Monday, January 28, 2013

Feeble Knees: Part 1

"Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." 
Heb. 12:12-13

Playing happily on the playground as a 12 year old one day, my physical world redefined itself when suddenly my right knee cap slipped violently from its socket. Forty years later, I squinch my eyes as I write those words. I remember the shock, fear, and pain as I fell to the ground. 

Three years later at the age of 15, ignoring the numerous times both knee caps had slipped out of place, I joined my high school basketball team. I loved basketball. Was good at it and wanted to play. During one intense game with our fiercest rivals, the ball was passed to me (I had set myself up in the back right quadrant where I shot the best) when I was rushed by a player from the opposing team. She slammed into me drawing an obvious foul, but alas, I was not able to shoot the foul shots. When she hit me, my body pivoted violently, sending my right knee cap to the back of my knee. And there it stayed until I physically pushed it back in place. I was taken straight to the ER for evaluation. Damage had been done. Cartilage and ligaments pulled and torn. Surgery was the only option I had.

By the time I was 19 years old, I had surgery on both of my knees. They had to rebuild cartilage (I was born with a defunct amount of cartilage) and tighten ligaments. That has been more than 35 years ago and not once has my knee cap been wayward since the surgery. When I turned 40, I began having pain in my knee joints and started taking Glucosamine religiously. It really did help, but over time, I became more and more limited with my activity as the pains increased and the deteriorated knees filled with damaging arthritis.

Three weeks ago, I was walking out of a meeting and suddenly pivoted to my right as I remembered my car was in a different direction. A quick, but violent shifting of the ligaments from the tibia stunned me and caused immediate nausea. 

I've had two archaic knee surgeries in the 1970's, I've delivered three babies au naturel, but none of those brought as much pain as that shifting did. It rocked my world so much that the next day I immediately called my orthopedic surgeon making an appointment and stayed in my bedroom for about a day and a half. When I saw the doctor three days later, X-rays found that there was absolutely no cartilage left in either knee. Arthritis was definitely compromising the stability of my knees. Ligaments need cartilage and cartilage needs ligament. Without both, the knee is a tottering mess.

Considering my age (still relatively young, so said my doctor) and in good health, he recommended me go for both at one time! So, here I am two weeks away from double knee replacement surgery. I always knew that one day I would have to do it. Still, it is difficult to process that one day is finally here. 

I will document some of my journey here. My fears, my concerns, my thoughts. If you are familiar with my missionary memoirs In This Place and In Every Place, you will know that I do not have a problem being candid. Speaking what I'm feeling. It's good therapy for me and it may help others that are struggling with their own physical issues.

Above all, I appreciate your prayers as I travel this newest adventure in my life. I so desire that this surgery give me a better physical quality of life. I want to dance with my grandchildren, bike ride with my husband, take long walks on the beach with my family. Be able to do some fun things with the college kids we work with. 

And that's what I'm asking God. He said to ask, didn't He?