After having another MRI and meeting with my Doctor again, it was clear that all of my other options were exhausted and I would be having surgery. The new MRI didn’t have any new information (in fact one of the areas that they had been looking at as a possible tear actually looked better). My Doctor was pretty sure that my real damage was being hidden underneath a flap of skin and therefore not showing up on the MRI.
The realization that I would be having the surgery and most likely Microfracture, was very emotional. I shed a lot of tears and lost a lot of sleep worrying and wondering if I was making a mistake. I had done some online research and talked with others in the field and that had had similar surgeries, and I was not left with much hope or confidence that this will be a good solution or get me back to where I was. In fact, I already know that I won’t be able to train at the level I did before because this surgery is merely a spare tire so to speak. It will help for a little while but the cartilage that will grow, will not be the same as our natural cartilage and it will break down…and this will happen quicker. So, the more I use it the faster I end up back in surgery.
Here is my knee pre-surgery
I went in this morning fully expecting to be an emotional basketcase but I didn’t shed a tear, which was great because puffy, red eyes on top of no makeup is not a pretty look. I had the numbing agent followed by the anesthesia and was out like a light. I woke up in a general recovery area and was slightly amused by the guy next to me who asked to be referred to as “King.” I thought that was pretty funny until the nurse indicated to me that I might have said something too :-O.
A slightly dazed and confused post-op picture
Here is what they found and did in a nutshell:
Knee was pretty “ragged” inside
Cleaned up the good cartilage
Two areas had flaps. Flaps were removed and bone beneath was microfractured
There was a small area that was just bare bone. That was microfractured as well.
All told about a dozen holes were drilled, either with drill or a pick.
The prognosis was the knee will be better than before just due to cleanup. Prognosis for the micofractured areas is uncertain. Patella is typically not a great place for microfracture so we just have to wait and see.
The knee joint itself was in great shape.
Day 1 has been very tolerable pain wise. As recommended by the nurse, I have been keeping on top of the drugs and have been getting familiar with my new best friend…the CPM machine. I will use it for 8 hours a day in 2 hour blocks for at least two weeks. I’m also on crutches for the first time in my life and I’ll just say hats off to the rest of you who have made it look so easy. I haven’t fallen (yet), but I do see there being a learning curve for me.
Me and my new best friend (the CPM machine)
I’m happy to have the pain under control for the moment but I know I have a long road ahead of me. It is going to be a huge mental challenge too since I will not be able to be as active as I’m used to being….or want to be. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end! I am signed up for Marathon du Medoc in France in September and my long term goal is to make it there and be able to complete the marathon in some fashion.
I am going to do my best to keep up with this blog during my recovery so that I can use it to reflect on and also to hopefully help others that may be considering microfracture. Hopefully mine will have a happier ending than some of the other stories that I have read.