Orthopedic Nightmare

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If you’ve seen me over the last 3 1/2 years, chances are one of the first things you noticed was my ever-present knee brace, complete with a hinge on each side and velcro straps to keep it from sliding down to my ankle.

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Two weeks ago I had my 7th knee surgery (the 4th on my right knee).

I’m 25.

My knee problems started when I was a freshman in high school and have continued on-and-off for the last 10 1/2 years. To say it’s taken a toll on me would be an understatement.

My surgical history looks a little like this:

  • July 11, 2005 (left knee, cortisone removal)
  • *November 27, 2007 (left knee, synovial plica)
  • *December 15, 2009 (left knee, lateral retinacular release)
  • January 18, 2013 (right knee, meniscus/MCL)
  • *January 8, 2014 (right knee, scar tissue/unabsorbed suture removal)
  • *December 16, 2014 (right knee, lateral retinacular realease)
  • *February 9, 2016 (right knee, scar tissue chunk removal/medial check)

Winter is apparently my favourite time to attempt to fix my knee. But look at those right knee surgeries. I couldn’t even make it 12 months between procedure on that one.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same surgeon perform 5 of my 7 surgeries (starred above).  We’ve seen each other so often over the last 10 years that both he and his surgical staff have joked with me that I could basically prepare and perform the procedures myself. He also writes his initials on my leg before each surgery to make sure he’s operating on the correct one (with as many as I’ve had it’s easy to get confused). I should probably just get them tattooed on there 😉

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As I was saying before, these surgeries have taken their toll on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I’ve had to be conscious of everything I do, especially over the last 3 1/2 years because my knees are just so fragile and fickle. I mean, stepping in a hole got my right knee started on this nightmare journey. It’s probably a good idea to wrap me in bubble wrap if I go outside.

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The pain has been so bad sometimes that I’ve just sat and cried. Doctors and physical therapists work me to the bone and I have an extensive connection of therabands from my 10+ years of physical therapy. Other than my closest friends and family, the crew at my physical therapy clinic probably know me better than anyone else. Both they and my surgeon are great people, I just kind of wish I didn’t have to know them.

This most recent surgery has by far been the most difficult to recover from, and I’m only two weeks post-op.

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When my doctor saw me before the procedure he made sure I’d made my physical therapy appointment for the following day, explained what he was going to do (a basic clean-out) and that I’d be able to start weightbearing pretty much right after surgery.

That didn’t happen.

Turns out I had a large chunk of scar tissue and some metal debris and he had to be more invasive than he had planned. When I woke up with the shivers in my drug-induced state, my mum informed me that I’d have to cancel my physical therapy appointment for the next day because my doctor had needed to put a brace on my knee.

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When I saw him the next day for my post-op appointment he explained what he’d had to do in more detail and told me I’d have to keep this full leg brace on for two weeks.

TWO WEEKS.

I was hoping to be back at work in two weeks.

{I also only had enough recipes to share for the planned two weeks, which explains this post appearing on a food blog}

Over the last two weeks I’ve been on either a bed or a couch, with a pillow under my leg, a nice warm blanket with lots and lots of Netflix. A friend of mine has given me a new movie or TV show to watch each time I’ve asked him, which has helped a lot.

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Being immobile is incredibly boring and stillness is hard.

I see him again tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll let me get rid of this brace and start with physical therapy.

I’ve got a lot of adventures to go on and a lot of living to do.

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