Hello lovelies! My knee surgery went quite well on Wednesday, and I thought I’d give you all a bit of an update and share some of the good and (ehhh) not-so-good highlights.
Since this was my second surgery for my PVNS (Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis), I went into it with a rough idea of what to expect beforehand and throughout the recovery process. The surgery was outpatient, so I was in and out within a couple of hours. I was scheduled for 2 pm, but they requested I be in at 12:45 to get through all of the paper work and pre-op necessities. I would say that overall I was feeling pretty calm and assured. I really respect and trust my doctor, and more than anything I was so eager to get it over with so that I can resume a normal life again!
After filling out paper work they called me into the back and had me change into a gown and cap. I was put into a gurney, where the nurse hooked me up to an IV and took my vitals. Soon after I had around half a dozen people tromp through and ask me about a hundred questions. The funny part was that each person repeated many of the questions I had been asked by the previous person, but I guess they do that to be absolutely certain I have no allergies to medication or problems with anesthesia, etc. Each nurse asked me what my operation was for, and each responded with “wow, what’s that, I’ve never heard of it?” Apparently I’m a rare breed. Finally the anesthesiologist came back and introduced himself. He was an older man with a big white mustache–a complete sweetheart that made me laugh several times. He joked that I was by far, the youngest and healthiest patient of the day, and that made his job a lot easier! He asked if I wanted a valium or something to calm my nerves, but I politely declined. :) Nerves schmerves I said!
Next, my doctor came in and discussed some of the details regarding my surgery. He told me that because my disease is an immune response, it will likely be more aggressive after each progressive surgery, resulting in a shorter amount of time before I may need the next one. (Not so good news!) But he tried to keep me optimistic and reminded me that I’m still young, and have a strong body to fight through the recoveries. I was able to go almost ten years from my first surgery to the second, but it’s quite possible that I’ll start having problems again much sooner the next time around. We also discussed the possibility of a knee replacement, but he recommended postponing that for as long as possible. Unfortunately this is just something that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life, but I’m so grateful that it isn’t something worse, and that there are available treatments for my condition.
After our chat, they wheeled me into the OR, where they reviewed the steps for administering anesthesia, and within the next minute or two I was out like a light! My surgery was scheduled for 1 hour, but it ended up lasting a hefty 2.5 hours, because the tissue and polyp build-up was heavier than anticipated. The good news is that my doctor assured me afterwards that he got every last little bit out of there, and I had only good things to look forward to!
Here is the strange part… the most difficult and horrible aspect of this entire surgery, including the pain and recovery process, was actually coming out of the anesthesia. I don’t remember my bodily response for my first surgery, but I’ll never forget this time. I woke up with violent shakes, and bawling my eyes out. How strange is that? I’d never even heard of such a thing! I wasn’t crying from pain (I mean gosh, I was doped up on pain meds) but for some reason I had a emotional reaction and I could not stop myself from crying, and it lasted for almost an hour! I remember looking up at the nurse and sobbing to her “why am I crying? I can’t stop crying!”. She gently squeezed my hand and said, “don’t worry sweetie you are just having a reaction to waking up from anesthesia.” And don’t even get me started on the shakes. I had such violent shakes that 6 heated blankets piled on top of me offered only slight relief. My teeth were chattering so badly I thought I was going to chip a tooth, or worse yet, bite my tongue off! Apparently there are various reactions to coming out of anesthesia, and mine were not terribly uncommon. Other people may get nauseous, experience fatigue or dizziness, or break out into hot sweats.
My recovery at home has been really smooth. My mother is hands-down the most wonderful, amazing and kindhearted woman in the world–and has been at my beck and call for everything. She’s been making me lots of delicious veggie meals including homemade soups, pressed panini veggie sandwiches, scrumptious salads, and smoothies made to order! For the first few days I’ve needed help with even the most basic of tasks, including getting to the restroom, brushing my teeth, “sponge bath” showers, etc. and she has been there for it all. She even slept on the couch last night, right outside my bedroom, so she could wake up and help me use the restroom in the middle of the night. Mother of the Year award, right here! :)
Today was my post-op appointment and things are looking good! My doctor showed me pictures of the nasty tissue and polyps that were removed from my synovial lining (not too pretty!) and unwrapped my massive tree-trunk bandage that was put in place (since I bled so badly). This may not be my best look, but at least I’m still smiling!
Overall I’m really really happy to have the initial stages over with, and looking forward to completing my recovery and physical therapy. I asked my doctor today “so how long do you think it will be before I can run again?” He smiled at me very sweetly and said, “darlin’, let’s just take it one step at a time for now. I’d estimate several months at best.” Oh well, if I can handle what I’ve been through, I can handle where I’m goin’.