great thing!