Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Supartz Injection #1 - Ouch!

I have a secret. I own a fitness company, but my body is in many ways a total wreck.

I am 34 years old, but my knees are much older. You wouldn't know it by seeing my legs, but as my physical therapist said after she read my MRI reports, "They're not so pretty on the inside." Grade 4 Osteoarthritis (read: severe) over the femoral condyles of my right knee.

October 1989 - I severely strained my Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) while playing soccer - apparently very difficult to do without tearing your ACL. In 1991, I finished off my right knee in a Pole Vaulting accident. I tore my ACL, medial collateral (MCL), and medial meniscus. An injury called the 'Terrible Triad'. Indeed it was terrible. That ranks as the most pain I have ever experienced in my life. When I landed from 15 feet high, my right knee buckled inward and snapped loudly. I was competing in a collegiate indoor invitational track meet. The entire University of Delaware Field House stopped when they heard that snap and heard me scream, or so my parents tell me.

I had reconstructive surgery a month later and in the 15 years that followed, I all but forgot my knee was more artificial than organic. I had a 3-4 inch stainless steel screw drilled through my femur to anchor my new ACL tendon, which was made with my iliotibial band tendon and stranded with graphite. This tendon was, and still is, stapled on the other side of my knee to my tibia.

I never pole vaulted again, but I did go on to compete at top levels in two sports, rowing and cycling - non-weight bearing sports that only strengthened the muscles acting on and around my knee joint. I had turned my strongest weakness into an outright strength above all others. My nickname in college (kind of ridiculous) was 'quads.' (At first it was cool to have the nickname, until I realized the girls I was dating didn't actually know my real name).

I stopped racing bikes 3 years ago when we had our first child. I turned to Squash for my competitive outlet, and that is when I was reminded that I actually was not superhuman. At some point in that 3 year span I tore my lateral meniscus.

So I schedule a surgery last April to have a tune-up. Makes sense after 15 years, right? Bring the machine in and get the wheels changed.

Didn't work. It's been a year now since that surgery. A year of being in a world of pain. I own a company called 'agile' and funny thing is that I've become the least agile I've ever been! 3 blocks of walking and I'm limping. Playing with my 3.5 year old daughter? I get creative. 3 year olds like that so it works for now.

Today was Synvisc Injection #1 of 5. A highly viscous lubrication (she put some on my finger - it's like really thick KY Jelly that never goes away). This stuff should lubricate my joint and ease my pain for a couple more years until I need total reconstructive knee surgery. The reason to wait to have this surgery is because it is currently more of a Frankenstein procedure than a Bionic Man procedure.

I'll hold out for the Bionic Man option. So that's what I'm after - I want my superhero identity back. The guy that could leap a ten foot wall in a split second, run a mile in 5 minutes (okay, 5:20) and never let a ball drop on the squash court.

Or, just give me my agility back so I can play with my children Mia and Max. That is far and away enough for me.

7 comments:

LW said...

Synvisc is a series of 3 injections. Sure you're not getting a second-rate substitute? Other viscosupplements (Supartz, Hyalgan) are cheaper and don't work as well or as long and require 5 injections.

Jim said...

Hmmm - now I'm not so sure. I bet I'm getting Hyalgan.

How do you know Synvisc works better? Any info you can share would be very helpful to me.

Can I get injections once a year?

su said...

I recently met with an orthopedic surgeon that stated they are using supartz more often that the other lubricating fluids as it is highly purified HA (hyaluronan) and tends to have less allergic type reactions.

Dee said...

I had knee surgery 2/14/08 for osteoarthritis and a slight torn ligament. Surgery was a snap and so was PT. However the pain was still there and I could and cannot kneel. Then received a steroid injection in the knee, that was painful. If these injections are the same in pain scale I may just have to chicken out. I think I'm receiving the supartz. I will check with the surgeon and see which is the better and the most long lasting. I do need total knee replacement on both knees and this is to just forestall the inevitable. At 66 yrs of age how much do I need to forestall. Isn't it better to replace the knee whild there is still some semblance of faster rehab time. Any suggestions from those who have been down the path that I find myself. Have two young grandsons and want to be agile and give them a run for their money.

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About Me

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NY, New York, United States
I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)