Tag Archives: meniscus repair

Did I mention it has been a rough year for my knee?

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Last August I had knee surgery, a trim that took a third of my right knee’s medial meniscus…and about 10% of my ACL…and smoothed out some of the feathery articular cartilage under the knee cap. The tear was probably caused by poor racewalking form. Yes, racewalking. Yes, there is a correct form. Yes, it 9e31aa0ca2097f85e4fed683b3667e97looks weird anyway, but still, if you do it right you’ve got a lower incidence of injury than runners. Sadly, I can’t run…much. Never have been able to. My lemon knees started manifesting in high school whilst I was “running” the one and two mile (slower than almost everyone else). This attempt at running happened when I was a freshman, and my knees have told me every since, “Um, no. You cannot run. I will hurt you if you do.” And true to form, they have. Every time. Seems my patellar tendons aren’t attached in the correct place, which means my knee cap tracks “off” when I run, causing pain.

Over the years, I have taught aerobics, rock climbed, weight trained, and walked.  Now, I can’t even stroll without some pain. Holy FREAKING cow! I did some church work the other day, work which required me to stand up and sit down a few times more than usual, and what I had hoped would be an hour or two of service work turned into about forty-five minutes. I threw in the towels didn’t even attempt to take the stairs down one flight to the front door. Ugh!

You can go back and look at other posts about my knee, but my most recent issues have been caused by an air bag impact in March, which tore that same meniscus. Based on my fitness level, good health, low weight, and I’m sure the expectation that I would be compliant with physical therapy, my genius surgeon took a risk and tried to repair the torn meniscus, a procedure with a 40% failure rate which is not helped by my “advanced” years (I’m 44!). Well, I was pretty certain the repair had failed early on (ripping, searing, tearing pain while trying to flex my knee on the evening of the first day of physical therapy just didn’t seem O.K.), and the MRI I had last Thursday confirmed it. Four months later and I’m almost back to square one. Yippee. What does this mean for my poor knee? A third surgery; the third on the same knee, for the same meniscus, just two weeks shy of one year since my first surgery.

Sigh.

Despite expecting to hear that news today, it didn’t help keep the flow of tears at bay. I had my cry in the car after leaving the surgeon’s office, then went straight to the gym. I WAS a good, compliant therapy patient. I never intentionally over did it, though the fact that there is still some nerve damage in my knee and my hip has been all jammed up, has served as a constant reminder “take it easy.” At the gym, I do all I can to rebuilt my leg muscles, regain some cardiovascular endurance (bike and elliptical-zzzz…) and strengthen the knee joint. Alas, the odds were just not in my favor.

On the bright side, and I really truly do mean that, this is my silver lining: I have one more month to continue doing the above. Going into surgery on Good Friday, 2015, I was two weeks post car wreck. There was still significant swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the leg. A portion of my difficulty in rehab has to be attributed to some collateral damages from the trauma. Now, most of that has resolved. Swelling is still present, but minimal, and I’d like to think those silly nerves are almost ready to regenerate completely so I can get all of the feeling back in my knee. So, I’ll be even stronger in a month’s time, which will make rehab easier. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back on the road looking stupid again by Columbus Day!

Absolutely how I feel:

 (language alert)

 

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10,000+ Steps Today, but 2 Steps Back: the Knee Saga, part 50

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About 7:15 p.m. C.S.T., while on a rather plodding one mile walk during my youngest’s evening fencing class, my Fitbit buzzed on my wrist, confirming I had reached my daily goal of ten-thousand steps. It was a glorious feeling! I haven’t felt the buzz of my chameleon-like friend in nearly four months, and I have missed it so. The question from here, however, is how many more ten-thousand step days can I rack upfitbit-colors in the remaining days of summer?

Sigh. I suppose I shall find out soon enough. You see, I had my twelve-week post surgery follow-up today, and while things are better than they were on 9 a.m. on March 18th, April 18th, May 18th, and even June 18th, they are still not back to where they were on March 17, when the “only” orthopedic problem I had was a two cm “high-grade” tear of the proximal hamstring tendon (under my butt cheek) in my left leg (at this point, dear reader, I will refer you back to my post of May 18, “A Day in the Life of My Knee,” for the full-story about my surgery). Due to continued pain at the medial joint line and my inability to walk a mile, let me amend that, “stroll” a mile, without pain three months after surgery, my surgeon has ordered a new MRI on my bum wheel.

Once the results come in, he and I will discuss “the future.” What, oh, what will it be? If a “frank” tear, a screaming, blatant, obvious tear is evident in my meniscus, then we will be looking at another surgery, perhaps in the fall. Dear Surgeon, thinking aloud during our tête à tête today, commented that the question would then be whether to attempt another repair or to debride the tissue, leaving me sans a medial meniscus in my right knee. I quickly assured him I was leaning towards removal. I am so sick of being sidelined, that between waiting an additional quarter plus for the outcome of a second procedure that only has 60/40 odds of healing properly and would require another $#@%^!!!! six weeks on crutches or a removal that would have me walking again within days, my answer is, “Get rid of it.”  I know that undergoing a complete menisectomy is starting the clock on a total knee replacement, but that may be ten years dfrustrated-kit-247x300own the line, not my fourth surgery in two years in three to six months if the repair fails again.

Of course, the idea of waiting until the fall if surgery is indicated, gives me time to get stronger, for my very angry hip muscles to relax, for my gait to improve, for the feeling to come back into my knee (nerve damage sucks!), and for me to be in a better frame of mind. All of those things will make recovering much easier on me (and my family), and I could use a little “easier” right now; I could also use a lot of exercise “release.” When you are someone who needs exercise, who craves the outdoors, but you have to put all of those desires upon the shelf for a season, well, I think I finally know what a castrated tom cat feels like now.

Still, through it all, I have tried to maintain a good perspective, even if I have had pockets of sadness and thrown a few pity parties here and there. A dear friend of mine suffers with MS. Her physical decline started in her early 20s, when her children were very small. She is now in her 70s and has been wheel chair bound for the last decade. Before that she progressed from requiring a cane to a needing a walker. I am blessed.

Earlier this year, combat veteran Noah Galloway was on Dancing with the Stars, a show I never watch. Fortunately though, I caught the video of Noah on Facebook several months back. And I was in tears. I feel like such a complete wuss, whining about a little nerve damage and a torn meniscus. This amazing man is nothing short of a walking miracle, and my pain, or my frustration is nothing.

Indeed, compared to many millions, I am blessed beyond measure. Like us all, I have to remember that I am an eternal soul stuck in a fragile, imperfect, mortal body. I shall run, no, SPRINT, in the eternities, even if on this Earth I have to be content to racewalk. Or even sit on the bench for a while. Since I’m not quite ready to take that final step-off into perfection, I guess I shall await the outcome of my upcoming MRI and continue to bide my time in this telestial sphere. Maybe, just maybe, I can finally get some help for that torn hamstring, too.