“I won’t quit if you don’t quit, ok?”
Those eight words were spoken to my by my physiatrist when I had my follow-up appointment with him on Wednesday. A little over a month ago, I had a very expensive, very painful injection in my knee. Apparently I’ve torn my medial retinaculum – because obviously I tear knee ligaments that no one has heard of. There’s no way to say when it was that I tore it, maybe it was five years ago when this all started, maybe it was more recently.
I don’t know and I’ll probably never know. I want to say that’s okay, but if I’m being honest, it’s anything but okay.
I’ve had four damn surgeries on this stupid knee. FOUR. I’ve also been subjected to countless years of physical therapy and all kinds of weird injections just to see if anything works. It doesn’t. And this last injection is just another example of something that was supposed to make it all feel better, but didn’t.
This injection is what’s known as amniofix. Basically a giant needle is filled with injectable placenta, and then it’s (very painfully) injected into whichever body part needs it. Obviously in my case it’s my knee, but it’s actually more commonly used in the foot. Placenta is used because it contains A LOT of growth factor. Which, theoretically, is supposed to promote healing of ligaments and tears without having to have surgical intervention.
Basically, I laid on a table in an exam room for 30 minutes while this stuff was injected into my knee. It honestly looked like surgery was happening. My leg was covered in those blue surgical drapes that only have an opening for whatever body part needs to be exposed for the procedure. So he injected my knee with some lidocaine to “numb” the area (it only really numbs the top surface of your knee). Once that was done, the procedure started.
Using an ultrasound, he located my tear and started injecting the placenta. Let me tell you, that shit HURT. The medial retinaculum is located deep within your knee so no amount of lidocaine will numb it. I didn’t feel the needle go in, but boy did I feel it once it reached beyond the boundary of the lidocaine numbing. Like the weirdo I am, I watched the ultrasound obsessively as he pumped the placenta into my knee. He did it in two different locations, it took about 30 minutes, and it hurt like hell.
Naturally, that pain didn’t result in anything and that stupid fucking injection didn’t work for me.
I went into my follow-up appointment on Wednesday with ZERO expectations. I know my knee and the pain hadn’t resolved at all. In fact, it got work before it slowly went back to the baseline pain I experience everyday. So I went in and told him everything. He did what any good doctor would do, moved my knee around, pushed to see if it hurt (um, hi, it did). Then he proceeded to tell me that it could take up to another month to potentially work. In the meantime, he’s sending me to a physical therapy “guru” for what he describes as “intensive physical therapy”. If that doesn’t work it’ll be prolotherapy and maybe some kind of cortisone therapy. Who knows.
One thing that stood out to me from my appointment was what my doctor said to me, “I won’t quit if you don’t quit, ok?”. If I’m honest, I’m ready to quit, to admit defeat to my knee and just deal with being in pain. Five years worth of procedures, physical therapy, and various specialists has weighed on me. Yes, I have an answer now, but I’m no closer to a solution for the problem.
I’m going to start my latest round of physical therapy this week and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I’m frustrated and I want to quit, but if my doctor isn’t giving up, I’m not either.
I won’t quit.