Thursday, February 12, 2015

M.S. and Her Journey

 I'm a 53 year old mother of 5 children, always been active but not sporty, just walking the dog several miles, body boarding with the kids etc. Four and a half years ago (23rd February 2010 to be precise) I was walking our dog on an extending lead when she ran off behind me, I didn't have time to think about letting go of the lead and basically I was twisted and pulled over causing a tear to my knee. I couldn't move at all, just remember seeing blades of grass very close to my face! My husband dragged me onto a sledge (it was still a bit icy) and got me to a&e where they said I hadn't done anything and would be walking fine in a couple of days. Fortunately we had a pair of crutches in the shed so I just about managed at home for 5 days but as the leg had swollen hugely and I still couldn't walk I decided a second opinion was in order. The GP sent me to an orthopedic consultant and after several appointments and an MRI they discovered I had grade 3 tears to my PCL and MCL.

  I was told surgery wasn't an option, presumably because of my age, and after 8 months of physio I was able to walk without the brace and only used the crutches occasionally. Obviously a very long and painful process but at least I was managing. Recently though as I've started walking further - 2 to 3 miles max - I'm having pain in both the damaged left leg and right knee. I've been seeing orthopedic surgeons and physios privately for the last few years but I've now been referred to another surgeon in Derby who wants to reconstruct the ligaments. In addition he has identified PLC damage and says to prevent further damage and arthritis to my left knee and limit the wear in my right knee surgery is the best option. I'm in total agreement with him as the discomfort is getting worse but the thought of going through all the pain and physio again isn't something I'm looking forward too. Reading all the stories on your blog makes it all very real again but at the same time it's encouraging as so many people have seen the benefits of surgery.

  I'm on the waiting list for surgery, the surgeon will take hamstrings from both legs as it seems there won't be enough from just one leg for all the repair work. It's a strange thought, going from little pain to extreme pain but I'm trying to concentrate on the end result and not get too scared. I'm trying to find loads to do for those long and boring months after surgery and am setting goals to measure my progress by. For anyone having this injury I'd say surgery at the time of the accident or pretty soon after is a much better way of dealing with it, I wish I'd found out about it sooner. I'll let you know how it goes if anyone is interested.

  Someone on here mentioned creaking and cracking when they bent their knee? I have it too, it's crepitus and is wear of the knee joint.
 
  Thanks for setting up this blog. This seems to be an unusual and difficult to repair injury, I've had to go miles to find a surgeon capable of and willing to do the surgery, so it's really good to be in contact with others in a similar situation.
UPDATE:
Well, 10 days post op and I've just had stitches out so it doesn't look as bad as the photo. I'm relieved to be on this side of the operation, I had all the usual doubts before - could I go through all the pain and physio, what if it didn't work etc but that's all behind me now. Still haven't got an answer from the surgeon as to whether he minds me posting my experiences, I'm seeing him on Thursday and if he doesn't give an answer then I think we'll just go ahead and use a different name, don't you?

I had a spinal anesthetic for the operation so was able to watch, really fascinating and very clever. It lasted two hours, I can give details if anyone is interested. First few days were pretty uncomfortable but morphine is a great help, down to codeine now so things are improving. Lots of numbness in my lower leg and loads of bruising to my foot, made worse because I'm on heparin injections to prevent blood clots but hopefully this will pass soon. Physio starts next week, static quads and straight leg raises I believe to begin with although I've been told to remove the brace once a day and get someone else to bend my leg to 90 degrees ( they've got to be joking!) as it stops the knee stiffening. This was meant to be done daily from 3rd day after surgery, I haven't managed to pluck up the courage to have it done daily though, every other day more like.

18 comments:

Agnes Lawson said...

I think that you are on the right track there. Sometimes, you really have to go with procedures that may seem drastic, as long as it leads to a complete recovery. But oftentimes, it's just a matter of getting the right treatment and therapy, and waiting for things to recover naturally. Anyway, I hope you get back up on your feet soon, so to speak. Take care!

Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts

Surima Khandar said...

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Derek Sparks said...

Thanks for sharing your experience in getting back on track after an accident. It’s just terrible that you had to go through all that, but it’s great that you’re on your way to a swift recovery. Anyway, I hope that you’re completely recovered by now, or getting close to it. Take care!

Derek Sparks @ Forgey Chiropractic

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Natasha Shelton said...

Glad that you were able to fully fix what had happened to your knee. At the very least, that's a great start. Rest now and gather strength. Soon , you will literally get back on your feet again, I'm sure.

Natasha Shelton @ CCOE

Goldie Johnson said...

Hi,
I hope you are feeling better now after your operation. A little piece of advice though, take the prescribed medicines and exercises so that you'll heal soon. Good luck! Also, here's some info about meniscus tear surgery cost.

Dr. Micheal Nirenberg said...

Get well soon. This is really very much harsh and painful surgery and need much time to get recover to health.

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Molly said...

Loving (not) all the professional recommendations. Unless they've been through this, they really don't get it from the patient perspective. Whether your doctor is concerned about you posting your experiences is irrelevant. We ALL benefit from your experience.

Dr. Micheal Nirenberg said...

Get well soon. This is really very much harsh and painful surgery and need much time to get recover to health.

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Iamwhoiam said...

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Dr. A. M. Rajani said...

The posterior cruciate ligament is about two inches long and connects the femur to the tibia at the back of the knee. It limits the backward or posterior motion of the tibia shinbone. Twisting or overextending the knee can cause the PCL to tear, leaving the knee unstable and potentially unable to support a person's full body weight. The PCL is the strongest ligament in the knee, and tears often are associated with traumatic injuries rather than sports injuries. PCL tear can happen when the knee is violently forced backward or when the front of the shin is hit hard, for example when the knee strikes the dashboard during a car accident.

michelle said...

Hi my name is Michelle. I will be 59 in 2 weeks. 5 month ago I went down waterskiing and my ACL PCL and MCL were torn... grade 3 tears. My MCL is healing nicely and I have been really workin on quads for stability. My OS thinks I can be very functional without surgery. I will admit I am surprised at the stability I have gained. I am back to yoga,light hiking, walking 6 miles and biking daily. It has been a hard journey to say the least. I see my OS again soon to assess my progress and let him know if I want reconstruction of ACL and PCL. Getting back on crutches scares me as well as the pain,starting at square one with PT and the loss of muscle and getting back my range of motion. It has been so exhausing getting my strength back. I have almost no pain now. I am not getting any younger so I Am concerned for my future and arthritis. Any advice is appreciated.

Skinnygurl said...

Hi Michelle,

I must say you're doing remarkable and I'm very impressed. Definitely consider holding off on surgery and please let me know what your OS says after your next visit. Once you have the surgery everything changes and you can't take it back. Lucky you for doing so well. That's terrific!
Skinnygurl

Molly said...

Hi Michelle:

Your progress is fantastic! My injury (at age 50) was to the PCL (shredded) and MCL (stretched). I had a allograft reconstruction of the PCL and repair of the MCL after trying conservative treatment for 6 months. I regained strength in that initial phase, but still had laxity that affected my ability to negotiate stairs normally and stand while riding my bike.

I'm 62 now. In hindsight, I wouldn't have the surgery. Bracing for activity would have been just fine. My favorite brace was the Breg fusion, which I wore full time for a year after the surgery and for bike riding after that. I don't ride anymore, but exercise in the pool without a brace.

As expected for an injury of this significance, even with surgery, I've developed arthritis in that knee (grade 3/4 as of three years ago), but my pain is totally controlled with hot pepper ointment of all things.

At age 50, my surgery was huge. My recovery was huge. I can't imagine having (or needing) it at age 59 or 60. I really recommend you think long and hard before choosing to have it. Best wishes for continued improvement!

Molly said...

P.S. For what it is worth, I had 4 surgeries! Number 1 was to clean up the bleeding bits and smooth out the damaged areas. Number 2 was the big reconstruction. Number 3 was to clean out scar tissue and adhesions (arthrofibrosis) developed from a bad reaction to the second surgery. Number 4 was to remove the titanium screw that was bothering my tibia.

So, for me, it wasn't just the reconstruction surgery. Make sure you understand the possibility of additional surgeries in your case.

Maybe another option for you is to continue with your (fantastic) recovery. Use a brace for activity as long as you have to, and hold out for a knee replacement many years from now.