How Bad Do You Want It?

I hemmed. I hawed. I limped. I crawled. I negotiated. I meditated. But this dang knee isn’t healing itself, and it damn sure can’t take me biking and hiking like I want. So it is with some foot stomping that I will have surgery June 23.

In 20 years, my family doctor has not steered me wrong. When she said that the fancy “buff n’ shine” that my orthopedic surgeon proposed is my best option for extending the life of my original parts, I decided to heed her advice.


Accepting that surgery is my best option is a lot like when I accepted that losing weight was my best option. I’d tried to deny I was obese, but it’s hard to ignore 300 pounds, just as it’s hard to ignore a knee that’s constantly going out. Once I got honest with myself about my weight, I developed a plan, and life felt lighter even before I lost a pound.

I’m putting together a plan for this knee business, too. Six to 12 weeks recovery time seems like forever right now, but I’ll stick with it – moment by moment, just as I did with weight loss. I’ll do everything I can to recover in as short amount of time as possible.

What a change from my non-exercising days. Back then, if a doctor had said, “Lynn, you can’t work out for 6-12 weeks,” I’d have been ecstatic!

“Woohoo! I ‘can’t’ exercise! I have a doctor’s excuse and everything!”

But now – in this place of weight loss and changed mind and eagerness (yes, EAGERNESS) to exercise – I can’t wait to rehab so I can get back to doing what I love to do: hiking, biking, elipticizing. Heck, just walking without fear of falling will be fabulous!

I can’t deny that I’m a little scared that the moment the surgeon’s scalpel cuts my skin, 170 pounds will seep in along with those old excusive habits. This will be the biggest test in maintenance so far. Can I hang on to this weight? Well, as Don Henley asks, “How bad do you want it?” Answer: I’ve never wanted anything as badly than for this last time down the scale to BE the last time down the scale. I really want it bad enough.

So, I’ll keep on keepin’ on. I’ll eat well, move when I can, and ask for help (online and off) when I need it. No more scary silent worrying. I’m done with that. I have a plan. And looking on the bright side, for a few weeks after surgery, I’ll get to ride around WalMart in a scooter! Beep beep!

So my question to you is: how bad do you want it? And what are you doing to get it?

15 thoughts on “How Bad Do You Want It?

  1. You rock through the recovery Lynn. Each day that you pass brings you one step closer to being 100%.
    6-12 weeks will fly by before you know it, and truthfully – you will already be active before a couple weeks are out.

  2. Lynn, I think your great attitude about getting better as soon as possible is half the battle. I did not gain weight after my knee surgery (and I take prednisone) so I bet you will not deal with weight gain because you are so careful. Plus there are other things you can do while recuperating–like weights for the upper body. Plus if you let your PT know post surgery what you want in terms of healing, he or she will push you.

    As for myself, I knew I wanted to be active, and that is why I had surgery. I am so glad I did. My knees are not perfect, and they never will be–but the surgery has helped a great deal.

    I think you will feel much better after your surgery, and that it is a good thing!

  3. Plus Lynn, just imagine how much faster and better your recovery will be with your low weight now as compared to how difficult recovery would be if you had to have surgery at 300 pounds! I admire you for accepting this and making a plan.

  4. I just know you will do well!

    I've needed total knee replacements for about 10yrs, but was too heavy to qualify for surgery. I have to lose wt FIRST before I can get new knees to exercise. Hmmm… a catch 22!

    I wanted to let you know about some exercise DVD's I just got–in case you might be interested during recovery–that are all chair exercises.

    I got mine here:

    I bought Chair Boxing (love it!), and Chair Yoga, and Chair Beach Party Aerobics (haven't tried them yet). Believe it or not, the boxing really gets your heart rate going!

    They also have chair salsa dancing, chair tai chi… and even chair belly dancing!


  5. Lynn,
    Lot's of luck. I went through knee surgery and ankle surgery after I lost weight. I will say my weight fluctuated, but I kept it in control and I got it off again once I was moving, but it is hard.

    I have a few suggestions to share – I made a bunch of meals before the surgery so I could just pull them out of the freezer and reheat. It gave my family a break from having to make dinner every night too.

    For my ankle I had to sit in a chair with it elevated for 9 weeks – SCARY! I brought in a desk chair with rollers so I could roll around and take care of simple needs. that was a life saver because I'm a control freak who hates to depend on anyone. Sure I had crutches, but I couldn't use crutches to pop the low-fat eggplant lasagna in the oven – the roller chair was a saving grace.

    We live on a lake with a great back deck. Before the surgery I brought the porch swing to a place that was easy for me to hobble to so I could at least feel like I could take part life outside.

    We took the shower doors off the tub and purchased a shower seat that I could scootch around on with a long handled shower head, which allowed me to at least bathe myself after I was no longer on the kick-ass drugs.

    My helpers packed a cooler beside my favorite chair every morning so I could at least dig around and get some stuff for myself. I kept small tables on each side of the chari full of writing paper, computer, address books and junky novels. I also make jewelry so I tried to putter some hours away wiht that hobby, again once I was done with drugs. It at least gave me something to do besides thinking about food.

    Most importantly, when someone called to ask what they could do – I gave them a list, which usually included – come visit me and bring dinner for my poor family. It was hard asking for help, but it was really necessary.

    Take advantage of the temporary handicap sticker too – on those big adventures out when you are lucky to have someone take you to a movie, you don't want to waste your energy trying to hobble up to the ticket window.

    sorry to write a book – if you want to chat more about it, let me know.

    Best of luck,

  6. I just recently discovered your blog and am looking forward to reading and learning from your weight loss. I just read about your rocking chair and can totally relate to that story. I have one on my porch – every time I sit down I am afraid the arms will pop off! I have 150 lbs to lose. I have probably lost a thousand in my lifetime, but I am convinced this time will be different. Good luck with your surgery!

  7. I am so glad that you are choosing to have the surgery – you are way too young to be so physically incapacitated – especially now that you are so thin and fit…it really makes sense to take care of this now. I shall call you the Bionic Woman – yes, I'm dating myself but I know you know the show, too! The 6-12 weeks will go by no matter what – might as well be recovering from surgery during that time, right?

  8. Lynn… everyone else made suggestions I would have about excercise and eating. I just want to remind you that once you recover you have two wonderful g-babies that will enjoy you taking them out on hikes and bike rides. 6-12 weeks is nothing in relation to how long you will have fun with them.

  9. what kind of knee surgery please?

    I have had two surgeries and maintained both times.

    the first one had no exercise of any kind (sinus) – so could not do hand weights, cardio, not even tummy crunches – from the first week in November until February. so yes, no exercise and the holidays too – and I maintained. And I was a newbie then – clueless.

    Second surgery blew out my lower back (ablation and d&C and it was undoubtedly positioning during surgery). This was the best thing that ever happened to me in a very backwards kind of way. My physical therapist taught me how to REALLY work my body. I can do more now than I could do before and I am a lot stronger now.

    I think you have worked with really good ones in the past – but I say this for anyone else reading –

    Make sure to find a physical therapist that will work with you as an athlete and not just as someone that wants to be able to get on and off the toilet and in and out of car.

    There is a big difference.

    My PT and my doc worked between them to get me the most PT time available (added a lot of other body parts to the order) and the PT worked me out each time I was there (3x per week).

    Like was dripping with sweat and had worked my whole body.

    as an 'athlete' part of what she had to do was teach me to work my whole body around/protecting my lower back. So we (literally) did every kind of exercise I would ever do – so she could teach me correct positioning with my lower back.

    she also had me warm myself up and put me on the treadmill (at end) – on my own – so it was not counted as her time and she could really work me in the middle.

  10. You guys are the best 🙂 Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll be checking out those DVDs, too.

    And Sondra, thanks for the g-baby reminder. They will motivate me more than anything to get back asap.

    As for the type of surgery, he'll be doing three things: the Magnuson Procedure, a synvoectomy (in which he'll also remove several bony growths due to synovial osteochondromatosis), and he'll remove the Baker's cyst in the back of my knee (thus I'll have two incisions).

    My leg will be put into a passive motion machine immediately after surgery and I'll get to take it home with me *yippy* to use 4-6 hours a day for about 2-3 weeks. BORING!

    But then…I'll have all of you to keep me company, right? LOL

  11. I'm sure you could do upper body exercises throughout your recover, no? Maybe lift some arm weights or do some chair aerobics or something…
    I hope your recovery goes smoothly either way.
    Take care!

  12. Wow, you are amazing! I am so happy for you and am facing a similar dilemma. My problem is I like red wine too much and alcohol interferes with weight loss. Any suggestions for being able to relax without the need to destroy a diet??

  13. Lynn, As far as working out have you ever considered the total gym, I have one and love it, it's such a nice fluid movement and you can do tons of upper body workouts until you can start to rehab the lower half, it's used in physical therapy often.
    QVC usually has them available on monthly payments. LOVE easy pay.
    Speedy recovery.
    Rhonda Conway (facebook follower)

  14. Just thought I'd let you know I tried out the other two Chair exercise DVD's I bought from:

    They were the Chair Circuit Training Beach Party and the Chair Yoga.

    The first one, eh. Not impressed. It definitely was more like nice gentle stretching than anything aerobic. Very nice if that was what I wanted. Plus, it did use little weights for arm strength.

    The second one, Chair Yoga: LOVED. Which so surprised me. I had never done any type yoga before… the Warrior poses reminded me of Tai Chi. I was surprised that at the end I felt like I had used all the muscles, head to toes. I had to modify a couple of the stretches, like for the hip flexors, but it was very nice. They all have a short version or a full workout, which runs about 45 ish minutes.

    Now I think I want the one for Tai Chi. 🙂

  15. Hi Lynn.

    Very thought provoking and you're absolutely right on. It has made me take a mental step back and really wonder how bad I want it or not? Thanks for planting a seed towards improved health!

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