Thursday, January 10, 2008

Results from orthopedic doctor

Well, I'm back on the internets, and I hope there will be no more problems.
I went to see the orthopedic doctor on Tuesday. I printed out the papers on HAES with all the links, and wrote on the bottom that I had done diets and they didn't work, and had WLS and that didn't work, and I would not discuss weight loss as a cure for any ills. I handed that in with the paperwork I had to fill out for seeing a new doctor when I went for the appointment.
So, they sent me for x-rays (I hadn't had any done in 20 years, and those were in Illinois). Found out not only is the cartilage in my right knee almost totally gone, it's also very thin on the inside of my left knee (didn't know that, my left knee hasn't been giving me any problems). When the doctor came in with my x-rays, he showed me where the cartilage was thin, and gave me a couple of options. He could give me a shot of cortisone, and said that should help a lot with the pain for about 6 months. I guess they have to do cortisone shots first, and if those fail, then insurance may pay for a shot that's made from a rooster's comb. I told him that I had an appointment to check out Curves, to see what kind of exercise machines they had. He told me exercise could help, but it has to be low-impact, no stair-steppers. He never once mentioned my weight as being a problem. He did say that since both my parents have arthritis, and grandparents on both sides had it, that I was probably bound to get it too, and the injuries to my knee didn't help matters any, just started it earlier than it might have otherwise.
I said to go ahead with the cortisone shot, and dammers, am I ever glad I did. This is the first time in 20 years I've been totally pain-free in that knee. I still can't bend it enough to go down stairs like a normal person, but damned if I can't go upstairs like a normal person for a change. And I'm wondering how much my knee problems are contributing to my back problems. DH and I went to Wal-Mart the other day, looking for an ethernet card for my puter, and I actually walked from my van to the store, and through the store to the computer dept, and back out to the van without my back killing me. Then we went to Office Max and I walked there too, with no pain. If I had known years ago about the pain-killing properties of cortisone (or if my fucking asshole doctors had even bothered to suggest that instead of weight loss), I'd have been doing the shots back then.
Then on Wednesday, I went to check out Curves, and it looks like I might be able to afford it in a couple of months (have to get the budget worked out after all the money we had to spend on my puter, router, and ethernet card). Karen asked me what my goals were, why I wanted to do Curves, and I told her I wanted to be able to walk without pain, and to do stairs like a normal person for a change with no pain. I told her I didn't want any part of any diet talk, I didn't want to be weighed or measured, that if weight loss happens, it happens, but if it doesn't, that's fine too. I just want to be more fit at the size I am now. She said that was pretty cool, that at least I had realistic goals and didn't expect to lose 100 lbs in 3 months (yeah, like that would ever happen, even with my WLS, it took 4 months to lose 70 lbs). So, for about 50 bucks a month, I can go for a half hour a day, 5 days a week if I want. She also said that there were a couple of the machines I probably wouldn't use because they would cause problems with my knees and back (yeah, she wanted to know what kind of physical problems I had, and asked about heart/blood pressure/diabetes/etc). I'm thinking of going with the month-to-month plan, that way, if I have to quit for any reason, I'm not out any pre-paid money. I figure less than 3 bucks a day for a work-out is pretty good, if I decide to go every day (and I probably will, just because if I'm going to spend that much money, I'm damned well going to get as much value as I can for my dollars, not to mention the fact that the more I exercise, the better shape I'll be in, I hope).
Man, I can tell you, this has taken a load off my shoulders, finding out that it's not the fault of my fat that my knee is bad, it's genetics and injuries.


  1. Mariellen, that is AWESOME (in a "wow, bummer you can't fix it, but we sorta knew that anyway" kind of way. And, yeah, think about how messed up your gait is if you're painful in one leg: hobbling around like that is sure to get your pelvis all cattywhompus. Glad to hear that the cortisone shot is doing such good, and good luck getting more mobility through exercise!

  2. phledge - yeah, I thought it was pretty awesome too. I'm just so floored that a simple little shot ended the pain so easily (after all the ibuprofen, naproxen, voltaren, and celebrex didn't). I'm pretty psyched about the exercise too, just wish the budget would handle it

  3. Mariellen, I'm so happy for you, this is such a big step (pun intended)!! Life with pain is so debilitating and when it's gone, it's like liberation. Curves is kind of expensive, but really not that much more than a gym and who wants to go to one of those!! Have a great day, I've got a big interview, cross your fingers for me!!

  4. Mariellen, I'm so happy for you - reading back on previous posts that you wrote about having pain made me nervous for you but now this makes me 'runneth' over in joy. Glad it's working. Keep us updated!

  5. Wow! Isn't it nice when doctors actually listen and care enough to do the right thing? I'm so glad you're out of pain for the moment, in that area at least. I'd bet your knees really do affect your back as well.

  6. Congrats on getting some pain relief--at least for a few months. I've had cortisone shots in my wrists before for chronic tendonitis. They do help, but you can only get them so many times before they cause damage.

    You give me hope though. I have a right knee that bothers me on a regular basis. I injured it skiing as a tween and it hasn't been the same since. I also have a history of arthritis in my family and it has been flaring up recently. One of my biggest fears is that one day I'll need aggressive treatment for the knee, or a knee replacement, and I'll be denied treatment because of my size. It always burns my butt that fat people have to fight so hard to get treatments that are readily offered to smaller folks.

  7. Wow, that's great! Good luck with Curves ;-D

  8. Do you have a Y near you? One that has a pool? Because water exercise is awesome for people with joint problems. (Plus, I'm a total water baby and love to be in the water.) I think it's cheaper than $50 a month, usually (the Y here is $38, and it's a newer one).

    Curves probably won't be bad, either.

    I'm glad they didn't give you shit about your weight and did something that actually helped your knee feel better so you CAN think about exercise.

    Finally, one of my best friends (who is also among the full-figured) has some kind of pilates machine that she said is making her feel awesome.

  9. (Linked from Shapely Prose) I'm really glad, for your sake, that cortisone is working for you. The docs won't tell you it's a magic bullet because it isn't -- it doesn't do anything for some people (my mother, for example). My boss had the weird rooster shots, which you can only do a few times, and I think they last a few years each, but he had really good luck with them, so good luck vibes to you for that, too.

    If you do start Curves, ask if there are some back strengthening exercises you can do to help with that, and also see if you can learn some good stretching. Those are the things that helped my mom most (she had to finally have knee replacement, but it was great for her, and being in good shape, especially with regards to flexibility, cut her recovery dowm amazingly). I've been paying attention as I know this is in my future.

    Good luck and good health to you!

  10. michelle - consider fingers crossed, good luck with the interview. I'll be sending good thoughts your way.

  11. My mother had the rooster shots. She said it was getting better but then she got on her knees to clean the floor and it started hurting again.

  12. I'm so glad you found good help. As a fellow knee problem sufferer I totally understand your relief.

  13. goingloopy - the only pools near here are at the motels, and I'm not sure what they charge to use them if you aren't a customer of theirs. We're a very small town (pop abt 3,000) so there's no Y, and I'm not sure about a public pool for the summer (there is a lake with a beach, though). I like to swim, but I get tired of explaining the redness/scaliness on my lower legs (from untreated and misdiagnosed veinous insufficiency).

    Yan - there are machines at Curves to help with ab and back strengthening, so I fully intend on using those as long as they don't bother my knee too much. I'm not into pain, but I've been dealing with it for so long, that a little bit of pain won't bother me much if it means I'll be improving my fitness.

    nudiemuse - thanks, knee pain sucks for sure, doesn't it.


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