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Thursday, October 27, 2011

33 days pre-op
I have been doing a lot of hanging at home caring for my son, so not walking too much.

He is still in a lot of pain. We are on Day 7 with my son, and his pain tolerance comes and goes. Today he had a shower and I think that took a lot out of him. According to Mike at work, the first 5 days of a partial knee replacement are the worst. Mike of course did not stay in the hospital.

My knee has been feeling okay, still a little unstable. Today I schlepped 8 tires up our hill and loaded them in the car to take to the tire changer guy. That was not that easy, I could feel the strain in my knee. Even walking around the house my knee gets locked or feels unstable.......just reinforcing the pain, part of the process for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

34 days pre-op - just counted O Day is November 29

So my son is doing remarkably well following his knee surgery, he had a different operation, but he worked hard beforehand to strengthen his muscles. He worked out a lot, but I will do what I can.

I have looked up a few exercises and started them today. They seem pretty basic, but I am sure every little bit helps. The ones I am doing are ankle flexes and leg raises. I am going to bring our exercise bike up as well and set it up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"I'll pray for you...."
A co-workers words to me on hearing I was having a partial knee replacement. These words followed the statement that she had known two others who had gotten knee surgery and died. Oh great.

Needless to say I raced home to make sure my child, who just had knee surgery, was ok. Now, of course I am faced with worrying about dying on top of having surgery.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Background on me and my knee

I am a 55 year old woman, yes this year I hit the speed limit, the slower freeway one. I am not a super athlete, but have kept busy - I was a runner for many years until I hurt my back, after that no running, I then walked the marathon with Team in Training - that seemed to be harder on my toes than my knees. I X-C skied for years, I began to skate ski.

I had a brief stint dabbling in downhill skiing. Actually I broke my right leg in 5 places my very first day downhill skiing. The ski bindings did not release and I ended up in casts for almost a year. This was in 9th grade. I later went back and learned how to ski, I kept dating all these guys who were big skiers, so I had to. I was always kind of a chicken, but I did it, I went back. I think now, that year on crutches with using my left knee so hard may have contributed to my current knee issues.

My son has had knee issues for about 5 years after popping out his kneecap in a middle school pickup BB game. Since then he has learned how to play hockey, played football and been through 2 surgeries, the most recent one last Friday. This time they attached his kneecap with cadaver tissue, so lets hope it is there to stay put.

We are regulars at Anchorage Orthopedic, my son also broke his arm 3 times - one when he was three at daycare, one playing football at a friends house and once jumping on the hotel bed in NYC.

Since my knee was starting to hurt me I decided to get it looked at. I ended up seeing a doc last August. They took x-rays and an MRI and discussed options. I could either try some of those lube job shots or have arthroscope surgery to clean things up in my knee. I decided to try the lube jobs and had two treatments. The first one worked great, the second one did nothing. I also had a shot of cortisone in July when we went on a trip and that was wonderful, no pain. But my doc gave mixed signals from "Oh come in and we will give you a shot of cortisone" to then " we don't like to give these all the time." He kind of made me feel like I was breaking the rules.

A year later and my knee was really bugging me. I decided to try a different doctor and was all set up for an appointment at a different clinic when a friend of mine suggested his friend who is a knee doc at Anchorage Fracture. Luckily Dr. Garner was very nice about me switching to Dr. Lapkass for a second opinion.

Dr. Lapkass did the old bend the knees, crack crack in both, and then took x-rays. When I looked all I saw was bone on bone in the medial area, inside, of my knee. Yikes! that sucks.

Here are the options he gave me;

1. knee brace - yeah, I have seen those on my son, I don't think so! Not a fashion accessory for me.
2. supplements - like Aleve and glucosamine - I explained I was already taking 3 Aleve and 3 ibuprofen a day and 3000 mg of glucosamine with MSG - to counteract the femara and tamoxifen from breast cancer and that was helping overall joint pain.
3. more lube job shots - well those are not working
4. arthroscopic surgery to clean things up - which would not fix anything but may make it feel a bit better.
5. a partial knee replacement - the Oxford.

Holy cow! I asked him to tell me more and he ran and got a model of one. There it was this slick looking metal and plastic thing to make my knee work again.

Now I am one of those people who always say yes to things so I said yes and we scheduled my surgery for 6 weeks out - November 29 - first I needed to get my son through his surgery on October 21.

the doubt - so just because I said Yes would I go through with it?
I started my research. there is a fellow I work with, Mike, who had the same surgery a year ago - he is very pleased he did it. He is an excellent resource and I ask him things all the time.

But was my knee really that bad? It kind of hurt differently all the time, or took turns being numb or swollen or feeling like it was going to pop out, it didn't, but it just feels odd.

I was just amazed that this could happen so fast, my body was failing rapidly. I decided to get copies of my x-rays and printed out last years and this years. I am a graphic person, I have to see things. As I was looking at them on the kitchen counter my son (with the bad knee) ambled over.

"I don't see much difference." I said, almost convinced that there was no big deal on paper, but yet my knee hurt.

"Are you kidding?" he retorted in that way only teenagers can. He then proceeded to explain the x-rays to me, pointing out differences and changes and the bone on bone, "So you have to really read x-rays carefully, see this here and this here? This is awful!" My 17 year old had learned a lot in his knee journeys, or he was channeling Dougie Houser.

Ok, he had me convinced. I just needed to realize I was doing the right thing. But I knew that I did not want to be limping along as a senior citizen, or even as a 50 some year old, but I already was. I used to enjoy walking and this year when we took my daughter to college I was in pain all the time. I had no idea what it was from, but now I know. Unfortunatley you can't grow back cartilage, I asked. I keep thinking that they needed to invent a spray foam that could serve as a cushion - ha ha- silly me.

I called to ask the nurse a few questions and discovered I would be in the hospital for 2-4 days! Yikes! This shocked me into realizing this is a big deal. My work-mate Mike, had his knee replacement with a different doc and had outpatient surgery. They sent him home with the perpetual knee machine and he was on his own. I am glad I am going through the hospital route. Especially since my son was awake at 2:30 am this morning howling with pain - he is 3 days post op. Nothing is as bad as having your kid crying and there is nothing you can do but give him more drugs. So I guess being in the hospital will not be that bad.

Then I got the call from the Orthopedic Wing at Providence Hospital inviting me to Joint Camp. Now I love stuff like that - camaraderie, bonding. I was in bliss when I was pregnant, all those things to learn more info and meet others going through the same thing. I guess the hip people go on alternate Thursdays. So in two weeks my coach (my husband) and I are expected to attend an hour and a half session with other partial knee replacement people, many of whom will be operated on at the same time, cause I guess Tuesday is knee day for my doc. At Joint Camp I expect to learn about the surgery and exercises and all kinds of things. On checking the Oxford website it looks like that is standard protocol in England so I am pleased to be part of this.

stay tuned.........

Life changes and the KNEEd for more to this blog

So, I see from my last post that I haven't added much to my knitting tales, they are pretty boring, but then knitting is not meant to be action packed, it is a way to relax for me.

I have a couple of UFO's floating around - these are what knitters call UnFinished Objects. These are primarily the

Bella Blouse - started this summer in a knit along through Interweave Knits - its all knit up but not put together yet, plenty of time until next summer since I live after all in Alaska!

The Kauni, (mine looks surprisingly like this one, from her blog - One Crazy Fiber Lady) except now I am shamed into finishing mine, she is after all a single working mother with twins, I think I need to get mine completed. Currently my kauni is perfect for a one armed woman a bit smaller than me! ha!

I did finish a Fireweed Kingscot - I will post my own pics for that one. It turned out massive! So I had to sew and cut on the seams to get it down to size. It is comfy and cosy and I am pleased that I used a soft yarn, my last Norah Gaughan I went for cheap yarn and it is hard and stiff - fie to Cascade 220.

But I did do my first commission for a friend, I knit her a pair of leg warmers. I learned from that, the moral is don't knit it if they go cheap on the yarn. We did on these and they are not as soft and supple as what they could have been. We shall see how she likes them when she gets back from her trip to Italy.

I also am going to have a partial knee replacement. Yes, I will be getting an Oxford knee on November 29, 2011. I have been searching for blogs on partial knee replacements so I could see how their surgery and recover went but since I have not found any, (I did find one remarkable one by a man who had two total knee replacements - and he did surprisingly well) so I will attempt to record my journey with my one partial knee replacement.