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Author Topic: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain  (Read 2572 times)

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Offline Kelli_Bear

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3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« on: July 08, 2004, 07:30:45 AM »
I have posted several notes in the last 3 weeks on this forum and got just a few replies.  I have tried to post to others offering hope in hopes of not just being here to take from others.

I know I am newbie and my injuries were certainly not as extreme as others but the pain I have suffered for most days for the last year is wearing me down - body and spirit.  If you have read any of my prior notes - my husband and I are adopting a newborn baby girl in 3 weeks.  I had my meniscus partial removal (medial and lateral) and chondroplasty 3 weeks ago to be in less pain when our baby arrives.  Apparently my medial meniscus was shredded and the OS had to remove back to the rim.  Don't know the Grade of my chondromalcia - he did some smoothing - no microfracture.

Anyway, I am in more pain today than I was before I started.  I don't know how I will care for our baby we have waited for 5 yrs for in this degree of pain.  

Any words of comfort, any prayers, any encouragement will be so appreciated.  I am feeling so discouraged and down.

Thank you if you read this far.

Kelli
Partial medial meniscus removal 7/03, 9/03, re-injury 6/04 - partial lateral/medial meniscus removal, chondroplasty
6/04 30% medial meniscus left.  7/15 left knee scoped - still healing & new Mommy!

Offline MHB

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2004, 07:53:30 AM »
Kelli,

You certainly have my prayers for a more comfortable and rapid recovery. As an older lady who's been watching for grandchildren (they MIGHT appear out of nowhere, but so far not yet), I know for sure your coming blessing will be a wonderful addition to your daily lives from day one, regardless of all other circumstances. Please accept my good wishes for the best kind of experience, all the way round.

Take care -- MHB
4/4/04 - Horizontal patella fracture
4/5 - ORIF 2 screws, figure8 wire, immobilizer, walker
4/16 -  cane
5/10 - no immobilizer
PT -- 5/17 to 6/8
OS Release - 7/12/04

Offline Heather M.

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2004, 09:40:31 AM »
Kelly,

You're going to have to do something to deal with the pain, because with only a small amount of meniscus left it sounds like your knee troubles aren't going anywhere anytime soon.  I don't mean to sound dramatic, but the meniscus very clearly serves a purpose, and we need it to cushion the impact.  If we don't have it, then our bones are rubbing together and you have a case of instant arthritis.  All the smoothing and microfracture in the world can't change that fact.  However, there is some good news--some people do well without the meniscus in that they are not crippled or anything.  They can do regular activities, though they are encouraged to not do impact stuff.  The knee is a mysterious joint, because the degree of cartilage damage does not correllate directly with the patient's level of pain--you may be one of the lucky ones.

But the fact remains that your major shock absorber is gone.  What was your doctor's plan for dealing with this?  There are a couple of options--an unloader brace to start with might provide you pretty immediate relief--well before the new baby arrives.  Some people feel better from the instant they put it on.  For a longer term solution, though, something has got to be done about the missing meniscus.  There are meniscal transplants, osteotomy, even a total knee replacement.  These are time-intensive treatment plans.

So in the short run, it's important to get your pain under control.  You may want to seriously consider a pain management program.  You are the perfect patient in terms of profile:  young, formerly active, and you need to be able to put aside your pain and live as normal a life, especially with the baby coming.  It's been my experience that OS's aren't very good at managing pain.  They want to come in, do their 'carpentry work' and then send you off on your merry way.  But with your situation, you're going to be seeing a lot of orthopods unless you can get that knee calmed down.  Then you can see if you're going to be one of the lucky ones who has severe chondral damage but not too much pain.

To be honest, there are a couple of possibilities for your current pain levels:  1) you are only three weeks post op.  Chondroplasty is not a minor procedure, it hurts! 2) the missing meniscus.  3) the knee is irritated and flared from all the inflammatory enzymes that rushed to the area when you were walking around with a shredded meniscus--it may need time to calm down.  Cortisone and/or SYNVISC may help this process.  4) your knee is weak from the procedure and the quads have shut down, leading to all kinds of mechanical problems.  Are you in PT?  What does he/she have to say?  5) the stress you are under with the major life changes is taking your very real pain and amplifying it further.  This could be especially serious if you aren't sleeping well, eating well, if the surgery has massively disrutped your life (who wouldn't feel stress in this case??).

All I can advise you to do is hang in there and deal with the stuff that CAN be dealt with in the short run.  This means eating well, doing your PT, managing your pain!, and getting enough quality sleep.  Try to talk to your husband about what's going on inside your head and how you can help each other through this stressful, joyous, highly anticipated time of waiting.

Managing your pain in this case may involve cortisone injections, anti-inflammatories like Celebrex (LOVE it!), PT modalities like ultrasound and tissue work, an unloader brace (read all about them--people on this page love them), and backing off on the running around that you are no doubt going through.  Focus on what can be dealt with and managed by you, and I guarantee the rest of the problems will fall in line, at least for a little while.  

Heather
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline Heather M.

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2004, 09:42:04 AM »
Sorry, I realized I didn't explain much about what my Pain Management program does--it's so much more than meds.  I went to her for emergent treatment when an 80 pound Dalmation mowed me down and hyper-extended my knee.  She does all my x-rays and MRI's right now, plus blood tests and all my medication.  She asks how I'm feeling, if I'm depressed, if I'm sleeping.  She looks at my nutrition and PT/exercise regimen (nothing right now), and she also helps deal with the back, hip, ankle, and foot problems that have developed from babying my crappy knee.  She knows I need to work, need to sleep, and need to have a balanced life--and her goal is to help me get one, no matter what it takes.

But it took me a long time to start seeing a pain management specialist because I didn't want to admit that my knee condition was going to be long-term and my pain chronic.  I wish I'd done it sooner, and you may well want to speak to your OS about a referral, or at least more adequate pain management while you get through these next few months.  Hang in there--the worst time is right after you've just realized that your knee is not going to be right for some time, and that it's going to take a lot of work.  You also have other huge commitments in your life, and it sounds like everything is colliding.  I find my relationship with my pain management doctor to be much more than going to get meds and PT prescriptions, because she treats me as a whole human being.  Maybe you could see a trusted GP or other type of doctor that can treat you as a whole human being with many obligations at a critical juncture in her life--and then let the doctor treat you in whatever way you both feel comfortable with.  Having someone look at the big picture in your life (mental, physical, stress, new baby, etc.) would probably be the best medicine of all!

Try to hang in there.  I know what it's like to be young and facing a fork in the road while also dealing with the fact that your knee is going to dictate your life for some time to come.  For me, the crisis came when I'd submitted my first novel and was waiting to see if someone wanted to publish it and rescue me from corporate America and wage-slavery.  I'd been miserable working in the cube farm, and was actually laid off for a year, during which time I started writing (gee, no stress there).  I submitted my book after my fifth knee procedure, then went to the Mayo Clinic for a complete workup to find if I had some horrible staph infection lying dormant in my body, waiting to erupt the next time I had surgery.  Testing took a month, more or less.  I got the offer of a two book contract that would allow me to support myself the SAME DAY that a doctor at the Mayo clinic told me that at age 32 I needed to "get a cane and get used to pain" and that he would "see me in 10-15 years for a knee replacement" because I had arthritis, but that he couldn't help me until my knee was a lot worse.  He then told me I needed to "stop taking the junk" (medicine) that was helping me get through the day, because my knee was always going to hurt and narcotic pain meds just mask that, they don't take it away.  

That was certainly the best and worst day of my life, and my stress levels were over the moon from the combination.  But I survived it, fired that SOB doctor, and moved on to someone else who would help me deal with my pain and the fact that my knee's issues are at least a decade ahead of medical science's abilities to fix.

So look at what all the issues are that you're dealing with (pain, lack of sleep, lack of mobility, etc.) and see what you CAN attempt to fix in the short time before your baby comes home.  Then you can work out a medium and long-range plan to deal with the meniscus; it doesn't have to be done today.  One of the best things I can say about pain management is that it allows me to make decisions that aren't dictated by my pain levels.  Before I entered this program, I had 5 knee procedures in about 15 months, because the pain was so bad I literally could not take it.  My OS was not willing to manage my pain, but he sure was willing to keep operating on me--which in no way improved things, they actually got worse!  The point of pain management is to get things to a bearable level (no such thing as pain free) so that your decisions are based on what you and your family need, not the urgent and uncontrollable desire to do ANYTHING to stop the pain.

Sorry to ramble on, but I do feel for you in your situation.  I was in much the same place about 18 months ago, only I was also out there trying to date, have a social life, and meet the future father of my children...realizing all along that being pregnant would not be easy, and might not even be possible--to say nothing of the difficulty in finding a guy willing to take me and my medical issues on!  So take comfort in the fact that you're not out there on the singles scene, okay?  Try to find the silver linings and take what you can get.

Let us know how things go in the next few days.  First things first, though--get your OS involved and make him do SOMETHING to address your knee situation and the pain you are in.

Heather
« Last Edit: July 08, 2004, 09:52:51 AM by hmaxwell »
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline Liz_-_UK

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2004, 12:14:13 PM »
Hi Kelli,

I don't know much about your specific problem but i do know what it's like to be hurting and not know how you can carry on and face life.

But the fact is you will carry on, and you will be a great mum to your baby girl, who will bring such joy to your life.

I do think you need to talk to your doctor again about pain management and options but in the meantime i am thinking of you.

Liz
03/95 - LR on left knee, 08/95 - LR on right knee, 03/98 - failed TTT left knee. Several scopes. 12/01 TTT and LR on left knee. Great for a while but now more problems.

Offline Horse_trainer

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2004, 06:00:51 PM »
Sure seems like it won't get better. It can, though. I was ordered to not walk at all 19 years ago and have been an active horse trainer and rancher these past 16!

Several things to think about... caffeine is a real aggravating substance for orthopedic problems and arthritis. Get on an anti-inflamatory that works for you (it could take several tries to find the right one.) Then just start getting ready for the baby. Congratulations! If possible, get the other muscles and structures in your knee working harder through gentle, consistent exercise and you'll (hopefully) find that the baby will keep you moving and motivated.

I found that the right motivation works wonders! I went from crutches to the show ring. I do know that bad knees rust very quickly if allowed to rest for very long. I'll be getting a TKR, but not until my original equipment refuses to move at all!

Best of luck. We have six dogs and six grandchildren, not to mention the horses, cattle and hayfields. I bet your knee will handle taking care of such a great motivator as a new child.
Severe OA R knee. Arthrotomy, total menisectomy 1980, MCL totally gone;
3 arthroscopies since, plus one on L knee. Await future TKR.

Offline Kelli_Bear

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THANK YOU for your notes!!!!
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2004, 07:32:08 PM »
I sent you all private notes but wanted to say THANK YOU on this forum as well.

You all helped me to get through a difficult day yesterday.

Kelli
Partial medial meniscus removal 7/03, 9/03, re-injury 6/04 - partial lateral/medial meniscus removal, chondroplasty
6/04 30% medial meniscus left.  7/15 left knee scoped - still healing & new Mommy!

Offline hopeful1

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2004, 07:42:10 PM »
Kelli!

What a stressful time for you!!  How joyful to have newborn come into your life!  Not knowing what you've  already been through to get you to the adoption, as a 39 yo with infertility issues, I can relate to the anticipation!!  

This pain, however, really has me concerned for you!  I do hope you can figure out a way to get it under control!  As Heather M. pointed out - THIS STUFF HURTS!!  I have a feeling you are also concerned about staying ALERT, as well.  I have a feeling, however, that you are still healing and recovering from surgery, and that is where tha majority of your pain is coming from.  Keep up with ice, compresion and elevation.  PT can really help with pain.  It seems counter-intuitive, sometimes, as most people think of torture when they hear "PT", but they really can help with pain control TREMENDOUSLY!!

Keep in mind, also, that it is really important to "stay on top of the pain" - don't wait until the pain is bad! Pain is a stubborn, bossy kind of thing!  It has a way of staying put once it has a hold of you.  You are FAR better of to catch it early!!  :o

I hope this just subsides over the next few days, and you can start to focus on getting on with baby preparations!  I know this must be overwhelming for you - but I also know that you WILL get through this.  We always do, somehow!!  ::)

Love, peace and painfree days to you!

L.
Fell 3/02
TTT, lateral release, VMO transfer & meniscus repair on 4/20/04
Lysis of adhesions/MUA on 6/10/04
FULL ROM by 7/19/04
Normal minimal function (ie, stairs, walking, etc) by 8/23/04
NO probelms since!!
Pregnant spring 05 - Due 9/05!!!

Offline Nettan

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2004, 08:58:50 PM »
Hey Kelli !!

I had problems when I had my first baby with difficulties caused of kneedamages. I used a pram indoors for my daughter so I didn't have to carry her from her bed to the sofa to the bathroom and that functioned very well.
Also rest whenever your child is sleeping. I also prepared food together with my husband in the evenings so I just had to take it to the micro. I know you can do it !! And don't be afraid for asking people if you need help. Friends and family are there to support when though times come. And next time it might be you who is helping them out instead.
I wish you all the luck in the world to you and your husband and your little newborn girl. Please let me know how it goes. If you need any support or ideas how to manage please let me know.

Many hugs from nettan  ::)
Surgery 6 times left knee torn meniscus, RSDS,chondromalacia, nervdamage cause constant nervpain,chronic inflamm.
Spinaldamage wheeler 100%.
Right knee damaged aug-06, use brace surgery 4/9-07.LCL tear.

Offline Lori-Florida

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2004, 08:59:23 PM »
Kelli, I hope your feeling better. I want to thank you for your welcoming on board. It meant alot to me , and I will post something over on the crisis side. I have been able to cope with all the emotions and pain now for over 2 yrs but not doing so well lately. People like you are an inspriation for us under dogs. I do recall that is one way I managed to cope all these months was giving support to others even if they werent as bad off as I am .. The fact is pain is pain and no one deserves that.. I hang out alot in MSN Messenger chat and also IN www.mybrokenleg.com which has kept me together for along time we have a discussion side there for serious stuff and then a chat session side also diarys you can read and links to sites that might help you, feel free to check in and read my diary it is under Lori from orlando. but if you ever want to just chat you can find me on msn messenger address is [email protected]
Jan. 2003 Total Knee Replacement
May 2003 Knee infected and removed
May2003-April2004 Had no knee could not walk
April 2004 Revision and MRSA 5 more surgerys
July2004 still treating MRSA cant walk

Offline angela

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2004, 04:03:51 PM »
Dear Keli

Hay sweetie, I am sorry that you having such a rotten time at the moment.  I have a few tips for you coping with you new baby though so I hope they help.
You see when I was 8mths pregnant with my 2nd son, I broke my ankle, not the same thing I know, but very restricting all the same.

First off, get a pram in the main room you will be in during the day, that way you can move around in the room with out too much hassle, taking baby with you.  (this only works if you are not on crutches)

Second a baby sling, If you haven't got one I will send you mine, (Ethan is nearly 2 and I don't use it).  Baby is strapped to you leaving yor hands free for crutches, picking stuff up or what ever.  (Also cause baby is close to you can hear your heart beat etc it helps you bond)  I wouldn't have survived with out mine!

Third everything you need move into the main room you will be in during the day, kettle, micro wave, nappies bottles, wipes, milk, (a microwave steriliser may also be useful, again if you haven't got one I will send you mine), A ruck sack that you can put on you back to carry things in, will also be usefull,

Have a couple of spare bibs and changes in clothes in the main day time room would also be good, (no going up stair when baby brings up a little milk and has got it all down her front.)

Take a deep breath there is more   ;D

Make up you meals before you husband goes to work, that way all you have to do is heat them up, much easier than trying to cook.  

Also sod the house work, in the grand scheme of things not important!  

Don't have too many visitors all at once this will tyer you out and a tierd mum is a grumpy mum.  

Sleep when your baby sleeps (this only works if you have one child, with two you can guarantee that when one sleep the other is awake. . . . . . . . belive me I know LOL  :D)

Don't be afraid to ask for help, if there are friends or family you could ask to do something for you, ask.  They are usually delighted to help and it takes some of the pressure off you.

You can do this, all you have to do is organise your self before she arrives.  This can and will be as forfilling an experiance that you will cherish for ever.  

Good luck sweet pea, and keep me posted
Love
Angie

2 arthroscopies, TTT & LR Left Knee, awaiting TTT & LR Right knee, as well as O A in both joints.  I am a mother of 2 boys and a mental health nursing student

Offline Kelli_Bear

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Thanks Angie
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2004, 05:32:31 PM »
Well great minds think alike - as I have already had a friend send me her sling, bottle warmer, microwave sterilizer and set up an area in the main part of the house to spend with the baby.

Of course since I wrote that initial post - I had to have surgery on my other knee last week  :o   But the good news is that the damage was much less - therefore the healing process and pain have been as well.

I already have several friends and family members bringing over prepared food and they will continue after the baby's birth next week.

So I am just focusing on mending and doing my P/T appts.  

Thanks so much for the encouragement and good ideas.

Kelli Bear
Partial medial meniscus removal 7/03, 9/03, re-injury 6/04 - partial lateral/medial meniscus removal, chondroplasty
6/04 30% medial meniscus left.  7/15 left knee scoped - still healing & new Mommy!

Offline jennylind

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2004, 03:06:22 AM »
Kelli-

I had my son 11 days after my surgery. I found the pain was definately magnified by my stress level. It was so frustrating not to be able to go to my son when he cried (I was terrified to carry him in the sling until I was able to bear weight on my leg).

I agree with the people who suggested pain management. Get it under control before you have the added emotional and physical stress.

Feel free to email me if need to chat. I know how hard it is to care for a newborn when you have a leg injury.

Lastly, focus on your joy at having a baby--it does make the leg seem not so important. Congratulations! It really is wonderful.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2004, 07:55:47 PM by jennylind »
4/16/04-tripped and fell; TPF 4/17-surgery, 1 plate & 3 screws 4/28-delivered my son 5/7-immobilzer removed 6/7-began PT 6/11-PWB 7/6 FWB 7/23 1 crutch

Offline rhonda_b

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2004, 03:40:41 AM »
I will post to you not because I know what you are going through, but because I know what is feels like to be totally down and in total pain.
My best friends a dew weeks ago were ibuprofen, percosett and lortab (now). I have now quit the heavy painkillers all together because I knew I was becoming addicted to them. Now I am going through the bad sleep habit.
If your pain medicine isnt working for you I would ask my doctor for something a little stronger and try that for a few days. There is no need in you being in the severe pain that you speak of.
My hopes and prayers are with you and a new little baby is the greatest thing in the whole wide world...good luck to you and I hope things get better. I will check back up on your posts later  
tibia plateau fracture right leg 6/03/04 1 plate, 2 pins, 3 screws ; left knee lateral release 98;  scar tissue removal surgery 8/20/04 :)

Offline Ron22

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Re: 3 weeks post op, in desperate amt of pain
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2004, 05:15:21 PM »
hi kelli...so sorry you're feelin down...pls feel free ti IM me on this bloard if you need to chat or get propped up...i know how you feel..i just started post in to this site last wk and the first few days felt weird cause i kept lookin for replies like a kid before xmas...anyway..that is no longer a prob as you very quickly get to interact with several of the folks here and start some consistent notes back and forth...anyway i feel you...take a look below my rt knee/hip are pretty bad...i don't sleep much and it's amazing to think i used to be so active in rugby, hoops, football and softball..anyway i'm sending many supportive hugs and sunshine your way  8)...you're in my thoughts and i hope to hear from you and that you're doin at least a lil better :)

pls take care and hope to hear back soon...we're all here for you

best

ron

Surgery #1 ACL/LR/Mdl Mesniscus
Surgery #2 Vascular Repair
Surgery#3 ACL/Ltl Mesniscus/MCL
Surgery#4 Vascular Repair
Surgery#5 Maquet/Bone Graft/Screw/LR/ACL
Arthritis/Knee/Hip
Necrosis/Hip
PFS/Chronomalacia
RSD
Vascular Issues
All on Right Leg















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