The last three days have been… interesting. I’m not even sure that’s the right word. Maybe overwhelming is more accurate. I was presented with the awful truth that not every problem has an identifiable cause, nor does every problem have a ready solution.
Good news from my surgeon is that the DeNovo NT cartilage graft transplanted behind my patella (knee cap) looks pretty good. One or two thin spots, but filling out nicely. Bad news is that the MRI didn’t show anything that should be causing the pain that continues to plague me. Like the plague.
To recap, I was doing extremely well in the first part of this recovery, then plateaued a bit, and then took a giant leap backwards for no obvious reason. That last leap was eight weeks ago now, so we’ve been working on limited PT and waiting, really, for the last two months to see if things would even out.
I was presented with three options. 1) Continue to wait. 2) Try Synvisc. 3) Undergo arthroscopy.
None of these options appeal to me. I’ve been waiting it out for two months now, and my mobility has decreased while my pain increased. We tried Synvisc before, and it provided only partial relief for about six weeks. The Euflexxa (a similar synthetic hyaluronan injection) lasted only four weeks. Finally, every fiber of my being rebels at the thought of another surgery. Especially when the arthroscopy would be exploratory, and there is no guarantee that my surgeon would find anything or that he could fix it if he did find something. Plus, as he put it, “Surgery hasn’t really been kind to you.”
I nearly had a high-speed come apart in the exam room. I was wholly unprepared to receive news that neither my surgeon nor the radiologist who had prepared the report could see an obvious problem. I need to know what to fix! I need a solid plan of attack.
I went home feeling rather dejected and adrift. We had decided that we’d wait. In the meantime, I’d been told to continue trying to strengthen my VMO and give swimming a shot (hopefully won’t cause too much pain while building strength).
After I got home and had nothing to do but ruminate on the options before me, I started acting like a crazy person. I decided that, if there was nothing wrong on the MRI, there must be nothing wrong with me. And if there’s nothing wrong with me, there’s no reason that I need to take my pain medicine (big mistake number one). And there’s certainly no reason that I couldn’t go to the gym and get my sweat on in maniacal fashion (big mistake number two). And absolutely no reason that I couldn’t kneel on the bed like I don’t have two screws in the front of my knee (ok, this last one was a total accident, and I won’t be doing that again).
I just needed a minute or two days to wallow in self-pity. Then I made up my mind that I’m not going to wait for another eight weeks, hoping that something clicks and the pain subsides. I simply can’t continue to rely on narcotics to get me through a normal day that consists of little more than going to and from work. I called the surgeon’s office yesterday and asked, “On a scale of one to ten, how useful do you think a second opinion would be at this point?”
I posed the question because I have no clue what’s better. Get a second opinion now or have my surgeon scope first and see what he sees. I have decided that I’m going to do something, but I need help figuring out the best next step. I expect to hear back by the end of the week about suggestions for who to see for a second opinion.
I also asked whether there’s a chance the scope can be done without general anesthesia. I loathe the side effects of GA; in fact, I’m more scared of the anesthesia than of having my knee opened up again. Plus, I figure I can live tweet my own surgery, if I’m awake. That would be ahhhhhhmazing.
Only kidding! Mostly.