August 17, 2009

Knee update

I had my post-op doctor follow-up, and he's really pleased with how my knee looks. So am I! I already can flex it nearly 45 degrees, which is absolutely amazing, and I haven't lost a whole lot of muscle tone in my quads and other surrounding muscles, which will make physical therapy so much better. A big part of my 8-month (yes, 8 month) rehab the first time around had to do with the fact that I spent 6 weeks in a plaster cast. By the time they got the cast off, my legs muscles had atrophied so greatly the one leg was visibly half as large as the other. So much of that early rehab was simply gaining back normal leg muscles. So this one is MUCH better.

The doctor also gave me pictures from the arthroscope, which went from "what am I looking at?" to "interesting" to "that's really gross." The most interesting thing though, was the doctor said he did not expect the extent of the congenital defect I have (thanks Dad and Grandpa). The kneecap normally sits in a groove in the femur. Mine does not, which we already knew. It's set high and to the outside. But what we didn't know and what never showed up on any x-ray or the CT scan, is that instead of a groove in the femur, I actually have a hump. The doctor likened my kneecap to trying to balance a bar of soap on the edge of a bathtub. He said he'd never seen a knee like it, so YAY for yet ONE MORE medical marvel--hahaha. And of course, I really pray that Theo didn't inherit these!

I start physical therapy on Friday, which is exactly 2 weeks post-op. I'm already getting around so much better. Every day is better and better. I've always been able to bear weight, but now I'm able to balance and for very short distances, hobble on one crutch Tiny Tim style. The doctor said that now I can really start to try to use my leg to its limit--not to push it, obviously, but he encouraged me to go ahead and see what I'm able to do. Hopefully I'll be off of both crutches soon, as that truly is the most difficult thing. I can't even carry a glass of water, which is so frustrating. Not to mention how aggravating it is for Kevin when I ask him for something and as soon as he brings it I think of something else I need--can you get me a pain pill? Oh wait, I also need a glass of water. I think it will still be a while before I'm able to carry Theo--I just want to feel really secure in my balance to do that and don't want to push it. I also hope I'll be able to drive soon. When I asked the doctor when he thought I could drive, he said, "As soon as you can step hard on the brake in an emergency"--haha! He said to just experiment and see what I could do. I feel much better having been given this freedom. I've been so afraid of screwing things up, and my last surgery made me really paranoid because I was SO restricted (which again lead to a much harder rehabilitation). So it's nice to just be told, "Well try it, and if it hurts, stop."

Speaking of the pain, I'm still working through a lot of it. It really has been an extremely painful surgery. the doctor said that basically they cut up and moved around just about everything surrounding the joint and it really was pretty traumatic, so don't expect miracles on the pain front. Luckily the Vicodin is controlling it, but ideally I'd like to be off the narcotics ASAP and it's frustrating when I have to take 2 instead of 1 when I know I've pushed it (like this evening after the appointment). It's going to be tough to find that balance of pushing it with rehab but not landing me in agony.

So here's a picture of my knee 10 days post-op. It looks fabulous. You can see next to my other one that the swelling, while still present, is pretty minimal. You can also see the scar on the other one and the different placement this time around.


Posted by Shelby at August 17, 2009 11:29 PM