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.


  1. Argh - but you'll love being pain-free eventually, right?

  2. Ricky I will love walking, sitting, and standing without pain. Eventually is correct, it will be a few months of rehab with a walker and sticks. I am used to using a stick along the way and maybe I will use my camino stick for encouragement.