I come to you on bended knees. Well, I would if I could bend them – but I can’t.
For the last several years, my knees have progressively failed me, and I’ve gone from running to walking to hobbling to using a cane. I’ve had surgeries and a failed PRP (platelet-rich plasma) procedure with my own blood that cost me $3,000 out of pocket. My weight has fluctuated and, for the last few years, I’ve lived with chronic pain where powerful meds take just a slight edge off the searing pain.
I have a wonderfully sympathetic family doctor, Bernie Gosevitz, who has compassionately treated me, and I figured I could live with this mobility problem for years without really facing the reality that I was losing my ability to walk without some type of assistance.
Until I attended my nephew’s wedding a few years ago and realized with a jolt I couldn’t dance anymore.
And that just broke my heart. My body was swaying to the music, but my legs were not moving. The fact is – I love dancing. I would dance for hours when my knees worked, never mind if I looked like Elaine from Seinfeld during one of her more ignominious moments.
Throughout this issue with my knees – brought on by osteoarthritis, or the normal wear and tear on the body – I gave up on the mundane routines I took for granted: Walking hand-in-hand with my husband around my neighbourhood, meandering down to James Gardens in Etobicoke, cycling down to the lake, walking the length of the various shopping malls. Walking up and down stairs.
I slowly gave it all up and applied for a disability parking tag because I couldn’t walk more than 100 steps without stopping and looking around for a place to sit.
But I figured I could live with all the inconvenience. I could even live with the embarrassment of looking like I was a hobbling garden gnome until the day I saw everyone dancing at my nephew’s wedding – and couldn’t join in.
I started researching (and over-researching) knee replacement surgery and, depending on who you spoke with, it’s either a piece of cake or you’re the star in your own horror movie. But knee replacement surgery (where the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one made from metal and plastic) has changed over the years, and even the surgery itself is more streamlined.
Research shows the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries performed in Canada has increased dramatically – and younger patients are seeking out the procedure. Ultimately, reports of pain relief and improved mobility are at the core of why these surgeries are taking place.
Years ago, I had my knees scoped but I wasn’t too happy with my experiences at the downtown hospital I attended and, to be honest, the whole drama scared me off from going further with treatment. But when I couldn’t put any pressure on both my legs while getting out of bed one morning, I realized the time had come: Bilateral knee replacement. Both knees done at the same time.
And this time, I carefully researched my options, settling on having my surgery at the spanking new Humber River Hospital (where I had spent a few years doing volunteer work with the famous Harvest on the Humber dinner series) and where I found an amazing orthopedic surgeon by the name of Dr. Sebastian Rodriguez. The wait list is long for everyone – and I actually cancelled once because I chickened out – but, well, my surgery date is coming up.
Which means Shop Till You Drop is going on sabbatical for a wee bit, while I recuperate.
Before booking the surgery, I literally tore the web apart looking for as much information as possible on the surgery and recuperation. Most of the stuff has scared the heck out of me. So I might as well write from experience, and I’ll be periodically writing about my adventures from surgery to rehab in the coming weeks (I may even bring in a photographer pre-surgery!).
Look for my amazing adventures under my new column called On Bended Knees. I’ll write the occasional food and shopping column in time for Halloween and the holiday season.
Until then, wish me luck. Just don’t ask me to break a leg!
Source Toronto Sun