(this is me)... in 1966-ish

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I am riding roller coasters.....
The one in my mind - the emotions and drama that I experience (because I've always done that kind of thing - I'm that way). Then there's the real roller coaster that I am on. Health wise.

The torn meniscus was not a torn meniscus. It looked like it on the MRI and the report said it was, but it wasn't. That seems like good news but it's not to me. A torn meniscus can be trimmed and fixed and not give you a lot of problems afterwards. The problem I have is osteoarthritis - which we knew that I have (me and Dr. Wu), but it's worse than we thought. It was so 'messy' inside my knee that it looked like a meniscus torn in several places. It was swelling, loose cartilage, and stuff. The boot camp spa wasn't good for my knees. (but it was excellent for my mind so I can't say that I regret going there - I don't)

Dr. Wu drilled tiny holes into the bone where the arthritis had worn away the cushioning in my knees. He drilled to the marrow (yuck) which allows blood to flow in that area which regenerates cartilage. That's good but he said the cartilage that will grow from it will not be good quality. He said it will be pourous and grainy (not smooth like what God first put in there during assembly)... but it's better than nothing - which is the amount of cartilage I have in a few areas in that left knee. I remember walking the West Canyon hike in Utah while at the spa and on the way out it hurt somewhat but at the end of the walk - truly it hurt so much I could hardly get to the end. I remember thinking to myself that it felt like my knee bones were rubbing together. I actually thought that very thought. That is exactly what was happening.
Dr. Wu, (who is a good guy), said that we can put lubricants in the knee joint which will help and he spoke of a new procedure called 'PRP' (Protein Rich Plasma) where you take your own blood, do something scientific (?) with it.... then put it in your knee area... it makes the cartilage regenerate - maybe.
The hospital was nice - went to a different one this time, a more fancy one, but when I arrived home after my one night stay, I had a staph infection on my upper thigh where they had given me a shot for pain. (I had abou 4-5 pain shots all over - it hurt a LOT after surgery). After only one day at home I had to drive to the Dr.'s office (near my home - my regular GP's) and get antibiotics. They drew a line around the red, hot part (a little bigger than the palm of my hand) and said come back the next day if it get's larger. It got a little larger so I went back and they added one more antibiotic. So... now, after simultaneously completing 2 courses of antibiotics, all that's left is a hard, slightly painful lump. Since I'm leaving in less than a week for the states - and for Jamaica (man) where I'll attend Christy's wedding, I'll be watching it to make sure it's 100% uninfected. This really scared me because staph infections can be deadly.

So.... that is the physical roller coaster.

Mentally, I have been somewhat depressed after leaving the hospital. I was blown away that at 48 (49 in July, so who am I kidding?) I have advanced osteoarthritis in my knees. I wasted not one second before yelling at myself and criticising me. I felt old, hopeless and ashamed at what I have done to myself. I've been over 200 lbs almost continuously since about 1994 or 5. That ruins your joints. For a few days I felt no compassion for me and really wondered what kind of exercise I will even be capable of in the future (I love the elliptical and hiking). I was also afraid of the staph infection.

The mental roller coaster:

*Last July - daddy died :-(
* tore my ACL and meniscus in right knee while doing a self defense class in Atlanta
* had surgery and was depressed for a week while at home afterwards
* had several epiphanys about my life and my attitudes which were handicapping me - vowed to change :-)
* developed a strong resolve to lose weight after the 1st surgery :-)
* gained more weight :-(
* brought my resolve back out of the closet, started dieting - lost 16 lbs from Feb - mid-March :-)
* Went to the boot camp spa for a month :-)
* hurt all over (of course), was hit by one affliction after another - but stayed the course
* lost another 16lbs and am a changed person :-)
* still in pain, went to doc, had MRI
* had surgery but discovered it was a worse problem than thought :-(
* developed staph infection (scared me)
* knee is now improving and have been swimming and back in gym a little. :-)
* but am worried about long term prognosis.
* I also have two painful shoulders that are keeping me awake at night - rotator cuff problems.
* Feeling kind of old but am absolutely realizing that these wasteful, negative thoughts are a bigger handicap than arthritis.

So that's it.
I look at people who live within horrible situations. Cancer, being in an accident and living with handicaps or terrible scars, long term illnesses. Losing everything in one way or another... sometimes these people dig down deep and find a resolve and the strength to stay positive, hopeful and keep going on. The whole world admires these people (some end up on Oprah, the rest just keep living their day to day lives).
Some people who are afflicted with these situations become alcoholics, prescription drug addicts, fearful of living - or worse.... whiners who bring down everyone around them and make people stay away from them.
After realizing that I cannot continue with negative thoughts, It has occured to me lately - that I can be one or the other. I will become one or the other type of person no matter what I do. In fact, right now I have to choose where I want to stay. If I want to be the one who soldiers on, I cannot continue criticising myself. I have to let me off the hook (just like I would do for my kids or for anybody else that I love a lot). I can't continue punishing myself for past sins (real or perceived) like I have always done in the past.
I will do whatever I can right now and I'll be content with it. I won't sit around feeling old and unable. I will not entertain whiney negative thoughts. I will not take this personally - the universe is NOT aginst me. I will keep on losing weight, doing Yoga, swimming, doing the elliptical and whatever I can manage. I will not stop.
So there.

Arthur Ashe, when learning that he was dying of AIDS said, If I were to say, "God, why me?" about the bad things, then I should have said, "God, why me?" about the good things that happened in my life.
What a fine human he was. I want to be a human like that.
by the way, I've lost another 6 lbs since my return home from Utah. Haven't weighed this little since 2000.
Go Becky.


Stella said...

Hi Becky,
Greetings from Houston. I'm happy to hear that you're recovering from your surgery. I believe that the power to heal comes from within. It's OK to whine for a day or two, but you're right it's then time to move on and heal. It hard for everyone in some way. Yours is physical, other are emotionally hurting, others hide it all. I'm trying to be supportive, is it working? I know you're heading to the states for the holiday. If you have an opportunity see a trainer for one or two sessions. I bet they can give you some great ideas on what you can do. Something with bands?
Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing I know you will do great. You are a winner not a whiner...and you have a wonderful life. Stella

a.better.life said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging words Stella. :-) How are you? Will you be going back to FR anytime soon?