Today he moved my knee join in all possible directions and instantly said, "Yes, you defininitely have a problem!" as it cracked, popped and made awful grinding noises. Brian mentioned that my dad and brother had both already had knee surgeries. The doctor told me straight out I was WAY too young to have osteoarthritis though it fit.
He ordered an X-ray and had good news bad news from what he saw. Osteoarthritis that is medium severity on the way to bad enough for surgery. For now I do thigh strengthening exercises and walk. No jogging. I got 4 medications to use. One to lubricate the bad joints (within 4-5 months of beginning a daily dose of it), one for pain today, vitamin D (because as he said everyone here has vitamin D deficiency because they don't spend enough time in the sun) and a topical cream called No-Dolor (which means "no pain" in Spanish.
I told him I don't exercise because exercise is what causes the pain. If I don't exercise I used to feel better. He told me the brace I am wearing us weakening my muscles so I will stop that and start doing weighted exercise to strengthen my thigh and take the stress off the joint again.
My favorite question confused me at first. He asked if I sit on the floor. I had to think for a minute. Yes, occasionally I sit on the floor with the kids or something but I probed to make sure I understood and he clarified, "Culturally you don't sit on the floor do you?" As he looked at my fair Caucasian face and light brown hair. Oh! "No. I don't sit on the floor." I realized he meant did I sit on the floor for all my meals etc. But in my head I thought, "No way! That would kill my knees!!"
So no surgery recommended for now though I still hurt every day. And sometimes I hurt a lot. It won't improve quickly, especially because I need to quit wearing the knee brace which is guaranteed to add to the pain threshold for several weeks.
I just don't know how this mid-thirties body will ever survive to old age without being utterly miserable if it started breaking down at the age of twelve. Sad but true.