Today was the day. The day I’ve been waiting for since January. The day I was supposed to be scheduled for a knee replacement. Since the beginning of the year when I tore my meniscus playing pickleball, I’ve been in some pretty intense pain. Not always—just when I sit, stand, use stairs, get in and out of the car, go to the bathroom, turn over in bed, those kinds of things.

If you recall, it was quite a journey getting here. When I had the MRI for the meniscus tear, there was something suspicious. For an excruciatingly long couple of weeks, I thought I had bone cancer. Then they discovered that it wasn’t, in fact, bone cancer, but osteonecrosis, which created “holes” in the bones surrounding my knees. So, since January, I’ve gone through multiple x-rays, a regular MRI, and an MRI with contrast. As a bonus, I had an allergic reaction to the MRI with contrast. I’ve had 60 ccs of fluid drained off both knees, and I received a corticosteroid shot. When that didn’t work, I was sent to a sports medicine doctor who told me he couldn’t fix my meniscus because cleaning up the tear would have meant losing precious cartilage, and my knee could have collapsed. He then sent me to a knee replacement surgeon, and that appointment was today.

Are you tired of this story? Me, too.

With great anticipation, I met my new orthopedic surgeon today. And within ten minutes, he told me that although I’ll definitely need both knees replaced in the future, he didn’t want to replace my left knee quite yet because I’m too young.

You know that feeling of anticipation, when after months of waiting and unknowns, you think you’re finally going to get the answer that fixes everything? That’s where I was emotionally today. Last night was Christmas Eve, and my new doc was Santa.

Until he wasn’t.

When The Grinch told me he wasn’t ready to do surgery yet, I burst into tears. Chronic pain is hard, friends. It’s wearing. It’s frustrating. I feel like my entire life has been on hold because I’m in too much pain to walk, to travel, to exist in the world without whining ad nauseam.

But the next step—which seems to be the final step before surgery—is a hyaluronic acid injection. I’m now waiting for insurance approval to get it. I’m always waiting for insurance approval. I’ll be waiting for insurance approval ten years after I’m dead.

As I left his office, ortho doc called out to me, “Sorry I made you cry!”

But here’s the really fun part of the story.

I’ve gotten a little chonky since the pandemic. I ate my way through isolation, and then I just kept going. On my 54th birthday this year, I decided it was time to do myself and my knees a solid and get some of those pounds off. So, I made an appointment with a weight loss doctor, and I’ve been swimming faithfully every day since.

Monday, I had my long-awaited appointment with the weight loss doctor. Let’s call her Dr. Skinny. When I stepped on her office scale, it read ten pounds MORE than I thought I weighed. And that’s AFTER a month of swimming every damn day. So what did I do? I burst into tears.

Come on, friends, you should know that answer by now. Tears are my involuntary go-to response for everything remotely upsetting or exciting.

After I blew my nose and composed myself, Dr. Skinny put me on a weight loss drug that turns out to be a controlled substance. I had to sign all kinds of papers saying I wouldn’t take more than my prescribed dosage, I would curb my diet and continue my exercise, I wouldn’t sell any pills behind the Waffle House, I wouldn’t operate heavy machinery or golf carts, I’d protect the pills with my children’s lives, I wouldn’t rob any local grocery stores, I wouldn’t covet my neighbor’s wife, and I would never, ever give speed to small children or family pets. (There were a LOT of stipulations.)

So, basically, I’m on doctor-prescribed speed now, and I was awake all night last night to prove it. (As you might recall, sleeping is one of my SuperPowers, so this was definitely outside the norm.) I was Googling on my phone at 3:00 AM while Sissy snored in my ear, and I found out that my weight loss pill isn’t supposed to be taken with my antidepressant. In fact, when taken together, the side effects can cause neuropsychiatric complications, including hallucinations and psychosis.

That seems serious.

I called Dr. Skinny today to make sure she’d reviewed my drug history before she prescribed my legal speed, but she hasn’t called back yet.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling a little manic and a little jittery. I usually swim 25 laps a day. Today, I might swim 125, followed by a psychotic break.

Stay tuned. Things could get really good around here.

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2 Responses

  1. Please get a second opinion from another ortho Dr. There is no reason you have to continue living in pain. I went to 5 different surgeons to find the right one who was willing to do the replacements that I needed so desperately. Do not settle for one opinion, please!

    1. Thank you so much for this nudge. Because of you (and a few others who left comments on my Substack post), I now have an appointment with another ortho in a major city on May 9. Fingers crossed that I get better information there!

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