Well, I’ve taken the first step in checking out my knees. They are permanently constricted..that is, they are in a bent position always; I can’t straighten my legs. I’m not sure how long they’ve been that way, several years at least. It kind of snuck up on me without notice. I walked with increasing difficulty with a cane, graduated to a walker and now to a wheelchair when I have to walk more than the length of my garage. My dad had knee replacement surgery, and since I knew I had osteoarthritis, I figured surgery would be required.
I assumed since I was overweight, I needed to lose some weight before bothering to see a doctor. I’ve lost about 85-90 lbs. (without knowing how much the holiday dinners have affected that). This past year has been hard on the knees and my emotions. A fall on the knees in my bathroom back in April or May crippled me for about a month; an extreme bout of cellulitis in my right leg caused a hospital stay and about 3 months of outpatient Lymphedema therapy which caused further deterioration in my mobility; a “mild” case of shingles that lasted about 6 weeks and then the holidays were upon us. It’s been an interesting year!
I went today to a bone and joint clinic to get x-rays and my 1st consultation. We have accumulated about 2 years of medical bills to pay off, so hubby wants me to wait before doing anything extreme, but we needed to get the x-rays and find out my options.
The knee-joint itself with the cartilage is completely gone…bone sits on bone. And since there is no cartilage, the knee has settled a little off-center. The knee cap has damage, the top of the bone under the knee has damage, the back of the knee has damage. That means, I need two complete knee replacements! They would put in a ?metal knee cap, the ?plastic ball joint, and a metal plate on the bottom bone to hook everything together. On top of that, I have really large bone spurs in the knees also, which kind of act like door stops, preventing movement. The new knees I figured I would need. The bone spurs…my daughter was predicting them, but I had never heard of that before.
The surgeries would be done separately. One first, take off 3-6 weeks, depending on how I do. Since I sit at work, possibly would be able to return to work after 2-3 weeks. Then, since both knees are so severe, I would have to do the 2nd surgery within 6-8 weeks of the first, or I would negate the 1st…and it would be a little difficult with one straight knee and one bent knee. So, another 6 weeks off. I work in a mom and pop shop with no paid time off, except a week vacation every year. So…we need to save up money to cover my missed time at work; and will have to wait until we’ve paid off a good portion of our newly acquired medical bills. I asked if we waited a year or so, would they deteriorate more? Probably not, so it’s fairly safe to wait. Pain management is the problem with waiting. I decided to try a cortisone shot in the left knee. I’ll know within 10 days if it helped or not. If it does, and I really like the results, I can go back and get a shot in the other knee. The shots should last me 3-6 months and then we could do it again. I got the impression, that 2 shots in each knee might be the limit.
So, there is relief in knowing exactly what is going on in the knees and that surgery can fix it and that waiting won’t be a detriment. All good things. I was a little nervous going today…an unknown place, unknown doctor, unknown situations…but had prayed that God help me not be afraid and help me in the situation. It was a piece of cake! (Sorry for the pun!) And the shot was not painful for longer than about one second! Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and answer to prayers!
Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!