Sunday, January 15, 2017

Which Would You Rather?

Hey Friends!

I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone. The trip back to Canada was fantastic. It was the perfect mix of chilling in front of the fireplace with my Timmies and visiting with family and friends. In addition, I actually really enjoyed winter. It dawned on me, for the first time in 37 years, that winter is quite pretty. I loved watching the fat snowflakes fall, the sun set over the frozen lake, and the Christmas lights glistening on the snow-capped roof. So yes, winter isn't so bad if exposure is less than 2 weeks in length and there is an option to remain indoors the entire time! The knees, on the other hand, hate winter. The increase in pain and decrease in mobility just reinforced my decision to get the hell out of winter when I did 2 and a half years ago. If I could only move all my favourite Canadian peeps to Cayman. (Unfortunately we only have 2 bedrooms)
Looks like a BBQ on the deck is out of the question today

Christmas Eve with my Dad and Sis (Kayla flew in from the Netherlands!)

LOVE my mom (and sweaters!)

A boat selfie without the boat - such a great night!

Speaking of the knees, have you ever played a game called, "Which Would You Rather?" As a child, I loved to play this silly game. The premise of the game is that you present your "competitor" with 2 horribly disturbing undesirable scenarios, and your competitor must choose the one he/she would prefer. The clincher is that you are not allowed to say, "I choose neither." You must choose the scenario that you deem the best of the worst.

Let me give you an example:

"Which would you rather....Get your big toe backed over by a semi truck for 3 seconds or have your pinky finger slammed in a steel door for 10 seconds?"

Fun, right?
As I matured, the game became much more sophisticated and usually involved the names of boys with whom I adamantly denied liking.

For example, "Which would you rather…kiss insert name of boy you adamantly deny liking for 3 seconds or hold hands with insert name of another boy with sweaty hands that you adamantly deny liking for 15 minutes?

Whoa. Intense. And it provided hours of entertainment. I'm not sure if anyone actually "won" that game. Probably not, but it made for some interesting dialogue.

I was reminded of this silly little game when I was conversing with my Orthopedic Surgeon in Philadelphia.

We discussed the plan to implant the cartilage into my left knee in May. The concern is that the recovery for that surgery involves 6 weeks of non-weight bearing. This means hopping on crutches, without bearing any weight throughout that left knee. I've done it 3 times before. It's not fun. (Confession: it was kinda fun after the first surgery when I learned how to do stupid crutching tricks from youtube videos. The novelty definitely wore off by surgery number 3). The issue is, my right knee, which will be in charge of bearing my weight for those 6 weeks, has deteriorated significantly in the last few months and it is presently likely not strong enough to bear my weight for that length of time. Looks like I'm in another $%*&ing pickle.

So as my Surgeon joyfully (much too joyfully, if you ask me), presented the adult reality version of Which would you rather? I listened to the options and screamed (in my inside voice) "NEITHER! I CHOOSE NEITHER! THEY BOTH SUCK!"

Here's the question:

Which would you rather…

Wait until May, have the cartilage implanted in the left knee and hope that your deteriorating right knee can bear your weight, realizing that you may be bed-ridden/wheelchair bound for 6-8 weeks if your knee is not capable.


Opt for a scope surgery in February to clean out your right knee, in the hopes that it will be in a better position to bear your weight for the cartilage implantation surgery in May.

Hmmm....both tempting options. Option 2 is probably the most responsible choice. On the other hand, it involves an extra surgery. Recovering from 2 surgeries within 3 months of each other, especially given that I have already had 7 knee surgeries, is daunting. With each additional surgery, I am finding recovery increasingly difficult and am struggling to remain positive and hang on tight to that rope. You know, the rope that I'm presently at the end of. It's just sucky.

Initially I was pissed off and decided to forgo the responsible choice and take a chance with the right knee in May. You know, to spite my surgeon and his joyful face. But after a line of questioning from my very logical and reasonable hubby, and a quick read on Pinterest, I realized that I was lucky that I even had a choice, that I was only hurting myself by choosing the less responsible option, that being prepared is half the victory, and various other inspirational cliche quotes. So…big sigh…I have opted for the extra surgery in February. Big sigh.

I'm dreading it.

People often ask me how I remain so positive. I have to admit that it takes some work. I've come to terms with the fact that I have a degenerative disease. Most people see someone on crutches and assume that they are waiting to get "fixed." Unfortunately, that is not the case for me. There are surgeries that will improve my situation; however, although we can hope that things will stabilize, the degeneration of my cartilage appears to be a "forever" kind of thing. It's taken me years to come to terms with this, and at times, I am still struggling to accept this diagnosis.

And I'm not always optimistic and upbeat. I tend to save my low moments for the privacy of my home. I occasionally curl up in a ball on the couch, cry, and watch "Full House" reruns on repeat (Yes, Full House. Don't judge me but DJ has the most impressive wardrobe and Michelle is just so freakin funny). Sometimes I think, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" But…I like to be around people. I am a social person. And people, for the most part, do not want to hang around someone spewing negativity. So I make a conscious effort - a decision - to be positive. I work hard at it. I have enlisted the help of a team of professionals including a Pain Specialist, a Massage Therapist, a Pain Psychologist, and my Surgeon, who specializes in and researches cartilage repair. So at the end of the day, I have access to a wealth of knowledge and support and have placed myself in a position for success. In addition, I made a choice to move to an incredibly beautiful place that inspires relaxation and peace. Although this condition makes me feel powerless at times, I do know that I can control how I react to it.

In the meantime, my goal for the next 6 weeks is to focus on increasing my strength and having fun (you know: lift weights, swim in the sea, and drink wine).

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2017!

Dundee loves his beach sunsets

Our new favourite cocktail: The Margarita Mule. Definitely makes me better.

Life is good.