The last 4 plus weeks have brought me to a lot of different doctors, potential diagnoses, and (maybe, now) some answers.
About 4 weeks ago we (meaning this ridiculously large team of knee experts, and me) all thought I had a torn meniscus. My physician sent me to PT, it wasn’t doing much and I was so miserable that I ended up at a orthopedic. He did xrays and noted that my knee cap was not in the right place, but still thought I had a torn meniscus. I had an MRI done and a when those results finally came in I was told, “Great news!!! You don’t have a torn meniscus. Or any tear of any sort!! Yay!!” I asked what was causing the pain and was told I have severe arthritis. Start thinking about a knee replacement, but in the meanwhile go back to PT for two weeks. This certainly through me for a loop since this is a longer term problem and I hung up the phone with many more questions than answers.
I made another appointment with my primary care physician and and she pulled some strings. (If you are ever in the market for the kindest doctor who can perform some medical magic, let me know, I have a great recommendation!) She got me in with a rheumatologist immediately. I went in yesterday, feeling pretty discouraged, as it has been 4 and a half weeks and I am in exactly the same amount of pain as the day it happened.
He was awesome and very encouraging and optimistic. He found a cyst in the back of my knee which is pushing my leg bones into the back of my knee cap where there is no cartilage due to osteoarthritis. That is causing the pain. He gave me a cortisone shot right there and that should (fingers super crossed) get rid of the pain within a week and shrink the cyst so everything can go back to normal. If it doesn’t work there are other injection options for the short time. If it does work, I could be pain free for as short as a month, or as long as several years.
We had really good conversations about mid and long term options too. A knee cap replacement could be potential in 5ish years and knee replacement in 15-20 years. But! There is technology out there now used by the uber rich athletes to inject stem cells that actually allows cartilage to regrow, so he thinks that will replace knee replacements by the time I’d ever be a candidate.
He said that this does not need to effect our summer plans, a priority question from me for every doctor I’ve seen. He said to continue with PT now and start hiking again, beginning for short distances and on flatish routes. He was relieved to know that we aren’t doing any back country hikes that will require hiking-camping-hiking. So, if there is an emergency situation I’m not more than a day’s hike away from help that Zak can get relatively quickly.
I really did leave encouraged and I think all of my questions were thoughtfully and compassionately answered. We are planning a short, flat hike on Sunday, so I can start to catch up to where the rest of the family is.