Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Rent A Purse"

I don't know about you but this seems like a sure way to kill your husband. I came across the strangest website this morning I have ever seen.

It is a site to rent purses. Thats right, you don't buy them you rent them, by the month, for however long you want them. I saw ones that rent for $500.00 per month. I am thinking "Just what in hell are these purses made of?" I have never paid anything close to $500.00 for a purse, one that would then be mine, for all of eternity, let alone consider renting one by the month. If you decide to keep this purse for a year, that $6,000.00, and by God, you have to send the darn thing back, it is not yours.

If I were to do this my husband would fall dead. I could just hear me saying "But honey, I really really like it. Oh look, it is all hand painted and everything." This would be the point he would have me evaluated at the nearest psych facility. In fact, I just bought a new purse at J.C. Pennys not long ago. It was on sale for $39.99. He thought it was very expensive, but if I really wanted it "sure, go ahead and get it."

I thought this Rent A Purse deal was shocking......

But then, I bought a National Enquirer (this is what you read when you stop blogging, pretty sad) and read where Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, sucks on a $17,000.00 pacifier. And you know, pacifiers aren't even real. They are the definition of dishonesty. Babies think they are getting a drink when they are getting nothing at all. She is getting nothing but fooled, and her mother paid $17,000.00 for that to happen. I guess when she figures out she is just being tricked, she can take out her frustration by picking up her $11,000.00 rattle and just shaking the shit out of it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Glucosamine.....Is It Safe?

Maybe not according to recent reports. There seems to be an otherwise healthy man in the UK who has died after starting treatment with glucosamine. I have been reading different blogs for a few days about all this recent information.

Dr. Crippen, who is the NHS Blog Doctor, sometimes snarky, sometimes humorous, but always interesting, has this to say of it all.

I was so lucky to find "Battling Arthritis" blog the other day. Oh, it is one that is full of so much information. This is her take on glucosamine.

Personally, I have never been a big fan of it for myself. I did try it several years ago when my treatment options became very limited. It was sort of humorous, when all my Drs. who had previously told me not to even bother with trying it, "it will not work for you" was there standard response, when I would ask about it. Then they all became an advocate of me trying it, once they realized there would be no more NSAIDS or COX-2 inhibitors for me.

I tried it, and I noticed no difference at all. Has any one had good luck with it? Will you still continue using it? I wonder if using it will even be an option, or if it will be pulled from shelves?

A Note About Commenting

I did not realize that comments were set to allow only those registered with google to comment. I have changed that to allow everyone to comment....:)

Arthritis and Total Knee Replacement...Part II

Part I Here

My OS had freaked me out, with the wheelchair scenario. I needed to go back into denial where this wasn't a problem. I could function better that way. Who wants to be 37 yrs old and told that YOU will be in a wheelchair.

I did try to help the condition of my knees by keeping my weight down and making sure I got plenty of exercise. In reality, I probably got too much exercise. I was standing and walking for double digit hours each day at work. At the time, I believed the more I used my legs the longer they would keep working. It's hard too say if I helped or hurt my cause.

Time passed and before I knew it, it was 1995. The arthritis had been progressing but manageable. MY hips and back had now begun to be effected. I had been on about every NSAID there was. I would not go back to my OS until I knew that it was time for a surgery.

My memory of arthritis is almost non-existent, between 1995 and 2000. I know it still bothered me and I was still being treated by my PCP for it, but that's all I remember of it during that time frame.

In 1995 I was diagnosed with invasive cancer. It took front and center and all my energy to fight that battle. I must have blocked all else out during those years.

I do know that at some point, after they became available, I was switched from NSAIDS to COX-2 inhibitors. Celebrex. I had been on daily NSAIDS and aspirins for over 20 years. I did pretty good with celebrex. Now and then my Doc. would throw in steroids for a really bad period.

One day, while at work, more than 200 miles from home, I had a repeat of the exact thing that had happened years earlier. I stood up from an office chair and could not walk. I recognized the pain immediately for what it was. No guessing, or periods of optimism, this time. I was finally able to get to my car and drive home. This was in mid 2002. I called the OS after arriving home, and found that he was on vacation, out of the country, for the next three weeks. There is no way I could have waited for over 3 weeks for an appointment. I waited 11 years, but now I couldn't wait 3 weeks. There is a difference between having chronic pain and an acute attack of pain. One that almost completely takes away all mobility. Having pain, I could still go to work and function. Having no mobility I could not do those things.

I could see one of his colleagues at 7:00 am the next morning. He took alot of x-rays and scheduled an MRI of my R knee. It was the opposite knee from the prior surgery. Which meant I had already gotten over 11 years from that little arthroscopic surgery on my L knee. And, I had bought an additional 11 years on the R knee from when the OS had suggested, "the same surgery on your right knee." Eleven years and still no wheelchair.

New OS did the arthroscopic surgery on the right knee. My OS was still not back to work yet....The new one and I had a big discussion about that surgery prior to it being done. I thought that since I was now 50, and this had been going on for a long time, that we should just replace it. Save a surgery! I wasn't crazy about having two surgeries on that knee. I knew that I would still need it replaced, at soem point. He won the argument, by reminding me, of how well and how many years I had gotten from the opposite knee surgery....He told me that nobody gets 11 years from an arthritis arthroscopic surgery, but I sure did.

On June 17th. 2002 I let him do a surgery that I should NOT have agreed too. Below is the surgical report from the R knee surgery...Myself and first OS would be reconnected, but not yet.

Note the change of language from the operative report in 2001, to what it was on the report in 1991. I could almost understand the 91 report but not this one..All I knew was that I had a double chondroplasty and a partial medial menistectomy.

Operative Report;

"Brief History;
She is a 50 year old female.
Her right knee medial meniscus tear, osteoarthritis were the indications for
this operative procedure.

Inspection of the Patellofemoral joint showed grade 3 chondral
changes. A shaver was passed through the anteromedial portal used to perform a
chondrolasty of the patellofemoral compartment. Inspection of the notch showed
the ACL and PCL intact. Inspection of the lateral joint showed grade 2 chondral
changes on the lateral femoral condyle, lateral tibial plateau and lateral
meniscus intact. Inspection of the medial joint line showed a medial meniscus
tear and grade 3 chondral changes on the medial femoral condyle,medial tibial
plateau. Punch and shaver were passed through the anteromedial portal used to
perform a partial medial meniscectomy thus removing the medial meniscus tear. A
shaver was passed through the anteromedial portal used to perform a
chondroplasty of the medial compartment. "

Part III will follow...What happens following this surgery?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Arthritis And Total Knee Replacement....Part I

I want to say this is my personal experience only. It is not intended as medical advise (I'm not a physician). Nor do I intend this to discourage or encourage anyone's decision about the possibility of having knee replacement surgery. This surgery is an individual experience. Since we are all extremely unique, we can all expect different outcomes, recovery times, post-op complications and the list could go on and on.. I do hope that by telling this, that anyone who happens to stumble in here, might leave with a little insight, and be a bit more informed as to what type questions they need to ask their Physicians.

Arthritis began to effect my life more than 25 years ago, when I was still in my 20s. By age 28, for the first time, a Dr. described my knee pains and stiffness as being arthritis. I wasn't sure what to think about it at the time. My mother had terrible arthritis. I had watched her lose more and more of her mobility and her lust for life over the years. I decided to put this diagnosis out of my mind for as long as possible. There is something to be said concerning mind over matter.I had children to raise. I also had a home, a husband and a full-time job. What did he mean "Start taking it a little easy on your legs?" When you are 28 yrs. old there is no such thing.

I would get up in the morning, and stand in a hot shower, trying to loosen my knees and keep the stiffness away. I would also take 1 or 2 aspirins before going to work. It all seemed to help, I managed to get everything done. At night I would watch TV or play with my son and not even realize, for a long time, that while I would be doing these things I would also be rubbing my knees. It was like my subconscience was willing them to stop aching, while my conscience mind wasn't even aware they were.. It was a long time before people finally brought it to my attention that I was doing this...I totally would not deal with arthritis.

As things progressed, it became harder to ignore. I had to start taking something different than just aspirins for it in my early to mid 30s. For a time I tried different NSAIDS with varying degree of success.

When I was 37 years old, I stood up from the sofa one morning and could not walk. It was extremely painful to even move my left knee at all. I could not bend it and could only manage (after a while) to take little baby steps. I didn't know for sure if this was my arthritis or something different. What in the world would I do now? I had to go to work, and, stand for many hours once I got there. Impossible!

I phoned my PCP who in turn phoned an orthopedic surgeon. I was in luck and he could see me the next day. This was in early (Jan) 1991. They did not do MRIs on knees at that time. He pushed, pulled, tried to bend and did all sorts of things with my knee. It was swollen, red and HOTTTTTT! Amazingly the x-rays basically showed nothing! OK, what to do now? He explained that he believed I probably had torn some cartilage (How, just by standing up?) and wanted to do arthoscopic surgery to repair it and get an inside view of what was going on. For me this was a moment of relief...NO ARTHRITIS on the x-rays! Did that mean I probably didn't have it? Why did I have all these pains in both knees if it wasn't arthritis? Could it be possible I have this torn cartilage in both knees, for whatever reason, and no arthritis?

As you can tell, I really didn't understand this illness at all at this time? I had been treating it for more than 10 years but had so profoundly ignored it as to not make myself knowledgeable on my own illness. Anyway, lets have this surgery and fix this cartilage and forget about arthritis...WOOOPEEEEE!

Day of surgery: Feb. 11th. 1991....We arrive to OP surgery where I am prepped and given instructions on how to use crutches.. OS arrives and talks with me for a few minutes. Tells me this will be a short surgery and informs my family I will be back in room within an hour and an hour later I can go home...I wake up and realize it is now about 3 hours since I had this discussion with the OS. My family is all trying to tell me all at once what he had said.. Anyway, because they were all talking at once and I was still in the, not to bright stage of post-surgery, none of it was making any sense...But, lo, my OS is still in the hall and he comes into my room...He walks up to my bed and says...."My dear, arthritis has completely destroyed your knee." I thought...." Well, isn't he charming".....

He proceeded to tell me how he had scraped (making a fist with his hand) this much arthritis from one of the bones. He said alot of other stuff which really didn't phase me, "arthritis destroyed your knee" were the only words I had heard, he lost me after that. He then got my attention again but telling me "Your going to be in a wheelchair, I'm not sure when that will happen, 6 months, 6 years, etc...but it will happen." He tells me I need to have total knee replacement but I am too young so we will just continue treating it symptomatically and increase my NSAIDS and sail along for awhile. .I was wondering....."How could a wheelchair be preferable to TKR?".... He also did not want me to take any PT following this surgery. He felt it might make the situation worse and he wanted me to progress at my own pace...

I had a job that I had to get back to. I was home for 4 weeks and had begun taking feldene. I then returned to work and standing for up to 12-14 hrs. on many days. My knee did not like that. It hurt all the way down my leg and was making it impossible to ignore. Not only that but as luck would have it, my R knee picked just this time to become more painful than ever before. Maybe because I was putting more pressure on it since having the left knee surgery? I also had gained weight when I had my babies. After this diagnosis, I joined weight watchers and lost down to 118lbs from close to 200lbs. I have managed to stay in the 135 range for all those years since then. It is a battle I have fought all my life.

I returned to my surgeon and explained that the pains seemed to be getting worse. He put me on steroids (medrol pack) for a while. ....Sweet Jesus, it worked. ....The pains started easing up and work wasn't so bad again. However, when I returned to my surgeon he suggested we now schedule the same surgery for the R knee.... Oh no, I wasn't ready to have that surgery on the right knee and be laid up again for 4 weeks and not be able to take proper care of my family. I left his office that day and never returned for almost 14 years.

**Surgical report of arthoscopic surgery dated Feb 11th. 1991**

"Preoperative diagnosis: Internal derangement of theleft knee

Postoperative diagnosis: Advanced osteoarthritis, medial andlateral femerol condyles and the
lateral tibial plateau.

Operation:Diagnosticand operative arthroscopy with
debridement of the osteo-cartilagenous fragments in both compartments.

The lateral compartment had severe osteoarthritic changes. There was an area of at
least5cm. x 6cm. on the mainweight bearing portion of the lateral
femoralcompartment that was a crater, free of its cartilagenous tissue with the crater down to the subchondral bone.The opposing surface of the lateral tibial
plateau appeared to be relatively within normal limits, but more medially from
this somewhat lateral area on thefemur, the lateral tibial plateau also had an area, about a dime size area, of the loss of all articular caritlage. These areas were all smoothed and debrided.

Osteocartilagenous fragments we removed with the shaver and suction in the medial compartment, there was an area about 3 x 3 cm.
on the main weight bearing surface where there is much fissuring and fracturing of the articular cartliage on that condyle. this was also smoothed and removed back to a good firm tissue.

An abrasion chondroplasty was not felt wise."

Part II will follow. This was only the beginning.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My Arthritis

Well I have started this blog as a way to hopefully find others who suffer daily from the pains of arthritis. I am 55 years old and have had early onset osteoarthritis since in my mid 20s.

I had my first surgery when still in my 30s, and have had a total of 3 arthroscopic knee surgeries and 2 years ago, I had a total knee replacement. I have been putting off having the other one replaced. I now have It so bad in my lower spine that the neurosurgeon wants to do a 3 level fusion and also clean up alot of the arthritis. This is a surgery that scares me. I just went through a period of non stop 24 hr a day lower back pain that was the worst I have ever experienced.

To make things worse, I cannot take any arthritis medications (Nsaids, COX-2 inhibitors, or aspirins) due to ulcers in my stomach and esophagus. I keep trying to find alternative treatments and things to try but I feel my options are really limited.

I do not want this to just be a blog of me talking about my personal experience. Although I do have a 4 part post written on my entire experience. I would love to hear from others, and also would like to share information back and forth.

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Coming Soon

Everything you ever wanted to know, or maybe didn't want to know, about arthritis. Research, links to other blogs, newest treatments, patients privacy rights, my personal story of arthritis and etc.