am a 59 year old, recently retired high school principal from
Massachusetts. Growing up, I was always very
active and played sports. By the time I was a senior in high school,
I was captain of the football team, a starter on the basketball
team, and the captain of the baseball team. I had already had two
broken left ankles, two broken noses, and a broken finger. Being 6
feet two and weighing 220 pounds, I had a choice to make, either
pursue a baseball career or a football career. I chose football and
accepted a full scholarship to a college down South. I sustained my
first knee injury in the Spring of 1968 and returned home. I decided
football wasn't a good choice. I had surgery on the left knee in
1969 for a torn cartilage and ended up having the other cartilage on
the same knee out in 1970. These were major surgeries then, hospital
stays were a week or more.
I finished my education and began teaching in 1973 and made
do with a very sore knee, something was still wrong but nothing
doctors could do about it. In 1985, I went to see a new OS and with
the new technology and surgery techniques, he saw I had a torn ACL.
It was repaired with the hopes it would stabilize my knee and stop
arthritis from getting worse. In 2000, I couldn't stand the pain
anymore and saw another new OS and he did a total knee replacement.
He also discovered I had an abnormal buildup of Calcium Deposits in
my knee joint. The Calcium issue raised its ugly head again in 2002
with my spine. I had surgery for spinal stenosis.
In 2005, I had my right knee operated on for a torn cartilage
and the OS said that knee joint was full of Calcium deposits. I saw
a rheumatologist and he diagnosed me with
This is a painful condition which acts like Gout but its not food
related. I have Calcium
deposits in all my joints and can have a flare up at any time in any
In February, 2006, I had just started my school vacation
week. Out of nowhere, I started having back pain. Within 24 hours, I
was having the back pain, a raging fever, vomiting, and total body
convulsions. I was home a week like this, even after seeing two
different doctors who told me I had the flu. Eventually, I was taken
to our local hospital by ambulance and admitted for Pneumonia. I
don't remember most of my stay in the local hospital because I was
so sick. My wife and her family tell me I was so bad they were sure
I was going to die. After 4 days, an infectious disease doctor took
over my case, ordered a CT scan of my back, and it was discovered I
had a large spinal infection in the L 2, L 3 region. I was sent off
General Hospital in Boston and had emergency surgery. Because of my
weakened condition and bowel and bladder issues, I was sent to a Rehab Hospital. I was sent home mid March and for
6 more weeks was on IV antibiotics and PT. I went back to work in
May but was far from right. I was still in constant back pain and
terribly weak. By August, my surgeons determined that my spine had
become dangerously unstable but surgery would have to wait because
of the spinal infection. I guess it lays dormant and surgery could
have stirred it up again.
On April 2, 2007, I had my first spinal fusion surgery. My
entire lumbar region was fused together with screws, plates, and
rods along with some of my hip bone. Ten days later, surgery was
done through my abdomen and another piece of my hip was fused into
place. I was again sent off to the Rehab Hospital and got home the end of April.
I never made it back to work so I took an early retirement.
Pain has been my constant companion for most of my adult life,
either with my knees, joints, or back. I guess I don't have anything
to look forward to when I reach 80, I've already experienced it.
The picture here is my wife Nancy and me, taken about a year
before all my back stuff started happening. We have been married for
37 years, and have two grown sons that were a Godsend these past few