It has been quite some time since my last blog post. I’ve been waiting to post until after my doctor’s appointment, which was on Monday, January 31, but since then, the news I received at my appointment has, up until now, been too difficult to discuss in length. I braced myself for what I thought “the worst” could be. Unfortunately, the doctor delivered some unsettling news that I am still grappling with. Basically, I can no longer run, my knee is messed up, and I require an additional surgery. That is the cliff’s notes version.
While trying to keep things positive, there is some good news in my life. For one, I have a good lawyer who is enabling me to navigate through the murky waters of worker’s compensation insurance and I am not getting the medical care that I needed. Without taking this action several months ago, I could have been released from my claim permanently injured without knowing it.
The bad news starts with my most recent trip to the new orthopedic surgeon who has taken me on as a patient. This was a follow-up appointment which took place on Monday that informed me about the results of my recent CT scan. According to this new doctor, there are several things wrong with me knee. First, I have an impingement. This may be caused by the “not ideal” placement of my ACL graft. While the ACL graft isn’t placed in the “wrong” location, it isn’t ideal and my new doctor said that he wouldn’t place a graft in the location that mine is in. Additionally, the “not ideal” location of my graft only makes my impingement worse.
I knew that something within my knee was not right. During my recovery this summer I began regaining range of motion; however I could never really fully straighten my knee. It hurt and the pain only intensified when I put weight on it. I was told by my old doctor that it was nothing and that I would regain all of my range of motion. Well, he was wrong. Sometimes you just have a gut instinct that something is wrong and even back then I knew that some of my results were not typical.
In addition to my impingement, I also have a problem that is even more troublesome. I do not have any medial meniscus in my knee, which is currently causing my legs not to be aligned and which will cause imminent arthritis in the future. My right leg is slightly knock-kneed, which is the opposite of being bow-legged. Currently, the only thing that preventing my femur and tibia from rubbing and causing painful bone on bone rubbing is a small amount of articular cartilage lining each bone.
This second problem is where the ugly news begins to unfold. First and foremost, I am no longer able to run. I am under strict orders that I can’t run or do deep squats. As a runner, this is devastating news. Imagine never being able to do what you love ever again. That is pretty much how I feel. I truly feel like I lost a part of my spirit this past week. Part of me, a very large part of me, no longer exists.
In addition to not being able to run, I will need surgery to fix these current problems that were caused from my previous surgery. Without one of two surgeries, I will get arthritis in the future. Also, additional surgery is the only option to alleviate the pain I experience on a daily basis. Both surgeries are considered major surgeries. One is a tibial osteotomy. This option includes sawing my tibia in half and inserting a wedge-shaped bone graft into the tibia to make sure that I am aligned. Yikes! The second option is a meniscus allograft, which is a transplant surgery that would place a cadaver meniscus into my through the use of bony plugs. My understanding of this option is that the meniscus would eventually wear down and this surgery would most likely need to be performed again in the future.
As the doctor was delivering all of this news, I stared blankly in disbelief at him. It didn’t even feel like reality because the news was just so much more than I could have ever imagined. I am still coming to terms with this diagnosis, and I believe that it will talk me quite some time to fully accept this new reality that I am faced with. Honestly, I am heartbroken and as much as I try to stay positive, it is incredibly difficult. I would be lying if I said I was okay right now. It isn’t even about just not being able to run either. I am upset about facing another painful surgery with a trying and difficult recovery process. I am upset about the time I will have to spend doing this all over again. I am also upset about my future prospects of my health. I would like to start a family with my husband in several years and I am worried that my knee may not be able to keep up with my future children’s activities. I am worried about the possibility of always living in pain. Yes, I’ve gotten use to the pain in the past year, but it is no way to live. I can only continue with my at-home physical therapy regimen, do my best to maintain a positive mindset, and hope for better news to come.
Where I go now
On Friday, I went to an imagery center to have a special x-ray that my new doctor ordered. It was a weight-bearing alignment x-ray that captured my legs from my hips to my ankles. This x-ray will be used to determine just exactly how knock kneed I am. It will also help determine which course of action will be best for me.