Monday, June 21, 2010

Needy Knee

I have a needy knee. Five months ago I found out that I have arthritis--bad.

After examining the x-ray the doctor repeatedly asked me how old I was. "Forty-five," I said, "Just 45."

It turns out that my knee is that of an old lady--a very old lady. The cartilage is completely worn away. When Brian saw the x-ray for the first time this week, he, in his most eloquent way, said, "Whoa! Your knee is toast!"

The irony is so rich. The number one reason I had chosen to be an active adult and exercise regularly is because I didn't want to be a crumpled up, slow moving, poorly-oxygenated old woman. The image I held on to was that of a vibrant, thin, gray-haired octogenarian who was still able to hike and walk and play--to be whomever and to go wherever I wanted.

Me have arthritis? How could this be? How did this ever happen?

I used to run for exercise, but then for some reason my knee started hurting. Maybe I needed new shoes? Maybe I needed to stretch my quads more?

Eventually, I decided to forgo running and try working out on an elliptical instead. It was great. No problems for a good long while.

Five months ago the achey-ness was enough to send me to an orthopedic specialist.

I was given a cortisone shot and promptly forgot about any discomfort. I denied its existence and hoped it would just go away.

Four months or so later (right on schedule) the cortisone shot gradually wore off.

I was really hurting. The pain was waking me up at night.


My kids joked that we needed one of those electric chairs that the old man, Carl, in the movie UP used to descend his stairs.

I returned to the doctor.

I had an MRI (to check for a torn meniscus.) It was negative.

Second cortisone shot.

So grateful!

This time I will not forget. This time I KNOW it is real. It will not go away. I still feel the ache--the knee ache and the heart ache.


How will I cope with this needy knee?


Sister Babcock said...

The wife of our branch president just got her second knee replaced. I think people take care of it hurts worse than the thought of surgery they can't take it any longer. Nice that there are options even though they are terrible.

Jennilyn said...

Ouch! Sorry to hear about the pain. One of my Crohn's meds helps with similar joint pain--loved Vioxx until they wouldn't let anyone take it because of the heart danger. I am a personal fan of cortisone shots, too, but they do wear off...Hope you find relief soon. Surgery always sounds horrible, but I've seen wonderful results (mother-in-law) and she can keep up with the grandkids just fine now. Praying for you!

Shannon said...

I'm dreading the day I hear those words, too. Every time mine ache I wonder if this is the time. Chondroitin helps with cartilage issues. Does it do anything for arthritis? I, too, have heard that knee replacements do a great job of alleviating the pain and getting you back on your feet, but why rush in to something like that?! Good luck. Glad the cortisone shots help for a little while.

Fine Art by Jennifer said...

You sound like you could use a new one. My mom got a new one and it's great.

Deb said...

I'm sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. I will hope for long-term solutions to come your way.

Marianne said...

:-( I'm so sorry, Julie! Hang in there. HUGS!!

Lisa said...

I think that anyone who hasn't dealt with permanent pain has no idea how depressing it can be. Sometimes it sucks me down into the pit of despair! I'm sorry for your bad news. There's nothing worse than finding out your body is destroyed and there's no easy way to fix it. But, the good news is, that if we can hang in there til the end...I'll get a brand new neck, jaw, and shoulder and you'll get a brand new knee! Hooray for hope!

Bryce and Heather said...

Hi Julie! Sorry to hear about the knee. I know I'm just your dorky nephew, but I can't believe that your knee is already giving you that much trouble. You are way too young to have a knee replaced! They say they last around 15 years now. I have seen a few patients that are younger and they recover REALLY fast. Most of the olympic skiers that are in their 20's have had knees done and they are back on the slopes. Sometimes they will do an arthroscopic surgery to clean it up, or now they have what's called a hemiarthroplasty where they only replace half of the knee. Sorry to ramble, but I'm worried about my aunt! If you get the surgery I call I get to be the one to bend it until you get your range of motion back! Good luck and feel free to give me a call!

Lee said...

I seems just like yesterday that you were running up the slopes of Mt. Nebo.