After moving into my new place I was very optimistic about getting my range of motion back. I was using my stim machine regularly and was really pushing myself in PT. I spent most of my days laying on the couch watching the 2012 Summer Olympics and longed for the days of physical activity. I had never really had the chance to sit down and watch the Olympic Games before and really enjoyed it haha! After the Olympics ended I started watching the series Dexter. I was getting fed up of having nothing to do and still having to be in pain!
I finally got to my breaking point and said that I needed to do SOMETHING. The doctor prescribed a CPM machine for me to do at home. At that point I was able to bend my knee about 110 degrees (120 is the CPM max) but we thought if my knee was constantly in motion maybe it would help break up scar tissue
and allow my knee to go back to the way it used to be. A few weeks on the machine I wasn’t seeing much progress. I had gotten to the 120 max, but I was still hurting… And nothing was happening.
A trip back to the ortho resulted in another script for an MRI to see if anything was wrong inside. At the very least the doctor thought that a manipulation would be best so I was to schedule another surgery.
The MRI determined that there was nothing structurally wrong, but there seemed to be a build up in my knee. The thought was that if the tissue was taken out and my knee was manipulated then my knee pain would go away. About a week after my birthday in September my doctor went back in the operating room and did a manipulation and another debridement on my left knee. As soon as I got home I had my knee on that CPM machine and had it running round the clock. I was determined not to have my knee lock up again- I left the operating room with my complete range of motion and I wasn’t going to lose it!
For the first few weeks my knee was getting better and I was SO optimistic that my knee was going to be all better! Pt was great, degree by degree my range came back and I had a great outlook. One night as I was sleeping I woke up with a horrible, sharp, stabbing pain in the medial part of my knee. I thought maybe my stim machine would settle it down and put it on. Nope. It made it worse. It was so sharp, so extreme- something that I hadn’t experienced up til then. Then, all of a sudden, as fast as it had come on it went away. I went back to sleep and both my doctor and I chalked it up to overworking my knee from the CPM.
As the days of October went on I began to develop an ‘eyeball’ on my knee. Eyeball is honestly the only way I can describe it! It was a small cyst of fluid that was right under one of my incisions and when I straightened my knee it would pop up and it looked like an eyeball! I was the freak at PT that had an eyeball popping out of her knee! All the other patients and therapists thought it was quite entertaining… And really gross.
Towards the end of October the paincame back… but 10 times worse. I was actually out of my house and over my boyfriend’s watching the WVU game. As we were sitting there watching the game I started having the intense pains again. I put ice on my knee and and elevated it to try to calm my knee down. As the game went on the pain went from extreme to unbearable and nothing was helping the pain or my emotions at all! I knew I had to do something, but wasn’t exactly sure what. Knowing that all I wanted was to be home and to take some sort of pain medicine I called my parents and asked if they would come pick me up (I wasn’t driving!!) Once at home I took some pain meds and had a VERY sleepless night. I remember putting Taylor Swift on my ipod and tried to focus on something other than the pain.
The next morning my pain was a little less, but was definitely not any less than a 8 on a 10 scale. I called the on-call line of my doctor and after speaking with him scheduled an appointment Monday morning. I remember that agonizing morning very vividly. My Mom had to work, but was going to meet me at the doctor’s. She was going to have her friend Leslie pick me up and was going to go fill in for her at work. About a half hour before she was supposed to pick me up I decided to get ready and head downstairs. Wincing in pain I threw on a bra, struggled to put socks on, grabbed my crutches and started to head to the steps. Steps are always a problem with crutches, but in extreme pain Steps. Are. The. Absolute. Worst.
I thought the worst part was over, but then I attempted to put my shoes on. Literally sobbing, I put my shoes on. Just moving my leg slightly sent a shooting pain up my leg. I remember wishing so bad that I wasn’t alone at that moment. My ride showed up – I pulled myself together, tried to look half decent and crutched out to the car. Leslie is such a sweet person and she tried to keep my mind off of the pain during the ride to the doctors. I’ve never been so excited to be at the doctors when she dropped me off. All I wanted was a high dose of something to either knock me out or to have the doctor cut my leg off.
My PT and my ortho are in the same office. When I crutched into the building the receptionist saw how much pain I was in. Her name is Julie and I talked to her all the time. She came over and gave me a huge hug. Handing me some Hershey Kisses she said I looked like I was in major need of some hugs and kisses. 🙂 I tried to crack a smile.
On the way to the examination room I passed the PA who, upon seeing me, gave me a huge frown. Everyone could tell I was in pretty bad shape. Struggling to get up on the table I finally sighed in relief knowing that some resolution was in the near future. Doc came in and examined my knee. Structurally it seemed fine. It was much more swollen than it normally was. After conducting his tests he decided that the pain must be coming from me pushing myself too much at PT. I begged for a higher dose of pain med and was given another kenalog injection. Doctors orders were to lay low and to stop PT and walking on it for 2 weeks. Upon filling my prescription I went home and was finally knocked out and able to get some sleep.
I spent the next 2 weeks so doped up on percocet I was honestly dead to the world.
I didn’t want to move from my dark basement.
I didn’t want the lights on.
I didn’t care what was going on.
I didn’t want to change or take a shower (gross, yes I know).
I didn’t care if I got better.
Eventually my Mom made me ween off of the percs because she was worried about me and I realized the pain had subsided a bit. My knee was still bothering me though. We tried so many different things at PT, I was prescribed a spider brace to wear thinking maybe it was the tracking of my knee cap (which I had had problems with back in middle school) and tried different stim settings at home. Nothing was really working at all. Up til this point I had been on and off crutches – when my knee would flare up I’d pull them out and once it felt better I’d put them away.
November 30th… I woke up real early in the morning to my knee hurting. Trying to go back to sleep I prayed so hard that the horrible pain wasn’t starting again. After sleeping for a few more hours I got up and took some pain meds just to be on the safe side. As the day went on I noticed small things that irritated me – when I tried stepping up into the house off a small step I brushed my leg on the door and winced in pain. Elevating my leg I put ice on my knee and it seemed to hurt putting pressure on it. I tried laying down and just putting pressure on the front of my leg (because I tried laying on my stomach) made me tear up.
Taking some pain meds I knocked myself out and slept until morning. The next day I had to go to a baby shower, but truly wanted to stay in bed. It was a baby shower for Brad’s cousin’s new baby and I had been looking forward to it! I pulled out my crutches, took some more pain meds and tried to make myself look presentable.
I knew something was wrong because the pain wasn’t going away. In fact, the pain continued to get worse that December 1st Saturday. Little did I know that when I had pulled out my crutches that morning I wouldn’t be putting them away for a long, long time.
Now we’re getting to some good, juicy posts! haha
Continuing reading the story here: December 17th, 2012 = The day I was given my AVN diagnosis.
Wishing you a pain free day!