My husband banished the phrase, “It could be worse.”
Even without saying the words, I was plagued by strange symptoms. My knee locked as I was getting out of bed, days after ear surgery, leaving me in agony. I thought it was a dislocation. This had been happening with my hips when sitting due to the hypermobility syndrome, but this time I had torn my meniscus, a bucket handle tear, locking my knee.
The surgeon agonized over the best solution. He was concerned I had reinjured the ACL, already repaired in 1982 and 1992 when symptoms in the knee had made walking a challenge. A third ACL would be a serious challenge. If another ACL reconstruction was necessary, we had to decide between using cadaver tissue or quadriceps tissue.
Cadaver tissue scared me. My body was rejecting anything foreign and I feared this would be no different. My rheumatologist feared the quadriceps tissue removal would be too invasive and recommended cadaver tissue. My orthopedist, after much thought and research opted for the latter, if needed. Fortunately, neither was necessary. The ACL was saved by tightening with a 'shrink wrap' technique and the meniscus repaired.
As I healed, I knew something wasn't right. Within seconds of lowering my leg, my foot would swell, turn blue and cause pain. For months I suffered RSD like symptoms, forced to keep the foot elevated. An EMG confirmed nerve damage to both the femoral and peroneal nerves. My quadriceps atrophied.
Physical therapy provided some relief. Though I didn’t gain significant strength, pool therapy slowed my decline. Within a year, I was experiencing severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and I had ulnar nerve entrapment. I underwent two carpal tunnel surgeries and an ulnar nerve release with little improvement. Other nerves flared. I developed mild foot drop in the leg that had surgery and shortly after being fitted for a brace began to experience problems with the left which were corrected by orthotics. A diagnosis of MS was on the horizon. Walking became a challenge. I bought a walking stick, with the reality I could wake one morning unable to walk.
Yes, I know. Weird became my middle name. Some probably though it was my first.
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