Monthly Archives: May 2014

Cyber upgrade 3

Standard

I’ve been to see my surgeon this morning – primarily for the results of the MRI scan on my spine – it wasn’t great 😦 

The MRI result has shown a list of words that make no sense to me at all, but basically my spine is twisted (lumbar scoliosis convex to the right), collapsed (retrolisthesis L1 – L2 – L3, with associated annular disc bulges and osteophytic lipping), arthritic (facetal OA),  out of shape (ligamentum flavum hypertrophy resulting in lateral recess compromise), squeezing nerves (acquired spinal canal stenosis) and I’ve lost 2 inches in height that frankly I couldn’t afford to lose at 5’2” (now just 5’!). 
Do you know, I always said I had not evolved from being a small furry mammal. I suspect I should never have been standing upright on 2 legs at all.

cat_walk

 

 

In view of now having to add a spinal specialist to my list, it was decided that the left knee was going to have to be replaced sooner now rather than later. There is a long wait to see a spinal specialist – none in this area at all – and having my troublesome knee replaced would at least be one less joint hurting and hopefully continue to give everything else a better chance of success.

 

The truth is I’m trying to ensure we have a gorgeous summer again by being back in full length dark green surgical stockings for the whole of it. A friend suggested they could become a new fashion accessory. Wait until they see them with the pretty summer dresses I bought to go with them last year! 🙂 At least with a new knee I might be able to reach to paint my toenails that show through the hole at the end. When I had my hips replaced last year I wasn’t allowed to bend that far. A whole summer without glittery toenails!

Surgery will be soon after the first birthday of my first metal hip – Monday 7th July. We couldn’t make it later as my surgeon is going away until after the summer from the 10th. He did ask if I was ok with that because he wouldn’t see me before I left. I was thinking I might be racing him out of the door!

I’m aiming for bionic. That will be 3 metal joints now. Just as well I don’t do any flying! I’m also getting younger all the time – well parts of me anyway!

There’s not much point in not being upbeat about all this I feel. Life happens! – and at least I have one. My friend’s husband’s heart stopped one night at the beginning of April and the emergency services and hospital couldn’t get him back. They had just celebrated the first birthday of their long awaited daughter. Another friend died of a sudden infection at the end of April. She was 38. My arthritis is a minor inconvenience in comparison.

So – here we go again!

 

The first year

Standard

It’s a year today since my first blog post. At that time I had just learned that I had severe bone on bone osteoarthritis in both hips and my left knee. My surgeon said replacements were the only way forwards.

Since then there have been ups and downs as re reading through any of my blogs shows. Ultimately mostly it is ups.

How have things been since I last wrote here a month ago? Well, I’m still waiting for my MRI results on my spine as the appointment keeps being cancelled and changed. I haven’t decided what to do with my knee yet, and am waiting for this result to make a more informed decision, though we’ll probably wait until next spring. I have a 2 week holiday in Devon in August (yippee!), my 50 birthday in October (I have a 100 year plan, so just hitting middle age now!!) and my 25th wedding anniversary at Christmas, so lots of things to celebrate.

My hips are, I think getting better. I am walking about 2.5km a day or swimming almost a mile. Admittedly the walking is with poles to try to keep my back upright. It wants to bend and if I straighten my back my knees bend instead. I can lie for a short time on my left side, and a bit longer on my right, though this I guess is more a feature of whatever is wrong with my spine rather than my hips. The pain in my back and knee does wake me regularly. I sleep with a pillow under my knees, which my physio didn’t like at all, but I do take it out and spend at least 30 minutes x 2 in 24 hours lying completely flat and also still do my knee exercises.

I can sit with my legs crossed now, but still not cross legged on the floor. I’m working on that one, though each time I do I expect to pop my hips out. I can reach my feet if I bend but I can’t lift my legs any more to, for example, wash my feet.

I think some of my back problem may be due to putting the hips in their correct orientation. Maybe I should have stayed crooked! If I think about it, I have had problems with my back for years, but it was ok and yoga or a massage usually fixed it for a while. I’m still doing my plank, but I can’t get over a minute 😦

Being in pain is tiring, but it’s mostly under control now. I still have pain but it is manageable with 3 tramadol and 3 ibuprofen a day, with an extra tramadol on bad days.

I can still mostly only go up and down stairs one at a time, though sometimes with support on both sides I can do it continuously. The problem here though is mostly my knee, not my hips any longer.

On the other hand, a couple of weeks ago we decided we were going to go out on our canal boat for a long weekend. We hadn’t thought I would ever manage again and put it up for sale, though it hasn’t yet sold. However, we developed a system. Getting on and off and down the steps was really not any different to getting in and out of the swimming pool. At locks my husband got off and held the boat until my son came to take over. He did the lock gates and when almost ready my son pushed me off the bank and I did the steering in while my son went to help his dad. It was like I’d never been away. Not a single bump! Everything went smoothly. After the lock was full or empty I held the boat still while they closed the gates and hopped on. The only accident in the whole weekend? Falling over in the bath. A nice new set of bruises to highlight the scars 🙂

So many changes. Would I do it all again if I knew last year what I know now? There have been times when I would have said no, but overall the answer is yes.

Still plenty of changes to go yet though! thinking