I have not been very active here for quite a while as I am smocking and embroidering and cooking and cleaning and thought there is not really much to write. I made dresses, a llama bag, doggie poo bags, a quilt for the husband, embroidered a set of towels for my daughter………..
But, since 2016, I have been struggling with a new health issue and started limping really bad. This started soon after I started using Letrozole, a drug prescribed to women after breast cancer treatment. This should be used for 5 years as part of the cancer-prevention and management program and is supposed to basically reduce the risk of breast cancer developing again. It works well for most, except for a very small percentage of women. And yes, I immediately joined that ‘small percentage women club’. And I basically had every single side effect – I talked a lot about it in a previous blog post. After discussing it with my oncologist I stopped using this horrible stuff and my body slowly recovered. Though the fatigue decided to stick with me, as well as the limping
After a bone scan it was obvious that I have developed osteoarthritis in my knee. I am adamant that the Letrozole played a huge role in the development of the arthritis, as I have never had problems with this before and it started suddenly and progressed rapidly. But there is no medical evidence of this
So I have been limping and living with a very sore knee since 2016. Earlier this year I begged the doctor to give me a referral for xrays so that we could see what was exactly going on with my knee
Before saying more about this request – I live in a very small town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is not the most popular place to live in this country and therefore extremely hard to attract doctors to basically open a practice here. As our doctors retired we were basically left with 2 medical centres. Both have one permanent doctor, but otherwise we have locums and medical students. The locums come here to earn a bit of pocket money before going on some exotic cruise or holiday. The students are placed here for a couple of months and then back to uni. This means you NEVER see the same doctor when you are sick. There is simply no doctor/patient relationship in the way it used to be where you could walk into the surgery and at least recognise each other. Because of the shortage of doctors it is also very difficult to get an appointment quickly, you always wait a couple of weeks. I suppose if you do not plan your ‘I am sick’ carefully you will be other over it before you see a doctor, or dead……..sorry, that is just my opinion.
So the beginning of the year I went to see a doctor to ask for help with my knee, basically to get it xrayed as I wanted to know if it was as bad as it felt. Oh, what needs to be mentioned here – yes, I am overweight. No, I didn’t exercise much at that stage as I could barely walk and I struggled/struggle with fatigue
Met this older doctor, definitely one of those locuming for pocket money. I explained to her what I wanted. She said no. She told me she doesn’t need an xray to diagnose me. She told me we don’t look back, only forward and that I am fat and should loose weight as that will be better for my knee. She went further to say that I will be wasting a specialist’s time as they won’t even look at me while I am fat, that they will tell me to see a dietician and lose weight. She then said I also won’t qualify for further consultation unless I can basically not walk from one side of the room to the other, basically that I was not in a bad enough stage to be seen and must continue to use pain medication and anti-inflammatory as I was at that stage. And get rid of the fat. She was also not going to refer me to a physiotherapist as they will also just tell me to lose weight and that I should google muscle-strengthening for my leg
I told her that I did have private health insurance and ask her for a referral letter so that I could make my own arrangements. Again I was told that I was fat and will get nowhere with a specialist, again told me that I will be wasting his time
That was more or less enough………..I was hating myself for being fat, I was angry at the way she was talking to me and making me feel worthless, and frustrated because it felt as if I was banging my head again a wall and not getting anywhere.
But that gave me strength and I took my teacher’s face and teacher’s voice out of retirement and told her I wanted a referral for an xray and I wanted a referral for a specialist. She gave me the referral for the xray and said they can still refuse to give me an appointment to get it done – in my mind I thought ‘they will not dare;’
For the referral to see the specialist I again had a problem. She insisted I organise an appointment and then tell them to contact her and she will send a referral. I said no. She said she cannot give me one without the name of the specialist as she has to address it to him. I said no, refer it to ‘whom it be concerned’. By then my appointment time was over and she could see I was not leaving without the referral. So she gave me a very general one
Walking out of the medical centre I was so upset, I was crying by the time I got to my car. I didn’t even think about filing a complaint against her and the way she treated me……..which I should have done because it was not human at all
Long story short – I had the xray done. The surgery texted me to say I had osteoarthritis. The referral for the specialist was left on my sewing room table for months as I was convincing myself that she was right – I was fat and that is why I had osteoarthritis and limping and non-stop pain
Beginning of June I perked up a bit and felt less sorry for myself and googled orthopaedic surgeons. I contacted my health insurance and they gave me advice on where to find the surgeons affiliated to them. Decided to call as few and go and see the one where I could find the quickest appointment. Luck was on my side and the first one I called could see me basically the next week
Husband and I drove over for the appointment and I kept on telling myself he was going to send me to a dietician and won’t even look at my knee. What a surprise – he showed me the xrays and even I could see that it was bone-on-bone in the knee. No wonder I was limping. He examined my knee and said I was a candidate for a partial knee replacement. Either that or continue with pain management, which wasn’t working very well. He didn’t say a single word about my weight. Handed me over to his PA to organise surgery.
I was lucky as the theatre was booked for another patient who developed pneumonia and cancelled her appointment while I was seeing the surgeon. The PA asked if I wanted that slot and I said yes immediately – the surgery was booked for the next Friday!!!!!!
Back to today – my new knee is just over two weeks old!!!!!!!!!! My recovering is like a dream. I basically got out of bed the moment I was returned to my room fro . the recovery room as I wanted to put my own clothes on. The nurses were getting ready to help me change – but by the time they turned back to the bed I was sitting upright, with my legs hanging off the bed. I asked them to give me the crutches and before they could do much I was standing next to the bed. And off I went to the bathroom. They were shocked and speechless
By the next day I could already bend my knee 90 degrees and I was walking all over the place with the crutches. I had a shower and even washed my hair. The physio arrived and took me up and down a flight of stairs. She also demonstrated a couple of other exercises. I did these whenever I could
I am amazed at my own recovery. I still take panadol every 6 hours to manage pain, as the surgeon said I should. But I threw the one crutch away after a week, and then a couple of days later the second one too. We live in a double storey house and go up and down the stairs three to four times a day
But I am banned from cooking and cleaning. My husband is looking after me so well.
I use ice packs on my knee as it can be a little sore and swollen after too much walking or standing. The cats love the ice pack and I usually have a cat on top of the ice pack on top of my knee
I am watching netflix, reading and smocking. And healing. Not sure when I will have time to make all these dresses with the smocked fabric. My knee is not ready to sew yet. Although I have started working on the embroidery machine for short periods – and then have to get rid of the swelling with an ice pack
Well actually, no, that was not back to today……….I saved the post and life continued. My new knee is now nearly 9 weeks old and it feels so normal. I walk without limping, I walk fast. I walk like I used to walk and I feel SOOOOOO good about it!
I also started preparing for a market (no, I am not sure why I registered again). Thankfully, after I made only five Reading Pillows, the market was cancelled. I was planning to make some bags and doggy bags. Most of these pillows already found new homes, so it is all good
Two weeks ago I met my son in Melbourne, for a Harry Potter week. We had tickets for the two Harry Potter shows, as well as for the movie with the Symphony Orchestra. It was just wonderful spending time with him and to do things we both love. He also had quite a few restaurants he wanted us to try, which we did. I did not enjoy the Mexican food, but the Thai Food restaurants was simply the best
With the protesting in Hong Kong we weren’t sure whether he would be able to join me as his flight for the Monday evening was cancelled when the protestors took over the airport. Early Tuesday he went back to the airport, managed to check in and boarded the flight…. this was the last flight leaving the airport before everything was cancelled again. I was very happy that he was able to join me in Melbourne eventually
We walked a lot, it was the perfect time to try out my new knee. We managed to walk just over 10000 steps every single day, with one day just over 13000 steps. The first night my knee was very swollen, but not hurting, so I just ignored it.
Home again and basically started coughing and sneezing the first day back. Sore throat, just miserable. Saw the doctor a week later, this week Monday, and yep……….pneumonia. Not even going to say more about that 😦
Embroidery wise I am busy embroidering blocks to be made into two quilts, as Christmas presents. I have finished 20 blocks for the first quilt, and 13 for the second quilt. It is going to look beautiful
Now it is time to recover from the pneumonia and finish the two quilts. We have family visiting later this year and I want to make bags for them to take home. I also want to start making all the little dresses I smocked during the time I recovered from knee surgery. Lots to look forward too 🙂