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Imminent Knee Surgery

Here I am at the Ortho Clinic @ Rockwood Main. They thought my appointment was at 8:30 am, but I wrote down that it was at 9:30 am.  So when I rolled up at 9:25 am, thinking that I was a mite early, imagine my surprise at being an hour late. So I texted my babysitter and told her. (My mom. My babysitter is my mom.)

This above is from yesterday, before my conversation with the surgeon. The whole appointment had this kind of “off” energy, but he showed me pictures of the x-ray and MRI of my knee, and we talked about my prognosis. 

So a few things are clear:

  • I’m going in for knee surgery, soon.
  • Knee surgery will not solve this problem, of chronic pain in the knee.
  • The chronic pain is caused by lack or cartilage – we don’t know why the cartilage is deteriorating in my knee, just that it is.
  • “You can’t control the progression of your disease,” was what the doctor said to me. Seriously, I feel like I know a little bit about that from being in recovery.
  • I will eventually need a total knee replacement. The doctor said that with the level of my degeneration, he’d be surprised if I didn’t need a total knee replacement in 10 years. Total knee replacements are called for when your quality of life is so poor that you are constantly managing your pain.
  • Every 1 pound of extra weight on the body produces 10 pounds of pressure on the knees. I’m about 40 pounds overweight. 40 x 10 = 400 pounds of pressure on the knees.
  • I asked about losing weight, as a method to arrest the speed at which my knee will deteriorate, and the doctor said that thing about the extra pounds of pressure on the knee.
  • A big bag of dog or cat food weighs about 40 pounds. (I was going to say a 40-lb bad of dog food weighs about 40 pounds! ha!)
  • I told the doctor that weight loss was next on my agenda (and it was) but then I got pregnant and had a baby instead. … “Confronting your body issues / body shame issues / being a woman grown up in America. That’s what was next on my life lessons…. but then I had a baby instead.” Making other people laugh helps me diffuse the seriousness of the situation, and makes it seem less scary. I like making people laugh.
  • Lastly, the doctor said that the surgery might not help, and that we might need to use gel-infusion shots or anti-inflammatory shots for flare-ups of pain. But he also said, “We can’t just do nothing. We have to do something.”
  • (To which my response is sort of, “Eyeroll, eyeroll. You’re supposed to be optimistic.”)

So here are some of the feelings I’m feeling: grief, sadness, fear, anxiety. The surgeon told me not to “overthink” all this… but overthinking is where I live…

Yet, I’m also feeling gratitude that I have an amazing support network; gratitude that I will learn again how to ask for help and receive help without making myself bad for being weak. See what Brené Brown has to say about  this here. I started last year by asking people to bring me casseroles after the baby was born. Those casseroles were amazing (uh-MAY-zing) and I was grateful each time, so grateful.

I need to chase after my children. They are fast little kids. I can’t do that if I’m limping down the road, or not present because they are jumping up and down on my bad knee.

So here’s the next adventure.

  • Eating healthfully when I am hungry,
  • Examining unhealthy body images and eating habits of the past,
  • Unearthing body shame, and shaking it out, and letting it go,
  • Exercizing to be healthy and strong, rather than to become smaller or to take up less space,
  • Losing weight to arrest the harm on my knee, rather than because I think it will make me more worthy of love and belonging, and
  • Showing up for myself.

The scheduler should call me soon, and I will know more about the date of the surgery. In the meanwhile, life-altering suggestions to avoid stress-eating and over-eating are so welcome, as long as they’re nice.

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