shortsassybc, the pain is what wears all of us down eventually. I've discovered that when I am the most exhausted from hurting is when I make the worst decisions. Probably because I don't really have the energy to focus the way that I should.
Would a knee unloading brace work to help with the pain? These are relatively new and I know a couple of people with them that swear by them.
Here's a link to an article that has a relatively understandable description:http://osteoarthritis.about.com/od/knee ... _brace.htm
I try not to link to the medical journal articles. Mostly because the anatomy of the knee is complex and just understanding how all the "parts" fit together is necessary to really understand what they are writing about. Well, that and the fact that most of the people who write journal articles desperately need lessons in how to write complex ideas understandably from writers like Sarah.
I don't love being in a wheelchair. I do love the fact that it decreases some of my pain and allows me to spend my energy on stuff I love instead of having nothing left at the end of the day to actually live my life with. I save the few steps that I have for the stuff that can only be done with me upright and the wheelchair actually helps me have more steps than I would without it.
There is also an excellent blog post about the "spoon theory" of living with chronic pain. It mostly helps to explain to other people what it is like to live with chronic pain. Just living our normal lives takes much, much more energy when you have to deal with chronic pain too. Here's a link to the article:http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/artic ... serandino/
I wish I had better answers! Hope that medical science progresses enough that they can find something that works for you.
I generally keep an eye out for medical articles from Japan (they invented arthroscopic knee surgery) and Europe (better system for approving new surgeries) for my medical stuff. The totally profit driven medicine here in the USA tends to not always work the best for us patients.