Feb 22, 2011


So, remember last December when my knee gave out? While I was in another country? Well, after multiple visits to the doctor's office, an x-ray, and an MRI, it turns out that physical therapy isn't going to cut it. There is a layer of soft tissue between the cartilage, called meniscus, and mine is torn.

According to my doctor, I have two choices: I can get surgery to fix it, or I can leave it as-is.

If I get surgery, I will be laid up for two weeks, unable to drive and in some pretty good pain for a while. I'll also be in physical therapy for two months. The surgery itself is arthoscopic so I won't go under a knife, but I will still be severely limited.

If I don't get surgery, I can still get around fine. And that's pretty much all I'll be able to do. I will have to be careful not to bend my knee too far, and, if I do, then the pain can be managed with ibuprofin and possible cortizone shots to reduce swelling. But the pain won't be over the top and I'd be able to function okay.

So, my choice is basically this: do I go through a lot of pain for a short amount of time, or do I live with a constant, dull pain for the rest of my life?

Well, for me, the choice was obvious from the start. I'm an involved mom. I like to play with my kids, whether it's sitting on the floor putting legos together, playing board games, cards, putting puzzles together, etc. Or, playing soccer or baseball in the yard, building a snowman, going sledding, giving my kids piggy-back rides, etc. That doesn't even include the things I want to do for me, like hiking, camping, climbing, and who knows what else.

If I chose to do nothing and manage the pain for the rest of my life, then I would be putting a thin layer of hesitation between me and the rest of the world. Between me and my kids. And that's something I can't do. So, next monday I go in for surgery. Hopefully it will go well, and I'll be back to my normal life in no time.


Legacy said...

I'm a dancer so I've had a lot of knee injuries. I tore my meniscus at age 20 and ACL at 24. I had surgery when I was twenty. My knee was locking and doing all sorts of weird painful things. Well that got taken care of it was six months before I danced again.
When I tore my Acl the doc said no surgery I can walk I'll be fine. I danced on a torn ligament for five years and was fine till I got a call back at an audition. It completely snapped. I was if I can say this here screwed. I could barely walk. I couldn't bend or straighten my leg. For me I wish I had had the surgery so it hadn't led up to that. For me I really wish I had done it when I needed it. The recover wasn't so bad. I was laid up yeah two weeks but wakling on crutches. I danced in five months in p.t for almost a year. Time goes by though and if you have a positive attitude you might learn something from the whole experience.YOu'll get a lot of writing done thats for sure. The time off from work was a nice break too. Whatever your decision I'm sure you'll make the right one. I say if I were you get it done so you can continue to walk normal because it could get worse in the future.hugz

salarsenッ said...

I'd love to go into the details as Legacy has, seeing that I was a dancer, too, but I won't. I'll just say that I still do dance, even with the slight tear I have in my knee. Yes, it can be painful, and yes, as I'm getting older I may have to have the surgery. You need to do what's best for you and it seems you know what that is. That's great.

Hey, I've given you an award on my blog, today!!

Catherine Stine said...

Wow, that's rough, as is Legacy's story. Surgery sounds like the best option. Just make sure the surgeon is highly recommended!

Matthew Rush said...

That's terrible! I'm so sorry.

Tabitha said...

Thanks, everyone. Your well-wishes really help fortify me for this whole thing. :)

The knee is such a crazy thing, isn't it? I really feel for you dancers. I can't imagine dancing on torn anything! You guys are brave. :)

And thanks for the blog award! I'll head over there to check it out.

Thanks again, everyone. This really does help. :)

cleemckenzie said...

Sorry about this, Tabitha. I'll weigh in only because . . . well, we've "known" each other for quite a while now and I want to tell you I wish you the best whichever way you choose.

But also I want to share that my mom, who is elderly, had her entire knee replaced, and in just one month was up and walking without pain. Now, the ONLY place that doesn't hurt is her replaced knee.

A police friend had the surgery they're recommending for you and his recovery was two weeks. He's never regretted the repair because he's a runner and was faced with having to give up the sport he loved.

Okay, that's my anecdotal evidence for you to consider. Let us know what you decide. All my best.

Anonymous said...

My husband had a huge tear in his meniscus. He had not option but to get surgery because the tear was so large he could barely walk. His recovery time lasted a while but he was driving within days. Of course it was his left knee so it didn't really affect his ability to drive. Honestly, I don't remember him having any physical therapy and his tear was larger than they thought once they got in there. There are different surgeries though. He had his tear cut out. That procedure has a quicker heal time than trying to repair the tear. You may want to discuss that with your doctor. Of course my husband does have occasional discomfort in that knee which may be because he had the cut removed. Who knows? Good luck!

LM Preston said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you have to consider surgery. However, my best friend had to have surgery on both her knees last year, as did my aunt. Both do not regret it, although the healing was challenging. In both cases they waited as long as possible until they couldn't wait anymore.

Tabitha said...

I am definitely having surgery. It's scheduled for monday, and since it's my right knee I won't be able to drive for two weeks. I scheduled carpools where I could, and DH is taking some days off. Then I scheduled a sitter for the rest of the days not covered.

It makes me feel so much better that you all have shared stories with me. I am sure I won't regret my decision. Actually, I'd regret not doing it the next time I wanted to play soccer with my kids and couldn't. Hearing all your stories just confirms that I've made the right choice. So thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

I've just given you the One Lovely Blog Award! Stop by to check it out. http://www.kellyhashway.com/apps/blog/show/6233826-one-lovely-blog-award

Tabitha said...

Thanks so much!! :)

Mary Witzl said...

I wish you well with the surgery, Tabitha!

A dear friend here has also been offered the choice between getting a meniscectomy and having nothing done. She told the doctor to schedule the surgery then and there. I know so many people who have had this done and never regretted it. I've got my fingers crossed that you'll be the same!

a_hoffman79 said...

Ow. I have high hopes that your surgery will go well and that you'll be up and back to your energetic self in no time. I did a little something to my meniscus in college that was short-lived and that was enough for me to want to avoid hurting it again, so I feel for you. I'll keep you in my thoughts. :)