Hey guys - a bit of an update!
First - Flytobecat, I will be extremely careful with the herbs. Contrary to who I was when I first got injured (desperate to be in the saddle and careless of what would truly help me) I'd rather take my time, do the research and confer with all of my resources. If you had told me of comfrey or the rest of the stuff listed in this thread two years ago, I would have blindly begged for it to be ordered and started taking it with relentless fury. So I promise, I'll be careful. For now, comfrey is on the back burner. I've had such success with just doing different work-outs that I decided against it.
Second - Stairs, planking, leg-lifts (laying on my side and lifting my legs up), curl ups and walking have become my best friends! I mean wow, the change in my knees is impossibly evident. Kettlebell swings didn't feel quite right, but I'm going to try them again when I start seeing slightly better results from the workouts I am doing. Hopefully a slightly stronger core will help make kettlebell swings doable.
I learned something interesting about my knees. When walking normally (pressure travels from the outer foot into the big toe) is when I feel the most pan in my knees. If I walk in an opposite way (applying the most pressure at my inner toe and traveling the weight out to my outer foot, the pain in my knees vanishes. I don't know if this is good or bad, or if it's damaging my knees, but it is interesting.
Also! I've begun looking for a PT and planning a doctor's visit for November. Hopefully I'll be able to get in...
The path is different for you and me, but the journey begins in the heart.