When Life Brings You Lemons… It’s Knee Surgery For Me

knee surgery


Yep, knee surgery. All of that exercise I have been doing is catching up with me.

You have been there through all of our adventures, from the big move from Orange County, to the buying of the fixer upper and subsequent renovation, my dad’s illness and death, our temporary move to Seattle, all of the fun travel and food adventures and now I am sharing my injured knee adventure.

I have to admit, I have been wallowing in a little self-pity. I don’t like to sit still for long, hobble from place to place, I can’t exercise, walk the dog or more importantly TRAVEL, it is sure frustrating. HOW IS A TRAVEL BLOGGER SUPPOSED TO DO HER JOB WHEN SHE CAN’T TRAVEL?


I cancelled my Christmas trip to New York (Craig still went) and I am pretty disappointed. UGH! I never took my health for granted and I was always grateful to be able to participate in all of the activities I desired, but everything has come to an abrupt screeching halt.

Rocco and me on the Oregon Coast


In late November, while walking Rocco, my knee started to hurt and then got progressively worse. I found a great orthopedic physician, got the necessary MRI and found that I have torn my meniscus in my right knee. Who knows how it ultimately tore, but it did and now it needs fixing. I do understand that this is not the biggest injury in the world, and MANY of you have dealt with this type of injury. That my friend is exactly why I decided to write about it.

In the past I have written a great deal about the Inevitablility of Change in the Empty Nest. My gosh we certainly have to learn to go with the flow and learn to change with the times. Our kids are out of the house and we now have the time to focus on ourselves, our hopes our dreams and our passions.

We deal with the unpredictability of our parents’ health and many of us become caregivers. We even have the deaths of our parents to endure and our hearts to mend when they pass.

Midlife can be challenging can’t it? Lately, I haven’t really felt like my “sunny” self, but I do have wonderful friends who helped put my setback in to perspective. They suggested that maybe, just maybe, it is time to slow down, stay home a little more, focus on quiet activities and just give in to this forced rest.

My good friend Barbara broke her leg not too long ago and she shared that while convalescing, she worked on photo projects, caught up on TV shows and movies and actually read a book during the day! She said “these are all activities I like to do, but they often get squeezed out because I am too busy running around.”

She also shared how it gave her a good idea who was there for her and made her realize that maybe she need to do a better job at being there for others. I personally know how dedicated and thoughtful she is, but I do understand her point.

We can always to more for others.

Our close friend Ellen, has suffered through about ten surgeries! Where was I during all of these challenging times? I was there, but I could have done a whole lot more for her. She never complained, she just persevered and healed after each of these surgery setbacks.

Her story should be enough to get me to stop whining! Don’t you think? I know that every situation is different.

I started out feeling sorry for myself and then realized that I am so very fortunate. I have health insurance, access to great doctors, family and friends who care for me and my sweet Rocco who will sit by my side through this whole knee surgery adventure.

The challenges in our lives always teach us more than the triumphs, don’t you agree?

Can I also give a huge shout out to my sweet husband who is doing everything! He now has to walk the dog, go to Trader Joes, do all of the daily vacuuming (lots of dog hair), etc. I haven’t even had the surgery yet! He travels every week and has work stress to his eyeballs, he doesn’t need a gimpy, helpless wife to have to take care of!

I am certain that you and/or someone you know has had to deal with unexpected midlife health issues. What I do know for sure is that we all need to prioritize our health. Because I have focused on good health for years, my recovery won’t be nearly as bad and my risks are so much lower.

Do you focus on your health as much as you should? Are you getting regular exercise, eating right and taking vitamins? Keeping our immune systems strong will help to fend off potential viruses this winter too.

I may be out of touch for a bit in the New Year, but I wanted to give you the heads up and to hear about your experience with this type of knee surgery or midlife health problems.

Thanks for listening!

Take good care of yourself,


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38 thoughts on “When Life Brings You Lemons… It’s Knee Surgery For Me”

  1. Wow, this is big news–sorry that you are going through this. Over the years I’ve had several surgeries that have left me in wheelchairs for weeks on end. The last one was two years ago. My husband and my friends have been terrific. BUT I had to learn to accept being dependent and ask for help. It isn’t easy, but it also wasn’t awful either. Good luck. Call if you want to talk.

    • I know that you have had some serious health issues Heidi. I am glad to see that you are doing so well now! Thank you for the good wishes and for your comments. 🙂

  2. Suzanne,

    I believe we all take our health for granted at one time or another if we’ve been blessed to be healthy. When you are ill or injured, that changes quickly. I’ve had shoulder surgery and dealt with the difficulties of being a one-armed woman. I was seriously ill and bed-ridden for the better part of a year when I was in my twenties. I think those times have taught me that every day is a gift, who and what is TRULY important in life and not to sweat the small stuff. If anyone can make lemonade out of lemons, it’s you! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    • Jan, I think being a one-armed woman is way worse! I will be attempting to make lots of lemonade! Thank you always being there for support! Merry Christmas, xo

  3. Yikes! Knee issues, bah humbug!

    I feel you sister! No… I REALLY feel you! 🙂 I’ve had 2 surgeries for torn meniscus and an ACL graft, all on the same knee! Now, the only thing separating my bones is the arthritis that has formed over the years of abuse I’ve placed on my knee. No cartilage to cushion, but not sure I want a knee replacement…yet.

    Just keep using the knee, as the doctor recommends, keep a healthy weight and strengthen the knee “box” once you can exercise again! Let’s start hiking/walking together again… us old ladies/gimps need to stick together!

    You can and will get through this. You will be surprised how resilient you are!

    Love you!

  4. Suzanne,

    I am sending you healing thoughts as well as warm holiday wishes. So much of our physical makeup is tied to our emotional attitude and since you exude such positivity, I am confident your recovery process and healing time will be seamless and swift!

  5. Suzanne I am similarly active and had same surgery in July.
    1. Invest in a Polar Ice Cube which is an inexpensive machine that circulates icewater around your knee post-surgery. Helps significantly with pain and all that swelling.http://www.sourceortho.net/polar-care-cube-system/?gclid=CLG3-9rX79ACFUxLDQodwdcFPw lots of different ones, Mine looked kind of like this. Less than $150 and the best money you’ll ever spend.
    2. If you don’t already do yoga, START! It will help you regain your flexibility post surgery. I had surgery on Wednesday hit yoga on Friday with surgeon’s blessing. I could do very little but it was a start. Back to yoga almost every day now.
    3. Don’t let them scare you. I walked out of my surgery.
    4. Go to PT AS SOON as they let you. Until then, use polar ice and Netflix.
    5. My PT was adamant I either take spin classes or buy a spin bike. I was reluctant, but fear is a great motivator. Didn’t care for the class, recommend Peloton,https://www.pelotoncycle.com/ expensive but worth it.
    6. I have returned to yoga), biking, hiking, golf (it was left knee), tennis, and soon: skiing. All with blessing of both surgeon and PT. I bike daily but live in cold Northeast so you may be able to just bike outside. Best thing in the world for your knee rehab.

  6. Sorry you are going through this. Pain is NO FUN. I’ve had many surgeries, and of course, Randy’s double lung transplant was a whammy. He also had knee surgery. Get it fixed, do your physical therapy and yoga, and get back on the path! Wishing you the merriest, and happiest, and then, the fastest recovery!

    • Thank you Tam! I know this surgery isn’t the most difficult, but all of these positive vibes are sure going to help me out. Thank you so much! It is also so great to see Randy doing so well!

  7. Suzanne, I understand what you are going through and it’s no fun! Calvin & I both have had a torn meniscus, it’s painful! I am not good with crutches at all so I had a hard time getting around at first. Get a ice machine, it’s worth it, you will use it even after your surgery. A friend of mine said her husband and daughter had many knee surgeries and she is the one that said get an ice machine. So glad we did. The one we got is called a Kodiak, let me know if you want more info. I still use ours every once in a while when I have been on it all day. I will be praying for you and the doctor! Let me know the date of your surgery. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a speedy recovery. I am here is you need me.

  8. Are you having a replacement or repair? Either way- if they offer a spinal I highly recommend it and if you are getting a replacement ask if they do ‘post op saphenous block’ – our knee replacement patients are so comfortable with these . Also do your physical therapy! Will check in from afar!!

  9. Best of luck with your surgery, Suzanne. As others have said, this procedure can be pretty straightforward, and with your positive energy and overall good health, you should be thru it without difficulty. Have faith and stay focused on the positive. Merry Christmas!

  10. Wishing you the best and I know you won’t let this get you down! Hey, and you know what? It’s ok to take a break from being your sweet bubbly self~ We still love ya! Just think, you will be bopping like a teen by the time Milwaukee rolls around, right?

  11. Suzanne,
    Please keep me posted on your surgery date. Again, we would love to see you guys beforehand (if possible) or as soon as you’re feeling up to going out after you’ve healed a bit. In the meantime, hang in there! I can only imagine how frustrating it is. I’m a whining baby when I have the sniffles or a kink in my neck. I remember when I first met Jon one of the things he said, that his father had passed along in his wisdom, is that “your health is everything.” I was so young and naive and invincible-feeling at the time that I didn’t truly grasp the meaning, but as I’ve grown older and watched how one’s health affects every aspect of that person’s life as well as their loved ones’ lives, I get it! I’m thinking of you. Sending a big hug. Wonderful post–so genuine!

    • Angela – So true, your health is everything. Everything I do is tied to an activity! Thank you for the virtual hugs and I will keep you up to date. We would love to see you too.

  12. Hi Suzanne! I was experiencing knee pain this past year. They discovered two tears, but felt sugery wasn’t necessary. I had PT for a month, which helped the pain and swelling. Now I manage it with the exercises they taught me as well as Pilates classes. We will be in the Pasadena area over the holidays. I will check in with you and see if I can help out! Just think of all the movies, books and magazines you can catch up on, as well as all of the recipes you can try!

  13. Suzanne, You know a bit of my back story. I am pretty healthy except for a few set backs, 1 major illness, that tested my will! About 5 years ago, I had to use that will to over come another painful hospital stay accociated with the major surgery that caused scare tissue, some how I was blessed with grace and the symthoms undid itself through all the testing, God is good, I was so grateful to not have to suffer through major surgery, again!!! I recovered slowly, my body went through atrophy but I had muscle memory on my side from me putting in the work of being dedicateded to exercising, I was ecstatic when I recovered. Well, a year later I fractured my right metatarsal, it took me a year and a half to feel really grounded. Through it all I am just grateful to have another day enjoying the beauty of life with the ones I love the most.. These days I try to excersice but my happiness is not hinged on the obsssession of going over board of moving my body to exhaustion each and every day but instead I have made changes in moderation in excersing my friend to stay healthy at this mature age. Yes, most days I feel twenty but my body remainds me differently, the more mature body can only take so much repetition before it forces us to slow down, usually through a injury, or set back. I had to change my attitude of what fit feels like, which does not mean a size which I will most likely never be again so now I focus on the quality of life and even the enjoyment of doing more for family, and others. So glad I did, because I would have missed out on so many memories which I will have to relay on since I will truly be a empty nester the end of February. Working out will be there once again to help me cope with my heart missing my children but I look forward to the challenge of getting healthy and working out in moderation to fulfill a goal I have always wanted, I just needed this time to plan my healthy attack on truly being fit inside and out, for me, in a non-obsessed way!

    Good Luck on your health journey, embrace the lessons that are meant just for you. It will be a learning time for you so be patient and remember this is the first tine your at this place so it is Ok to not have everything all figured out all at once!!! Take the time to smell the roses as you recoveri in your beautiful remodaled home.

    Blessings, Marilyn White

    • Wow – What beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing them with me and everyone else! You are so right, this is uniquely my journey, and I need to be aware of the all of the nuances and signs. Thank you again Marilyn. You are a special person and a dear friend. xo Suzanne

  14. We were 6 months into travelling the world without catching a plane indefinitely when my husband had s nasty incident zip lining in Khao Lak. He had always known he would have to have a knee replacement as a result of soccer injuries 25 years ago, but not this early.
    His knee was so bad we ended up seeing a surgeon in Thailand. He was operated ion at end of June and within 4 weeks we were off travelling again. He was so determined to heal properly and religiously did his exercises every day and still does them 5 months later.
    Had we gone home to Australia for the operation it would have taken months to see a specialist then have the op and then rehab. So we decided to get it done in Thailand. We are now 10 months travelling and all is good with him. Thank goodness.
    We also try to get s hotel with a gym if we can, and also walk a lot in each place we visit. David is 55 and I’m 60
    Hope all goes well for you

    • What in inspiring story! Thank you for the taking the time to share it. I am super glad that your husband is doing so well! Safe travels!

  15. Hi Suzanne! So sorry to hear you are facing surgery but agree with you that you just have to face, see the gifts and then heal and move on. I’ve known others who were too afraid of the surgery and from then on just slowly stopped doing anything active. Not an option for me — or you! You will get through this. And I’m guessing the lemonade will be pretty tasty too! ~Kathy

  16. Hi Suzanne! So sorry to hear you are facing surgery but agree with you that you just have to face, see the gifts and then heal and move on. I’ve known others who were too afraid of the surgery and from then on just slowly stopped doing anything active. Not an option for me — or you! You will get through this. And I’m guessing the lemonade will be pretty tasty too! ~Kathy

    • Hi Kathy – Why on earth would we slow down when we have so many adventures to take! Thank you for your kind words of support! With all of this good karma going around me, I know I will do just fine.


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