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Author Topic: How do you deal with it?  (Read 3295 times)

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Offline JohnnyG123

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How do you deal with it?
« on: August 31, 2016, 08:42:38 PM »
My question is, what have you done or discovered to help you deal with your knee problems. Was it a mental change, new hobby, treatment etc. or, like most, are you still struggling with every day frustration.

I know some peoples problems are worse than others, and in comparison mine is probably mild. However, I can't help but feel that the last 2 years and foreseeable future has been utterly depressing and soul crushing for myself.

As stated above, my injury started 2 years ago. Due to MRI scans not having picked up the initial cartilage damage - I was misdiagnosed and ultimately after lots of conservative physical therapy better the situation but never fixed the problem, I decided in accordance to my Ortho's advice to have an Arthroscopy in order to see exactly what the problem was (Second worst mistake after injuring my knees in the first place).

I hate myself for going through with it, but understand why. My treatment came to a point where the MRI scans showed no damage and my physical therapist gave me the stamp of approval to "go on with my life". They encouraged me to go running, playing squash, hiking etc. again whilst unaware of the real damage in my knees. I like to think had I not done the Arthroscopy and gone back to my vigorous I'd be worse off 5 years from now. That was the reason I went through with the surgery. Because I had to know what my exact condition was in order to adjust my life accordingly. My Ortho promised be that my knees would be as good coming out as they were going in and that he would not, unless absolutely necessary, touch my cartilage depending on his findings.

Turns out I had lateral tibial cartilage fissures in both knees. Both bloody knees. The rest of the cartilage was still in tact to the extent that he couldn't do a microfracture, but he did shave some of the cartilage to smooth it out. The thing is, my knees are terrible after the surgery. It's been 6 months and I have this tension on the lateral sides, sharp pains and almost constant painful clicking which is all new. Worse than that, my right knee which was actually in reasonably good condition is now horribly uncomfortable.

At first, my fear was not being able to do the activities I used to. Now, I fear I'll never be able to live a normal life without discomfort in daily activities. I hated the last 2 years of my life. It was spent not being able to do any of my passions, and pretending to be happy. All the while I was able to do this because I kept telling myself that in time it would get better. Now I've lost it. I have little hope for the future and dread that I'll never be able to walk without discomfort or even play with my kids one day. I have gone through all the stages of anger, denial, severe depression, mood swings etc. and now just feel dead inside. I can manage to put on an act to get by the day for activities such as work etc - but I take no interest in anything. I rarely ever go out with my friends anymore, or out in general. After work I find myself not doing anything, because the things I enjoyed doing is no longer available to me and I can't force myself to pretend to care about anything else.

I've thought about going to a psychologist. But I don't want to. I know they can't fix me, and will resort to trying to change my mentality to accept this condition and learn to live with it. I don't want to accept it, because acceptance to me feels like giving up. But the way I'm living life right now is not a life worth living and not how I want to look back on mine.

To add, I'm 26 years old. If you had met me 2 years + ago, I'd have greeted you with a smile and confidence. I'd like to have discussed topics such as working out, adventurous hiking, sports, healthy living etc. I'd talk about how I want to travel the world etc. and take up various challenges. I'd love to have listened to whatever you had to say even if it was unrelated to my own interests. If you met me now, you'd probably still think I'm a nice guy. Though you'd soon notice that all I have to offer is an empty smile and nod to a one sided conversation you're trying to maintain all the while thinking that I don't care about a single thing in the world.

I know I still have a long road ahead of me, likely the worst is still to come. I'm going for PRP next week.. so there's another something to give me a sense of "wait long enough and it will get better".

Back to my original question, whatever it may be whether lighthearted or serious - what's helping you cope? (if at all) And has anyone found something, such as a new hobby for example, which completely sparked their spirit again and have them feeling like they're living to the fullest?

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Offline Torao

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 09:53:43 PM »
I've been relatively lucky. I had a major surgery and while I'm not all the way back, I'm probably 90% of the way and can even do things I couldn't before surgery.

I think the best way to manage is to do as much as you can to keep a normal life. It's very easy to curl up in a ball and stay at home all the time. But during my recovery period, I kept going to as many of my workouts as I could, doing what I could without risking my knee, or working on other things if I couldn't modify things.

For something like capoeira (a martial art) where there is effectively nothing physical that can be done with a non-functioning knee, I spent time learning to play instruments better.

I'd also recommend getting a second opinion from a different doctor. The first doctor I went to looked at my mri and the cartilage loss (and other issues) and said that there was nothing that could be done and even if I stopped doing what I do (gymnastics, parkour and capoeira), the best I could hope for was to delay a knee replacement for a few years. As I'm was then in my early 30s, I got a second opinion.

Offline BarefootPilgrim

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 08:46:05 AM »
Hi Johnny,

I'm sorry to hear you're feeling so hopeless about your situation. I never thought that my knee would have such an impact on my psychological well-being either, but it does, and quite obviously I am not alone in that regard.

Can I ask how you injured your knee in the first place?

I can 100% understand your desire to know what exactly was wrong with your knees. It's a very frustrating and confusing place to be in not knowing what is going on, what might happen in the future, etc.

Quote
I've thought about going to a psychologist. But I don't want to. I know they can't fix me, and will resort to trying to change my mentality to accept this condition and learn to live with it. I don't want to accept it, because acceptance to me feels like giving up. But the way I'm living life right now is not a life worth living and not how I want to look back on mine.

I can also completely sympathise with that point. When people say "Well, you get older, don't you" or "You might have to get used to it" it makes me so depressed because yes, getting older is inevitable, but I am not THAT old (29) and I did not go through two years of rehab after my ACL surgeries to be an invalid at this stage. I can, however, recommend psychotherapy. I've been doing it for around a year and a half now, for reasons unrelated to knee issues, and it has helped me a great deal.

What I'm doing now to keep focused and optimistic is stay busy with work, reading, and trying to stay as healthy as possible. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and have a third appointment with a different OS next week to hopefully make some headway towards finding out what is actually wrong.

I still haven't fully accepted that I might not play soccer or run anymore, that will be a tough blow when it comes, but I have to push as hard as I can to try and get back to it. And if I can't, then I will, with the heaviest of hearts, have to find something else to keep fit, because not exercising is not an option, knowing the emotional and physical havoc that wreaks.

What's the procedure and outlook for PRP in your case? Have to confess I know almost nothing about it...

I hope you manage to keep your spirits up. I find that just browsing these forums helps to calm me down a bit if nothing else.


Offline BarefootPilgrim

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 12:38:23 PM »
Hey Johnny, how have things been going for you? Have you started on PRP yet?

Offline JohnnyG123

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 09:34:17 PM »
Hey BarefootPilgrim,

Sorry, haven't been on here in a while. I must confess, I was in a rather bad place when writing that post - though i'm sure we've all been there.

How I injured myself, not sure really. My Ortho believes it's a combination of genetics and severe overuse. I developed an unhealthy obsession with being active and fit. I say unhealthy, because I was reckless, obsessive and always pushed myself. I got to a point where I was training 2+ hours a day, not necessarily just in the gym but just through various activities. I did daily bodyweight workouts, running, MMA, squash,  and would go hiking for about 6-8 every second weekend on a nearby mountain. The tipping point I believe, was when I started squatting at the gym. I'm going to assume my posture was off, and I squatted twice a week as I wanted to strengthen my legs. This, in combination with the above, was hell on my knees.

Eventually my knees became swollen. Well first it was the right more than the left. Me, in all my youthful ignorance, didn't think much of it. I iced it and was back after a few days. Eventually it turned into a vicious cycle of me treating it a few days then repeating the injury. It didn't even cross my mind that it was something as serious as cartilage damage. To add to that, as I said I had a sort of unhealthy obsession with being active at that stage. I was insecure about myself, unfulfilled in my job and generally bored of life. However, I felt I was dealing with and overcoming it all somehow by pushing myself to be as fit and active as possible. That's why I never stopped after the initial injury. I was so afraid to lose my "progress" or just stop for a long period of time. I felt, if I stopped, I had no idea what to do with myself and became almost claustrophobic. But yeah, now not being able to ever do anything near the extent of what I was able to back then just because I couldn't take a step back and rest - it seems rather silly.

I went through some sever depression and it's hard for me now to think that I was at such a dark place. I always considered myself someone who is psychologically and emotionally well balanced, as well as logically rational. However, I found myself having indirect suicidal thoughts, which I'd never act on though. I had this lingering thought of "I don't want to die, but I don't want to live like this either". I never saw a psychologist or anyone though. Maybe next time. Thinking back, having been at such a low, it scares me. But we can only grow stronger.. I'm a chappy again lately. The ol knees are just a nuisance than anything else. But otherwise, I accepted it and now listen to my body. As a simple example - if I'm with friends and everyone is standing about for extended periods of time, I'm not stubborn in that I try to hide my discomfort - and will simply sit wherever. The other day I was camping near the beach. The majority of my friends decided to go for walk down down the coast. (my knees absolutely can't handle sand or uneven surfaces) So I openly declined in a lighthearted manner and insisted to go on without me. I cracked open a cold one and enjoyed a chat with my mate who was actually relieved I stuck behind cause he is unbelievably lazy. Normally, I'd be the first to suggest to move about in those situations - but sucking up my pride was less painful than the strain on my knees if I had went along with it. Also, when you learn to make the best out of those situations which were never your first choice, they aren't that bad. I incorporate the same into my exercise. I avoid doing stuff that doesn't benefit my injuries. So I stick to my rehab and found swimming actually is great for me in terms of keeping fit.

PRP - well I'm only going for my second injection now. It's been 2 months apart, though I think I'm going to space it to 1 month intervals. Hmm I'm probably not the best to explain, as I myself aren't even completely sure and there are people on this forum who know near every detail of PRP. But they draw your own blood, put it in some machinery that spins it around (I think this increases the platelet count or potency) - then inject that blood into the affected area. I believe this promotes healing and reduces inflammation. However, as I understand, there's little to no evidence that it actually repairs cartilage. Even my new Ortho said he'd be happy to administer them - but that I should understand that it may not produce any results at all even. I'm simply going ahead with it because I've read / heard some success stories - minor and significant improvement (though for the significant improvements reported we need to consider all factors).

I'm at a point where, I'm desperate and would rather do something than nothing. I suppose it's the same as taking the supplements - whilst I know it may not cure my condition, what I do no for a fact is that doing nothing will do just that. So in doing this it gives me some hope that maybe I'll wake up one day and find I'm better off. My wallet doesn't agree though. From what I read, it seems that improvement in comfort might be expected with PRP though.

However, if I may suggest, if your issue is with cartilage repair - what I want to do and would suggest is stem cell based injections. Maybe look into BMAC. These seem to trump PRP and appear to have some more success stories of actual repair. I personally would and plan to go the BMAC route, but can't currently as no GP provides this treatment in my area. But there are many threads on BMAC and PRP - I suggest reading them here or asking others (as I have very little knowledge on the matter).

I'll keep you posted if I have improvements, or come across some miraculous answer. You're right, you're not that old :). Just don't do what I did. Don't be in a rush and do things you shouldn't which you know negatively affect your injury. It would be much better to be able to return to soccer or run again in 2 years, rather than forcing it now for a brief period and robbing yourself of being able to do it in the future. I still strongly believe I'll hike up that damn mountain.. and even though I have accepted that I can't do it right now, I refuse to accept that I wont be able to do it in the future. They are making medical advances that weren't previously available much more rapidly. We just have to be patient and respect our injuries, but never give up.

I'm on a bit of a quest to try and find any way to beat this, be it surgically/diet/rehab etc. Feel free to drop me a message and I'll stay in contact if I ever do find anything worthwhile to look into.

Take care, wish you all the best

Offline Brandon123

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 10:46:35 AM »
Hi Johnny,

I can relate to your struggle, long story short I injured my right knee (cartilage under kneecap damaged) when running back in 2009 (27 at the time, now 34). Had an arthroscopy a few months after, a lot of rehab etc., but never came back to normal. I have not been running, biking, downhill skiing, "serious" gym workout or anything since then as the knee has been so fragile. Took me 2 years to climb stairs and walk normally.

Fast forward to the summer 2015, I felt better than ever in my knee (at least since 2009), could walk without any limitations, almost hiking, had started going to the gym etc. I even dared to try some very careful slow jogging. But after that + some stairs climbing the knee totally went out. Stiffness, swelling, pain etc.  to the degree that I could not walk without crutches...I was devastated.

For the last 1,5 years, I have not been able to walk outside my apartment without crutches or walking sticks, my career has suffered greatly as I cannot travel, move around like a normal person, and I have deteriorated mentally to a degree I didn't think was possible for me. I would say that I have been moderately to severely depressed for the last year. All I can see is my promising future (work, hobbies, activities, travels etc.) flushed the drain... 

I have been to three OS knee specialists, they all say my initial damage has now progressed to patella-femoral arthritis, and the basically only have viscosupplements or another arthroscopy to offer. They have been very straight with me saying that this isn't something that will go away, and there are no good proven treatments for younger patients with this condition.

Anyhow, just wanted to say that I share your frustration and know what you are going through...

My coping strategy: a combination of acceptance and trying to keep up some hope that some kind of treatment/surgery out there can help me.

Best,
Brandon

 
RK sharp pain while running, diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 6/09
RK arthroscopic chondroplasty 9/09
RK rehab, recovery, 90% normal, started running again -> back to square one 5/15
RK diagnosis patellofemoral arthritis + LK diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 8/15 -> conservative treatment

Offline Bronzeparkeet

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Re: How do you deal with it?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 05:33:06 AM »
I'm a week out of surgery.  I'm fortunate to have people that love and support me. I guess keep things in perspective. Yes,  this is a tough thing to deal with but ultimately this is so minor compared to the health problems others have.


Be happy to be alive and mostly well.  Stay positive, be thankful and in time you'll be fixed.   :)