A Dead What?

A Dead What?

posted in: AVN, It's Just A Bad Day, Symptoms | 5

Catch up on the story here.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree 2011

Christmas time is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE!

The lights.

The music.

The spirit.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I just love it.

When I went to get a bone scan of my knee and the technician gasped saying that I lit up like a christmas tree I was happy with the reference, but even happier because that meant that something had to be wrong! (I mean I had just spent all of November basically couch ridden. Read more about that here) I was finally going to get the diagnosis I’d been hoping for!

December 17th, 2012 my Mom, Dad and I went to my orthos to get the reading of my MRI and Bone Scan. We were expecting him to say that nothing was wrong (since that’s what everybody had been claiming), but we were hoping maybe he’d say that I had torn my ACL or ripped my meniscus or maybe the tissue had returned.

When he came in he had a serious tone to him. I thought – yay! There is something showing up on the tests! I’m pretty sure when he told us the results we all were speechless.

Avascular Necrosis (AVN) in my femur bone… in two places.

AVN? A-V-N? What the heck is AVN?

He went on to explain that my bone had a ‘stroke like’ occurance, the blood had been cut off in 2 different parts and the bone had died. DIED? MY BONE WAS DEAD? I didn’t even know that was possible.

Ok, I thought, at least they finally know what’s wrong. So what’s the solution?

My Doctor didn’t have much experience with this diagnosis. He explained that there were many different ways to attack the problem, but none of them were very successful. You could drill into the bone to try to have the blood stimulate bone growth, you could get bone grafts or you could get a knee replacement.

Dead bone. Hmmmmm . . . We questioned why this happened?

The top reasons for avascular necrosis are steroid use, alcoholism, deep sea diving and sickle cell anemia. I haven’t been on steroids, I definitely am not an alcoholic, I’ve never ever been deep sea diving and to my knowledge I wasn’t aware of having sickle cell anemia.

So what could have caused this? Could it have been my last surgery? Did something accidentally go wrong? Maybe a nerve was hit when they were checking my meniscus or scrapping the back of my knee cap?? We had soooo many more questions than answers. The Doc advised me to stay off my knee and to look for a specialist who could help me.

My parents and I left the doctors office so confused on the diagnosis, so angry that this happened and we didn’t know about it sooner, and so unsure of where to go or where to turn? We only had exposure to doctors within the one health system and certainly didn’t know any specialists for AVN.

IMG_6984The next few days I took time to digest my diagnosis and researched what it meant, what I could do, what options where out there. As those days went by my pain continued to get worse and worse and my knee continued to swell. I couldn’t sleep- every time I would move even the slightest millimeter I would get a stabbing pain. I started shaking because it hurt so bad. For some reason I felt that when I shook my leg it helped the pain or at least got my mind off of it? I don’t know, either way I was taking vicodin like candy and wasn’t getting any relief….

For those of you who have AVN… what did you think of when you first received the diagnosis? Had you heard of it before? Were you scared? Optimistic? Pessimistic? What did you do?


After I received a diagnosis, I tried my best to enjoy the Christmas season . . . but I ended up in the hospital. Read more about that here.


I’ve since undergone several different treatment options. I suggest you take a look at my Dr. Glueck post and read through all of my Regenexx Procedure posts!

As part of a writing challenge, I wrote a letter to myself after this diagnosis. Click here to read it.


Wishing you a pain free day!