Category Archives: Surgery

Surgery is over

THE SURGERY

I had my surgery 10 days ago and so far things have been going great. Compared to my previous knee surgeries, which have all been some sort of ACL reconstruction surgeries, arthroscopic surgery is a walk in the park!

Zac and I arrived at the hospital and they shortly took me back. I got dressed in the ever-so-fashionable hospital gown that was ten sizes too large and was hooked up to an IV. It was all pretty standard, but I remember having the nicest nurses. They were sweet and funny ladies.

My surgeon and anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and ask me questions. While talking with the anesthesiologist, I gave him to okay to give me the femoral nerve block, which is administered through a long needle in my groin region. This, he told me, would numb my entire leg and take away all of the pain. While on the way to the OR, the anesthesiologist gave me some sedative that I forgot the name of and everything from there is a blur. Luckily, I don’t even remember the nerve block.

Upon waking up from anesthesia, I recall being the most coherent and feeling the best that I ever had after surgery. I was upbeat, happy and chipper. I chatted with my nurse and then he wheeled me to recovery where Zac was able to join me.

Several minutes later, the doctor came in and spoke to us. He said that the surgery went well, but that my knee wasn’t in good shape. I asked him if he would have performed the osteotomy had the insurance company approved it, and he replied, “yes.” The doctor went on to say that I only had about two percent of my medial meniscus remaining, which was shredded. He had to clean it up, which left me with only about one percent. Additionally, he said he started to see some wear on my articular cartilage because of the lack of meniscus. (This is what the osteotomy would have helped. It would have prevented further damage to this cartilage and possibly would have saved me from experiencing arthritis in the future). Furthermore, he told me that the bad placement of my ACL from my previous surgery was in such a bad spot, that the impingement actually rubbed so much that it caused microscopic tears in the ACL graft. However, he was able to shave down the area in my knee causing the impingement and he cleaned it up to be the best that it can.

RECOVERY

I was walking a couple days after surgery. I still experience some stiffness and pressure caused by the swelling, but I think I am doing unbelievably well. I have a request in to start physical therapy, and I should be starting that hopefully next week. Surprisingly, the part of surgery that was the most painful so far was the area where I received the femoral block. For a few days after surgery, my groin was in pain and I could painfully feel the line where the long needle travelled. It doesn’t hurt anymore though.

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Surgery is today

Today is surgery day. It is just before 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Zac and I are gearing up for our drive to the hospital. I think I am more excited than nervous for this surgery because I have hope that this will all FINALLY be over after this procedure, and that I will also be able to get on with my life without pain. I’m looking forward to recovering and working out again. I am looking forward to riding my bike. I’m having the arthroscopy and a notchplasty. The notchplasty is where they will shave down some of my bone where the ACL impingement is catching and the scope is also going to remove the screw that is sticking out of my tibia that I can feel. Eeeww! Bye bye screw!

Still waiting

I’m still waiting for the new insurance company to approve my surgery, which was scheduled for last Wednesday. The procedure was previously approved, however the insurance company changes and now I am the one who suffers because of the terrible process that is worker’s comp. I am beginning to worry that if I need the osteotomy, I will not be able to go back to work when school starts up. School starts the beginning of August. Yikes. Hopefully this process speeds up some time soon.

Sigh…..Next Summer

As a teacher, I have ten weeks off during summer. While I still work during the summer putting lesson plans together, gearing up for the next year, and improving my old lesson plans, I do it all on my own time. Two years in a row I’ve needed knee surgery over the summer, which is not a fun way to spend my summer vacations, but I know I am very fortunate to have these ten weeks off to recover before stepping foot in a classroom filled with 38 teenagers.

Next summer will be different though. I am fully optimistic about the outcome of this surgery. I have a doctor who is looking out for me and my best interest. Furthermore, my doctor is an avid cyclist, so he knows how much endurance athletics means to me. Even though I am switching from running to cycling, I still yearn to be on the road and cover many miles. Now, I just get to cover those miles even quicker. Anyway, next summer will be different and will be amazing for two reasons. First, I should be fully recovered by then and I will be able to spend my summer mornings on my road bike. I should be able to log in significant mileage and hopefully train for one of my first long-distance tours. I don’t want to set a goal on a specific race and date yet, but I know I want to complete a century ride. In addition to my amazing cycling schedule next summer, I will have the freedom to go to the gym for weight-training and yoga whenever I want. In my opinion, it is the perfect way to spend the first part of the day.

Secondly, next summer will be different because Zac and I are planning our summer vacation now. We are going toOahuduring the summer. I cannot wait because we were not able to do the kind of activities we wanted to do inMaui earlier this year. We are hoping to get in some decent hikes and possibly some zip lining. Next summer also is the summer for my 10 year high school reunion. I cannot believe that it is already here. Hopefully the reunion is not the same week as Oahu.

Where we will stay in Oahu. It isn't on Waikiki beach, but a bit further away. Beautiful!

Gearing up for Surgery

Today was my last appointment before surgery. At my pre-op appointment, the doctor reviewed the procedure with me and answered my final questions, although even going into surgery there is one major question: which surgery will I be having? The answer to this big question, unfortunately, cannot be answered until I am under anesthetic and the surgery starts. The surgery is on Wednesday, June 15. For sure, I know that I am having knee arthroscopy surgery. In this procedure the doctor will remove the protruding screw from my tibia, clear out scar tissue from my two prior surgeries, and fix the ACL graft impingement. He will also check the stability and intactness of my ACL graft because my right knee is not as stable as it should be; furthermore, he will check my medial meniscus. If my medial meniscus is in bad shape, which he thinks it very well could be, he will perform an opening wedge osteotomy on my tibia. This is a preventative procedure which will significantly help alleviate the stress placed on what is left, if anything is left, of my medial meniscus. If the doctor decides that this procedure needs to be performed for the betterment of my health in the future, and he told me that he will do to me what he would want someone to do to him, this procedure changes my rehab significantly. During an opening wedge osteotomy, a doctor opens up the patient’s leg just below the knee and clears away all of the tissue and muscle to expose the bone. The doctor then saws the bone in half and inserts a small, wedge-shaped bone graft to open up the space where the meniscus is supposed to be. The procedure is completed by placing a plate over the broken tibia and securing it with several pins. If my meniscus is in bad shape and I end up needing this procedure, I will most likely stay in the hospital for one night rather than leaving shortly after the procedure.

The worst thing about this whole surgery is going into the operating room not knowing what will happen. I will not know what procedure I had until I awake from anesthesia. I am preparing for the osteotomy and hoping to just have the arthroscopy. My doctor told me that just the arthroscopy will help alleviate the pain and restricted motion I currently face on a daily basis, but that if my meniscus is in bad repair, I will only experience more pain down the road if the preventative osteotomy isn’t performed. The goal is to avoid osteoarthritis and total knee replacement, both of which are strong contenders in my future.

New Surgery Date

The other day my doctor’s office called me and asked if it was okay to move my surgery from Wednesday, June 8 to the Tuesday before. Unfortunately, I couldn’t move it because I wouldn’t have any transportation to the hospital. With that said, my surgery has been changed to Wednesday, June 15. I am actually pretty excited about this change to my surgery date because now I get to enjoy more of my summer break before I am couch and bed bound for a couple weeks.

updates

School is almost out for summer and I cannot believe that my first year of teaching is almost officially over. Between wrapping things up for the end of the school year and completing my first year of BTSA (theCalifornianew teacher induction program), I haven’t had much time to write.

Just yesterday Zac and I celebrated our anniversary. It is hard to imagine that we have already been married for two years! Just in this past year of our marriage we bought a house and adopted our puppy. We celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants, Northwoods Inn inWest Covina, and during the drive we discussed just how much our lives might change in the next two years. It is just incredible to think about. I love him. I love our pup. And, most importantly, I love our life together.

Surgery is still scheduled for June 8. I am getting pretty nervous about the surgery, especially because of the surgical mistake that happened during the last one. I’ve been trying to prepare myself as best as I can by reading articles and watching videos about the surgery. I don’t think it helps. There is just something about watching surgical videos where the surgeon takes an electric saw and cuts all the way through the bone. Yikes!