I have often been told I am easy and fun to tease. I have never really known whether that’s a compliment or just more mocking, but I’ve heard it for years. And truthfully, I probably deserve it. I tend to say things out loud before thinking about them enough and this often allows me to paint myself into a corner defending one outlandish claim or another because Lord knows I couldn’t just cut my losses and say those vile words – so maybe I was wrong.
My knee started to hurt. Quite a bit, actually. And it had been steadily getting more painful for the last six months. I vaguely remember having slight knee pain as a kid, but since I was that girl that played softball and soccer and basketball up until the year it was actually important to know the rules and have some talent (which, if I recall, was pretty early on) it was never really an issue. So my knee hurt once a year when we had to run a mile in P.E.? No biggie.
And when the pain came back in a big way when I was pregnant, I dismissed it as “just one of those things”. It certainly wasn’t the only thing that hurt for some mysterious, seemingly un-baby-related reason so I still didn’t think much of it. When Colt was born and I lost (most of) the (undisclosed) baby weight, it seemed to go away again. Ok.
But you know this story wouldn’t be very good if the pain just went away, the end. So fast forward to Summer 2009. I started noticing a bump on the inside of my right knee. After several weeks of the bump, I started to get a little worried but assumed it would go away. I hadn’t fallen or hurt myself in any way, so I assumed it was just some randomness and it would find its way back to wherever it came from.
The bump started to feel tender. Really tender. The kind of tender that made me shave my legs reeeeeally carefully and avoid kneeling and take GREAT care when getting up from my desk at work so as not to bump it on the edge of that drawer. Again.
And I may have made the mistake of mentioning all of this to a few friends at work. And I MAY have followed it up with some online “research” I had done to self-diagnose my problem. See below for the softball I lobbed up there for them:
Osgood-Schlatter Disease or Syndrome is a rupture of the growth plate. The condition occurs in active boys and girls aged 11-15, coinciding with periods of growth spurts. It occurs more frequently in boys than in girls. It has been suggested the difference is related to a greater participation by boys in sports and risk activities than by girls.
Following an adolescent growth spurt, repeated stress from contraction of the quadriceps is transmitted through the patellar tendon to the immature tibial tuberosity. This can cause multiple subacute avulsion fractures along with inflammation of the tendon, leading to excess bone growth in the tuberosity and producing a visible lump which can be extremely painful when hit.
Did you get all that?
Basically, I managed to Google my way to a knee disease that accurately described my painful lump but occurs in pubescent boys because they are active in sports.
Let the teasing commence.
Well it finally hurt bad enough to get me to a doctor. And I successfully resisted the urge to begin the appointment with “so I read on the internet…”. And after taking a few rounds of X-rays, it was determined that I was suffering from a bone bruise. The doc suggested I “rest it” and it should feel better in a few weeks.
Hmm. So a pain I’ve had off and on for YEARS will suddenly feel better in a few weeks because now I’ve seen a doctor about it? And what exactly does “rest it” mean? Should I take a break from all running and exercising and any physical activity more grueling than a flight of stairs in my office building? Check!
I was starting to ease up on my Osgood-Schlatter diagnosis (though the teasing at work did anything but ease up), but wasn’t convinced that a bone bruise was the culprit either. So I took advantage of the “you don’t need a referral to see a specialist” condition of my insurance policy and made a date with (and learned how to spell!) an Orthopaedic. A handful of appointments and two MRIs later and the mystery bump was still just that. And I started to get a little worried.
And then my doctor suggested I go see a specialist. A super duper specialist. An Orthopaedic Oncologist. Of which there is ONE in the entire state of Arkansas. So we trucked it down to UAMS in Little Rock to see the super duper specialist, who poked my knee bump and scheduled some surgery.
I had just enough time between my consultation and the surgery to get pretty darn worried about this thing. I’m in charge of all the panicking in this family and I was in overdrive. I TRIED not to dwell on the fact that my stupid knee bump required a trip to an Orthopaedic ONCOLOGIST at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller CANCER Institute. But I couldn’t help it.
We checked in about 7:15 and after discussing my name with each new person I met in Pre-Op — “Yes, my name is Sarah Hood. No hyphens. No double name. Just Sarah Hood. I have tried for three years to convince my insurance company that it is not, in fact, Sarah E. Martin Hood. I don’t know why it’s weird, but I promise you are about to operate on the correct person.” — I was ready to go.
I vaguely remember being wheeled into the Operating Room with all the big shiny lights hanging from the ceiling. They started sticking little white nodes all over me and the Anesthesiologist kept asking “Are you OK? Are you OK?”. I remember there being WAY more people in there than I thought was really necessary. You know, since I’m some sort of expert…
And then I woke up. And within a minute or two Jeff was there telling me that the Doctor had given him the news that it was nothing cancerous. In fact, of the three possibilities he’d narrowed it down to – it was none of the above. It was a mass of tissue and blood vessels and most importantly – it’s gone. And will not be back.
So the only other time I was in the hospital and had to do the gross stuff like IVs and hospital gowns, I got to bring home a baby. This time, not so much. This time, all I really got was a black mark on my otherwise spotless medical record. I used to fly right through all those forms – allergies? none!, past surgeries? nope!, hospitalizations? not me! When I was pregnant, my OB doctor told me I was “medically uninteresting” and I just beamed at such a compliment. But now, 27 years of perfect health – down the drain!
So I lived. Obviously. I survived the Knee Bump. And I don’t have Osgood-Schlatter’s. And I don’t have cancer. And I’m spending today (and probably tomorrow) in bed with my knee propped on a pillow and my laptop propped on my…lap. The Boy has been showering me with hugs and kisses, and that’s better than the Hydrocodone any day of the week.