From December 2012 to April 2013 I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on my knee. After a trip to the AVN specialist he challenged me to start putting weight on my leg and the next time I saw him (which would be in June) to walk into the appointment without the crutches. I cringed at the idea of putting weight on my leg, but at this point I was so sick of hobbling everywhere without putting my foot down.
Slowly over the next month and a half I started putting more weight down. Standing on both feet while brushing my teeth. ‘Walking’ with my crutches. Then I started to take small steps from my chair to my mirror. Take a few steps from my bed to the bar (which had my food and kurig on – not alcohol 😉 ) Of course it took me time to work up to taking steps, but I felt my leg getting stronger. As my leg got stronger, I started incorporating mat yoga into my chair yoga routine. Eventually I was able to loose the chair and complete full sequences on my mat. This was a huuuuuggggeeee victory for me!
With all the success I was having getting my leg back to working there still were a few problems. One was the constant pain I was still in. At night my leg would burn and ache horribly. Another problem was that because my femur bone was starting to collapse the surface wasn’t smooth so my knee kept ‘catching’ when I would straighten and bend it. I still didn’t have my full range of motion and after every monthly nerve block I would push myself to try to get this back.
As each day came and passed I started worrying that my doctor was going to be upset that I wasn’t off my crutches yet. I feared that he wouldn’t think I was taking this seriously and that I wasn’t pushing myself. It was quite the opposite! I WAS pushing myself! I was doing everything that I thought was appropriate for my knee. I tried a few times to drop to one crutch, but my intuition would take control and I knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do.
I walked into my appointment, with both crutches, worried that I would get yelled at. Instead he ended up agreeing with me that if I wasn’t ready and still felt pain I should keep the crutches. Because I wasn’t putting 100% weight on my leg I was saving my knee from completely collapsing. During this appointment he ordered an MRI to see what the last 6 months of resting my knee had done to the bone and to evaluate my situation.
Upon getting the MRI results we confirmed that there were 2 parts of my left femur that had died- a smaller section that was in the middle of the bone and a bigger part that was collapsing and causing the bone to become very jagged. The smaller avascular necrosis (AVN) section looked like it had hardened a bit and the Dr. seemed to think that I wouldn’t have any problems with. The bigger avascular necrosis (AVN) section hadn’t completely collapsed yet, but wasn’t getting any better. In his experience, he said that bone grafting and drilling holes in the affected area (two common surgical treatments) wouldn’t be beneficial in helping my problem. They had low success rates and since my knee was still battling CRPS cutting into my knee would just make it go even more crazy.
Unfortunately, we left the office with no answers and were told to wait another 6 months to then assess if surgery or a partial knee replacement could be a potential option. The best-case scenario would be if I found a way to get my pain down to a tolerable amount and was able to walk on my knee. This way I could push off a knee replacement until a time that my knee completely collapsed and I absolutely needed a new one. Currently knee replacements have about a 10-15 year life and then need to be replaced. During a replacement surgery part of your femur bone is removed and because you need a certain amount of bone there to anchor the new knee in, a person can only have 2 replacements in their life. Who knows where technology will be in 30 years, but right now if I were to get a knee replacement I’d be looking at having very serious problems when I’m in my 60’s.
So Summer 2013 I continued to hobble on my crutches, praying that somehow I could get my CRPS to go into remission so I could fix my knee!
I’ve never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER had a lot of patience. I was getting so upset and impatient. It had almost now been a year and a half since my symptoms first started and I felt like no end was insite. I was so thankful to have my parents by my side during all of this. They honestly are the two most supportive individuals you’ll ever meet in your whole life. I was definitely blessed to have been born into an amazing family. They promised me that they would go to the ends of the earth to help me get answers and to not get discouraged by this appointment.And so the ‘adventure’ continued . . .
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!