It has been way too long since I have written here. Much has happened or changed, even though right now I feel like I'm treading water.
Leading with the hips was good advice. I still follow it. I still have to tell myself, though, consciously. My physical therapist says I am walking much better, my back is straighter, and my knees are "softening". He says they no longer bounce back when he presses down on them. It's been a long time, this straightening. Most people do not have to spend so much time doing this. On the other hand, my therapist told me of another woman who has not put the time in as I have and who is now bent over and whose knees are bent more than before. He compliments me on my persistence.
Hip pain is a distant memory. I never have it any more, either during the day or the night. My experience is much like others who have had this surgery. Easy and done.
My main complaint when I walk is lower back pain. This is largely because I still don't have the best posture, and I know my weight makes it worse as well. Nevertheless, I have walked across the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan two years running - that's five miles across, and last September was cold and windy - and while I did feel back pain it was not enough to deter me or even cause significant discomfort. I felt like I managed it better in 2014 than in 2013. Not as tired, not as hurt, even though I had not done much to get ready for it.
Still in therapy. Still working on getting my knees straight, but also working on my right shoulder. I developed a constant ache in my arm and finally went in to see what was up, got referred to the physical therapist again. Actually, this turned out to be a good thing, because Medicare was no longer paying for my leg therapy. The therapist was "carrying" me. I didn't want that to keep happening so now I go in for rotator cuff damage and the knees get thrown in, so to speak. The tendon is not torn, I am happy to say. At this point much of the pain has gone away. The therapy is working. It's a delicate area, though, and one must be careful not to put too much weight or strain on it too soon. I also am working on elbow damage, different from the rotator cuff.
What with the shoulder, knee, elbow, and hip work I am in the therapy office for 1-3/4 hours each time now, three times a week. I use weights, a roller thing, and eight machines and do a total of 23 different exercises. I have a rubber band to use for shoulder exercises when I travel. I tell people I am working my way through all my joints. I sure hope that isn't actually true. I look forward to getting out of physical therapy.