Vulnerability during my partial knee replacement and hemarthrosis.

Running & Injury History:
Let me share a little bit of my history with you all for context. I was an avid runner. Like borderline obsessive, 100 miles a week kinda runner. I ran marathons for breakfast, literally. Went out at 3a and home by the time Bill was leaving for work. One faithful morning I went out to do an easy 4-5 miler before my 50 mile upcoming race and it all stopped. My knee gave out. The end. I had a root tear at my meniscus, not an easy one. They attempted to reattach but it failed. Fast forward a bunch of little procedures and injections then December of 2017 my ortho agreed to do a partial replacement. Procedure went well. Recovery. PT. All good.

Then last January, pre-pandemic, I was at work and got called out of a meeting. As I was navigating the stairs to go downstairs my knee felt really tight. By the time I got to my destination I could barely walk. Turns out my knee was filling up with obscene amounts of fresh blood. Testing. Cultures. Arthroscope. Couldn’t figure it out. The one comment was always “it’s super angry”. Sent me to another doc. He diagnoses it as hemarthrosis. I then go to an interventional radiologist to have 3 angiograms on my knee. This procedure is nothing but hell for 2 hours each time while you are awake and unable to move. Insert a lot of PTSD.

I’ve always equated vulnerability with weakness & shame. Maybe this was the buried lesson in my very lengthy running/injuries I’ve faced over the past 4 years. I am a faithful person and know there is a lesson in this dark space although I’ve struggled to see it. Daily I thank God for this brokenness. I put my head down and push. Push hard towards my goals. Surgeries happen. I despise pity or asking for help. I put faith in my docs that they are making the right decisions.

A few weeks ago I reached a boiling point with my local docs. No one knew what they were doing. No one had answers. More procedures to try to figure it out. Free falling is how I felt.

Forward to this past month…
I reached out to my long time friend/PT to seek guidance. He immediately got in touch with a doc at Penn in Philly. I got in to see him and the following week I had surgery. He was confident that the synovectomy would provide relief. You see I’ve given so much up to stop this hemorrhaging to no avail. One expected 10 minute surgery lasted 1 hour. He came out and told Bill that this situation was very rare and it was caused by an infection (we knew this was unlikely as I had many cultures done on the blood) or instability. Wait, instability of what? Please don’t say my replacement.

Fast forward, my PT reached out to the surgeon. He leaned heavy towards that avenue. Meaning he tested it when he was in my knee but wanted to speak to me personally first. He insisted I see his partner who is a world-class specialist in replacements. Replacement from a partial means I have to go to a full. That surgery and recovery are no joke.

In the meantime I researched my partial. It turns out my doc here used a replacement with a high failure rate. Words escape me on this subject. I trusted him.

I’m sharing because I’m hoping my vulnerability is the lesson I need to learn & share. It doesn’t mean weakness. I can ask for help. I can lean on others. How I respond to this is where my strength lives. I’m never ambivalent. I know the goal but that road to get there is certainly humbling. I wanted to share because no where online did I find any information on my situation so I wanted to share. Never settle and always seek answers.

— Knead to Cook

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