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I'm wondering if I'll be able to handle skating, since it would involve having my already sensitive joints close to a cold surface

Cool gift, Niki!

I have some knee problems, but I can handle skating just fine. Don't know how your lower leg pain would be affected. Keep in mind that you'll be wearing shin guards with kneecups and full-length socks, which will tend to keep your knee joints warm. That will probably help. Just remember to stretch thoroughly before you skate hard.

I wish I could help you with the scheduling problem.

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