I talk to my incredible mom frequently, but she does learn certain things about me via this blog. After all, I blog about five times a week; Mom and I talk once a week, on average, with texts and emails in there as needed. I got to spend quality time with her last weekend in Manhattan — and took a pretty terrific selfie with her and legendary quilters Paula Nadelstern and Mark Lipinski which can be found on my Instagram page right here — and we had dinner and saw Rebecca Fons in a show at Second City in Chicago on Monday, but I never got around to telling her that I have some bad news. Sorry, Mom. Knee-brace yourself.
My knees are in trouble. It’s both of them, and it’s serious.
Admitting this is a big step. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in dealing with the problem and I have not dealt with The Knee Thing for… I have put my head in the sand about my knees for probably two years. But I am making myself accountable tonight. I have to see a doctor. It is getting worse and worse.
Look, when you have Ulcerative Colitis and then you have organs taken out because of Ulcerative Colitis and then you weather infections and things, those events don’t happen in a vacuum. My GI doctor does bone density scans (they’re not fabulous) and we do blood work (hello, iron infusions that cost $750 each) because while no one is “normal,” some people are less normal than others. At least some people have less bone density and iron than others and have absorption issues because of high-maintenance or non-existant intestinal walls.
The constant throb of knee pain that I have may or may not be related to my illness. It could be that I have, along with my other fun body portfolio, plain old “bad knees.” But I’m not overweight, I’m not an athlete, and we don’t have “bad knees” in my family, so I’m inclined to think it’s got something to do with UC, not from an absorption issue but…
This is where the blogger who blogs about her personal life has a decision to make. Do I tell you why I think I have knee pain really? Or what is most certainly compounding it? How much information is too much? If it’s scary to tell you the truth, does that mean I should tell you or does it mean I shouldn’t? In this case, after staring at the computer screen for long minutes, I have decided to tell you the ugly truth out of empathy for other humans who might have the same issue or need to know they are not the only ones.
My knees are shot because of getting up and down off the toilet so much for nine years.
There you go. Sexy, right? So cool. So glamorous. How cute am I now? How together do I have it now? Are you impressed? Did my Facebook likes go up? It’s the truth, comrades, and there does come a point when the truth is the best thing because you’re just too tired for anything else. At my sickest, I went to the toilet 30 times a day. It hasn’t been that bad for a long time. But when I had an ostomy (three years total), I went a ton, just because I hated having anything in my bag. When I got sicker, I went a lot. And now, better but never normal, I go probably 10-12 times a day. When you don’t have a colon, that’s actually a pretty good number.
That’s a lot of up and down, you know? That’s a lot of knees.
When I realized this, when I heard horrible crunching, gritty sound of my knees without even putting my head near them — this started well over a year ago — I was getting up from using the commode. Have you ever laughed bitterly? I mean really bitterly? I have. I did that day. I thought, “My God. My knees are a casualty of this.”
But who wants to have bad knees in her thirties? Who wants to admit why? No one, and not me. I’d rather make quilts. I’d rather work on the book I’m writing. I’d rather make dinner for Mariano (he’s coming over in a little while!) and I’d rather be with you, talking about anything, anything other than this.
My life is so incredible. I love school. I love writing for Quilts, Inc. I love my friends and my family. I adore where I live. I’m embarrassed when I look around at all that I have, really. Knee surgery ain’t that bad. I just don’t know when I’ll do it. Maybe this summer.
Because it’s bad, Mom. They hurt all the time and they click and pop. And I’m really sad.