November 12, 2014

Kneeless in Nova Scotia

I'm in a state.
Of what, I'm not sure.
In a little more than 3 weeks, I'm off to have both knees replaced, at the same time.
To say I am gradually becoming awash with anxiety would be true. To say I am dreading pain would be fair, too. To say I am wondering how this will affect my MS would be right on the money.

I've survived surgery before - each time I had a C-section I was up and about quickly and healed up well. I had a baby to look after, too. In one case, three kids to look after. And somehow I managed it, largely thanks to the helpful intervention of my wonderful mother-in-law, who tended to everything while I healed. (true, sometimes she tended too well - I don't ever remember finishing a cup of tea, but at least I had the first inch or so before the cup was washed)

This time, I am even more fortunate. I have a circle of friends who are willing to help out, two grown sons who are pitching in, lovely things, a new apartment designed for such things.

I also have a spine that is damaged by MS, an epidural space that didn't work on my last delivery because there was some damage there, according to the anesthesiologist, and yes, spasmy legs and arms and bum muscles and general bodily pain from this disease that can only get worse with aggravation.

I've read a couple of studies on people with MS having knee replacements. They weren't encouraging. One small study reported acute hamstring spasms that required further surgery. Another reported over-mobility of the knee joint - which made the surgery a failure.

Three people, total. Anecdotal. Not significant. Enough to create a mini-cloud of worry.

Like my friend Tim, who watches airplane crashes endlessly before flying, I've been glued to graphic surgery videos of knee replacement. I can feel my legs being sawed and hammered. It looks positively brutal.

I panic, exercise the joints as they've taught me. Should lose weight but feel the urge for chocolate so strongly as my anxiety rises. So I bend my knees and do exercises as I chomp down milk chocolate. And sip single malt. I'm trying to be smart but parts of my brain have their own ideas.

So why do it? Well, I can't walk without pain. This could give me walking back. I thought the pain was due to MS until I saw my X-rays. My knees are crunchy. With replacement, I COULD get another several years of walking back, dealing only with the MS.

With better knees, I can exercise more. This is good for all sorts of reasons. General health, anxiety, weight management, control of MS.

So wish me luck. I'm taking a literal leap of faith here. With any luck, I'll soon be able to leap better.

1 comment:

John Doe said...

Good luck, I hope everything goes well and turns out for the best.
I know exercise makes my spasms seem reduced and gives me the feeling that I'm fighting against my MS instead passively dwelling on every fluctuation in symptoms.