And In Layman’s Terms?

I hope you aren’t a betting man was the first thing that came to mind after hearing the results. Five days earlier, the orthopedic surgeon stated he was 90% sure that my knee pain and swelling were a result of a torn meniscus. He was so sure that he was even willing (although didn’t push for) to forgo an MRI and take me directly to surgery to repair the tear via arthoscopy. Luckily we took the middle road and had an MRI performed to see exactly what was going on with my crappy knee.

I’ve had knee trouble/pain for years, but nothing that kept me down… nothing ice and knee “bands” didn’t take care of. After my volleyball game last Tuesday, my left knee was hurting more than normal, and it felt, well, weird. The pain continued to get worse and when I awoke in the middle of the night, the pain was so bad I wondered if I could even talk to the freezer to get the only thing I could think of that might help… an ice pack.

Fast forward. Yesterday I met with the orthopedic surgeon again to go over the MRI results. First off, I have to say that the majority of the report may as well have been in Chinese. I am pretty savvy on medical lingo, but this was soooo over my head. Luckily there was a “summary” that was dumbed down a little, although I think a double dumb down could have been in order. I still had to google most of it all. Anyway, the results showed that there was no torn meniscus, but I do have:

  1. A partial tear of my proximal posterior cruciate ligament, aka PCL (think ACL, but in the back of the knee).
  2. A tear in my Popliteus (a small muscle… google it if you’re interested).
  3. “Patellofemoral tracking abnormality suggested with patellar cartilage thinning, fraying/fibrillation and fissuring associated with subchondral marrow edema”, which pretty much means my kneecap is screwed up as well as the cartilage around it. It also means I have arthritis.
  4. “degenerative change with hyaline cartilage thinning and fissuring over the lateral and posterior medial femoral condyle”, which pretty means the cartilage between my knee and femur is all thin, arthritic, and crappy too.

To put it simply, my knee sucks. And I’m pretty sure my right knee has similar cartridge problems (not sure about the PCL and Popliteus).

On the upside, NO SURGERY… yet. The doc gave me a cortisone shot and a brace, and we’re going to wait until after Christmas to see if things improve. If not, we’ll try injections of some lubricating fluid stuff, and if THAT doesn’t work… at this point I’m just counting on that doing the trick. I am also supposed to do a ton of physical therapy, avoid high impact stuff, and “ALWAYS WEAR KNEEPADS!” when I play volleyball (which I heard about 2934 times from the surgeon). I have every expectation (hope) that I’ll be in top volleyball shape when our new league starts in January. Now if I can just make it through walking Disneyland for 4 days at Christmas, I’ll be all set.

I’ve known that I’m growing older, but it’s only been the last 2 years where I’ve truly started to feel it. I’ve had aches and pains here and there, but the last few years my neck, back, shoulders, hips, and knees have had some sort of trouble. The surgery on my shoulder last year was an incredibly painful and difficult recovery, and a wake up call that seemed to scream, “damn, you’re getting old”. When the doctor was showing me the MRI images of my knee, he said that there was too much wear and tear for a person my age. It really made me think about how I’ve treated my body. I’ve always thought of myself as being strong and in some ways indestructible. REALITY CHECK!

I can’t say that I regret being active and a physical person, but I’m becoming more committed to taking care of this body. The doctor also told me that knee replacements are in my future (sniff), but it should hopefully be a ways off. Until then, I still want to play hard and enjoy life, but do it with a little more protection and padding :).

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Explore posts in the same categories: Beotch & Moan...Woe is me, Bodily Functions, Damn it, Life, That's gonna hurt in the morning

3 Comments on “And In Layman’s Terms?”

  1. erica Says:

    Ugh. I am super happy for you that you won’t need surgery (yet), but at the same time, a brace and constant wearing of kneepads and injections just sounds like a real party. I know what you mean about getting older…I’m feeling aches and pains that are new and seem to be like a clock ticking right in my ear. I guess we just need to take good care of ourselves and be grateful for what is still working as it should be. ;o)

  2. The Grunt Says:

    When you do finally get those knees replaced, technology will be to the point where the replacements will make that cool “bionic” noise every time you do something awesome.

  3. Carla Says:

    Always use protection!! 🙂 Hope you are feeling better!!


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