Monday, May 23, 2011

Three Month Allograft Anniversary

Today marks exactly three months since I was the lucky recipient of some wonderful person's (donor) living bone and cartilage in my knee.

I was hoping to write a bit more about the experience but haven't because I've been hesitant to write the following words: I didn't know it was going to be so dad-blum, freaking difficult!!!!!!!!

Pain, tightness, restless sleep, vulnerability.

Okay, we got that out of the way.  Now on to the good stuff.  I'm using this as a time to learn how to become more relationship oriented.  Everyone who knows me well, knows that romance, long meaningful conversations into deep hours of the night and long walks on the beach holding hands make me want to gag.  I remember my good friend Ron advising me, when I asked him one day what would be a good idea for a date.  I was planning on having someone "special" over to my home.  He told me to go down to Trader Joe's, purchase a bunch of gourmet food, remove the food from the plastic containers, put it into fancy bowls to make it look like I'd been slaving over a hot stove all day, light candles and then rent a video - one of those romance movies that make you feel like the plot and love story really could happen in real life.  Okay, the candles I can light.  Gimme a break here.  All the rest of that?  Too much work.

My relationship with my husband of four years, after having been single for seventeen years, is flourishing post surgery.  Remember the old days when they used to hobble a person to contain them?  I suppose it's kind of like that.  Except for the fact that I'm now considering purchasing stock in Victoria's Secret.  When I was Super Woman Athlete, most of our weekends were spent on some type of extreme athletic event.  Now there's time slots open for, well, investing in Victoria's Secret stock.  I'm trying to be polite here.

Another update:  Today I took my one crutch, held it in front of me like a tightrope walker and WALKED across the room!  It felt so good I burst out laughing!  One of my yet to be realized life goals is the become a tightrope walker.  I even consulted with a professional at one point for some pointers.  You don't look down at your feet, you look at one point straight ahead, put your arms out for balance, and go!  There's a bit more to it than that, but that's how I'm retraining myself to walk.  The at home tightrope is just around the corner folks!

To my donor: Happy Anniversary Baby!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tales From The Crypt

The following story is true.  The names have been omitted to protect the not so innocent.  I will recount the story to the best of my ability.

As many of you know, a very dear family member is dealing with a health issue which has her, temporarily, in a nursing home.

Yesterday, she requested the presence of a specialist to inquire about a certain treatment.

About an hour later, into her room floats, or at least she appeared to be floating, a woman who appeared to be angelic whilst at the same time officious.  She listened attentively to the patient.  She then announced: "You're a beautiful person.  I'll be praying for you"  Without warning, she then burst into a heart wrenching rendition of Amazing Grace.  Luckily she had a melodic voice.  Now understand, that my family members condition makes it unable, at this time, for her to jump out of bed and flee.  Thankfully, she had a cool washcloth on her forehead which she then proceeded to cover her entire face with until the "treatment" was over.

My question is this:  If this is the treatment rendered to "Beautiful People" what happens if you're ugly?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free exorcisms, anyone?

Had a great visit w my very close family member who is temporarily in a nursing home. She's by far the youngest person there. The graciousness she displays in her situation is truly inspiring. And her sense of humor!!!!! We had great belly laughs listening to her iPhone recording of "the exorcist" roommate she had for 2 nights. I was able to encode most of it as it was in Spanish. Hey: you gotta keep your sick sense of humor intact.

When we got home, I one crutchedly walked into our humble (such as it is) home, next to the beach, took a deep breath, looked at the ocean and realized life is all about perspective.  And lots of holy water!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

101 Ways I Get Out Of Physical Therapy Exercises

Physical therapy exercises are dumb.  They're really wimpy compared to running 50 miles or having a four hour warm water surf session in Maui.  But, alas, they're worth it.

As I was getting ready for my morning home session of PT, here are some of the procrastinating thoughts and actions that prepared me:

•  If I pick up this particular inspirational book, and open it to a random page, I'll read exactly the sentence I need to motivate me.

•  What's for breakfast?

•  I wonder if my old friend Kevin Helmo is on FaceBook?

•  I'm going to post an inane status update to FB to see if anyone is just as bored as I

•  What exactly was last nights dream about?  I was suckling an infant to my breast in the dream.  Perhaps I've given birth to something new in my life.  Hmmmmmm.  What could that be?

•  I wonder if I still have that old "Jewel" CD.  There's a song on there I want to learn to sing.

•  He should've never gone into Old Man Spivey's backyard that dark summer night. (A quote from one of my favorite B horror films)

•  Perhaps there really is a new drug being developed that will eliminate pain with no side effects

•  If I play this Wayne Dyer motivational CD while I work out, maybe it will make the process easier

•  You know, a blue area rug would look really good in the living room

•  How exactly will it go today when Kerry and I finally pin Victor (Jessica's chihuahua) down and brush his teeth?  This veterinary dentistry is costing us a fortune.

•  Let me check my Iphone one more time to see if anyone's called or texted

•  Does Mary Kay make an eyeliner that's waterproof?  If so, I need to order that

•  One last trip to the internet to check out photon therapy as an option for my knee

•  Do we have enough frequent flyer miles for a trip to Maui?  First Class?

•  What are Victor and Rusty barking at?  Again?  I'm going to throw this bottle of digestive enzymes that sits on my coffee table at them.  That'll shut 'em up!

•  Who's going to get eliminated on Dancing With The Stars tonight?

•  Okay, the Lakers sucked this last round.  Kobe Bryant 'aint gettin' none from me tonight

And long last......there's FINALLY doing the exercises

They take about an hour per session (2-3 per day)  It doesn't even matter if I'm focused or not.  The sheer action of going through the motions has produced results.  I walk mostly steadily with one crutch. Today, I could bend my knee just about all the way into my chest while lying flat.  I actually kissed my knee!  My Mom always used to kiss my boo-boo's.  It always made them feel better.

Happy Days To You All!

As soon as I can do this again, I'll post a picture.  It won't be long.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Cover Girl" for Allograft Recovery

I wanted to share my progress with y'all, but the first thing I can think as I write this post is: "Dayum, would it kill ya to put some makeup on woman?"

Today was a very exciting day.  Week 9 Doctor followup since the allograft.  We took X-rays and Dr. Bugbee, so pleased with my progress, pointed out the areas, clearly visible on the X-ray, where the new cartilage is implanted in two places.  "See your new cartilage"? Said he, quite brightly.  We compared the old film, where the cartilage was so severely degenerated, to the new and yes indeed, I could see with my own eyes, the difference.  He reported that the cartilage is integrating nicely.  Yay!  We then took one of my crutches, threw it into Dante's Inferno, and he handed me one crutch and said "Walk"  What?  Yes, Master, whatever you say Master.  I was quite pleased with how balanced it felt.  Freedom!

My next step, so to speak, is to ride the exercise bike like crazy.  And to learn to walk again.  It was exciting to do so in front of the Doctor, but then the more I did so as the day went on, my leg began to rebel a bit.  9 whole weeks of not putting more than 50% max weight on that leg made it a bit lazy.  But I can feel it coming back to life. (in between icing sessions that is)  SHE'S ALIVE!

Photo one (above) is 4 weeks post op.  Photo two is 8 weeks.  Quite a difference in range of motion.  And lemme tell ya - I've been workin' it like crazy.

Dr. Bugbee was telling me that today, he saw a patient (age 30) who he performed a patella allograft on and that it's taking beautifully.  It's pretty exciting work he's doing there.

I will leave you with a real Cover Girl shot of me just so you guys know that yes, they are doing wonderful work at the Scripps Cartilage Transplantation Center and at L'Oreal.  I'm worth it!

Like I always say: "What a difference lighting, makeup, professional photography, smoke and mirrors can make!"  Don't leave home without them.  You never know who might be watching.