For more than 10 years, Susan lived with terrible knee pain but was told she was too young to have anything done. As the pain increased and her ability to move around deteriorated, she found it difficult to carry out school duties as a teacher. When she was 53, her surgeon recommended bilateral knee replacements.
“Before the operation, I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t bend,” says Susan. “It got to the point that I couldn’t do anything. Teaching was difficult. I used to work just two days a week, but I had to separate the days just to give myself a few days to recover from that day of work. Just walking lengths of the playground was too difficult to do. I would have ended up in a wheelchair, and I wouldn’t have been able to work.”
She couldn’t even go to a shopping centre, because she knew if you she couldn’t get a close car park it would be too much walking around. “If there was a social or family event, I’d be worried how I was going to manage, and put much thought into ways to minimise walking to, from or during the event.”
Susan says she was a little nervous going into surgery, but wanted to get better so desperately. She took a school term off to give her recovery the best opportunity and took her rehabilitation very seriously. “Even after I completed my two week stay at the rehabilitation hospital, I made up a mini gym at home so I could continue exercising. People had told me you really need to make your joints move to get the best result.”
About six weeks after surgery, she was completely free from knee pain. “Even a few days after surgery, I would describe it as healing pain, not the debilitating pain I was used to. Each day got better and better.”
“I have not looked back one day,” she says. “It’s been life changing. It amazes me to this day that I don’t feel anything. I can walk around. I can even exercise, so I’ve also lost weight since the operation.”
Best of all, she has been able to travel to see her grandchildren in Queensland – something that was never an option before surgery. “This year I’m planning an overseas holiday with girls from school. I’m so excited and now I feel that on any day I could do anything!”