Sunday, November 22, 2009
I'm actually not even certain as to where to start with this post, so I'll just jump right in. Life has been busy. For those of you that actually read this site, and know me on a personal level, you know that I have a left knee that has been "angry" for the last 18 months. The first surgery came and went, with the doctor simply removing most of my medial meniscus and sending me on my way. That procedure was obviously not the "fix" I needed, because I was back a few months later complaining of even more pain and an inability to train for cycling.
My new doctor (we'll call him Dr. G) was more than happy to do whatever he could in order to get me back on the bike and feeling happy and living pain free. Within about a month of seeing him, surgery #2 was scheduled, and the road to recovery was started--again. The first few weeks post-op were great, but soon the pain returned, the knee continued to lock, and now, more than ever, I actually felt the inside grinding itself away. This was not good. I was soon sent to see a pain specialist to help get my pain levels under control, but this too has proved to be a challenge. Meanwhile, Dr. G injected me with some great stuff called Synvisc, which was designed to fill in the void within the joint, help calm down the inflammation, and "oil" the surfaces to promote a fluid motion. This worked for about a month. I was then in even more pain, and was no longer capable of living my active lifestyle. Each day since, has been spent in pain and discomfort. Some days, I am barely able to walk up the stairs to my bedroom at night--good days and bad days are never predictable. During a follow up visit, Dr. G informed me that he and his friend, Dr. V, had been discussing my issues and that he wanted me to go visit Dr. V and hear what he had to say. Onward I went.
After reviewing my files and current films, Dr. V. felt as if another surgery would benefit me a great deal. The only question: What type of surgery? To answer this, he needed to take a few more scans and review my chart for a couple of days to be certain. And so, I had standing and regular scans taken from the hip down in order for Dr. V. to understand my knee alignment, among other things. Finally, after about a week, he gave me a call to discuss my options. Dr. V. felt that he could help to fix the majority of my problem through a few procedures, all totaling a roughly 4.5 hour surgery. 1) Femoral Micro Fracture-- they would basically drill holes in the bottom of my femur to encourage blood supply and help cartilage growth. 2) Cell harvest-- harvest cartilage cells so that the next time I need surgery they can implant my own cartilage that has been grown in a lab. 3) General debris removal-- clean out the joint. 4) Meniscus transplant-- from a cadaver donor they will take a meniscus that matches my measurements the closest and transplant it into my medial compartment. Talk about a "to do" list. I thought this sounded like a plan, and gave him the go ahead. By the next day, I was on the transplant list and all I could do was wait.
One month later, the unthinkable occurred--a phone call. My donor was available, I needed to plan a surgery date. What the hell? I thought this was going to take 4 months before I would probably get one, I haven't even been thinking about this. Turns out, someone that fit me better than the other 4 people on the list came up... it was go time. I agreed to accept the meniscus and frantically started trying to clear my schedule. Now, here I am, just a few weeks later, and weeks before surgery.
My surgery date is slotted for December 9. This will be surgery #3 for this one injury, but surgery #11 overall. The odd thing... I am somewhat nervous going into this one, but was rarely nervous for any other procedures. According to Dr. V., I will not be allowed to walk for roughly 8 weeks after surgery. On top of that, I will be in PT for approximately 10 months. It will be 3 months before I regain anywhere close to full motion, and it will be 6 months before my muscles in my left leg are as strong as they are today. Wow. Talk about a long road. Regardless of the pain, time, effort, and work involved--I'm up for it. I'm willing to do anything in order to get my active lifestyle back. I miss it dearly. It's actually sad when I think about it, my girlfriend has never known me to have a good knee. To me, that is just crazy. She has no idea who the "old" me is (or was). I was the hiking, climbing, running, cycling, former athlete. I was the cyclist with a competitive future and records to break. Now I'm just a regular worker, an aspiring writer, a reader of tons of books, and a guy that looks at his bike when he wakes up and before he goes to sleep. Quite the contrast.
All of this being said, I have to admit, had it not been for this injury I probably would not have been reading as much as I have, nor writing. I can't begin to describe how much of an impact my reading and writing has had on my life in the last 1.5 years. Sure, I still want to break some of those cycling records; but, I also want to complete a novel and have it published. I want to touch the lives of others, just as the authors I've been reading have impacted my own. It all sounds cliche, but it's the truth. Words are wisdom (it's what I say) and I hope to be able to share my thoughts with readers of my own, possibly inspiring them to do the same. Truth be told, with these numerous weeks of not being able to walk, in my immediate future, I'm going to get a lot of reading and writing done.
I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for being my readers.
Words are Wisdom.