Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So...this sucks...

I'm starting this post with some pictures of my kiddos.  I love these funny little people.  They are my favorite people in the world...even on days when I want to dropkick them all out the window.

So, here they are...my reasons for living.  I just adore my 5 sweet babies.

And now...a new blog post.

Well, if you're my Facebook friend, you've probably seen my posts about my knees.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I'll do a quick recap and bring you up to speed. 

Basically, my knees have been bugging me off and on for a long time.  With the multiple pregnancies/bedrest/weight gain of the past three years, I kind of thought (hoped) that my knee problems were due to hormones/inactivity/stress of additional weight, and thought (hoped) the pain would go away once the babies were born and I could be active again.  However, Sofia is now almost 10 months old, and as I've tried to be more active, I've noticed that the more I try to get back into shape, the harder it is, and the more my knees hurt just doing basic everyday kinds of tasks.  I can't kneel on the bathroom floor when I give my babies baths, or get up and down to play with them easily.  Walking is usually ok, but trying to do anything that requires me to twist or turn quickly sends these horrid shooting pains from my knees down my legs.  I tried exercise classes, but quickly realized that "pushing through the pain" only brought more pain, and it made me FINALLY give in and go to the doctor.

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to see an orthopedist.  Upon arrival, they took some x-rays of my knees, then sent me to my little room to wait for the results.  While I waited, one of the doctor's assistants came in and chatted with me, asked about what was going on, and basically told me that since I couldn't recall an exact moment of injury, I should probably just do the whole "RICE" (rest, ice, compression, elevation) treatment and hope for the best, and if that didn't work, I should come in and see them in a couple of months. 

I almost cried.  I told him that I had been around high level competitive athletics my entire life, that I knew the difference between being "hurt" and being "injured", and that this was not something I could just "RICE" away, or I wouldn't be sitting there talking to him.  I think he was still kind of skeptical (and probably thought I was a raving lunatic since I was seriously on the brink of tears), so he said he'd let the doctor make any decisions, but that he didn't really see a need to do any further testing until after I tried the RICE business.

So, I sat there trying to stay composed and wondering what the heck I could possibly say to get them to take me seriously, and in came the doctor.  Thank goodness for him...he was AWESOME.  He listened -- like, REALLY listened -- to what I had to say, and then he went to check on the results of my x-rays.  When he came back, he told me that I had "significant degenerative arthritis inconsistent with my age" and that this was likely causing meniscal tears.  Which, apparently, means that my knees are super old compared to how much my body should have aged.  So, yeah...there ya go.  Fun stuff.

Anywhooo...I was given some cortisone injections and a prescription to go for rehab for a few weeks.  And, that, my friends, brings us to today, and the reason for the title of this post, "So...this sucks..."

Let me start by putting it out there that today I'm feeling super sad and sorry for myself.  This might be a bummer of a post, so if you're prone to fits of depression, maybe stop reading here.  I'll try to throw a joke or something in at the end to lighten the mood, but I'm just saying...I'm feeling rather melancholy, so who knows what's going to come out.  But, I digress. 

I went to rehab today and got a chance to chat with the physical therapist for a bit.  While he was very encouraging and kind, what he had to say really brought home the serious and permanent nature of my condition.  "Condition."  He emphasized that word.  He particularly wanted me to understand that unlike an injury, which can often be rehabbed until it heals and you can resume similar activities to what you did before you were injured, the "condition" of arthritis cannot be healed, but, rather, must be managed.  It's a seemingly small difference that has monumental consequences.  In a nutshell, he told me outright that my volleyball playing days are over.  Losing weight, strengthening my knee, stretching...all of these things will likely delay the speed with which my knees degenerate, and may improve the symptoms temporarily, but this pain is my new lifelong buddy, and "pushing through" the pain will not fix the problem this time.  Rather, it will just cause additional pain.  Bummer.

As I mulled over what this prognosis meant for me, something that kept popping up in my mind was the millions of little memories I have of playing volleyball and being active with my dad.  From the time I was tiny, my dad took me with him to his volleyball games.  We would pepper on the sidelines, race each other in the hallways at church where we played into the wee hours of the morning, he showed me how to jump, and taught me by example how to hit and block and not be afraid of hitting the floor. 

And, in an instant today, I realized that my girls will never have these memories with me.  It took my breath away, and, admittedly, I cried.  Ok, I bawled like a little baby in my car as I drove home from rehab.  The pain in my knees is real and it really hurts, and I'm sad that I'll most likely never be able to do lots of the things I love anymore. But as sad as that seems, and as physically painful as this is, that pain is nothing compared to the realization of how much I am actually losing by not being able to play with my kids.  I'm heartbroken.

So, I guess I don't really know what the purpose of this post is, other than maybe to vent and get this out because up to this point it has been sitting, heavy and sour, in the pit of my stomach.  Seriously, guys, I'm so, SO sad.  What do I do?  I know that I can't dwell on this or I'll just be bitter and angry about it.  I've been really working on putting my trust in God and trying not to force things to happen how I want them to, and instead focusing on stepping back and letting things unfold the way that my Heavenly Father wants them to, but, seriously, I'm kinda pissed.  Throughout all of the rough times I've experienced in the past several years, I can honestly say that I've never thought "why me?"  Admittedly, sometimes I've thought, "why the hell is this taking so long to resolve when I'm doing everything I know how to do to make things better for myself and my kids?" or "what more can I do to speed this trial along so that I can get through it and be grateful for it?"  But, I never questioned why I had to go through the things I've been through...until today.  WHY ME?  WHY CAN'T I PLAY WITH MY KIDS?  I don't even care about not being able to do things for my own pleasure anymore, but I just can't wrap my head around the idea that I won't be able to do the things with my babies that I loved to do with my parents.  It just seems so unfair -- to me AND to them. 

So...this sucks...