Monday, August 23, 2010

'Boomer' surgery scheduled for September 14, 2010.

Like me many Baby Boomers are now at the age of arthritis of the knees and they are more active than previous generations, so they want help and they want it now, in their 60's not in their 70's, allowing them to remain active. Much research has been done and now the patient has options. The FDA approved MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing in 2005 and the first surgeries were performed in 2006.

I went to an Orthopedic Surgeon today, Dr Thomas Parr, Sugar Land, Texas. Dr Parr suggests that I have MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing and not Total Knee Replacement. Using the minimally invasive MAKO robotic knee surgery, Dr Parr resurfaces only the bad areas of the knee(s), incisions are smaller and the good areas of the knee(s) remain untouched. This is a far better option for me. The recovery time is shorter, with most patients returning to normal activities within two weeks. This surgery is only performed by a few surgeons in the USA and Dr Parr is one of them, aren't I lucky?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This will be a long journey

Over the past few years I have been suffering knee problems. First it was the right knee, then the left, and now both knees are painful at all times. So after a series of shots over the years that have enabled me to walk, from steroid shots to synthetic meniscus (SynVisOne), my doctor told me it was time to look for an Orthopedic Surgeon. I am in that process now. I selected three of Houston's finest surgeons.

I saw the first doctor on Monday. After looking at the X-rays, examining my knees, and watching me walk the doctor told me that I was not a candidate for partial knee surgery. I need Total Knee Replacement for both knees, hmmm.

It is funny but I remember the first time that I noticed the pain for both knees. For the right knee I was coming down from Cruz de Ferro to Molinaseca in 2007. But hey, everybody complains about that section, so I continued on thinking it was the downhill bit that 'killed' my knee. Then a year later, almost at the end of Fin do Camino (Muxia) my right leg gave out and I was hobbling around Santiago de Compostela on my last few days in Spain. But I was taking the pilgrims friend, Ibuprofen, and rubbing in Voltarem gel so the pain was minimal. Then I flew home and made the mistake of packing my drugs in my backpack. Bad move. When I needed to change gates at Chicago Airport I was in agony and I was crying (unusual for me). So much pain. Dr Janssen started giving me periodic steroid shots.

Last year walking Via de la Plata it was a freezing cold day (on the usually hot Extremadura) and my right knee was extremely painful. I remember thinking how lucky I was that I had one good knee. The next day, the very next day, the left knee started giving me more pain than I had ever felt in the right knee. After a few more steroid shots Dr Janssen changed to synthetic meniscus, SynVisOne, which lasts six months. This is injected with what feels, and looks like, a horse needle and is very painful to receive. The December 2009 SynVisOne almost lasted six months for me. I had a SynVisOne before I left for Via Tolosana and Camino Aragonés this year (June 2010) and while giving the shot is when Dr Janssen said it is time for knee surgery. The shot allowed me to be on the camino and volunteer as a hospitalera this year but now I am home my knees are quite painful. Viewing the x-ray I am walking bone-on-bone and there is nothing to protect me from that pain.

I will post about my knee surgery and hope you never need it.