Saturday, March 03, 2007

patellar concerns

Whenever I think of knees something inside of me instinctively thinks of the sunscreen song. You remember, the one with the yoga music behind the guy giving life-advice to high school graduates. The line I think of is this one:

Be kind to your knees; you'll miss them when they're gone.

It always amuses me because it's exactly the type of sentiment I hear from older nurses who have walked the wards and actually birthed Methuselah. Or from people who have been life-long runners. Or from people who are putting off knee replacement surgery. Or from anyone in general who is suffering from knee problems.

In short, the general consensus is that knees are important, which is why The Hater and I are concerned. His step-father has been having knee problems for several months.

He has what we're pretty sure is a nonmalignant tumor behind his knee.* It's in a precarious place next to a major artery. This is a concern because growing onto the artery makes its wall weaken. Given this, they had a hard time finding a surgeon who was willing to consider treating him.

But find one they did. Upon their second visit this past week it was decided that the tumor had grown, despite well wishes that it would not. The larger it gets, the more risk his entire knee joint will face. Meanwhile, as the tumor makes the artery weaken, removing it will also weaken the artery. This is the reason they had such a hard time finding a surgeon who would even look at him.

The plan is surgery on Monday week, March 12th. The surgeon, a highly-touted Vanderbilt specialist, says that they'll have to go in from the front and the back of his knee. The surgery itself will be at least six hours. He'll be in the hospital for at least a week, longer if there are complications.

The most obvious complication we're worried about is if the weakening of the artery causes that artery to burst, causing him to bleed out. The other concern is that the surgery itself, plus the weakening caused by the tumor, causes the artery to burst several weeks to months later, causing him to bleed out. (Which could mean he could even be at home, after recovering from the surgery, after all of the perceived complications were over -- in theory he could even then burst that artery and bleed out.) And obviously The Hater and I are both very vivid-imaginers and are nervous about the whole thing.

Nervous that not doing anything is bad. Nervous that the surgery is bad. There's really not an easy way to cut it without being nervous, pun intended.

Other thoughts that come to mind when I consider knees are more than obviously ridden with religious overtones. Tonight we're humbly asking that for the moment you'll redirect all of the good vibrations you've sent our way; please send them towards everyone else who needs them worse than we do right now, including to my in-laws for the path that lies ahead of them.

* They're calling it a "pigmented villa-nodular synovialitis tumor" pre surgery. Since they think it's not cancer, we're hoping that'll be the post-surgical diagnosis, too.

1 comment:

Molly Jane said...

Many good vibrations are on their way.