The decision to move ahead with a painful elective medical procedure requires allot of pre-planning and a resolution that the procedure will lead to greater quality of life. No one should make such a decision without fully counting the costs. The bible gives us this account when Jesus was teaching his disciples, he said:
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him”
Luke – 14:28-29 NASB
While this parable is one of an example of construction, the meaning is very clear: Don’t begin something for which you have not figured out how you will complete it. So when I decided to move forward with a decision to have total knee replacement surgery, an elective procedure, I thought about this scripture. I knew I needed to count the cost.
I knew my knee was becoming more of a problem because of the advanced osteoarthritis (OA) which was diagnosed when I had arthroscopic knee debridement. That procedure revealed grade 4 arthritis in my medial compartment.
I now believe this procedure actually accelerated my osteoarthritis because it removed what little cartilage I had from my knee compartment.. At the time I decided to receive my arthroscopic knee debridement procedure, I had not counted the cost, I acted impulsively.
Seven years later, when the chronic pain became near unbearable and it’s frequency and duration increased, I tried several alternative approaches to deal with my condition. I am analytical by nature and I knew the end state of unresolved OA pain would be total knee replacement…but I swore I would never allow that to happen…I had seen the YouTube videos…
I went to great lengths to mitigate my OA knee pain. I learned that for every pound one loses, it reduces four pounds of pressure (PSI) from the knee joint. This gave me great inspiration! I went on a work out regimen and a diet change (eating more plant based foods and less red meat) that resulted in an almost 50 pound weight loss!
I worked out feverishly and I went from 238 pounds to 188 pounds. I was feeling much better just knowing the PSI reduction benefit to my knee. Some of my friends thought I was sick because of the weigh loss but I was feeling fine!…except that the pain of my knee OA never completely went away, it just became more manageable for a period.
When something is biologic and is in a state of degradation, it slowly gets worse. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joint (in my case – my knee). Degeneration means it progressively gets worse because the tissues do not have the capacity to regenerate. The end state is chronic inflammation, loss of cartilage, pain and tenderness while trying to move the joint through normal range of motion. It sucks!
Since I knee that total knee replacement was most likely inevitable, I decided to do everything short of receiving this procedure. I was counting the cost by being proactive (or so I thought). I received dextrose prolotherapy, plasma rich platelet injections, acupuncture treatments, hylaronic acid injections, you name it. If it was something that could possibly improve my knee OA I was doing it!
I took just about every health food supplement known to man (glucosamine, fish oil, turmeric, white willow bark, hylaronic acid). I stopped short of autologous stem cell injections because of its costs and it’s lack of proven results.
After all these efforts, the knee OA pain was still there, still ruining the quality of my life. Every where I went, my knee dictated what I did and how long I did it. I had to limit my time walking because I had only so much time before the knee would become inflamed and the joint felt as if a knife was being stabbed into it. It was no bueno!
At this point, I decided I had exhausted my options, and I now needed to fully count the cost for total knee replacement. I did the research and found lots of people posting terrible experiences for their experience and of course, I made the mistake of watching the Youtube videos…
My Gawd!!! Are you kidding me! Why would anyone go through with this procedure after watching the videos! So now, I had all this fear working against me as the pain continued to remind me that total knee replacement was indeed inevitable…
So after living in chronic pain for the last two years, I decided I had to move forward with the procedure. The decision to move forward was as challenging as anything I had experienced because there was no gong back from total knee replacement. While I did not want the procedure it became inevitable. You see, its one thing to have intermittent pain but it’s quite another to have pain in your body 24/7 – even when you are trying to sleep! Chronic pain has a way of changing your perspective about the things you once considered as off the table…
So now you know what has lead me to this point, but in my next posts I explain my experiences at the hospital and my current state of recovery. Remember that as a believer of Jesus Christ, I know who is in charge of my well being and this will be a continuing source of strength because as the Apostle Paul said:
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:10 NASB
This scripture is a foundational pillar for me because recovery from total knee replacement is truly an experience that will test your strength in every facet (mental, physical and spiritual) of your being. In my next post I will share how the experience of intense pain has made me think more about Christ’s suffering on the cross. In the meantime be blessed!
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