I had bilateral knee replacement 3 years ago at the age of 44. LIke you I was terrified but my quality of life had become so poor I didn't see another option. Additionally, I realized that the longer I waited, the more I feel my poor knee alignment was effecting other joints in my body, so personally I'm a fan of doing it earlier rather than later.
I was lucky in that I had a situation where I was between jobs and had a significant savings so I could take my time healing. The surgery was done on one day and I stayed in the hospital 5 days. Yes it is painful, particularly the first few days, but trust me they kept me pretty drugged up so it was manageble. Also, I was given a nerve block so that helped with the initial pain after coming out of surgery. Then again, everyone has different pain tolerance levels. I'm not super low, but I'm not super high in my tolerance either.
I am glad I chose to do both at the same time, provided your physical health allows for it. For one thing, if your knees are equally bad--as mine were--it would be hard to be trying to heal one knee while the other is still compromised. I met a few people in physical thereapy who had them done a couple of months apart, and to me that seemed like just dragging the process out twice as long. Also, by doing them together you get to work on learning how to walk properly again on both knees a the same time.
It is important to have someone at your home who can assist you post surgery. While they makes you start walking / standing immediatly (like the day after the surgery) you can only do it for limited periods. Definitey prepare for this in advance.
Finally, I'd say the healing stages were marked at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 18 months ...before you really feel like you have completely healed. Personally, I sitll have pain from scar tissue and I think probably some nerves got damaged in the surger, but compared to the excrutiating pain I experienced daily for the years before the surgery, it's much better. I can walk without crying, I can get up and down stairs faster, all in all it's an improvement...but not perfect.
Hope this helps...and good luck with whatever you decide.View Thread