I never knew life would be this rough. It all started back in 8th grade when I realized there was an issue with my knees. I was not sure what was happening but I finally told my parents that I could not walk. At first they did not believe me but when I insisted they finally brought me to a specialist. The first specialist told my mom he could not help me and referred us to another specialist. My parents started to worry. I saw probably somewhere around 15 or so doctors within that year. In the beginning, the doctors thought this was just growing pains and that the pain would only last a short period of time. Then the end of freshman year hit and the pain was only getting worse and worse. I realized I could no longer walk without pain. My knees would not bend. My parents, in hysteria, brought me to a hospital. I ended up getting my first of many MRIs. Being a patient going through test after test is how I ended my freshman year. I could remember it like it was yesterday the big machine making the noises even the soft elevator music they played in the background. After they got those MRI's back the doctor was shocked and told me and my parents that the pain in my knee was not growing pains it was a lot worse and that I had something called Osteochondritis Dissecans, or better known as OCD, in the knee. OCD in the knee is when pieces of your knee, or lesions, are slowly decaying because they aren’t getting enough blood flow. This disease is found in around 30 kids out of 100,000 but that is only for one knee and one lesion. I had three lesions in my right knee and another three forming in my left knee. My current doctor did not tell us how rare my situation was but said he may be able to fix me knee. So we went with it.
I would try first physical therapy for a two month span and then go back to see if any of the lesions had healed. During all of this happening, in my head, I just pictured my entire summer ruined. I had physical therapy five days a week and then football every day of the week. My entire summer was gone that year; not even a vacation. The first worst part about it all is I went through all that physical therapy and all that early summer morning lifting to realize my knees just got worse. The doctor explained that my knee was like a house of cards just ready to collapse. I would have to have surgery in November which meant I was out of football the entire season. When this happened I was devastated and felt like I had wasted all of that work for nothing. The only thing I looked forward to everyday was being with my friends on the football field, a normal kid. Then on November 1st, 2016, I got my first surgery on my right knee. What they tried to do was pierce holes in my knee cap, the size of a tip of a pencil, to try to create blood flow. This ended up not working and I had to redo another two months of physical therapy. After all of this I thought to myself, why me? Around January the doctor wanted to do another surgery, however, I was not comfortable having it since he did not fix it the first time and I knew he was not going to fix it the second time. So my parents and I decided to get a new doctor.
Around March I thought nothing was going my way. I was out of sports, they could not fix my knee and I was out of gym class. Then, my parents found a new doctor. His name was Peter Fabricant, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. As soon as I met this man I knew he would do everything to try and help me fix my knee. On April 29th, 2017, I had my second surgery (with Dr. Fabricant) on my right knee. This surgery took a lot longer for a recovery time due to the fact that it was such a high intensity surgery. At this time, they cut open my knee and they took out all of the worn down cartilage and replaced it with better cartilage from other parts of my knee to make it stronger. Then I could not bend my knee fully for around two months so I had to use crutches. After a long recovery, I finally got my right leg back to full range of motion. Now in present time my knee feels a lot better than before. I am now a senior and I finally got to play football.
I am very grateful to have had a team of doctors to dedicate their time in putting me in the right medical direction and a family to be there to support me along the way. Although I am not yet fully recovered and may have to have additional surgeries I am proud of the progress I have made both physically and mentally. There were many times that I felt as though there would be no hope in this situation. There were many days I was in so much pain I could barely hold back tears. There were many days however, my friends would be there to support me. Many days where my family would make a fun day for us all to do something that did not require me to walk. I am grateful for everyone’s support in this difficult time but I am so very thankful that we found Dr. Peter Fabricant.