A. What's the matter with my knee?
Answer: (Let's see if I can explain this without my notes.) There's no cartilage between the knee cap and the femoral bone. (Clickety-clack.)
B. Do I have to have surgery? What are my other options?
Answer: Zero other options. My doctor said that injections wouldn't help, because there is no cartilage there whatsoever. (Clickety-clack.) He said it comes down to pain management or total knee replacement.
C. Do the on-line experts agree?
Answer: Yes, because there's no cartilage there, ma'am. If there were any cartilage, there would be five things I could consider to heal the cartilage:
- gene therapy
- platelet rich plasma
- growth factors
- stem cells
- drilling and debridement (I dunno--it sounds horrible.)
Tricky. I refuse to go on the Paleo diet. Forget it! Not happening! I hate diets.
Here's what I'll do. I'll make a list of good and bad food.
Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, certain nuts, fatty fish, berries, cherries, oranges, bok choy, broccoli, bone broth, walnuts, coconut oil, chia and flax seeds, turmeric and ginger, brown rice, greek yogurt, jalapeno peppers
Everything else, specifically: Sugar, vegetable oil (yes, canola), all fried foods, refined flour, cheese, milk, butter, synthetic sweeteners, additives, burgers, pizza, chips, candy, grain-fed meats, processed meats, soy milk, tofu, most bread, transfats (dairy queen, blizzards), PEANUTS (which can attack joints and cause inflammation) and ALL beans. (Dear God.)
I know, right? There's joint pain, and then, alternatively, there's the enervating process of limiting the scope of one's pleasures so narrowly that one is finally left in the yoga position, slim yet miserable, clinging to a book of poetry that is no comfort.
I'm not motivated to be an ascetic. I've encountered ascetics. They are excessively lean. They go for endless walks from sacred place to sacred place. They wear loin cloths and little else. I'll walk the dogs and lose five pounds. There it ends.
Still, the idea of asserting control over a body that is admittedly falling apart is undeniable. So, I will look at the list of GOOD FOOD and try to assemble some sort of meal from it. I will study the BAD FOOD and redouble my efforts to avoid them.
What annoys me, frankly, are the regimens one finds on-line that promise to REVERSE ARTHRITIS or to jump-start my metabolism or whatever bullshit line they're trying to sell. Clearly, they are offering a religious experience. They are asking me to believe--to put my body and faith in their hands--and to suffer accordingly in obeisance.
NO. I refuse. I will not! I will not go Paleo. I will not go Green Mama. I will not go Seventh Day Adventists.
I will take more Tumeric. I will cut out the peanuts. I'll buy brown rice. Kale. Spinach. Blueberries. (I'm having deja vu. Have I said any of this before?)
Have I mentioned that Phil can eat whatever the hell he wants with his sugar conspiracy documentaries?
I'll continue to eat walnuts. I won't drink soy milk, except in coffee. What milk may I eat? Is this a trap? Am I not supposed to eat cereal? Am I going to wake up to sausage and eggs?
We should all be eating less red meat. It's not sustainable, or kind. Chickens are sustainable, and I don't care about them. (I know there are people who love their chickens, but I don't get it.) Too bad if the chickens eat grain--they'd eat their own egg shells, given half a chance.
I'm supposed to eat shell-fish but not chicken? Do you know what shell-fish eat? (It's disgusting. I like them, but it's disgusting.)
Okay, I might be a little irritable because I have to have total knee replacement. But do I have to have a total lifestyle replacement as well?
- The orthopedic surgeon did in fact inject something into my knee (Synvisc One), and my knee felt better immediately. The relief may last 4 - 6 months, and then I can opt for another injection to postpone surgery yet again. Eventually, I will have to have knee replacement surgery, but it's best to postpone it as long as possible.
- I have been eating almost exclusively from the GOOD FOODS list since I first wrote this post (not long ago). I am almost chagrined to admit how much it has helped. I had been icing my feet as well as my knee every night to relieve pain caused by inflammation. I have not had to ice anything since I gave up kettle-cooked potato chips and the like. It could be a placebo effect, but the difference is truly remarkable and motivates to continue eating the right foods. I've also lost a couple of pounds without feeling the least bit deprived. Please excuse me while I go write this up in a book and make a million dollars.