I am sitting here on my couch with millions of thoughts running through my head. I always knew this day would come but with the possibility now becoming reality I am just sitting here thinking of everything that needs to be done between now and surgery day.
A little back-story is needed, almost 16 years ago I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, a form of Rheumatoid. The journey since then has seen a near death experience when we found out I am allergic to sulfa drugs, many knee drains (those hurt), bilateral knee arthroscopy, failed drug therapies, and another drug reaction that got me my first trip in an ambulance.
Throughout all that I have learned to deal with the pain and limitations that this condition has delivered me while trying to live a normal life. A few year ago after having a bout with my gall bladder, which led to it eventually being removed, I moved to Tennessee to focus on my health rather than working full-time and going to school full-time. Shortly after moving to Tennessee my condition progressed to the point that I was unable to work and really unable to get around without great pain.
With the help of drugs I have been able to return to working at a limited basis but still with much pain. After my first year of coverage at the World Series of Poker I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who told me that I have the knees of an 80 year old yet he would not do replacements for another ten years.
This was disheartening due to the fact that he did not take into consideration that I do not have the quality of life that I or any other person about to hit their 30s would want.
I continued to push through all the pain and tried to work as often as I could but still looked for the day that I could get a new lease on life with knee replacements. After talking with my Rheumatologist we determined that replacements were indeed a viable option for me and I scheduled an appointment with a new orthopedic surgeon.
That appointment finally came on the last day of May. As I sat in the doctor’s office that morning I was not nervous. Hell I have been in many doctor’s offices before, they are really a second home for me.
The X-Rays that were just taken of my knees were on the screen to my left. I looked at then and even though I am not educated to read them I could see the damage and wear and tear.
After waiting a short time the doctor walked in and shook my hand. I laughed and said, “you are looking at me like, you are a 31 year old you shouldn’t be needing knee replacements”. It was a relief to hear his response. It was simple but put me at ease, he told me, “it’s not about age it’s about quality of life. When you are ready to go then we will go”. I asked him if he had any availability for tomorrow and just laughed.
Over the next 20 to 30 minutes he discussed with different things about the surgery and recovery, and even told me that he has seen 80 year olds with better knees than me, before passing me on to his clinical coordinator. Her first question was, “doing both at the same time?” I said yep and we started looking at dates. July 25th was not the earliest that he could do it but it was the one that best fit the schedule of my support team.
Up to this point I don’t think it had hit me that it was actually going to happen. When she said, you are on the books for the 25th my stomach jumped a bit. Did I really just commit to this, is this really finally going to happen? I could try to put into words the feeling that I had at that very moment but really I probably couldn’t do it justice. Just think of buying your first new car, that feeling of elation that you have something new but then the feeling of knowing that you now have a car payment to make every month for the next few years. I am finally getting the new knees that I so desperately need, but with that it brings a few months of physical therapy that is going to be grueling but worth it in the end.
Over the next few minutes I fought back tears as I thought about what this really means. It is a new lease on life for me. It should return me to working full-time in whatever it is that I choose to do. It means that I will be able to get back into an active lifestyle and lose some of this weight I have put on over the past few years. It means that I will be able to do many things that I have not been able to do over the past few years.
A new chapter in my life is getting ready to start and I plan on documenting every detail that I can of the closing of this current one and opening of the new one.
What will that chapter entail? How will it end? That is part of the excitement and I can’t wait to find out…..