A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I got a second opinion - ("You have the knees of a 20 year old!")

First of all, can I tell you how TOTALLY CRAZY it is that two doctors can look at the exact same data and come up with completely opposite conclusions? My head is just spinning and I don't even know where to start!

Yesterday, I went to the Hershey Bone and Joint Institute to get a second opinion regarding my knee pain. As usual, I came armed with all of my info and was ready to take notes!

The knee saga I have gone through over the past 2 years is too long to recap here in it's entirety, but I can quickly tell you my original doctor/surgeon at OIP told me I have minimal arthritis and should get a fluid injection and physical therapy to remedy my problem. 

I really wanted to check the first box, but made myself be truthful!

My main questions for my new doctor were:

1. Is my arthritis significant enough to cause my pain and weakness?

2. If not, is there something else contributing to my symptoms?

3. Should I get the injection?

I was armed with X-rays and an MRI, as well as all of the surgical notes from OIP. I gave my new doctor a lot to look at. Also, one of his med students came in first, and I pretty much told him the whole knee saga story, which he then relayed to the doctor before he came to see me. Both the med student and the doctor had me move my knee, touched it, manipulated it, and did all that jazz.

My actual images!

I felt like Hershey gave me a very comprehensive appointment. On the other hand, when I was at OIP last month, my doctor simply had me bend my leg for him. Okay, I can't think about that or I will get angry. Let me get back on track...

So after reviewing all the images, surgical notes, and doing an extensive examination of my legs, Dr. Dhawan told me the following information:

"Structurally, your knees look perfect."

"You have the knees of a 20 year old."

"I wish I had your knees."

"You do not have arthritis. There is very minimal wear on the cartilage."

"There is nothing wrong with your knee."

I am sure you can imagine how shocked I was! If you remember, this is what my doctor at OIP told me a little over a month ago...


I asked Dr. Dhawan point blank: "How can two different doctors tell me two completely different things?"

Dr. Dhawan stressed that he wasn't throwing anyone under the bus, but with the data he had (he said he's very DATA DRIVEN), there is nothing to suggest there is anything wrong with my knee other than I am feeling pain. He even showed my the final MRI findings:

The MRI showed NOTHING "wrong" with my knee. 
Everything read "unremarkable".

So this is good news and bad news, right? The good news is THERE IS NOTHING WRONG AND I HAVE THE KNEES OF A 20 YEAR OLD!!! The bad news (other than that OIP SUCKS and I apparently had unnecessary surgery last year) is that I still have knee pain.

Dr. Dhawan said I need to think of my knee pain the way we think about a headache. He said most of the time a headache is just a headache. There's no brain tumor or cancer causing the ailment, it is just a headache. We power on, we take pain relievers, and go about our days.

So like a headache pain, I am experiencing pain, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with my knee. Physical activity is not going to harm my knee because structurally there ISN'T anything wrong with it. I need to power on and manage the pain with pain relievers or other methods. He stressed that activity will probably make it feel better, and I agreed that it's on rest days it hurts the worst.

As you can imagine, my head is spinning. For the past two years, I have been operating under the assumption that activity was going to make whatever is wrong with my knee worse and that I should limit activity to help it heal. That's not the case. I have pain and that is all.

He did not recommend getting surgery on injections at this time.

I couldn't wait to call Paul and my mom and tell them the good news. (I am considering this VERY good news!) "I have the knees of a 20 year old and the boobs of a 12 year old!" I told them. 

I guess I need to go research pain. I did grab some over the counter pain relievers on my way home, so that is a good place to start. I never ever take those because I didn't want to mask my pain and then injure myself further. It looks like masking the pain is what I need to do at this point, though.

It is just almost unfathomable to me that I could go out right now and do hill repeats and not harm my knee at all. That doesn't mean it won't feel sore after. But it does mean that I can workout at whatever level I can tolerate and not worry about doing harm to my knees.


I just can't believe my OIP doctor insinuated that my knees were so bad. Dr. Dhawan went over the MRI report with me and carefully looked at the images. "Unremarkable MRI examination of the knee," it read.

Having an unremarkable knee is a good thing. I just don't understand how my first doctor could tell me I have arthritis and I don't have a "normal knee" when clearly that is not the case!!!

Can you think of other pain management techniques I can do besides ice and over the counter pain relievers?

Have you or someone you love ever gotten different diagnosis from different doctors?


  1. Wow, Megan. That is crazy how you got such different dx from each doctor! I think my head would be spinning, too, but overall it's awesome news! I am glad nothing is wrong and you are not going to hurt yourself any more by doing the things you love. Very relieved for you, girl!

    1. Thank Susan! The more I think about it the more questions I have. I really don't understand how two doctors arrived at different conclusions. And which one to believe??? Of course I WANT to believe my knee is just fine!

  2. Wahoo!!!!!!!! Other than the scary fact that two medical doctors had the same data and reached different conclusions, you must feel delighted! I'm so very happy for you to get that great news. It's weird how sometimes I think about my blogging friends and wonder how certain things are going. Your knee was one of the things I wondered about. I'm glad to hear you are A-Ok. :)

    1. Thanks Heather! Yes, it IS scary! I mean, I want to believe my 2nd doctor because he seemed to really know his shit, and of course I want to believe the good news... but then when I think about how CONFIDENT my first doctor was... I mean he didn't say it COULD be arthritis, he straight up told me that is what it was. So weird. So much to process.

  3. I just wrote a long comment and now it disappeared! I am so happy for you....and I want to share two things you may want to check out. The first is this article about pain and healing from an injury: http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/a-good-hurt-vs-pain-an-introduction-to-understanding-pain/
    The second is a little more "out there", but something to consider! John Sarno writes about how our brains tell us that we have pain in our bodies to distract us from emotional issues. Here is one of his books: http://www.amazon.com/The-Divided-Mind-John-Sarno-ebook/dp/B000SEHJOI/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0T4XTEJYHBC3BGK2TEW8
    I think once you can accept that you have a healthy knee it will eventually stop hurting!

    1. I am so sorry your comment disappeared. That is VERY frustrating and I wish my blog didn't do that to you!

      THANK you for those two things to read. I WILL read them and appreciate very much you taking the time to recommend them to me. :)

  4. Yay!! I'm so happy for you!! I won't even go there about how insane it is that one doctor can say you're completely fine after another told you you'd never be normal. YOU CAN RUN AGAIN!!!! Wahoo!!!

    How odd that after all this time, all it came down to was "nothing's wrong, you just have a headache in your knee, suck it up and keep going!" I hope pain relievers help...do you take them often (like for headaches and cramps and stuff)?

    1. I actually never take pain relievers. If I have a really bad headache at work I sometimes do, but never for running aches and pains or period pains. I always say I want to KNOW if something hurts, you know?

      Lisa sent me some VERY interesting reading- if you look up at her comment. About how pain is a tricky thing and because you feel pain doesn't always mean there is something wrong with the tissue. I plan to post about this topic when I have more informatioN! I know it sounds little froo-froo-ey but what I have read so far makes sense... in my situation that is. I have to read more. But that first link she gave me is a quick read and sums most of it up...

  5. I'm sooo happy for you but so flabbergasted! The second diagnosis is the opposite of what you've been hearing, which is so crazy! But I'm glad your knee pain is just pain, not a sign of something bigger. It sucks that you had surgery for basically nothing. I'm so happy to hear you can run again!

    1. I wish I knew WHY I had pain if nothing is wrong, but looking forward to researching it. I am so happy to know I won't hurt anything too.

  6. That is great news. So sorry that you had to go through a mistaken dx first!
    Those articles that Lisa tagged look interesting...
    Have fun running!

    1. Thank you Cheryl! Yes they sound a little new age-y at first (didn't look too into the book one) but the article I read and the links I provided are making sense to me. Why do I feel pain if there is nothing wrong with me? It's an interesting topic and I am ready to dive in!

  7. The articles Lisa shared are AWESOME, and explain why sometimes we feel more pain than we should or no pain at all when we maybe should... hence, your stress fracture! She sure gave me a lot to think about.

  8. I had almost the exact same thing happen to me when I hurt my knee and IT band back in the fall. The first doctor I saw barely looked at me and just wrote a prescription for anti-inflammatorys. Thank goodness for the second doctor who actually helped me! I'm so glad you got good news. You can run again!!! Hopefully with the news that nothing is wrong with your knee, the pain will fade. Our brains do crazy things!

    1. They sure do! I am glad you found a doctor who actually HELPED you! :) Wishing you strong running in your future!

  9. I CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED THIS NEWS!!!! I am so so so so so so happy for you!!!!!

    Meg, go run!

    1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You were one of the people who gave me a kick in the bum to get a 2nd opinion so THANK YOU :)

  10. Sorry to hear that you got such a mixed bit of information from each doctor, must be hard to find someone you can trust when things end up being so difficult to source. I had a similar thing with my husband who went to like 10 different specialists to finally find out what the problem was, sorry again, god bless.

    Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts