It has been a long time since I have written anything here! It isn't that there hasn't been anything to say. I just have a habit of getting out of habits after a while. Writing here was a habit.
It is almost a year since my second surgery, and I am still in therapy. I must emphasize that this does not mean that anything went wrong or that this is any kind of typical experience. Whatever the cause, the muscles in the back of my knees have been resistent to change, particularly to stretching, so that my legs can get straight. My legs do not know what "straight" is. The rest of my body doesn't, either. It has been accommodating this bent person for so long that it doesn't know how to help.
This is not meant to be a tale of woe. I am doing so very well overall. I have a higher energy level (I have always been lazy so it may be hard to tell!), I can walk more, I have many days of almost no pain. The pain I do get is usually in my hips, which is a complicating factor. I still have difficulty at night, although this has not been consistently true through these many months. Mostly I am facing the "restless leg" situation, and it seems to have gotten worse in the last few weeks, after being almost nonexistent for quite a while. I can't make sense of that.
A few weeks ago I went out on the Oceano Dunes to take photographs. It was hard going but I did it, and I was out there for 90 minutes. I can't imagine doing anything like that before surgery. It simply would have been inconceivable. I have done smallish hikes, sometimes finding that any pain in my hip would go away after a while. I really am getting stronger and having less pain overall.
The flex in my knees is great - somewhere around 130 degrees, maybe more. It does not hurt my knees to walk (it often hurts my hip, which is why I don't walk more than I do), but I do tire sooner than I should, because the muscles in my knees never get that moment of rest that they need. When we straighten our knees as we walk, we release the muscles momentarily. I never get this rest. This, at least, is the way my physical therapist explained it, and it makes sense. He says when my legs get straight I will be able to walk much longer and will less discomfort all over.
A couple of other patients at the therapist's office have told me that their legs suddenly went straight. After much time working on them, they suddenly gave in. More, the pain went away. It was no longer painful to have somebody push on those muscles. Lately I have felt greater pain when I stretch on the machine, but less pain when the therapist pushes on my knees. I am taking this as a sign of progress, whether it is or not. A few other patients have told me that I am walking much better, that they see the improvement. It is much harder for me to see, so I am happy that they thought to say so.