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Author Topic: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI  (Read 31349 times)

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Offline momhanaway

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Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« on: February 09, 2009, 06:41:30 PM »
A friend told me about this site to help our family learn more about cartilage injuries. My daughter is 19.  She just finished her freshman volleyball season.  About mid-season her left knee, after a specific game, began to hurt and she had swelling in her lower leg after playing.  MRI was negative for ACL injury, so she was cleared to play.  Looking back now, it probably wasn't the best thing that she played on her knee, but we didn't know what we didn't know :/ 

Trying to make a long story short.... Finally referred to knee specialist, Dr. David Schmidt (Spurs).  He met with us and explained that she has a cartilage injury.  No arthritis, no meniscus injury, no ACL injury. Over the Christmas break, he went in to do microfracture if the injury was the same size and the surrounding cartilage was in good shape, otherwise he would take good cartilage cells for carticel implant at a later date.  The cartilage damage was bigger than the MRI a couple of months before and the surrounding cartilage was not good enough, so now we are awaiting approval for the ACI. 

So the waiting is frustrating to say the least. 

Daughter has had her meeting with the coach and will redshirt next season.  She is out 9 months for sure.

I am looking for any success stories.  I have read the board and I know that the return to sports is not guaranteed.  Dr. Schmidt explained that to us.  She is healthy otherwise and has never had knee problems before. 

She is exercising on her own at school because she is not released to work out with the team.  She has typical symptoms like I have read on here: stairs hurt, sitting for long time hurts.  She can do the bike or elliptical for 30 minutes without hurting, but then she has to stop. 

We are newbies, so any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for listening.

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 03:30:03 PM »
Hello, I read your blog about your daughter, and I am in a similar predicament. I am having my surgery this spring (patellar ACI & HTO) and am also curious on the return to sports. I am 25 year old girl, former college soccer player, & serious runner. I had a snowboarding accident 2 years ago that sidelined me for a bit, but I ultimately returned to sports hard core. This gradually wore down my knee cartilage to the point where I have none left. After months of ineffective physical therapy & two failed microfractures, I finally made the decison to do the ACI. I still struggle with everything because I am so fearful about never being active again after this surgery. However, my surgeon has reassured me on numerous occassions that there is a very high success rate, and if you properly rehab, you have a good chance of returning to your previous lifestyle. Not to mention, youth and athleticism have an important role, as the body is more likely to recover. Before you jump into the procedure though, make sure you are getting a good opinion, and that you have tried other treatment options. I will keep you updated on my situation, I know it helps to hear other peoples' experiences
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ

Offline momhanaway

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 09:55:50 PM »
Thank you so much for your reply. 

She has had 3 opinions.  Her Dr. the at school had to do the referral for the knee specialist. We paid out of pocket for an additional opinion.  Everyone except the school Dr. said something had to be done because of her age and long term effects. Dr. at the school wanted her to try playing another season on it.  She made the ultimate decision that it was better to fix the knee. It took a toll playing the 2nd half of the season in pain, not able to perform 100%.

She is ready to get moving on the surgery so she can possibly train in the spring '10. She took the initial news that microfracture wasn't an option very hard, but after reading this board, it looks like microfracture doesn't work all the time. To a 19 year old at the beginning of her college career, it's the end of the world. Of course, we just want her to have a healthy knee that will let her have quality of life, but it would be great if she could play again. 

I would love to hear how everything goes with you! I hope all goes well for you!!! Please keep me posted.

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 04:15:59 PM »
oh i know, end of the world doesn't even  begin to crack the surface of how i feel. the mental aspect of this surgery is awful, i'm already experiencing it before the procedure has even been done, so i'm trying to get myself in the best frame of mind before hand. it is going to be a super long recovery, but like your daughter, i am too young and too acthletic to be sidelined for line because of a bad knee. i want to get my activity and happiness back & this procedure seems like the best option without doing a total knee replacement, which is out of the question because of my age. i just keep my focus on the future & being healthy one day soon. staying optimistic is the most important part! i will keep you and your daughter updated on my progress. take care and keep your head up. my mom is my biggest ally in this struggle, so i am sure your daughter appreciates your concern and support
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ

Offline Room 101

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2009, 12:11:08 AM »
Hi.  I have read this post and am sorry to hear your daughter has such a difficult injury.  I played division 1 softball when I was in college, and I hurt myself in the middle of my senior season.  It ended my competitive career.  It is the end of the world in her eyes, I am sure, and believe me, all these years later, I can sympathize and feel for you and your daughter. 

The good part is they found the root of the problem quickly, and before years and years of wear & tear will make it more difficult to repair.  This surgery can be very successful with a great surgeon and great rehab.  Youth helps, too.  Your daughter and you (her parents) are committed to fixing the knee, and that is a big step. 

You see things in a great light, understanding that quality of life down the road is important.  The best case being, she can go back to the sport she loves at the level she loves.  It won't get better on it's own, that's for sure, and I think many of us will attest to the fact that this injury can get worse quite rapidly, so waiting doesn't seem a good option.

I don't want to hijack the thread, but to give a little more background, I was an athlete in college as I said.  It was in the 90's, so the knowledge to find and fix these cartilage injuries was more remote.  My college trainers and surgeon just wrote me off after the season because my time was over and I was graduating.  Let's just say it took 3 scopes and around 15 years to get my problem figured out because I was blown off coming out of school.  Part of this delay was my own disbelief and stubbornness to deal or understand the pain, although deep down I knew it was a pretty intense problem.  I still tried to ignore the severity of it.  I started working with a personal trainer who specialized in knee rehab in 1998 thinking I could fix it myself.  I have not been able to run since the original injury in college.  I did manage competitive coed softball for several years after college, but by the time I had the AMZ in February 2008, I had given up everything except daily life, which was a struggle.  They thought I was a microfracture candidate prior to that surgery, but when they got in, the lesion was too large so they took the ACI biopsy.  I had the ACI done 10 weeks ago.  Clearly, I am hoping to return to reasonable activity, but I no longer hold out hope of being a competitive athlete... my time is past.  I just want good quality of life at this point, and I can say at 10 weeks post, I walk farther than I could before the surgery, so it looks like a light at the end of a hopeful tunnel.  The point of this is that my injury lingered for a very long time, but I still have hope to be athletic again...

Your daughter is young and obviously an athlete, so I imagine she has the dedication to get this difficult rehab done. well  I have not found the rehab tedious at all, but I relish every day that there is improvement.  Some days are bad, and I definitely have my worries and frustrations, but all in all, I have a good feeling.  Whether anyone reads what I write or not in my diary, it is a great reflection, and this board is great support.

Good luck with everything, and please drop me an email if you like.

Room 101
February 1 2008 - left knee AMZ/LR/Debridement/ACI biopsy
December 2 2008 - left knee ACI - Patela
May 25 2011 - Left knee mfx - trochlea  (ACI growth looked "pristine"), Right knee ACI biopsy
September 5, 2012 - Right knee AMZ/ACI - patella

Offline momhanaway

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 05:01:30 AM »
I don't think you hijacked the thread at all!  I love finding out more about what others have gone through.  It helps so much.  I am hoping to get my daughter to read this board.  I think it will help her too.

 



Offline Room 101

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2009, 06:02:05 PM »
I have a fabulous support system, too.  My husband is and has been awesome.  My Mom also has helped so much.  That really helps when the support is good.  Your daughter has that great support also, including her teammates and friends.  I hope your approval comes soon so that the waiting is over.  That can be very hard mentally.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Take care,
Kim 
February 1 2008 - left knee AMZ/LR/Debridement/ACI biopsy
December 2 2008 - left knee ACI - Patela
May 25 2011 - Left knee mfx - trochlea  (ACI growth looked "pristine"), Right knee ACI biopsy
September 5, 2012 - Right knee AMZ/ACI - patella

Offline momhanaway

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 04:40:13 AM »
The approval from Cigna came in the mail today!  Will post when surgery is scheduled. 

Offline Room 101

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 08:20:45 PM »
That was very fast!  Hopefully they can do the surgery soon so your daughter can hit the rehab and get back on the court!

Room 101
February 1 2008 - left knee AMZ/LR/Debridement/ACI biopsy
December 2 2008 - left knee ACI - Patela
May 25 2011 - Left knee mfx - trochlea  (ACI growth looked "pristine"), Right knee ACI biopsy
September 5, 2012 - Right knee AMZ/ACI - patella

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 03:00:54 PM »
wow, you already received the approval from Cigna!! that was super quick. when exactly did you submit the original claim?? i am waiting on Cigna as well, and the days can't go by any slower-it feels like it's been forever. let me know when you have the surgery date. congrats!

courtney
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 05:43:51 PM »
also- i meant to ask you where you are from and where your daughter is having her surgery.....
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ

Offline momhanaway

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2009, 06:44:30 AM »
The letter says that the coverage request was 2/5/09.  Honestly, I thought they had done this back at the beginning of January.  She had the original procedure before Christmas.  That was to do the microfracture.  Dr. said that the lesion was too large so he took healthy cartilage at that time and met with my daughter to decide what she wanted to do.  She, of course, wanted to fix her knee.  Our case is a little different because we have primary insurance that is ours, Cigna, and secondary insurance that is the university's because she is a student athlete. 

Surgery is in San Antonio,Tx. University picks the doc. He's a San Antonio Spurs knee Dr. (For those that are from all over, the Spurs are a professional basketball team)

Tentative date for surgery is Mar. 26th. Could have been earlier, but there was a little blip with the hospital that Cigna chose and this gives my daughter time to let her professors know and take tests earlier in the week etc. 

I do have pictures of the inside of her knee, but I don't know how to do pictures on this board. 
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 06:52:25 AM by momhanaway »

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2009, 05:34:38 PM »
wow so you requested the surgery on 2/5 and already heard it was approved! That's not even a 30 day wait. Congratulations again. I'm assuming yours was impacted by the fact that you had both Cigna & university insurance. Nevertheless, it seems like Cigna is fairly reliable in approving ACI in a timely manner. What part of the knee is your daughter having the ACI on?? Also, is she having a realignment procedure done at the same time....TTT/HTO/AMZ??
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ

Offline momhanaway

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 05:18:44 AM »
As far as I know, she is only having the ACI procedure.  Nothing else has been discussed with her or us.  I am pretty sure that she has a femoral articular cartilage lesion.  I don't have all the paperwork since her first few visits were handled totally by the school. 

I think I might have figured out the picture attachment.  Let's see if it works. 

Nope, file is too large.  I guess I have to resize it. 

Offline courtem10

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Re: Looking for a volleyball player success story following ACI
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2009, 01:54:36 PM »
well being on the femoral condyle is likely why insurance approved it so quickly. mine is patellar which is still considered experimental & most insurance providers will fight this claim extensively. nevertheless, it is great that she has a date and is on her way to recovery. let us know if you are able to upload those photos. also- i am curious what she is doing in terms of in-patient/out-patient hospital stay & pain control method

talk to you soon,
courtney
7/08 Left knee microfracture
12/08 Left knee ACI biopsy
4/09 Left knee ACI/AMZ















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