Weighty Matters

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A Beautiful Day

on September 30, 2014

I didn’t let any grass grow under my feet — or under my knee.  Having made the decision to get my knee medically evaluated, I went into action.  Specifically, I wanted someone who would not make surgery the first or only option — unless it really was the only option.  Friends recommended a couple of orthopedic/sports medicine specialists.  I checked each of them out online.   One in particular jumped out at me as meeting my criteria.  As an extra bonus, he trained with the specialists who treat the Philadelphia Eagles — my favorite football team.

It was meant to be.  I was fortunate enough to get an appointment today.  After some football chat, the physical exam and three x-ray views, I got the low-down.  In summary, there’s significant erosion on the medial side of my knee because of osteoarthritis.  It’s created something called a kissing lesion.  The doctor still wants me to have an MRI to check for any meniscus involvement, but he strongly believes we can take a non-surgical approach to reducing the pain I experience.  Honestly, the condition of my knee doesn’t physically prevent me from being active.  It’s the pain that interferes.  Being active is the best thing that I can do for my joints so reduction of pain and discomfort will further aid that effort.

Today he injected my knee with a novocaine-steroid mixture to reduce the chronic inflammation in the knee joint.  Tomorrow I start a six day course of oral steroid medication in diminishing doses.  In a few weeks, I’ll go for three injections of  a hyaluronic acid (HA) product over three weeks.  HA is found naturally in the body and serves to lubricate, cushion and protect the joints, but it thins out in older patients with osteoarthritis.

I’m familiar with HA products for a lot of uses.  I already use a serum morning and night as a facial hydrater.  It’s great stuff.  Now it will help my knee.  No surgery at this point.  Projected reduction in pain and increase in function.  I’m feeling pretty terrific all around.

This leads me to the topic most on my mind for tonight’s blog post.  Recently, I learned from a friend that her husband’s cancer, which he has bravely fought for a long time, is, indeed terminal.   They have a good amount of time left, but they’ve had to face reality.  Right now, she’s angry, frightened, and incredibly sad — all to be expected.  They need to find out how they’re going to go on from here as a family.  I truly hope that they are able to find a way to not let the news steal their remaining joy.  I hope they’ll live to the fullest and not get overwhelmed by the thought that he’s dying.

We didn’t have that chance with my mom.  Once she got diagnosed, things went downhill and got super complicated really fast.  We were fighting, fighting, fighting the cancer and her other conditions and it never feels like we got a break where we could live and find some joy, or at least enjoy a few days here and there.  It just sucked.

The other day, someone on Facebook shared a meme that was connected to appreciating each day and feeling gratitude.  It so resonated with me for a number of reasons, including my friend’s news.  To paraphrase, the meme suggested that if we can, we should begin each day with the thought that this will be a beautiful day.  Then, at some point we should take time to think and say, “This is a beautiful day.”  Before we go to sleep at night, we remind ourselves that it was, indeed, a beautiful day, one to be grateful for.

If we do this regularly, we will compile many, many beautiful days, and at the end, we’ll be able to look back and know that we enjoyed a beautiful life.

It’s almost the end of my day.  While I type, my leg is propped up with an ice pack on the knee, as per the doctor’s orders post-injection.

It wasn’t a perfect day by any means, but it was, definitely a beautiful one.

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3 responses to “A Beautiful Day

  1. Lynn Viehl says:

    Unsolicited advice from another knee-challenged gal: limit how much you wear flip flops, heels and other types of shoes that stress your knee, and invest in and wear knee-supportive shoes (your doc may even have some recs on specific types and brands.) Giving all my heels to Goodwill and switching from wearing flats to trainers with impact-absorbing soles made a huge difference for me pain-wise.

    Swimming and tai chi are great knee-strengthening exercises, so is yoga. The other thing is to mix up your exercises — repetitive movement is not friendly to knees, and sometimes you can cause more harm than good by following the same regime.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Tai chi has been wonderful for my overall health and certainly was the first and most consistent way that I’ve built leg strength and flexibility. I agree with your great reminder to vary regimes too. Thank you for that.

      I rarely wear heels and when I do they’re not high at all. Flip flops, however, however are a daily item. I look for ones that provide enough cushion and support to mitigate problems. I can’t stand sneakers all day and other shoes just don’t go with my casual lifestyle. Even at work I need to be able to quickly kick off my footwear, walk onto a floating dock, etc.

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