Me and My Knees, That Thing Called Arthritis – Part One

I’ve been mulling over the idea of writing about my experiences with Arthritis for some time.  I suppose what convinced me to share, was seeing a lot of people who have arthritis and thinking there may be some of you who are experiencing this disease who might find something useful or helpful by reading my story.

My arthritis journey began a number of years ago when I was informed I had Osteoarthritis in both knees. Of course, being me, I chose to ignore all the helpful suggestions from my Doctor and my Physio!

DSCN0026 nx2My left knee is twice as bad as the right one. There was no pain involved, only a little stiffness off and on so it was easy to ignore doing anything about it. I was still able to walk to Granville Island from home (about 1 ½ miles) with no problem whatsoever and walk everywhere else I wanted to!

A few years ago my Doctor suggested it would be a very good idea to request an appointment with an organization called OASIS (OsteoArthritis Service Integration System) a programme that assists people with Osteoarthritis self-manage their condition. They hold clinics and classes on how to live well at every stage of the disease. Sounded good…so I went. There followed a couple of hours spent having X-rays taken, completing forms on what you felt your pain level was, how able were you to live normally, do chores and housework, look after personal hygiene and whether or not you required assistance with any of these tasks. Once the forms were completed there was visit with their in-house physiotherapist. At the time, there was still some synovial fluid remaining in my left knee. Synovial fluid is a viscous, fluid found in the cavities of synovial joints. And it’s there to reduce friction between the articular cartilage of synovial joints during movement.

Of course I’m waiting for a “miracle” so I can avoid knee replacement surgery and I’m still walking a lot managing  housework and cooking meals, when, hey presto sometime in November 2013, I hear of a drug called “Durolane” that just might be that miracle I’ve been waiting for!  I’m heading to see “THE Arthritis Doctor” so she can assess my knee over and if I’m a candidate for injections of Durolane. Heck…they are “only” nearly $400.00 a shot, not covered by medical or extended health, can last up to 6 months and may just be the ticket, I’m going for it!

We booked a trip to Rome and Tuscany for April of 2014 and I’m feeling very confident with the Durolane in my knee! And my knee wasn’t bad at all considering all the walking…we even the Appian Way in Rome for quite a distance! Or course I had Tylenol for Arthritis on board and we picked up a gel freezy pack when we got to Italy!

Back at home, I begin to notice that I’m starting to limp, obviously a sign that the “Durolane” is wearing off, time for another injection, I think. This injection is not as effective as the first time. Dr. Alice said that finding the sweet spot in the knee cap for the injection is no easy task because the kneecap has shifted and the knee is swollen all the time. Still…I was able to walk with no pain! Another six months has bone by and it’s November 2014 and there I am again, spending another $400.00 hoping to avoid knee replacement. This time the whole injection goes completely sideways for no reason. Within a few days, I’m not noticing any improvement and after two weeks no improvement either. Off to see Dr. Alice! She is conducting a research study on Durolane, so I thought my feedback would be helpful. After sharing what had taken place or had not…we come to the conclusion that there will be no more injections of Durolane for me!

Part 2 and Part 3 continue the journey.

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  1. Good for you, Phyllis. I think it’s helpful for others with osteoarthritis to hear your story. It’s encouraging to think of someone like you continuing to manage a very engaged life while adjusting to the frustrations/limitations imposed by this disease. I don’t know how you manage to stand on that knee for long periods in the kitchen, but I sure appreciate the recipes.

    I miss you, and the classes with Melanie. I’m trying to do a bit in the pool each day, but it’s not nearly as much fun on my own. Apparently she’s turning the Byng pool green for St. Patrick’s Day! I thought she was joking, but she says she’s being doing it since 1994 and promises me a picture. That woman has special powers…..

    Saludos, Deb

    • Great to hear from you Deb! And hearing you appreciate the recipes, makes the standing in the kitchen all the more worthwhile!

      I hope you are having a wonderful, relaxing time! I am seriously considering the Byng pool on Friday’s and was planning on waiting until you got back so I wouldn’t have to face the crowd without back-up! Haven’t seen Jennifer lately either. That should be fun…turning the pool green!!! I think, perhaps, underneath the “instructor” interior lives a bit of a crazy woman? My kind of people! Look forward to seeing you soon!

      Ciao, P

  2. Sorry to hear about the arthritis! My grandmother Angelina of my eponymous blog had it. You might get a chuckle out of the fact that, in her heavily accented English, she called it “Arthur-itis”… Anyway, I know it’s not really a laughing matter, but it sounds like Durolane is just the ticket. One shot every six months to get relief, not bad.

    • Thanks for the sentiments and yes I did get a chuckle! My mother, Nora, had a Russian accent so I’m pretty used to the changing up of pronuncia! The Durolane only seems to work for a short period of time and then that’s it. I’m waiting to hear the news about the injections of stem cells into the hip and knee joints. I guess researchers and doctors are trying to find a way around the wave of boomers and their need for joint replacements. In the meantime, I’ll be following the traditional pathway because, unless something new comes down the pike before surgery…I’ll have to do it. Unless, of course I don’t want to travel to Italy again! And that doesn’t bear thinking about!

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