My Recent Chronic Pain Flareup

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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
  • Rest/Relaxation
  • Distractions (Music, Blogging, Facebook, E-Mails, Reading, Journaling, etc.)
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Aqua Zumba
  • Music

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 ActBusted.  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.

After reviewing the x-rays, Dr. M said my chronic autoimmune disease (Mr. Arthur-Rheumatoid Arthritis) had severely attacked my knee joints and a future knee replacement surgery was inevitable.

Good News

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.

Bestest News

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.

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