Living with Chronic Pain and finding the new norm

The title sounds dramatic, but it is true.

On June 1 of this year I started to feel pain in my knee.  I tore the meniscus in my left knee, twenty years ago, and it acts up every now and then.  But this time was different.  The pain felt more like a new tear.

 I lived with the pain for a few weeks until it became unbearable.  I went to the ER, they took an ex-ray to make sure I hadn't fractured anything, and a sonogram to rule out a blood clot having formed as a result of being off my feet.

I had been hobbling around with a cane, but left the hospital with a brace and crutches.  The ER doctor recommended that I see the Orthopedic surgeon affiliated with the hospital.

I made an appointment and went to see the first doctor.  He took another ex-ray, this time of me standing and showed me what arthritis looks like.  My knee was still pretty swollen.  We agreed that if I wanted to come back to get an MRI that would be a plan. I left without a prescription, but with the recommendation I take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine.

None of the over-the-counter medicines worked for me.  Plus I was afraid of the long term results from taking them for a prolonged period of time.   So, I started my quest to learn more about arthritis and what could help.  My daughters helped with with the search and started bringing me all kinds of creams and supplements.  

I called a week later and asked him to schedule one.  You have to have approval from my insurance company before you can do that, so it put me back another week.

In the meantime, I was experimenting with different foods and supplements, as I faced painful, sleepless nights.

One pain killer, which is actually a supplement that saved me is Cuamin EXTRA STRENGTH. ( I am not getting paid to advertise, and I am not a doctor, I just know that the reviews I read match my results), I purchased mine at my local supplement shop, but you can find it in many places.   Here is the website, they have many helpful products.

I got a call from the doctor to come in for an appointment so they could read the MRI results.

When I arrived the MRI scans were on the wall.   I could see the meniscus tear, and what looked like a large irritation marked by a dark spot.  The doctor was wonderful and he is the top Orthopedic surgeon in the group. 

I asked him if he could see if I had torn it further.  Unfortunately they cannot discern with new an old tears on the scans.   He did not recommend surgery, because it is a meniscus tear and he said that he could remove the torn meniscus but he couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't be in more pain.  He suggested a Cortisone shot, which I said yes to, and asked me to go for physical therapy.

I am now in search of a good physical therapy group nearby.  I also purchased a cookbook on recipes that deal with inflammation.  I thought that was the common ground in Gout, Diabetes II and Arthritis.

It has been a painful three months.  I find myself counting the steps that I need to take to get anywhere.  I continue to try different foods.  I have also experienced some Gout and learned that there is such a thing as Gouty Arthritis.  Lucky me.  

I still have painful nights and insomnia, which creates a battle during the days with self-pity.

Of course, I read the Bible and my favorite devotions for support.  Being around my Grandsons truly helps me because they exude joy.

Unfortunately, what I can eat to help the Arthritis conflicts with the Gout and cause my blood sugar to elevate.  Since I have Diabetes II, it's a challenge.

I know that I am not alone dealing with chronic pain, and certainly there are so many people who suffer with arthritis.  

So, from time to time I will write posts about managing the pain, in hopes that it might help someone else.

If you have any suggestions for me, please leave a comment.  I will continue on my journey to learn more and as I do, I truly feel compassion for those who suffer with chronic pain.

I have learned that time flies when you create, so as I walk through this adventure I am finding new ways to express and share my creativity.  Stop by my Instagram page, I share fun photos every day.

Terra Hangen said...

Bless your heart for sharing this difficult journey. One lady blogger recommends medical marijuana cookies for a refreshing sleep. Of course it is only legal in some states. I take Turmeric Bromelain for its antiinflammatory effect. Your grand babies are darling and I can tell they lift your spirits.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I have osteoarthritis in both knees. One is really, really, painful. The other one just hurts. It affects every aspect of my life. I find that I must plan my daily activities around how much time I will be able to spend walking around with my knees. If it is a garden day, nothing else but gardening will be happening that day. I garden then rest the knees. Same with shopping. Cooking and cleaning, I can do a bit at a time and rest the knees, and then get back to work, rest, and repeat. I find that by the end of the day I am usually pretty worn out just from pain alone.

At some point I will get surgery. I must lose weight before surgery. Much easier said than done, especially when I move much slower than a giant tortoise. It is so frustrating. If you are diabetic, the cortisone shot will probably raise your blood sugar for a while, but for me is a great pain reliever that lasts for a while.

I hope you will soon find relief from your knee pain. Best wishes to you.

Susie D.

Pondside said...

How I wish I had something good to offer for your relief! I am sending g prayer and very warm thoughts your way. Chronic pain is an ordeal and I feel for you!

Sarah said...

Karen, I am sad to read that you are living with this pain. I hope the doctor can help you find the relief you need. Yes, creativity helps. Good luck with keeping your mind focused on creative endeavors. '-)

Vee said...

(I am so happy to be able to post a comment! Have not been able to do so prior to this.)

Karen, I am sorry that you are dealing with this. One supplement I use that helps so much with
inflammation/swelling is turmeric. I take mine in capsule form. Have been taking it for two years
and no longer suffer the dreaded swollen feet, etc.

As for pain, I am glad that you have found something that gives relief. I take good old 8-hour Tylenol
for arthritis, which probably has some nasty side effects, but it is quite effective for pain. Anyway, I
am taking note of what you use.

Oh my! Your grands are darling! They have grown so much.

Kathleen Grace said...

Karen, I will keep you in my prayers. My sister has had some relief from severe arthritis and inflammation by taking the turmeric supplements as Terra suggested. There is also a website that I came across that has a lot of good recipes for eating to beat inflammation, I pray you can find some relief.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I am so sorry you have this pain. I actually have Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is not osteoarthritis, but an autoimmune disease that attacks the body. I was in severe pain for several months until I could get into a rheumatologist office. I have been on Humira injections for over a year and am in a medical induced remission, so my pain is very minor now. I hope you find something to help.

Carmen said...

MSM supplements and a glass of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda just before sleeping (on empty stomach) helps me with joint pain. Also, avoiding sugar as much as possible. Good luck to you.

Teresa O said...

I'm so glad I found this post, Karen. I'm so sorry the you're dealing with chronic pain. I injured my right knee while getting off the tram at Atlantic airport on May 3rd & spent the next 6 weeks on crutches & pain killers. The fingers on my left hand are becoming arthritic & painful to move. This is so scary as i use my fingers to type & create. Anyhow I so understand what you're going through, the sleepless nights, the pain, & feeling sad because running, jumping & kneeling are no longer in the wheel house of capabilities. I've jotted down the suggestions you & others have posted. You have inspired me to research chronic knee pain to find homeopathic ways to help. I hope today finds you feeling better & again, thank you!

Agnes Lawson said...

I used to have back pain about 5 years ago but since I started my yoga class and taking herbal remedies, it's gone. I also noticed that having regular bowel movement gets rid of the toxins that cause some of these body aches and pains. I have done a lot of research on alternative treatments and I strongly believe that natural remedies work perfectly to restore health.