Since my brother proudly kicked out my right patella when I was a little kid, my knee has betrayed me on nearly every level throughout my 51 years of life.
For years I wore special shoes, knee braces, worked the muscles, played tennis and did all the things the doctor recommended. At 40, things began going decidedly wrong and at 43, had arthroscopic surgery to repair damage to the meniscus and tighten the muscles around my patella. That worked well for about six months, until it seemed like my femur was popping away from my tibia. Because I remembered so clearly the pain of that surgery, the one that kept me in a full leg brace for six weeks, I ignored the pain……until this year.
With swelling the size of a cantaloupe and a knee joint that refused to stay in place–quite dangerous while driving mind you, I called the doctor, who recommended physical therapy. Six weeks of that, and the pain and swelling were worse, so I had an MRI and they learned my knee was deteriorating rapidly with meniscal tears and extreme arthritis. I had another arthroscopic surgery with the warning that this would be my last one.
“OK,” I thought to myself. “That’s fine, I don’t want another one of these anyway–they hurt.”
However, after the surgery, there was more physical therapy until they determined there was little to be done other than cortisone injections and then a series of three synthetic joint injections. Those joint injections were a dream for the three weeks they lasted–unfortunately, they can only be given every six months, so I went in for a cortisone booster on Thursday.
Imagine my surprise when I was told that after this injection, there would be no more. No more joint injections, no more cortisone–nothing.
Instead, I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who will be performing total knee replacement on me in the fall.
Words can not express the terror that was coursing through my veins as I recalled the number of my friends who have gone through this surgery, the pain, the physical therapy and the long road to recovery.
On top of that, stupid me decided to watch the surgery on You Tube. After nearly vomiting into the keyboard of my computer upon seeing drills and saws chewing away at the bone, I called a friend. Both he and his wife had the surgery and both tell me that they would do it all over tomorrow if they needed it. Yes, the pain was awful, they said. Yes, the physical therapy left them crying like babies for a few weeks, but after that, the rewards of greater flexibility, and a pain free life was a gift that they never expected.
So, I am trying to put on my brave face and will ready this mind, spirit and body for the surgery. I know that throughout it all, God is with me, along with my husband, family, and fantastic friends.
One more journey on the path……………….