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Author Topic: Kathy's Pre-op Diary  (Read 29670 times)

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Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2008, 08:39:28 AM »
Well, I got a little parcel in the mail today from my medical centre - two surgical prep washes, which I have to wash with the evening before surgery AND the morning of the surgery. I am assuming my swabs came back MRSA positive due to this, though they haven't told me yet. I also got another request form yesterday for MRSA swabs along with a note explaining they want me to have them done due to my profession - I think they forgot to document that they'd already given me the forms, and probably already have the results!! Oh well.

The taping didn't go so well today. It helped, but not as well as yesterday, and the reaction to the tape is taking longer to settle down. It itches and burns.

I am feeling a bit better today. I still have the sniffles and am a bit blocked up, but I feel a touch more human than I did last night.

It is pouring with rain here, and it's supposed to hang around all weekend. I am doing a camping course for Scout Leaders on Sunday, so we will have great fun (NOT!!) traipsing around in the Hills in the wet  :P

I hope you're all having a good knee day. Enjoy your weekend.

Kathy

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2008, 01:33:08 PM »
Howdy all,

I am ITCHY!! This taping is not a good thing!! I can see exactly where the tape has been from the red marks all over my knees!! And to make it worse, when I hopped in the bath for a comforting soak, it BURNED my knees where the tape has been (sensation-wise, not a real burn).

To make matters worse, now I have reduced my pain killers another problem has reared it's ugly head. I am getting the crawly sensations back in my legs which I haven't had for a while. I am pretty sure I have restless legs syndrome, but I haven't had any problems lately due to the pain killers I have been on for my knees. I have never got it diagnosed because the only medications on offer here in Australia have been ones I haven't been eager to try, so I have controlled it with sleeping tablets, over the counter medications, deep heat cream, hot packs, and hot baths. I have tolerated it since my early 20s and there have been times I have been in tears due to lack of sleep and the uncomfortable restless, crawly sensation that makes me want to move my legs constantly. I sort of think it's time I did something about it. I am good at putting things off!! Just look at my knees.....

On the other hand, I am now on minimal pain killers, which I am pleased about. My headaches are coming under control (I think they are in part rebound headaches from the pain killers, as well as caused by stress) and I am using anti-inflammatory gel around my jaw to relieve the aching caused by grinding my teeth - which I do when I am stressed. My knees are coping alright without the pain killers, though I have been taping, which has cut back the aching somewhat while it's applied. I have also had a bit more rest than usual in the last few days, which has helped. I am back to my usual busy schedule tomorrow, so I will see how things go. As long as I can sleep at night I can cope with the aching in the day by distracting myself. I have a goal in sight, which helps.

I hope you are all having a good weekend.

Kathy

Offline Silkncardcrafts

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2008, 01:58:32 PM »
Kathy,

Sorry you are having reactions to the tape. That's why I don't use it. Has your OS or physio ever suggested wearing a brace ? That has helped me a lot more than taping.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  :D
11/1996 - RK LR
07/1997 - LK LR
11/1998 - LK MPFL Reco
12/2005 - RK LR Repair
07/2006 - LK MPFL Repair
11/2006 - LK LR Repair
22/05/08 - LK Trochleoplasty
11/02/10 - RK Trochleoplasty
07/03/11 - RK Chrondroplasty

Offline arkitect06

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2008, 02:00:39 PM »
Hello Kathy, sounds like you are allergic to the tape like I am.  Just don't scratch it b/c then it will take forever to go away!!  I used to wear tape for for most of the day for about a month and my knees looked so gross!!  I would skip days here and there just so the tape wouldn't cause too much of a reaction.  The tape also helped me, but I still couldn't do anything before surgery.  It helped the constant pain, but still couldn't do things that would usually hurt. 

Melissa has RLS too.  She started taking a medication for it and it seems like it is helping her.  She has a post op diary.  I can't imagine having a crawly feeling in my legs all the time!!  That would freak me out and be very uncomfortable. 

Well keep taking care of yourself.  Do you have a knee brace you can try instead of the tape?   I would do that if the tape gives you an allergic reaction.  I started using a brace when the reaction got so bad.  Have a good day!

Farrah
11/16/10 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Left Knee)
11/17/09 SCS re-implant
7/29/09 I&D
5/7/09 SCS removal b/c of MRSA
12/15/08 & 2/6/09 SCS Revision
10/30/08 Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation
6/27/08 diagnosed with RSD
1/8/08 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Right Knee)

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2008, 02:57:59 PM »
Hi Farrah,

Yes, I have braces. Just neoprene ones. I can't stand the pressure of some of the patellar stabilising braces, as they push my kneecaps too firmly into the trochlear groove, which REALLY irritates my damaged areas. My braces have BIG holes for the patella to stick out. I find they are okay for short bits of activity, but when I want to do more than my knees swell a bit and the braces cause me lots of discomfort. They really only help a bit with the aching, and a bit with stability. I also find they make me itchy too, if I wear them a lot. My skin reactions can be a pain. I once left a bandaid on my thigh for a couple of days and when I took it off I had two itchy, puffy, red areas the exact shape of each side of a bandaid! I won't be able to tape for much longer. I didn't today, due to the allergy. I will only do it when I really need to - if I have a day at home, or I am working, then I won't bother. I will save it for the days when I have a chance of doing lots of walking (so I can build up some muscles!). I have noticed that the tape eases the aching, but walking is the only activity it really helps me do more comfortably. My knees still crunch a lot and most exercises still irritate.

I read about Melissa's RLS. I'd like to see if her medication is available here. The crawly feeling isn't there all the time, thankfully. Just when I sit/lie still, and usually only in the evenings/nights. Moving alleviates the feelings. Because I work night shift, and I sit down for much of my shift, I find it really bugs me then. At work and when I am trying to sleep are the times it really gets me down. I had hoped it had gone away, as I haven't had symptoms for about a year, but a year ago is when my knees started getting really bad and I upped the pain medications I was taking. I think the combination of bad aching and pain killers masked the crawly feelings. But today is the second time this week that I have noticed they are back. Bummer.

What sort of brace did you use? Did it help?

Anyway, I have an early start tomorrow, so I'd better think about heading to bed. Goodnight.

Kathy

Offline arkitect06

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2008, 06:38:14 PM »
Kathy, I wore this one mainly....but my version was before the hinge support.  Mine would slide around sometimes, so it would only help until it slid.  When it worked, it was awesome though!!  I want to try the donjoy tru pull next.  I want to talk to my OS about it first. 

http://www.dme-direct.com/hely-weber-kuhl-hinged-shields-brace/
11/16/10 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Left Knee)
11/17/09 SCS re-implant
7/29/09 I&D
5/7/09 SCS removal b/c of MRSA
12/15/08 & 2/6/09 SCS Revision
10/30/08 Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation
6/27/08 diagnosed with RSD
1/8/08 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Right Knee)

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2008, 09:11:09 AM »
Thanks Farrah. I wonder how I'd go with one?! It's a pity we can't try one out first!! My main concerns would be the pressure over my patella (the hole isn't very big) and the rubberised piece that reduces slippage (as I react to things like that). Do you still wear it? Are you able to tolerate it after your TTT? Does it still help? I'll have to quiz my PT about it.

Today was busy. Went into the hills for a campcraft training day. We got put into groups and had to plan a camp, which we are to do in two weeks time. Not lots of walking, but the little there was happened to be up and down hills!! Ouch!! I'm glad I took my stick! Now I have to get through a night at work  :P

Kathy  ;D

Offline arkitect06

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2008, 01:50:35 PM »
Kathy, I haven't really tried wearing it for a long period of time.  Last time I tried it on, it kept slipping, so I took it off.  It didn't help me during the 10 seconds that it was on correctly.  My pain was exactly the same.  I may try it again today though.  I am thinking of getting this brace below for my other knee while I wait for it to get fixed (if I ever have the courage to do it all again).  Clipped Wings (Angela) told me about it.  She also told me this website she ordered it from was great.  I don't know how it would work being from where you are, but you could call them and ask.  She said you can buy a brace and return it within 90 days if it doesn't help you.  So if I order this, I will definitely get it from this site.  Either way, this looks like a good brace.  It is similar to the other one I have, but it doesn't slip...supposedly.  It is worth a try for me.  I am going to talk to my OS about it some time. 

http://www.betterbraces.com/ViewProducts/DonjoyTru-PullLite/629.aspx

I can't believe how many activities you do!!  Have fun while you can!

Farrah
11/16/10 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Left Knee)
11/17/09 SCS re-implant
7/29/09 I&D
5/7/09 SCS removal b/c of MRSA
12/15/08 & 2/6/09 SCS Revision
10/30/08 Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation
6/27/08 diagnosed with RSD
1/8/08 Fulkerson TTT, chondroplasty, LR (Right Knee)

Offline smkelly4kds

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2008, 06:25:12 PM »
Kathy

   Found your pre-op thought I would read through a bit.  In one post you said that you can't do some of the bending exercises cause the cartilege catches....I assume that is from OA and not a tear?  Mine catches alot and I know its from tears.  I have been told I have the starting of OA in my rt knee not bad yet but my left knee it is more prominent.  He never told me what stage I have.  Guess i should ask after the surgery.  Need to know that so I can tell my GP. 
   I read what you said about the RLS.  It sounds exactly what I have!  I have noticed lastly that my hands go cold but no tingling.  Have you had testing for diabetes?  That is one thing my GP wanted to rule out immediately before I started the RLS meds. 
   Last night was terrible and today is worse.  I had to take the hydrocodone just to get out of bed.  I can barely stand let alone walk on my left knee.  I will be so glad when I get the scope and the OS takes care of the cartilege.  I just want to be able to function.  I am back to the crutches today.  I hate crutches!  I definately am feeling it for all that I did yesterday.  GUess playing outside with the kids is not going to be an option.  WIll just have to sit and watch them instead of do things with them.  Should have let my husband plant my new flowers instead of me.
   I too have back pain.  Partially from the knees but I havent had a good back since having my twins 4 yrs ago.  Having twins took a lot out of me.  I hate feeling like I am 80 when I am only 38. 
   I cant imagine being a nurse and having to stand all day.  I was a CNA and thats how my back problems started...lifting to many people even the correct way. 
  Hope you have a good day
melissa
Aug 2007 - dislocation Rt knee-PT no improvement
Jan 08 TTT (Fulkerson)  Rt knee
Scope 6/08 LT Knee- debridgement medial femoral condyle w/stedman picking, part. lateral menisectomy
July 22 started 1st round of synvisc heading for 5 total....so far working!
Still having pain w/TTT knee pain

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2008, 01:36:18 AM »
Melissa - The catches are due to the OA. I have a big bald patch on the back of each patella and I assume the catching is due to the rough edges getting caught, and/or the underlying bone shredding the cartilage in the trochlear groove (I hope not!). It feels horrible - like I have a cheese grater implanted in my knees that is grating away the cartilage as I move.

I haven't had formal testing for diabetes recently - I had a glucose tolerance test done when I was pregnant with each of my kids, which was negative (I had the RLS symptoms back then, so I assume it's not due to diabetes). I have checked my own sugar level at work and it's always okay. If anything, it may be my iron levels, though I take vitamins, and I previously had symptoms despite normal iron levels at the time (tested for other reasons). I still prefer to be checked out again though, to seriously rule out other causes.

My back pain started with my pregnancies too - I had my two kids close together (14 months apart) and it took its toll. I had PT during my second pregnancy due to back ache/pain. Mine is mostly in my sacroiliac joint region, and feels like it is of soft tissue origin. I blame my pregnancies, my son's big head and years of nursing. My knees just result in it flaring up regularly, instead of infrequently.

Farrah - That looks like a good brace too. I'd be interested to see how it goes if you try it. If I continue to have problems after surgery then I'll look into that one I think. I have pretty much worked out why my OS is iffy about this surgery - part of what helps keep the patella in place is muscle strength, so this surgery may change nothing because I still won't have the muscle to keep my patella tracking how it should, even if the TTT fixes the "framework" of the joint. The TTT may fix things enough to reduce the irritation which will then allow me to build muscle, but it may also do nothing. I wonder if it's possible for it to help, and then for my muscles to become strong enough to "overbalance" things and cause problems with the patella tracking too far medially!?! Who knows. I have at least worked out in my head why this surgery isn't necessarily going to be a success, and what the OS was concerned about.

Anyway, it's time to hit the sack. I'm starting to droop! Bye for now.

Kathy

Offline Silkncardcrafts

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2008, 08:46:17 AM »
Hi Kathy,

I have used the Tru Pull Lite brace and found it very good. Like you my skin is very sensitive. I didn't get any irritation from it at all. It may be worth trying before your surgery.

If I was you I'd actually delay your surgery until your quads are strong enough. It concerns me that your OS is prepared to operate despite them not being very strong. I think you should seriously think about doing clinical pilates. It is a great way to strengthen your quads, hips and glutes, especially if you aren't able to do much other exercise. Using an exercise bike is a good way of buillding up your quads, but not sure whether you've tried that and if it stirs you up or not.

One of my friends is seeing my knee surgeon and he wouldn't operate until her quads were strong enough.

Just some food for thought.
11/1996 - RK LR
07/1997 - LK LR
11/1998 - LK MPFL Reco
12/2005 - RK LR Repair
07/2006 - LK MPFL Repair
11/2006 - LK LR Repair
22/05/08 - LK Trochleoplasty
11/02/10 - RK Trochleoplasty
07/03/11 - RK Chrondroplasty

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2008, 12:49:30 AM »
Hi Kirsty,

I have spent the time since my LR surgery trying EVERYTHING to build up my quads, to no avail. Swimming (and water exercises), cycling (exercise bike - I can do 5 min TOPS and even that stirs things up  :P), walking, exercises of all sorts. The risk of not operating now is that my quads may even get weaker and cause me more problems. My OS is reluctant to operate due to the weak quads, but he is also aware that this surgery COULD resolve things enough for me to be able to get some muscle strength back, and that delaying it COULD result in things getting worse. I have no problems strengthening other muscle groups, but my quads are like limp dish rags!! I already do pilates exercises for a bit of variety. I was doing pilates and lots of walking to keep fit and still my knees managed to end up going downhill fast over 6-12 months. I think that the bone was finally exposed and that's when things deteriorated much quicker.

My biggest issue with many patellar braces is that I cannot bear any pressure over or near my patella - it really sets off the aching, as it pushes the raw bone harder against the underlying joint. The brace I used to use worked really well until my cartilage started becoming pretty chewed up, and now it causes more pain than improvement. Even tubigrip can get uncomfortable over my knees when I'm having a bad day.

Anyway, I don't think there is any right answer for my problem. I think it's just a matter of trial and error to see what works. I have already been down the exercise path with my knees as they are, and have seen no real improvement in my right knee - my bad days are worse than ever. My left knee is holding it's own and may improve very slowly with continued exercise - I actually hold out some hope for the left knee and the plan is to not operate on that one, with any luck.

Well, it's my bed time, so I'll leave things there.

See you all around.

Kathy

Offline smkelly4kds

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2008, 04:19:03 PM »
Kathy with the OA so bad and bone on bone now as your OS talked about a TKR?  Just wondering.  I know they dont like to do it when you are young.  But sometimes i think the OS's need to get over the protocols and do what is in the best interest of the patient.  Sorta like with Farrah.  Something has to be done for her.  I am sure muscle weakness plays a part but not to the point you cant stand on the knee.  I mean that has to do with more than just muscle weakness...but I am not an expert!
When is your surgery again?

Melissa
Aug 2007 - dislocation Rt knee-PT no improvement
Jan 08 TTT (Fulkerson)  Rt knee
Scope 6/08 LT Knee- debridgement medial femoral condyle w/stedman picking, part. lateral menisectomy
July 22 started 1st round of synvisc heading for 5 total....so far working!
Still having pain w/TTT knee pain

Offline tanyap

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2008, 08:04:52 PM »
At one point last year my muscle weakness was so bad that if I spent ANY time on my leg (like standing for long enough to smoke a cigarette) it would swell up and get really tense and stiff and when I went to move it would be SO easy to sublux it. When my muscles got stronger a lot of that went away - now I can stand about on it for an hour or more and its just a knee - nothing major happens. So some of that stuff IS muscle weakness - more about having the brain talk to the muscles than them being small I think though. If you are standing around on an unsupported joint its not going to be pleasant because the kneecap will not track properly, and basically the bones just smack off each other with no 'pull' anywhere from muscles.
So its worth trying to get to a point you can actually strengthen them before going for radical surgery. Pain is such a bugger for switching the muscles off - I never knew it could be so complete til I had zero muscle on my right leg and no matter what I did it wouldnt build because I was just 'going thru the motions' with exercises and they wouldnt switch on.
1986 - recurrent dislocations of right patella began
1988 - Modified Hauser Procedure
1991 - dislocations started again
2005 to 2007 - 150 dislocations in 2 years - OUCH!!!
June 2007 - new OS, new physio
Oct 2007 - VMO woke up
Mar 2008 - big quads, still dislocating
Apr 2008 - next OS app

Offline kathat

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Re: Kathy's Pre-op Diary
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2008, 12:44:17 AM »
Melissa - It's not bone on bone yet. I have no damage to my trochlear groove, and the rest of both knees (apart from one patch on my MFC) are also pristine. It's only the back of each patella that's bare bone (about 1/3 of each). Also, I don't have any ligament problems (eventually OA affects the ligaments) and I have full ROM. I have consistent aching, for the most part, but it's not completely unbearable and I can tolerate it most of the time. It's just the bad days that I hate. So.....I am not yet a candidate for replacement or resurfacing. I wouldn't want it done yet anyway. I'm not ready to go down that path!! I will be curious to find out how much more damage has occurred since my last surgery - I am sure that the trochlear cartilage will be involved eventually.

My surgery is the 18th June (4 weeks away).

I have had to go back to taking some extra pain killers in the last couple of days, as my legs have been too "crawly" to tolerate. I even had an insane itching/electric shock sort of feeling at the top of my thigh/lower stomach/groin overnight that scratching didn't help but the pain killers did. I am assuming it is a different RLS symptom.

Tanya - I agree. A lot of pain can arise from muscle weakness, as muscles play a huge part in stabilising and supporting the joints. I wouldn't be surprised if my tracking issues have arisen because of weak muscles. I have been doing a variety of quad exercises to attempt to get SOME strength back. I am treading a fine line between overdoing it and doing enough to build muscle. My kneecaps feel like they track funny after I have done lots of SLRs or similar, and I get pain on flexion straight afterwards. When I contract my right quad, I can feel the damaged area pushing into the joint (ouch). The left one doesn't have that problem thankfully. I try to contract it to the point just before the discomfort starts, and then hold it there. My PT said that even if I don't build up muscle, I am helping keep the neural pathways open and I increase my chances of a quicker recovery.

Anyway, it's my sleep time again. I have days off now, thankfully, so I don't have to worry if I don't sleep the full day - however, it's usually when I get the best sleep!!

Bye for now. Take care all.

Kathy















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