|This is where I go for my physical therapy.|
I won’t see the orthopedist for a couple of days (Thursday, to be precise) but I saw the physical therapist today and, when she heard that I’d had the MRI done (yesterday) she called over and asked them to fax over the results.
Now, if you’ve never had an MRI, here is how it goes. You get shoved into a very noisy machine and for 30 minutes they take images and more images. You have to lie perfectly still the entire time. Depending on your condition, this is more or less easy to do. When all is said and done, the technician tells you nothing. A radiologist needs to look at the images before you will be told anything. And usually the radiologist sends the results to your referring physician/specialist so you have to wait for an appointment to be told what the radiologist saw.
When you’ve been in pain, limping and losing sleep, for nearly 8 weeks, you want answers sooner rather than later.
Well, I have my answers now and it’s not good but knowledge is power.
First, we knew I had some osteoarthritis. She said it’s severe. I have severe osteoarthritis. My knee, according to her, looks like I was a long distance jumper or regularly do parkour and plyometrics. As we know, my exercise routine consists of mostly walking and yoga. But I’m “lucky” in that I have the joints of an athlete and, although I am only in my 50s, I have severe deterioration in my knees. (So far the focus has been on my left knee because that’s the one that’s exacerbated at this time. But the implication is that the damage is bilateral and I’m a test or two away from confirming this.)
|This is what a normal knee|
Second, I have torn meniscus. This is what is actually causing the swelling. Well, that and I have something else. Anyway, the degenerative meniscus tear is being exacerbated by the osteoarthritis so something has to be done to make room for my knee to heal. The meniscus tear and swelling go hand-in-hand so as the one is repaired the other will go away.
Third, there is a cyst. This is not unusual and they typically go away on their own once the swelling goes down. However, I have had not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five growths removed—cysts, lymph nodes, and benign tumors. When it comes to things like cysts, my body doesn’t do anything typical and I can fully expect that this growth will have to be removed at some point.
So now what?
She said that, depending on the orthopedist’s approach to this diagnosis, I’ll be having an arthroscopy which takes 4-8 weeks to heal and will include more physical therapy, etc. If he’s conservative, he’ll just drain the swelling to take some of the pressure off and give me an injection to help with the pain. You know, kinda like what I expected/hoped the doctor would do last week. Whatever the doctor may or may not want to immediately do, this is what I have on my immediate horizon.
1) I will get the injection and whatever procedure needs to be done to reduce the swelling short of an actual surgery because I don’t have time to heal from a surgery at this time.
2) I will likely wear a knee brace or something to help support my knee while I continue doing the physical therapy exercises I have been doing. (My doctor did not call in a prescription for more, probably because she wants to see what the orthopedist has to say.)
3) I will schedule an arthroscopic procedure for some time in October. Then 4-8 weeks of healing to follow and hopefully the doctor (whichever one) will refer me to the same physical therapist because she’s awesome!
4) Rob will bring my walker down from the attic because my physical therapist thinks it’s a good idea for me to get it ready.
I haven’t needed my walker since 2008. I guess that streak is over.
So I am sad. Very sad. Here and now, sad. And on Thursday I’ll talk with the orthopedist about my options, and, together, we’ll put a plan of action into place. And someday in my not-too-distant-future, I’ll be having knee replacement surgery because, yes, that is how severe the arthritis is even though I’m only 52-years-old.