I had just turned 27 when I first experienced pain getting up and out of bed in the morning. It started in my left knee, the swelling, the stiffness, the throbbing pulsating pain. After a series of tests I was diagnosed with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was put on serious medication to manage the pain and to put the arthritis into remission.
I finally got to the point where I felt like the arthritis was in control and the pain was manageable. My husband and I were desperate to try for a second child. Doctors explained that the medication I was on would have a serious impact on the foetus should I fall pregnant, so I decided to take a risk and go off my meds in an effort to have another baby. Unfortunately my condition got worse and the disease was very active and had now affected my right knee as well as my left. My left knee became disfigured, I had to walk on the balls of my feet. Then I lost all feeling in that leg. I dragged it behind me when I walked as though it wasn't part of me.
I worked in the same hospital as the surgeon who eventually did my op. Every day I used to pass him in the passage. He would point at me and without saying a word he had this look in his eye as if to say “why are you suffering, why are you putting yourself through this?”. The day I arrived for my appointment he shook his head as he couldn’t believe I had finally plucked up the courage to come and see him.
He used new technology called Visionaire where they designed blocks that exactly fit my knee. After the operation I had to go for extensive physiotherapy and basically had to learn to walk all over again. My brain had to relearn how to connect to my leg and I had to trust the knee that had failed me for so long.
"I now enjoy and appreciate doing the simple things in life, bathing myself, making myself a cup of tea. I have the courage now to go through the same process with my right knee and finally take back my life."
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Smith and Nephew's VISIONAIRE Patient Matched technology is a remarkable new instrumentation system for use in total knee replacement surgery. While traditional instruments are one-size-fits-all, VISIONAIRE technology uses MRI and x-ray images to custom-fit surgical instruments to each patient's unique anatomy. And it is available exclusively with the Smith & Nephew portfolio of high performance knee implants.