Health Update: The Knee From Hades

So, I saw the orthopedist yesterday. I suppose there was a little good news, along with the bad.

The good: there is no sign of bone infection as the cause of the increased pain I’m having.

The bad: the knee is continuing it’s disintegration from “severe degenerative arthritis” which all goes back to several injuries, and the reactive inflammatory arthritis caused by the viruses my body has been fighting, which include Epstein-Barr (EBV), Parvo, HHV-6, and, quite likely, the new retrovirus, XMRV.

X-rays show the joint space has narrowed even more since the last set, from July, ’09. There’s really not much in the way of joint space left – he said there should be 4 – 5 times as much space between the bones. Joint space is there because you have cartilage in between the bones, shielding them and protecting them, helping things move smoothly. In my case, the cartilage is pretty much non-existent at this point. Bone on bone.

The bone spurs are starting to reform – three of them, but they are not nearly as bad as they were last year before he ground them off of there. But they are growing, and will keep growing.

As he explained, as I knew, I’m gonna have to have a knee replacement, but he doesn’t think I’m quite there yet. From my understanding of this, in order for insurance to cough up and pay for a very expensive procedure with hospital stay of around 4 days, plus in my case likely a short stay in a rehab facility, and extensive physical therapy, you have to have tried everything to stop it, and it has to seriously impair your ability to perform everyday activities. He quizzed Rhiannon about this while I was getting x-rayed.

One reason to delay is because they don’t last forever, and they aren’t usually needed or performed on someone my age, so it will make it even harder to get through insurance.  And, replacing them when they wear out is not at all an easy thing to do, so they want to wait as long as possible, hoping the technology improves and they last longer, which is happening.

For now, he’s put me back on Celebrex (once we get it pre-approved by insurance, that is), told me to exercise it as much as possible, and gave me a new brace to keep the bones aligned when I’m walking, especially over uneven ground or ice, etc. Without the cartilage to hold everything in place, it’s slipping and sliding all over the place.

He doesn’t think steroid injections would help at this point, and I’ve already had the injections of the joint fluid that sometimes helps people. In my case, any help was very minor, and temporary, so I’m not eligible (by FDA & insurance rules) for another round of them.

I’m feeling kind of down about all this. It just sucks. Knowing I’m going to have to have what is major traumatic surgery, I don’t heal well because I’m immune-impaired, and with the CFS & FMS the recovery is going to be very hard. Four to six weeks on crutches would be hard for a healthy person. For me, with no stamina, no strength, it’s going to be hell.

So I have this period of waiting, impending doom, sort of, during which the level of pain is increasing. I think I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Time for an attitude adjustment. It’s just one more challenge, right? Right! (and the mind grumbles “Cause I don’t have enough already!”)

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3 thoughts on “Health Update: The Knee From Hades

  1. i remember when you were on crutches in high school. i don’t remember why, though. none of us knew the “proper” way to use them, and you ended up with bad bruises under your arms…ok, sides of your breasts, from using them wrong. Lesson learned, right, for the next time? just a little anecdote to hopefully make you smile!

    hang in there baby! remember, you are stronger than you think you are, and I already know what a strong person you are (don’t i keep saying that every time we speak?)

    i’ll be happy to come up there and help you rehab, help take care of things, and try to get you to smile occasionally when you’re ready to go through this, or any other time! Just say the word and i’ll be knocking on your door!!

    Like

    • Hey Kel !
      I’m”hypermobile” – my ligaments are too long so the joints stretch too far. There was a period there in high school when I went from sprained ankle to strained shoulder to sprained other ankle, wrist strains… the docs said that I was just in a growth spurt when the joints are loose on normal people, but because I’m hypermobile it made it much worse.

      I vaguely remember a constantly rotating series of ace bandages, too much time on crutches, arm slings…

      Both my girls are also hypermobile but not as bad as me. Rhia hurt her ankle when she was pretty young, and Terra had her knee scoped as a teen, but other than that I think they’ve gotten off much easier than I had it.

      Thank you both for your support!

      Like

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