Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Torn What?!

Dear friends,

I saw the surgeon today who fixed my shoulder shortly after we moved here. He is a very excellent surgeon, and takes time to explain things well. This time the issue was my left knee. I bent my leg to sit down on it on a soft, cushy, low chair at the townhouses at the end of September. My leg exploded with pain when I came down on it and hasn't been the same since. Lots of pain on the back of my knee. Eventually I saw a physician's assistant at my orthopedic surgeon's office last November with the suspicion that I had ruptured my plantaris muscle in the back of my knee.

She ordered an MRI and the conclusion from that was that I had a small Baker's cyst on the back of my knee and arthritis begining under my knee caps. None of that made much sense to me. She sent me to the physical therapist who had done my shoulder. He is also excellent. After 6 PT sessions with Marc, the slight progress in my knee leveled out. He sent me back to Dr. VanderWilde- the wonderful surgeon. I saw him today.

He looked at my MRI and showed me a pretty large Baker's cyst and also the probable cause of that cyst and my knee pain. There is a torn miniscus on the right side of my left knee. (Not mentioned in the MRI report.) Fluid is leaking out of my knee "sac" there, and is unable to flow back in because of torn miniscus tissue flapping around and working as a one-way valve. The fluid gets out and stays out. The water in the leaking fluid absorbs into my body and the thicker parts of the fluid gather into a sack of jello-like material. The pressure of the cyst on the back of my knee is causing inflamation and pain. The torn miniscus is also sore. He looked at the MRI, came over to me and pushed right on that spot on the right side of my knee and said, "I bet this hurts." It did. That is where his years of experience could see things on the MRI that the others hadn't.

So the solution is to repair it with arthroscopic surgery. I am scheduled for February 27th at 1:00. It takes about 35 minutes. He said 2 weeks of a lot of pain, and then a month of PT. In 3 months I will probably be back to just the arthritis issues and will be able to handle Ghana as far as my knee goes. So the good news is that it can be repaired, the bad news is that it has to get worse before it will get better. I will continue my knee excercizes at home in the meantime.

I turned in a urine sample today to see if there is still blood showing up there. If there is, I am supposed to see a kidney doctor. I am trying to get to the bottom of these issues so I can move forward in planning our Ghana trip. I would be leading part of the training, so if I am not going we would need to adjust our goals or get another leader to go who knows how to do what I was going to do.

Jesse has put a little on since he got the Senegal. He is also putting pictures on facebook if that is a venue you are used to.

I will let you know how it goes with the oncologist on Monday. Tests or not? I guess I learned about the inside of the knee today! I really don't want to be known as the person with all of the medical problems all of the time. It takes so much time. But today I got to talk to Dr. V's nurse who will be in the north of Ghana the same time we will be there. It is all about connections for me I think sometimes. God sets it up and I pay attention.

Tomorrow morning my basement cleaning friend is coming early to help me, so I need to get to bed. Blessings! Nancy Fritz

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