For the past 18 days, I have been pain-free. Well, that’s not true. Having lived with chronic pain for more than twenty years, I experience some level of pain everyday. But, I have been able to manage and control my pain condition with non-narcotic prescription medications and utilizing my cadre of self-management tools:
- Sleep – 8 hours a Night
- Pacing Activities
- Distractions (Music, Blogging, Facebook, E-Mails, Reading, Journaling, etc.)
- Aqua Zumba
However, around Thanksgiving last year, I had a severe pain flare-up in my right knee. The pain was agonizing, constant, and never-ending.
Though, I continued to take the prescribed meds and use my self-management tools; I had no pain relief.
Despite the continuous pain, I refused to see a doctor until July 2013. Ridiculous, Really, Are You Serious, Why? — just a few of the comments I heard from friends and family. There is no plausible answer other than FEAR of a knee replacement, hospital, surgery and anesthesia. In a two year-period, I survived two life-threatening conditions — Breast Cancer in 2008 and Epiglottitis in 2010.
Frankly, at 70-years-old, I was not ready for another round of treatments, hospitalization, or a long-term recovery period. All of which would be required with a knee replacement.
In July, I visited the Adult Kids and Grands in Wisconsin; and, I also kept the bi-annual follow-up visit with my long-term rheumatologist. Of course, ME having been described as “stoic” by more than one health care provider; underreported my pain levels. But Dr. O noticed me “limping” and “grimacing” as I made my way on and off the exam table.
Caught in the Act. Busted. He immediately ordered an x-ray and, after review, recommended a referral to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss a knee replacement.
My response, “Well, I’m heading back to Florida in a day or two, I will look into seeing one there.” Thinking, knee replacement it’s not going to happen.
Prior to the follow-up visit with my rheumatologist, a YMCA friend had noticed me “limping” and “grimacing” around the exercise room for months. Several times he suggested that I schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who had done his knee replacement.
Finally, after more than six months of constant and unrelenting pain, I scheduled the appointment with my friend’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. M.
I experienced immediate pain relief following a cortisone injection by Dr. M.
Even Better News
Dr. M prescribed four weeks of physical therapy
to build up my muscles in preparation for the future knee replacement.
I overcame the FEAR of a knee replacement.
My “Aha” Moment
The quality of my life is more important
than the fear of a knee replacement.