My Recent Chronic Pain Flareup

15 Comments

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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15 thoughts on “My Recent Chronic Pain Flareup

  1. Good luck with the physical therapy for strengthening the muscles around the knee! You have a GREATortho, there, Seasonedsistah2…. It will make recovery sooo much better!

    Bonnie Sent from my iPad. Please excuse any typos.

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    • Yes, he has an excellent reputation, he works on a lot of knees and is well-known as the doctor of choice for athletes — high school to professional sports. The physical therapy is going well, though painful. But, after each session I feel feel better. Than u for following my blog.

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    • Thank you so much for your comments. Once, I was “pain-free” for those 18 days, I realized the overwhelming effects that more than six months of “living in pain” had on mind, body, and spirit. The possibility of returning to that state, caused me to welcome a knee replacement. I did not realize how much pain I had endured until I was pain free.

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    • Andrea
      I appreciate your positive comments. My current regimen of physical therapy treatments to strengthen my muscles is preparing me physically for the knee replacement. My strong belief that everything happens in accordance with God’s plan is preparing me emotionally and spiritually for this knee replacement.

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    • Thank you Jane for your comments. I can remember some dark moments during my illnesses: in 2010 waking up dazed from the medications and looking into your smiling face; and, then how you were by my side in 2008 walking door-to-door handing out educational materials to households breast cancer. Thank you for being there in those times and thank you for being with me now.

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  2. Good luck with the surgery. I hope the physical therapy, does, in fact, help with the recovery process. I’ve had knee problems since I was about 10 or 11 so I know my day is coming, hopefully not for awhile because I have more than I can handle already. HUGS

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    • Thank you so much for your comments. The physical therapy is working out great. Still pain free. No longer limping and grimacing. I have accepted that the knee replacement will eventually happen. But, I am preparing for it through physical therapy to build up the “muscles” and reduce some of the recovery issues. So sorry to hear you have been dealing with knee problems since an early age. I had the opportunity to visit your blog and can relate to your chronic illness, Fibromyalgia. I have been dealing with chronic pain since 1993 when I was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis that attacked all of my joints; in 1996, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. So, I understand.

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  3. I’m so glad that the physical therapy is working so well for you right now. I’m so sorry you have so many other illnesses to deal with, but all we can do is take it one day at a time. Hang in there.
    HUGS
    Tammy

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