The knees have been bothering me for quite some time. I just had my eleven-year anniversary of microfracture surgery. At the time of surgery, we were told I would need another surgery within five years. The surgeon also told Brian I would never be the same. Well, he was wrong, I’ve done some awesome things in that time. Now, though, it’s to the point that I needed to go in and figure out the inevitable – do I need surgery in one or both. I saw the ortho this week and was basically like, let’s get this fixed. I can’t do as much. I have a lot of pain, etc. He showed me the x-rays and showed x-rays of what the shape of knees should look like and what mine look like. He showed me bone spurs. He showed me narrowing and explained a lot of holes. He said, he wished he could go in there and remove the spurs to help with the pain, but there is too much damage – that won’t help. There are no surgery options outside of me needing double knee replacement. I was reeling of course, and he could see this. He was good and read me well, saying he knows it’s hard for me to hear, that I like hiking and I was an athlete, but we have to start thinking about things differently. He told me he’s not going to tell me not to hike but I need to be aware of how much I do and realize I could hurt for days after. He told me to never do another squat or lunge and to never get on another treadmill. He gave me exercises day….) to strengthen the quads to help the knees out. He wants me to ice each side, 10-15 min, 8-10 times a day….. He gave me cortisone shots in each knee, saying he could do it 3x years. Essentially my knees are like worn out tires and it’s up to me use them how I want in the end but know I need to make concessions, etc. We talked about my weight, because I do know that each extra pound puts 4-5 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. I’m far from happy with my weight and that’s on me. He said, even if I weighed 100 pounds now, I would still need surgery, I would still have pain. Still, there are things to do to help me get as far as I can on these things. I was quite devastated – going into the appointment thinking I would get help that might take me out 6-12 weeks or so but would be better. It has been hard to wrap my head around it, and didn’t even discuss with friends until last night. I hiked 5 miles yesterday morning as well as today. I wanted to go more both days but the advice is ringing in my ears. I will not let this stop me from doing the things I love. Life is not promised. I will be smart but move forward and get the most out of this broken-down body…. He spoke a lot about being so young for this, same as they have for my neck. I know I need another neck surgery. The surgeon told me I need two and am just going on until I know it’s time. I’m okay but it’s daunting to know it will happen again. I currently do 4x 20 neck exercises every single morning and night. They say I need back surgery. I feel okay there most of the time but have seen the x-rays and MRIs. These are real issues and things I will one day need to address. For now, I count my blessings and thanked God this morning for the ability to hike, as well as so many other things in this life.
I’ve just yammered on and on about my knees, so I will keep this next part short. I write without shame. I’ve had too much shame in my life, and unjustified shame at that. I’m a human. A human who tries. A human with a good heart. I’ve written a lot about my struggles with my hormones with age. It can be completely debilitating. We were hoping I was far into menopause when I quit having a cycle on the pill. However, going off the pill made my cycle come back and every 24-25 days at that. Where the hell was that consistency all of those years of trying to get pregnant? The physical part of it is not great but better than the terrible issues I used to have. The mental is still there and it would go longer, so my Dr sent me to an OB (3 month wait) but he is considered the best. Her plan was for me to take the IUD and help control things that way. Unfortunately, the IUD could make my issues worse and I braced for what I knew was coming next – antidepressants. He explained a lot to me and I trust him. I tried the antidepressants when I was extremely ill with the potassium issue (without knowing what was causing my issues) but it just made things worse. I tried a while ago again and while it helped it had a terrible side affect of anxiety, so I quit taking just a few weeks in. I’m glad to say, this one is helping. It has helped to keep me more level. I had one bad day of sadness, the day my cycle hit, but I didn’t have it the week leading up or the entire time and even after. I am so grateful for this help. I do not tell you this in the embarrassment of taking something. I’ve never judged anyone for doing what they need to help themselves but for me, I’ve always held myself to a different standard – one undeserving of compassion and love. I thank God, that I don’t view myself in that light anymore.
Two or three years ago, I read the book, Love Languages. I highly suggest if you haven’t read or even just want to take the quiz. When doing my quiz, I could not separate how I showed my love versus what made me happiest in receiving love. I scored highest in gifts and services. I only thought about how doing those things for others brought me real joy. I was also at a point in my life, where I thought my only worth was to give – that I wasn’t worthy of receiving. I’ve done a lot of work on myself and as selfish as this sounds, I love receiving gifts and acts of service. Ha! I’ve especially come to know this during the COVID time as friends and family have reached out in the most thoughtful ways. I truly makes my heart smile. Look, it can be a card, anything. I love knowing I’m thought of. My friend hand made me some earrings and I got those a couple weeks ago and made my day. I think of her every time I wear them. Another friend brought me a water bottle with my initial, as a completely unnecessary thank you to something. I will always think of these people when I use them. We recently cleaned out the unfinished side of our basement. It had become a room that was just piled with stuff from the moves, etc. We went through every box. I finally went though my stuff in leaving my last job. There was an “mmmm chocolate” copy of something one friend taped to my desk one day as a private joke. There were two empty Tic Tac containers. There were other things, too. I’m far from a hoarder but couldn’t throw them away. It’s the little things that makes us feel loved sometimes, even when we think we are undeserving. My prayer for you is that you always feel that love in whatever love language touches you the most, or even the least. It’s all love.
It has been difficult lately as two the closest people in my life are going through the hardest and most painful times they’ve every experienced. It is difficult to know I can’t heal their pain or even make them feel better. All I can do is let them know I’m there for them and let them know how they loved they are. I know so many in this position right now. We all want to help people. We feel helpless. Have mercy on yourself.
I really hope this whole post didn’t feel like a downer. I have a great sense of peace about myself. I feel healthier, mentally, than I have in an awfully long time. I will get there physically as well, while still having compassion for the ways I’m using food to cope with this fucking pandemic.
Please, go out there and make the most of your day. It is ours to make what we want of it.