Tag Archives: Cartilage

In the Beginning

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This is mostly a journal for my own purpose to record and appreciate change. However, over time perhaps it will be found by others facing the same procedures.

In 5 weeks time I will have my right hip replaced, followed by my left hip, left knee and possibly also my right knee. The cause is arthritis. I am 48 years old.

My left knee was damaged first of all in 1983 following a fall skiing on Glen Shee – my first run down the mountain. It was not much fun being carried headfirst down a long slippery slope by two guys on skis, but better that than staying there I guess. I was in plaster for weeks, but mostly fine afterwards until I re damaged the knee running across a road in 2003. The following arthroscopy found very little cartilage and the surgeon tried to help scaring and manoeuvrability by drilling the bone (micro fracture). Things went downhill from there and there was increasing pain and decreasing mobility over the years.

Eventually it got to the stage about 6 months ago where I was feeling my right hip was worse than my knee. After conferences on consecutive weekends in February/March this year, I was in so much pain I agreed to go to see my GP – at least, I thought I would have a baseline from which to assess the conditions worsening.

I think the physiotherapist, on seeing my x rays and finding severe arthritis in both hips was as surprised as I was. I knew it was painful but had absolutely no idea it could have been so bad, and that this could be what had been causing years of increasing ‘abdominal’ and back pain too. 

It was a longish wait to see my GP about the results (a very odd appointment system which feels rather prejudiced against people who work or have families to care for in the mornings) – but was referred to orthopaedics. Another wait (simply because they cancelled my appointment at the last minute and failed to make another one until I queried it a week later) but was told that the arthritis was sufficiently severe (about 2 mm of cartilage in my left hip joint and less that 1 in my right when there should be 7mm) that they would have to be replaced. Subsequent MRI of my left knee showed no cartilage at all and a variety of other issues too. Lots of nice bony spurs everywhere. At least I wasn’t imagining the pain!

I’d honestly believed I would be told I was too young, there was nothing wrong with me, there was nothing they could do – lose weight and come back in 20 years ….. and here I am with a date for my first op with the others to follow, if all goes well, at 3 monthly (roughly) intervals. By this time next year I’ll be bionic!

So, here we are at the beginning – and off we go on a new adventure.