Monday, October 22, 2012

Makeovers and a Twist

Rachel is beginning to worry me. I'm not sure this college thing is such a good idea.

About a year ago a friend at work had a new procedure done on his knees in an attempt to restore lost cartilage. The procedure involves harvesting stem cells from your bone marrow and injecting them at the site of the injury. Stem-cells have the unique ability to become the cells needed to repair an injury. The science is still new and will undoubtedly improve in time but even now it appears to be beneficial. Barry was treated by the people at Regenexx and says that one of his knees feels 100% while the other is improved but without as good a result. One other guy at work also had one of his knees treated recently. Jeff used to run ultra-marathons and hoped to begin training for them again but his procedure didn't yield the results he'd hoped for. There are no guarantees but the procedure has piqued my interest and I'm considering having it done.

For the longest time, my knees have been my Achilles-heel so to speak. I first injured my right knee in high-school and within a few weeks of having my leg's full-length cast removed I re-injured it in a fall that had my leg back in another full-length cast. My left leg has had to carry more than its share of the load in the years since and all that extra emphasis placed on it during my long distance efforts both running and cycling has caused it to begin to rebel. I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee 20 years ago to clean out some debris from years as a distance runner which actually seemed to help it quite a bit but I decided then that my running days were over. The pain I feel in both knees keeps me from pushing as hard as I'd like on my rides but I've been able to work on my pedal stroke over the last couple years so I'm not putting as much pressure on my knees without sacrificing power. It's helped a lot.

I made an appointment last Monday with my regular doctor to see if he could schedule me for MRIs of both knees and to see what he thought about what the folks at Regenexx were doing. I sort of expected him to poo-poo the idea but he didn't. He was familiar with the main doctor heading the procedure as they used to work in the same network together. I was able to get the images taken later that day and was surprised at how long the scans took; roughly 25 minutes per knee. I left Suburban Imaging with a couple of discs of the scans then made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to see what he felt about the overall health of my knees and to get his opinion of stem-cell therapy.

The orthopedic doctor had x-rays taken of both legs and put my knees through some motions to assess them. He felt that their overall condition was good. The joints were stable and my condition isn't bone-on-bone but I do have a loss of cartilage and a condition called chondromalacia. I knew that but I was very relieved to hear him say that that's all it was. My concern going in was that I'd wasted away much of my cartilage from years of running and cycling and that I would continue to damage them if I kept doing what I've been. He actually encouraged me to keep riding. I mentioned that it seems the pain gets worse when I ride infrequently and I've never understood that. He said that through a process called diffusion, exercise (working the joint) helps bring a new supply of nutrients to the joint to keep it lubricated and healthy. He felt the stem-cell therapy was worth looking into but offered that there's still a long way to go with that method of treatment before it's more accepted. He also talked with me about Synvisc injections into my knee as well as cortisone shots to relieve pain. Synvisc, yes; cortisone, no. I have no interest in cortisone injections because I think there are just too many long-term side effects from them to contend with.

I left the orthopedic doctor's office feeling so happy about his evaluation of my knees. I haven't ruined them and I'm not looking at any sort of radical surgery anytime soon to repair them. I have an appointment with the people at Regenexx next week and will hear their analysis of where I'm at and if their treatment can get me off the anti-inflammatory drugs I depend on so much these days to minimize my knee pain.

I'm quite sure that this is easily the most boring post I've made in a while but this is important for me to write about for years from now.

Our geek-room at work got a nice makeover last week and is reopen for business.  The new configuration has a few less slots but I think it's worth the trade-off.  It's where we geeks spend our break-time, giving our eyes a rest from the stress of staring at the radar. Oh, trust me, it really works.

Speaking of a makeover; Tammy and I went shopping for new eye-glasses a few nights ago. It's been a few years and while our prescriptions didn't change much we felt it was time to update our look. The doctor did notice a small cataract developing in my right eye. He said that what I'm experiencing is a normal part of the aging process but that I'm a few years ahead of schedule. He told me that eventually they'll replace the lens of my eye with an artificial lens, one with my new prescription built into it. That part appeals to me very much. Cataracts can be caused by several things; long-term exposure to ultraviolet light (which I get plenty of during the summer out on my bike) and Corticosteroids (which I get plenty of in the form of Prednisone when I'm in a cluster-headache phase). I would guess it's the latter that is responsible for my condition. There's also another possible cause, that being the glassblowing we do. I'll often stare straight into the gloryhole without eye protection while working on a piece and I'm guessing that's not so good.

A Marriage Amendment is on the ballot here in Minnesota defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I'm opposed to it for multiple reasons. We heterosexuals have sort of made a mockery of marriage with our all too high divorce rate plus I simply feel that the amendment is forcing religious views on others who may not share those same beliefs and that's not right.

Watch the video below to the end for an interesting twist. Actually, watch it twice!


David Bryan Gilmore said...

I remember that couch photo after our trip back from Pottstown. This was in our 3rd apartment at "The Place" in Plymouth.
I'm sure you remember that trip back stuck in the back of our green VW Squareback.

Bob said...

Is that a paid actor in the geek room picture? No one can look that geeky normally. :)
Say hi to everyone for me.

Kevin said...

Haha...oh yes, I remember it well! That would've been July, 1975 if I'm not mistaken.

Kevin said...

Oh, but my plan was to have no paid actors in the photo. I didn't want to give the impression that the room was full of controllers yucking it up with nothing better to do! ;-)

I'll do, Bob. I hope you're enjoying your retirement!

Steve Saeedi said...

Let me get this straight. You have a break room to relieve your eyes from radar screens by staring at laptops in little brown squares?

Kevin said...

Steve...I forgot to helps to relax the mind as well from all of the stress you know ;-)