Before his bones/joints became an obstacle in his life, Lee Majors felt invincible. Even when I was young, playing college football, and I injured my knee, I bounced right back, he says. I figured my body always would be able to repair itself. I think all of us believe thatuntil you begin to age and get hit with deteriorating joints.
Long before Lee encountered poor joint health, he was a Hollywood stuntman, which paved the way for future projects. I worked hard to stay in shape, running every day for miles. And when he got his starring roles in Big Valley, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Fall Guy (among others), his routine got even more rigorous. Those shows were all action shows. They involved a lot of tough, physical activity.
Little did Lee know that his work would lead to joint challenges or that he would find the support he needed from dietary nutrients. But it happened. For 40 years, I put my body through a tremendous amount of work. He pauses, pointing to his left knee and saying, This guys taken a real beating. For years, Lee believed that the occasional stiffness and stinging sensations were minor. He merely accepted these as a result of his demanding career.
Now in his early 60s, Lee began to notice some disturbing changes a few years ago. I started to slow down. And I couldnt do all the things that I love to dolike play golf two or three times a week. An avid outdoorsman, Lee even found it hard to horseback ride. Id get off a horse and dig my foot into the ground and
bam, he grimaces, remembering the shock. It would hit me hard.
His doctor, the famous orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dan Kanell, told Lee that he had few options. One was knee replacement surgery. Another was a return to the drugs Lee already had tried but didnt like because they bothered his stomach. Id save them for rare occasions when I just couldnt take it anymore. Dr. Kanell began seeing Lee every week, draining his knees of built-up fluid. He filled a couple of syringes at a time. I used to joke that I was going in to get my oil changed. Take a quart off, Id say to the doc. But underneath his humor, Lee felt frustrated.
Tired of the repeated doctor visits and waning mobility, Lee felt like giving in. For the first time in his life, he didnt want to be Lee Majors: He wanted to be Steve Austin, his character in The Six Million Dollar Man. Well make him better, faster, stronger. That was the vow of the fictional doctors who replaced Steve Austins damaged limbs with bionic parts.
But Lee realized that this was not TV. Knee replacement is serious stuff. And it actually could have made me worse. The Six Million Dollar Man was one thing, but I wanted to keep my own parts. So he continued to plow ahead, convinced that he would have to live with what he had.