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In Knees Of A Solution

PROLOGUE:
 
While in the ring at the North Bay Kennel Club dog show in 2003, my left knee suddenly gave out from under me. I was unable to put weight on that leg and sat out the rest of the show. Upon retuning home, I called my doctor who immediately set up a series of x-rays to see the issues. Then the specialists. Final decision was loss of cartilage in both knees with my left one the most severe. Basically the cartilage turns to bone without any synovial fluid left to lubricate. Cortisone shots would not work as there was nothing to inject it into. Plus as with my back, masking the pain would encourage me to put stress on the knees thus causing even more damage. Options were knee replacements which OHIP will not do on anyone under 55 years of age or an injection of Hyaluronate to replicate the synovial fluid. This injection has a varied success rate based on the amount of damage in the knees. Only risk was rejection of the solution by my body-not a common side effect BUT a possibility with my chemical make up. That would cause excessive swelling of the knees. I was given the option to decide to have this done. Over the next 3 years I was reduced to using a cane to walk. Exercise was not an option and banned by my doctor. Changing my eating habits did not help the weight gain caused by lack of exercise. It was either wheel chair or injections. I gave in and the Neo Visc injections were ordered July 2006.
 
The following is my experience:
 
July 11 7:45 am
 
I can't sleep...I give up. I am worried and excited about the shots. I've been answering the extensive emails about Bob to take my mind off of it all but I can't.
 
I work with someone that once played football but stopped due to extensive knee damage. Last night we talked about the treatments he has had including reconstruction. Travis said he was sure he had the same shots. He said I would have to have 10 minutes mobility every hour for the first 8 hours. That isn't what my doctor said so I have to have that clarified. The specialist only said NO strenuous activity for 24 hours.
 
I will be going into work from Noon to 2 pm EST. My appointment is at 2:20 pm. I plan to head to work afterwards if all goes well.
 
3:30pm
 
Of course I had a call at 1:45 pm that lasted until 2:10 pm leaving me 10 minutes to get to the doctor's office. And the drive is usually 15 minutes. Don't ask how I did it in 7 minutes WITHOUT a speeding ticket.....
 
I had a bit of a wait to get in. Just enough for me to start to worry about any pain I may feel. Finally my name was called and I went into the room. The nurse arranged an assortment of gloves, etc on the table then took 2 of the needles out of the package. I did find out he normally does only one knee at a time. But being summer and he has holidays, I guess we had to do both today.
 
Dr Tait was in a great mood, joking around with me about being able to find my knee joint. He said I don't have to be active every hour BUT I did have to take it easy. He circled the injection site on each knee and went to take a call. Great...more waiting.
 
Both Dr Tait and his nurse finally came back in for the shots. Of course he decides to start with my left knee...the one I did the most damage to at the Dog Show a few weeks back. A quick antibacterial wash, told me to relax and inserted the needle.
 
Ok...it was painful. Enough that I tensed up and had to be told to relax the knee. He then finished inserting the needle. Still pain. THEN the solution. I was pretty goods really...I only muttered under my breath.  But damn it hurt!!!
 
Now to the right. I knew the amount of pain to expect, took a deep breath and released it.
 
Well guess what? He was OFF THE MARK!!!!!  The phrase "Holy Fuck That Hurts" bellowed out of my mouth. Apparently dear Dr Tait hit bone and went through SOMETHING....he told me but as I was ready to vomit from the pain I don't remember exactly what he said. I actually lost a few seconds of time. Next thing I remember he was whiping the injection site, told me to take it easy and put my feet up and left.
 
Damn!!!!!!
 
4:05
 
I am resting at home. I plan to head back to work in the next hour. I stopped for a DQ Arctic Rush-my current comfort food. I am really not feeling any pain except for the occasional little one. My knees feel kinda full. I'll post again tonight after work.
 
6:00 pm.
 
I didn't work. I was too shaken up by the pain. All I will do is rest at home tonight and take the hit for a sick day.
 
July 12 2006
 
11:00 am
 
A new day. Instictivly I am using my cane but I know I don't need to. I feel absolutely NO pain in the right knee. I have better mobility than I have had in years. The left knee is also better but not as good as the right one. Then again the left knee was the one that was constantly locking up on me. Funny really, it was the right knee Dr Tait hurt the most and it feels the best!!! If I wasn't such a wussy for pain I would ask for the left to have the needle inserted the same way. I have 2 more shots left and yes I am dreading them! I keep saying the pain will be worth it-especially if the left feels like the right does right now.
 
Off to work...we'll see how it is after 12 hours.
 
JULY 17
 
I went picking cherries today. It was 94 degrees and that was the ONLY thing that bothered me. My right knee feels like it did 6 years ago-alot of mobility. I feel somewhat better with the left but not enough. Still some swelling ONLY in the left tho from prolong sitting.
 
JULY 18
 
Second shot...I'm nervous. I am praying for no pain
 
3:00...It was a miracle! Only pain was from the needle going in! Again my knees feel swollen but NO PAIN!!!! I wish it was that painless last week!
 
The nurse said I am the first patient he has even done both knees at once. I guess I'm honoured? Not sure but that's why they stressed to relax and rest. I am going back to work for 4 pm. I need 100 hours this paycheck so as long as I can put my feet up I will work tonight.
 
6:00...work went well. Still no pain but still not confident about my left knee. I will keep it elevated so the solution can expand. In researching this particular solution-and there are a few different types being used-this one can take a few weeks before it replicates the tissue. I just won't start running marathons yet.
 
JULY 22
 
Still happy with the progress. I find I am using the cane less and less but trying to not overdo it yet. Saving my mobility for the trip to Wisconsin this weekend. I am somewhat concerned that Bob didn't shine as he has been at his last show. The Waukesha show is HUGE and alot of walking so I definately want to be in a better condition for it.
 
July 24 2006
 
9:00 am
Last shots today. Looking forward to it being overwith. I have fought hard to have this done and you would think I would be celebrating. The weekend was another "find Denise at home at all hours and call her" one. Meh. And I am actually considering getting a cellphone??????  Wouldn't be bad if I didn't get calls at 2 am and they LAST FOR 3 HOURS!!!!!!!!!! Yup...lack of sleep and I am my usual charming self. One wrong jab of that needle and I know I will say what no one should ever hear. Or I will shove it up his ass........
 
Got to stop this or I will be beyond unapproachable before I get there....
 
11:45 am
All over. Last shot was equal in pain to last week...very dealable. I expressed concerns to Dr Tait over the left knee and asked if I may need the shots again in 6 months. He said he only gives the shots once in a lifetime. If my left doesn't improve then I will have to book him again to look at more alternatives. From my research the shots can be given up to 3 more times no less than 6 months apart. With the improvement on my right knee I think the shots will do the job. I may have to see another specialist to get them or have it done in the USA. But this is in the future. For now i am off to work.
 
 
July 31 2006
 
I was pleased at my mobility at the Waukesha show. The Field Spaniel peeps had reserved parking fairly close to the rings so walking was not that bad. I brought the cane to be safe but rarely used it. I will avoid dog shows for the rest of the year based on more reaserch on the shots. The solution can take awhile to expand and strengthen and I want the most out of them. I planned an exercise program but it'll wait. A further complication was bringing Bob back with me. He was 54 pounds when I dropped him off with his breeder but is now 33. Not sure why the drastic weight loss but he's home now.
 
 
MAY 14 2007
 
Been over 6 months since the shots. I took it easy this winter which means added more pounds. This hasn't helped the healing process so currently am losing weight. As of today I am down 30 pounds in 5 months.
 
I have not used the cane for normal walking. In fact I can walk farther and faster. Since April I have been back to mall walking and with the snow gone, been walking Bob at least once a day. We have also been walking the trails at Fort Creek but as some of the trails have steep drops I have the cane with me. My back is still an issue.
 
Ok...what you all want to know. While not perfect, the shots have given me mobility again.  Left one is still weaker than my right. My right knee is very very strong. No creaking or popping or pain at all. I have high lift of knee and can do short running spurts. Not enough to show the faster dogs yet but more weight loss will help.
 
Over all this was worth it. May consider another series of shots in 2008 once I am lighter-will depend on mobility.
 
 
Jan 1 2008
 
Happy New Year...and happy happy results.
 
I lost 56 pounds in 2007...gained 12 back. The loss was strictly from walking and diet. My diet really hasn't changed in the past 2 years....I eat fruit, veggies, poultry, seafood and pasta as my only carb. Rarely if ever do I eat red meats such as beef or lamb or even pork. But walking has been the charm. Fort Creek became a difficult walk for me --too much strain on the knees. So I switched to Bellevue Park on the waterfront in the Sault. It was an instant hit with Bob so we started walking twice a day, an hour min each time, seven days a week. It helped maintain the weight but that's it. So after talking with the doctor I decided to go back to swimming. After checking out every fitness facility in the Sault, I joined the local YMCA. The staff are great. I have made friends with the lifeguards whom are helping me with various different water exercises keeping my knees and back in mind. At first I DID have issues with the dreaded left knee. It kept popping so to play it safe I am not doing laps. Mainly exercises and dog paddling.
 
Until now I had not realized the muscle loss I've suffered. And not just in the legs. I am beyond out of shape and that is unacceptable.
 
I am still mall walking...mainly Wed with my dear "big baby brother" Brad. 5 days a week I swim. 4 days I walk the inside track at the Y and use the exercise bike. I have to be careful of the bike due to my back. But I am noticing improvement in the back muscles.
 
My goal besides to rebuild muscle and burn off the remaining fat is to strengthen the back muscles so I can start using other machines.  Everyday I look at the picture of Splash and I at the CKC Centennial show...the one where I am sitting in the chair. That is the body I want again. My current one was created by 6 years of neglect and pain. I am sure it will NOT be another 6 to come back.