One year, 8 months and 30 days, after my knee stopped working and my life as I knew it ended, the source of its disfunction, or internal derangement as one specialist termed it, was discovered. It took doctors, Meng and Darrow, less than a minute to find the black line that indicated the tear in the fleshy white pad of fatty tissue under my kneecap. The tear that wasn’t found on the $2000 MRI taken soon after my knee first dislocated. The ultra sound also clearly showed what was painfully felt in almost my every waking, walking, sitting and standing minute. My kneecap had moved out of its home in the trochlear groove, and was hovering above it resulting in the atrophy and shortening on many essential muscles and tendons. Ouch is an understatement.
This discovery came as part of the odyssey I have been on since I last blogged too many months ago, into the world of cutting edge medical procedures, like prolotherapy and hi frequency ultrasound, in the hopes of regaining my health and my life as a writer, yogini,mother, wife, lover of dance and long walks. And what an odyssey it has been. A wild, occasionally blessed, mostly agonizingly, can’t sleep, can’t stand,walk or even sit for long, all consuming, put a bullet through my brain level pain ride that has been my existence since December 2009. As told Dr. Darrow, I have eked every bit of learning I can out of this injury and I can’t go on as I am any longer. The pain of this injury was and is compounded by the stress of my father’s failing health, and a fibroid so big the charming (not) gyn who informed me of it said, I’d be back begging him for a hysterectomy. But mostly it is the unremitting, brain scrambling pain that has kept me from doing almost everything that I love that has almost killed me. Pain, chronic pain, is worse than death. It is a parasite which slowly drains all the hope, energy and joy out of one’s being. It is a black cloud without a silver lining. It is only by practicing what I preach and teach through “Engaging the Senses”, that I am still alive.
There were many days that Beauty and my ability to appreciate it has literally saved me. Beauty in the form(s) of: birdsong, the sound of my mother’s voice (insisting that one day my knee will heal. The feeling and sound of my breath as I meditate, the vibration of Om as I chant. The sight of my black and white lop eared bunnies hopping or snuggling in the grass. The color of the clouds at sunset. The touch of my beloved’s arms around me. The smell of the night blooming jasmine as I painfully walked the dog late at night. The poetry of Mary Oliver, the thoughts of Thoreau and Emerson, the cold, temporary amnesia of an ice pack, and the heat of a lavender scented wheat bag on my spasming muscles.
Without Beauty, which is a kind of Grace, I would have given up by now. I still have a long road of rehabilitation ahead. And yes, sometimes I am still scared and overwhelmed by the pain. But at least I now have hope, something I didn’t have before. More about that, the magic that is prolotherapy, and a chronicle of my participation in a clinical trail at UCLA that evaluates the dissolution of fibroids by hi-frequency ultrasound, and Beauty as a saving Grace, in part two.