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  You have got to be wrong! I am only 40! Doesn't Arthritis only happen to old people?

  In the course of two years it is amazing how much your life can change from one simple problem. Feeling the pain of a sprained knee, I walked into the emergency room unknowing of a true underlying problem. Even after normal treatment the pain was lurking still. They made the decision to send me to the Orthopedic Doctor. He drained fluid from my knee, examined me, and decided to give me a Cortisone injection in the knee joint. He also wanted to give me an MRI to validate the likelihood of his suspicion of an ALC tear. Pacing and nail biting followed as I patiently awaited my results as well as continued use of my knee brace. The pain was ever persistent in my knee. When the call came, I hobbled back into his office, my hopes soaring for good news. Yet, deep down that little voice in my head kept pulling at my hopes saying to prepare for the worst. The good news did come, there was no ACL tear but bad news soon followed; I had osteoarthritis. My mind raced thinking ‘Okay, I’m not a spring chicken, so of course at forty-two I would have some arthritis, but why is there is persistent, gnawing pain?’ After several months of draining my knee, continued Cortisone injections, and wearing the brace as well as physical therapy and numerous pain pills, I was still struggling with swelling, soreness, and frustration. My life was beginning to be put on hold as I needed to rest multiple times a day and place ice on my knee. I began to think ‘I don’t have the time or patient to deal with all of this. My life just can’t come to a complete halt for my knee.’ The Orthopedic doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. I thought at that time that perhaps he would hold the answers to the questions racing through my mind. One of these being ‘Did the last doctor perhaps overlook something important? Because there is no way my life could change this much in what felt like one night.’ With my medical records in hand along with my MRI and X-ray results I walked through the surgeon’s door in hopes of a quick fix. He carefully looked over my MRI paying much attention to detail as he uttered that word again. Osteoarthritis. I thought ‘You have got to be kidding me.’ I expressed to him my concern and my thought that there had to be something else he missed. We decided the best course of action was a knee scope. Before it was done I had more injections and draining. The day of the scope I hoped and prayed it would show the exact problem, spelled out in plain sight. After the procedure, the doctor informed me and my family, it was all osteoarthritis. My knee is equivalent to that of a woman in her eighties. He discussed his concern of knee replacement at such a young age and how if it went wrong that was it. He vowed to do everything medically necessary to prolong the knee replacement. I have received the three shots of Synviscs (a special injection) yet, they did not help. I also received many more Cortisone injections.  The mobility of my knee continues to decline as it takes its toll on my, what was once upbeat, life. My family and friends continue to voice their opinions that the knee replacement would solve the problem. My doctor tells me that he thinks it will also solve the problem, but at my age there is no guarantee. I have the risk of losing nearly all of my mobility as well as the recovery time being a long, painful struggle.  I think myself ‘How can I even afford to take time off of work even though I am working part time right now? How can I accomplish all of my normal daily activities like being there for my children and family?’ Sometimes life gives us many hard decisions.            
 What has helped me during all of this was talking to other people around my age with similar problems.

I am just an average person who has had to make alterations in her forties due to osteoarthritis. Feel free to contact me through the email below for comfort, advice, and support. Also understand that you are not alone in this struggle.


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