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Back from the doctor. I feel encouraged, excited and ready to move forward!!

Monday, June 06, 2011

The visit went very well. The short of it in basic terms....

I have a small meniscus tear, arthritis all throughout my knee, I have my ITB problems, a bone spur and a bakers cyst. There you have it! We will start with the good news. I can still run, YEA!! The bad news, lay off the multiple marathons. Maybe one a year or if I want to do more than I will need to walk more. He was very honest with me about the arthritis in my knee. He said if I want to be a "Marathoner" my knee will not make it. The short distance races and ideally triathlons would be best. That was music to my ears!!!! He said that I can by all means continue doing my HM's but I need to watch the amount of distance I am putting on my knee right now. In other words - still run but less and focus more of cycling, weight training, swimming and other means of non-weight bearing, pounding activity like running, plyo which would include P90X, insanity...things like that....you know the FUN stuff! :)

We talked about my ultimate dream of an IM and he understood, but it would need to be a one shot thing, not something I would do every year. Basically, if I want to run for the rest of my life I need to tapper and not overdo things now. Can the arthritis be fixed? Yes and no. The yes is that there are options for me but I will never be 100% cured without a total knee replacement. The good news is that there are so many dietary things I can do to help with my arthritis.

So the plan as of now is as follows. Today I received a cortisone injection to help with my ITBS. This along with my physical therapy exercises and foam rolling should help so that will deal with the ITB part of the problem. The meniscus tear he said will heal over time and as it is small, there is no need for surgery, which was wonderful. I just need to be smart and do not do something stupid to make the tear worse. As far as the bakers cyst, he said it will be helped by the treatment which he is giving me for my arthritis. I am going to go in for a series of 3 injections to start of Hyaluronic Acid. I will have one injection each week for 3 weeks. After this we will see how it helps. I may need more and if so I can get them as frequent as 6 months, though he said that may not be needed. He told me that at some point I am going to need to "clean up" my knee through surgery but now is not the time. I was VERY happy about this. I need to be up and active not recovering from any form of surgery no matter how small. I will need to take a small break from running during the injections but it will not be too long. He wants to start the first injection after my next race, which is in 2 weeks ( oy!) Once I allow a week or so to heal from the race and allow any swelling to go down, he will do the first injection.

I am really hoping this will provide relief in some way. I have NEVER seen results like I have with running both on the scale and in my measurements. I need to run, my body reacts very well to it, well at least in weight loss, not my joints! Ha! I felt like I wanted to cry when we told me I could still run, just to scale things back a bit. When I was telling him about the goals and dreams I have someday, I got very emotional. I am so passionate about this journey I am on, it is hard for me to explain sometimes. Yes, as vocal as I am, sometimes I cannot put into words how important this is to me, but I think he understands. He was VERY willing to do whatever is necessary to help me in any way. I also think the fact that he works with athletes helps. He was one of the team doctors for Texas A&M for 9 years, that makes me feel good knowing his background.

So there you have it! My right knee is just a mess but we are going to do what needs to be done to take care of it and I WILL reach my goals, it may take me a bit longer than I would like but I will get there!!!!

Happy Days are here again, Jen will be back to running SOON! : ) And yes, there is still that big announcement I never made after my knee issues came up but after discussing everything with my doctor, I am ready to proceed with my previous plans. Do not worry, I will be writing a big, big blog soon! Here is a hint..........

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  • no profile photo CD8752472
    You have the most awesome attitude. I know that if there is a way to do all you want to do, you will find it!
    3477 days ago
    I hope all goes well for you I can't wait for the BIG blog!

    3492 days ago
    Jen, I've got a story for you!! I've had arthritis all my life, and running was not encouraged. (It all started in my knees when I was 3 years old, so running was never really an option!) I've been lucky, and have had almost no lost of joint mobility, but I had really grown to depend on walking as my main exercise during the last 10 years or so.

    Well, an ITBS problem, meniscus tear (sound familiar?), subsequent operation, and the discovery of significant arthritis damage in my knees has made me rethink my walking plan. I've listened to the good doctors, reduced my walking (but not given it up totally!), and increased my time on the stationary bike and some swimming. It has made a huge difference in my knee pain and the soreness from ITBS.

    I know you're not 50, but it would be a shame to need a knee replacement sooner rather than later. I'm going to need one sometime in the next decade (sigh!), but I'm doing what I can to postpone the inevitable while still being functional. Maybe modify the dream to put more emphasis on the biking and the swimming? My husband made the switch from just running, and marathons, to the three sports of triathlon training, and his injuries have gone down dramatically. I'm sure the addition of yoga has helped as well, but that's another story!

    Take care of your knees, you'll need them for a little while longer emoticon !

    3493 days ago
    emoticon I hope you are truly well!
    3507 days ago
    That's great news!
    3510 days ago
    I hope u r feeling better.
    3510 days ago
    I'm so sorry to hear about all of your knee issues. I have some problems with my left knee but and too scared to go to the doctor and be told I need surgery. Good luck with everything!
    3510 days ago
    YEAH!!! how wonderful for you.. I have LOVED seeing your progress!!! Hope all comes out well with your issues!
    3510 days ago
    Jen--wow, thats alot to get fixed, but glad to see you can still run!!! Be sure to let us know how things are healing!!
    3511 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3375540
    Wow! So sorry to hear about all those issues, but I know you'll get thru it and feeling great soon. How long have you been having problems? I have a partial tear (half way thru) my tricep tendon and waiting to see Ortho in regards to possible surgery. I really don't want it, but I don't want to continue to feel like this either. Hope the injections help!

    3511 days ago
    That's good news.
    Still a good moment in life to get some swim technique coaching or masters swimming sessions as swimming needs pretty much good technique and nothing else and is a very good aerob training. Once you have a good swimming technique there's really nothing between you and your IM except time for training :)
    IM is about cycling a lot. Most athletes do not run a full marathon in training at all as IM marathon is a complete different thing. You'll have the aerob fitness from swimming and mainly cycling, and you'll want to avoid high injury risk long distance running in training for an IM anyway.
    I've done a half IM this year and found it a very comfortable distance to start with, it didn't take a lot out of me, it didn't require a rest up afterwards - as a full marathon does.
    If you're aiming for IM, I'd strongly suggest a half next spring - or even this late autumn.
    There are plenty of those in Europe as well :)
    And yes, if you've knee problems you shouldn't even think of running multiple full marathons in a single year. Even that 13 halves would be a bit much in my opinion.
    But this doesn't rule out IM at all!!!
    (Total knee replacements are for elderly people - they do not last for more than 10 -15 years and can't replaced very well functionally so this is not a solution for you. You should take care of those knees, only got this one original set of them,
    copies are not even close to the original in quality)
    3511 days ago
    Oh, YAY! I am so glad that you have a doctor who supports your desire to be active and understands you wanting to run--so many just dismiss it as too hard on the joints. So glad surgery is not necessary right now and that you will be able to come to Seattle for the race. I can't believe it's just over 2 weeks away--hope I get a chance to meet you here!
    3512 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4519295
    I have read so much on SP about running and weight loss. I am a big cyclist, and lost riding bikes. Now I have less time, so I was thinking of running too. Thanks for motivating me to start that run!
    3512 days ago
    3513 days ago
    That's goof news!!!! I just found your blog and was interested in it because I am a runner with a bad knee also, but I think that mine is more mild at this point.
    By the way, what is an IM????
    3513 days ago
    Great news indeed!
    3513 days ago
    Awesome for you! And even better that you have a doctor that understands, listens and feels. Lucky you...
    3513 days ago
    Basically really great news! I'm thrilled for you.
    3513 days ago
    Jen, I know we love to run - but we need to be smart too! Your awesome and can't wait to meet you in 2 weeks. wow I can't believe its here. I get to meet one of those who has inspired me since I first got on spark. You are going to be great and listen to the doctor and it sounds like he has the same goals as yoiu and that is a good thing!!!

    2 weeks or so!! wooHoo!!!!!


    3513 days ago
    You know my feelings - although you are younger than me you are my idol....wish I could do what you do eating, exercise, and lifestyle wise. emoticon emoticon
    3513 days ago
    I can completely relate dear... I was diagnosed with OA in December 2010 after running my first half. Luckily, you have a decent doctor - my doctor asked me why I started running again and told me to "bike instead" and that I better knock off the running unless I want a knee replacement. Ughh... I finally wised up and found a new (marathon running) doctor. I've only seen his PA so far, but right away she ordered x-rays and sent me to 6 weeks of physical therapy. Turns out I had weak hamstrings and I think ITBS, so I'm being dilligent in my strenghtening and running on lower-impact surfaces in my training. I had to promise my PT that I wouldn't run a marathon ever, but I am determined to get back to 13.1 darn it.

    I also switched focus and did 2 triathlons (within 2 weeks of each other) after hearing the news from my doctor. But alas, running is where my heart is and I'm back to training for halfs starting in October. Sending well wishes that you continue to find what works best for you.
    3513 days ago
    Jen, I am catching up on both blogs.... first of all, great news from the doc. I'm glad you have one that is supportive of your athletic goals! Also, your attitude is GREAT! Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can't. With that attitude, you cannot go wrong.

    I totally understand & can relate to your love of running, but I do think that being able to swim and bike will you make you a more well-rounded athlete.

    I can't believe Seattle is in 2 weeks! I can't wait to meet you!
    3513 days ago
    So glad you found a doctor willing to work with you to achieve your goals.
    3513 days ago
  • SPKM45
    That's great to hear Jenn! emoticon
    3513 days ago
  • no profile photo NEWYORKORCHIDS
    You. Can. Run! How amazing is that? Plus, I'm sure that Cathe would like some more time with you. :-)

    Congratulations on the good news. I hope that the cortisone and other injections help. You've got an Iron Man to compete in!
    3514 days ago
    Oh Jen,

    I know how it feels to be "held back" by your physical limitations/ injuries-LOL. I am in that very same boat- running the HM, took pretty much a lot out of my body, which is kind of ridiculous considering I used to run fulls... but, I am running... however slow, however long I got to scale my miles back, do PT exercises etc. I think when I get back from vacation, I will focus on increasing any exercises that will help me get balanced out- I have been rolling and stuff like that, but just not doing as many exercises- I stopped seeing the PT months ago when I started ART and I felt it was good. But, it might be time to go back.

    In any event, you can always count on me to give you a great word of encouragement regarding injuries. Btw, buying my bike and swimming have been awesome- I have made strides as well :-)

    Your Dr sounds very encouraging- keeping your with options and full of hope--- AWESOME!!!

    And I can't do plyo and high impact stuff much these days- I even gave up all my step classes- to avoid some ankle flare up. It's a worthy price to pay to be able to run though, right?

    I know that you will reach all your goals! You are Jen - you don't just chase your goals.. you outrun them-LOL... for real.

    I wish you the best sweetie!
    3514 days ago
    So glad he didn't tell you that running was out. I'm happy for you!
    3514 days ago
    You said, "The good news is that there are so many dietary things I can do to help with my arthritis." Would you elaborate on those?

    so glad you got good news even if it means more patience on your part.
    3514 days ago
    Great news!!! Thanks for sharing!
    3514 days ago
    I commented on the other blog but still popping in to say hi!

    3514 days ago
    Sounds like similar knees. I am interested in your baker cyst as my dr said nothing to be done and my specialist after cleaning up my knee hasn't said anything about any treatment other than cortisone shots and or replaecment which they won't do for 6 more years at least have to be 60 here for most replacements.
    Anyway right now focusing on resting for this sciatica to get better
    So glad you got some encouraging news and are feeling better about things. You aren't moving to Rome??? have to leave your gorgeous house here? I have a feelling it is about a race or something........... lol
    3514 days ago
    Fantastic news!! Can't wait to hear the rest!
    3514 days ago
    I am so happy for you Jenn!! You can still fulfill your dreams, like you say may take longer but still doable.

    Can hardly wait for the news.
    3514 days ago
    emoticon What is IM? Take care!
    3514 days ago
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