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Falling Apart - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Falling Apart
My body is falling apart. Some days you just feel OLD. This is one of those days. I'm not really old, I just have managed to have three unrelated things wrong with me all at the same time. Also I went ice skating this morning, making my various pains even more noticeable.

1) My mouth/gum/gland issue still hurts. Not tons, but it's not comfortable either. I haven't decided if I will get better on my own, so I had my dentist phone me in some antibiotics just in case.

2) I pulled in a muscle in my lower back a couple of days ago. My own stupid fault: I picked up an overloaded laundry basket from a weird angle (leaning over and to the side at the same time). As I lifted, my brain wisely told me, "That was a bad idea." Now if only it had come up with that before lifting, not after! It's not a big deal, not debilitating and my back isn't "out" or anything, but it sure does hurt if I move it wrong.

3) My left knee is much older than the rest of me, and I'm feeling it. It has been through a lot, and it's falling apart. I got the results of the MRI back, and there are scary/nasty words like "advanced degenerative joint disease", "thinning and complete loss of articular cartilage", and "partial meniscectomy... extensive degeneration and tear of the remnant", "moderate marginal degenerative spurring".

What this really means is arthritis -- my inner cartilage is going away, and so my bones are not cushioned and are hurting each other. (I like the fact that my Personal PA removed the word "complete" when he emailed me the results, so I wouldn't panic. It's still a scary word, even though I think they don't mean completely complete, just complete in some places.)

On the plus side, the ACL is still okay! It's just the medial meniscus and cartilage that is falling apart. Um, kinda yay? On the other hand, I did a bunch of reading online and now I understand that there are two kinds of cartilage in the knee - meniscus and articular. So I've learned something, that's good, more kinda yay!

So I consider the whole thing sucky, but it certainly could be a whole lot worse. My Personal PA summarized it with: it all translates to an appropriate treatment plan is Suparz injections and PT. I'm going to a physical therapy appointment tomorrow, and hopefully learn exercises to make things feel better. My first injection is tuesday, and hopefully this combination will help my knee to stay functional for a long time. I hope, I hope. I also really hope this approach can stop it from hurting, because I don't want to stop skiing or skating.

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kyril From: kyril Date: October 30th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Physical therapy--strengthening everything around the knee not just the knee--helped me a lot. On the other hand, my issue was so "minor" you could barely see it on the MRI.

(On the third hand, for some kind of knee issues, being able to see something on the MRI didn't mean there was any pain, and vice versa. Not that this helps you, you've got pain and stuff on the MRI too...)
nishar From: nishar Date: October 30th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Get well soon Rennie. The back should be ok soon, as should the gums. But that knee is probably going to give your problems for the rest of your life.
madtechie2718 From: madtechie2718 Date: October 31st, 2008 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you considered glucosamine/chondroitin supplements for the knee (and joint care generally)?

P's boss is a prof of arthritis and rheumatology and says that recent studies confirm the value of these supplements in many people for slowing the progression of the disease. There were positive reports from the ACR meeting back in January.

I started taking the stuff 5 years back based on the suggestion of an ex-colleague at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hosp here - I can say it has turned the clock back for my knee and hip joints.

Unfortunately, a lot of early silly claims clouded the issue for years but some studies indicated significant value:

http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/band85/b85-2.html from my home institution, for example.

There are, however, other studies (including a recent big US one) that report small to non-existent benefits regarding pain management, but I think the ones that show improvement in (or rather, significantly slowing loss of) joint space are key to longer term joint health.

Last year, I dropped a heavy object on my foot and needed an x-ray, the radiologist commented at the time that my joints had the appearance of someone a decade or two younger than my physical age - he too is becoming a convert to these supplements.

The common dose is 1500mg of glucosamine / 1200mg of chondroitin daily - liquid form seems to increase bioavailability over the tablets, but costs a litte more.

As always, of course, check with your doc.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: October 31st, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I find that surprising--that your knee is in worse shape than mine. My cartilage is still in good shape, though it is wearing away. My orthopedist was quite adamant about the efficacy of a glucosamine supplement--so I recommend looking into that.

As for "I don't want to stop skiing or skating," well, get over it. There are plenty of other activities you can engage in that won't help complete the destruction of your knee. I don't care how much you enjoy skiing and skating--it's over. Even professional athletes sometimes have to completely give up on their sport of preference.

But, this is an opportunity to find new sports. Go hang-gliding. Join a water ballet team. Take up competitive shooting/archery. Try wheel-chair football (it's a great cardiovascular workout--just remember to take your bicycling gloves). Get even deeper into bicycling. Snorkeling, scuba diving, golf, etcetcetc.

There's a whole, wide, wonderful world of sports out there. Time to try something new.
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