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Author Topic: 5 Weeks post op and waiting  (Read 1338 times)

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Offline StaciH

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5 Weeks post op and waiting
« on: July 04, 2012, 07:29:31 PM »
Hello All,

I am new to this so I am just going to give you the 411, because I am desperate.  I am a 44 year old female who is athletic, but very much overweight. I was playing racquetball with my son in February and sustained an injury to my rt knee. I thought it was soft tissue, but it got worse over time and eventually got to the point where I could barely walk on it and had a terrible limp. The pain was excruciating also. Oh yea, swelling was twice the size of my left leg. Blah, Blah, Blah...

Three or four ortho appointments later, coupled with cortisone and an MRI, they advised my knee cap was out of alignment and I had a meniscus tear. I went in for arthroscopic surgery. He came back saying I was full of arthritis and that he did a menisoscopy. Today reading through these posts I realized that the Ortho never told what percentage he removed. But when he looked at me, he looked at me like I was in for a long hard run and needed a knee replacement. He advised because of my age he would not recommend it for another ten years..

Well now five weeks post op I still have pain, stiffness and swelling. I have been doing pt and biking. When I started biking on a recumbent I could barely do one minute and now I am up to 25 minutes. And the pain, well it's different than before the surgery. Did I wake up some wicked arthritis that was quietly creeping around inside my knee? And if my knee is so bad that I can't lead a normal life why not do the replacement?

I have had rotator cuff surgery which took a good year and a half to come back from, but this is really affecting me mentally. I am starting to go into deep depression and I fear that I am going to stop living life. My family just left for Fourth of July festivities and I stayed in bed. I hurt and I am scared that the quality of my life just took a dump. I can't wait 10 years and keep praying that tomorrow I will wake up and step out of bed without pain and walk down my hallway with a normal progressive gait, not this gimpy weak person that I have become.

Lot's of people have arthritis, I don't see them crippled. Lots of people have had meniscopy's and I don't see them laid up. I thought three-four weeks tops, but I have hit a wall and fear this is it.

Any advise or stories similar to mine that you can share with me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you  :'(

Offline LindaM

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Re: 5 Weeks post op and waiting
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 09:24:30 PM »
Hi Staci,

Sorry to hear you are hurting.  If you do not have a follow-up appointment coming up soon, I encourage you to make one and find out how much meniscus was removed and where, and how bad the arthritis is.  It could be that you are just someone that is slower to heal, but it could be something else entirely.  The fact that your pain has not improved is reason enough for going in. 

Are you still in PT?  If so, what has your therapist said?  Keep up with the exercises and the bike-the stronger everything around the knee is the better your pain level will be. Since you admit to carrying extra weight, the bike might be a great tool to get the exercise you are accustomed to so that you don't gain.  You may need to be extra careful right now because if you are like me, when you are down you reach for the comfort food and gaining will just make you more depressed.

Most doctors are very reluctant to do a knee replacement on someone your age because they only last about 20 years and you would have to have another or even two more over your lifetime.  A TKR revision does not go as easily as the first. It is not in your best interest to have one before there are no other options.  When you see your doctor next he may have other things for you to try-braces, synvisc, more PT etc. to try and buy you more time.  These can really help, and I know from experience.  My mother is walking on a knee that is bone-on-bone and so bent that you wonder how it can support her, but her Donjoy brace lets her walk pain free.

 All that being said, the surgery could have kicked up your arthritis.  After my meniscus surgery, my well controlled arthritis kicked in and I went from cartilage that according to my OS was in surprisingly good shape to bone-on-bone.  My OS, my rheumatologist, and I thought is was simply a flare and treated it as such with a brace, synvisc, etc. but by Spring when I finally went to the OS again I was bone-on-bone with a divot carved out.  I had limped in considerable pain an entire school year before my first PKR.  So I truly understand your fears.  And if it is truly necessary, I can assure you that your doctor (or another one) will in the end agree to doing a knee replacement at a younger age.  My sister was 43 when she had her knees done and at 60 is doing extremely well with them although she is a very large woman.

Hang in there Staci, this is just the beginning.  Make that appointment with your OS and also one with your GP to talk about your depression.  Depression and pain are linked-depression worsens pain and pain leads to depression.  You should also ask your GP about a referral to a rheumatologist to manage your arthritis, at least for an evaluation.  My rheumatologist is the reason that my arthritis has not progressed more over the more than 20 years I have had it(even osteoarthritis has an inflammatory component). I have had the pain and inflammation managed all that time, and as a teacher I have a job that keeps me on my feet many hours of the day.  With our family history, when our daughters started to show signs of arthritis (at 39 and 37) they both started with a rheumatologist to be evaluated,  and see them as needed.  So this is not something that your GP will balk at.

The only one who likes change is a baby with a full diaper, and they are full of ----.  You are going through change right now.  Your knee will never be quite the same, but it will eventually get better and you will have a new normal.  Are you taking medication for pain or inflammation right now?  If not it would be a good idea to try at least a few motrin while you wait for your appointments. 

Good luck Staci, you can make it through this ;)

Linda
>20 yrs. osteo and inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia
meniscus repair Sept. 2009
right PKR June 2010
left PKR Feb. 2012

Offline Vickster

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Re: 5 Weeks post op and waiting
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 01:32:10 AM »
5 weeks after a menisectomy, or indeed any knee surgery, is really nothing - many people, myself included, can take several months to recover from the trauma and the work done - indeed 6 is actually not unusual, especially as we start to get a little older as we heal slower. 
Stick with the physio, get the leg strong, use ice and painkillers as required.  Perhaps ask your doctor about a hyaluronic acid (like Synvisc) injection to help the joint heal - I had one during my second scope and it seemed to work a treat.  Your knee had also been poorly for a while before the operation, so it has a bit more to get over too.

Llinda also gives some great advice, especially on not rushing into a TKR until everything else has been tried

Good luck :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline emm10161301

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Re: 5 Weeks post op and waiting
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 09:54:22 AM »
Arthritis is awful. My gran ( I have a young granny she is only in her 60's ) has struggled with arthritis in her legs, feet and hands from she was in her 20's. She told me that there was days she couldn't walk up the stairs and. Had to have my mum help her get ready. Even walking to school to collect my mum and uncles was a strain but she just held onto fences and hedges and wouldn't let it beat her. It is one of those awful things you just have to push yourself with and I agree with linda you will get there and it prob will give you a new normal. But you just have to keep going. Look at how far you've come with being able to do longer on the bike. Just don't push yourself too hard incase you cause some more damage. Slow and steady wins a race. And I should listen to my own advice sometimes. Cause I know how frustrating it is. I'm 2 weeks post op and think I should be out running a marathon lol. But always look for a positive, even if its just an extra minute on the bike.! Good luck :)
2002-2012 regular dislocations of both knees, tried everything from braces and casts to physio.
June 2012 MPFL surgery on both knees