Discouragement and Determination

I went to the injection specialist orthopedic guy last week, and the messaging left a lot to be desired. Words like "degenerative disease with no cure" were used for what has been deemed post-traumatic osteoarthritis of the knee. I am bone on bone at the patellofemoral joint, and the weight-bearing joint is not there yet but I am growing bone at the friction points (apparently not a superpower but a source of spurs), the space is collapsed and putting pressure on my meniscus most likely, and that is going to degenerate further. 

I was told I should not get on the treadmill anymore, not even to walk. I was told that hiking with any elevations is a very very bad idea. I was told that biking could be good, but oh wait, the patella is involved and so actually, no, don't bike either. How about swimming? You could swim (chlorine aggravates my asthma). Pilates is thankfully still on the table. I'm guessing tap dancing is way, way off. 

And then he said "you won't be eligible for a knee replacement until SIXTY." WHAT? What happened to FIFTY? I was pissed at that, but now a whole additional decade has been tacked on? 

He said that the lifespan of the replacement is 20 years, so I'm way too young to get one. The gel injections aren't the wonderdrug I thought they were, they are marginally better than cortisone shots.

He also said that it would help if I lost some weight, but HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THAT IF MY MOVEMENT OPTIONS ARE SO LIMITED? 

I left crying. 

I am going to get a second opinion. Another teacher at my school had a replacement in her late 40s and her doctor has a new technique with a life span of 30 years, and he believes in "quality, not quantity." 

Because honestly, Bryce and I had plans when he was done with his PhD to go hiking and go to Scotland and Italy and Nordic countries. Places with, you know, ELEVATION. Why would I wait until I'm 60 to be able to do those sort of things when 60 frankly isn't promised to me? To anyone? I don't want to be facing a busted bionic knee at 60 or even 70, but I don't want to take my years where I want to be the most active and adventurous and be like, "oh well, you go hike and go up that Scottish castle, I'll just pop wheelies in a scooter in the parking lot." NO. 

Frustrated. Disappointed. But also determined to find a better solution. I'm so angry that my body just keeps letting me down. 

Want to read more Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 


  1. My heart hurts for you. I'm sending you positive vibes that there exists a viable solution sooner (much, much sooner) rather than...60? Bump that noise.

  2. Oh no, I'm so sorry! Waiting until you are 60 just seems crazy. (A surgeon asked me, when I was in my late 30s, if I really needed to run, and shrugged at any options. Just because I wasn't a sportsperson. Fortunately, I had a wonderful physiotherapist who fixed my knee pain and muscles and gait, and got me running pain-free. I guess what I'm saying is that they don't know everything, and YES, seek a second opinion!

    And sending hugs. (Also ... when you have that knee fixed ... NZ has many Great Walks!)

  3. Oh, Jess. That first opinion sounds so unhelpful and bleak. I hope the second has something more conducive to the post-PhD celebration plans. Surely they don't expect you to spend the next 15 years not moving so that the 30 years after that are good.

    Ugh! I understand your last line all too well. xo

  4. Ow, ow, ow. This sounds horribly painful (and you're a lot younger than me!). Definitely get a second opinion! Sending lots of (((hugs))) in the meantime.

  5. Oh Jess, I am thinking of you. He is just one opinion. Of course I don't know all of the intricacies of all of the cases nor the medical details of your situation, but I've cared for lots of people with knee replacement surgery way before age 60. Whatever the case may be, whatever happens, you WILL be able to enjoy your life and do the things that are important to you. <3