Q: What do you get when you cross a knee injury with an active person?
A: A very crabby lady who is prone to fits of tears for no apparent reason.
I’m sidelined. Big time. Short story: while skiing for the first time at the age of 19, I lost control on the bunny slopes and my knee went one way while my ski went the other. (darn binding. and darn skiing.) So, uninsured I took what the ER docs told me was an ACL tear and stuck that in my back pocket and went on with my life. Sure, there have been incidents of strain and the knee gives occasionallly given my activity level- but since I don’t play soccer or basketball, I never even thought of fixing it.
Fast forward to February and picture me coming off a huge fitness achievement- completing a half marathon in 2:02. Yes, yes, I was on top of the world. My recovery week was fine. Then I started getting back to my normal activities and during a routine drill one day in boot camp my knee went “pop” or “crunch” or some other icky sound and I felt it give in a way that didn’t feel right.
Diagnosis: ACL tear PLUS miniscus tear. (medial, if you care)
If you know anything about the knee and about knee surgery – you may know that an ACL repair or reconstruction is a nightmare. You spend 6 weeks in a big straight cast on crutches. You can’t do anything on it for a couple months. Rehab takes time. It takes a solid 9 months to get back to normal. But, normal on a different knee – where there is no guarantee that you will be able to run long periods or play sports.
I have to admit- I am struggling with all of this. My normal activity level has been drastically reduced. I use exercise as a stress reliever- and now I feel more stressed because I am afraid to do much and don’t like my fitness alternatives (swimming bores me to tears. thank goodness for cycle classes- but cycle everyday?). I have gained weight because my body is used to me burning through most my calories and now I can’t. The diagnosis and recommendations keep me up at night. Don’t these doctors have a 2 year old? How could they possibly suggest the ONLY way to fix this is through surgery? Not to mention the monetary difficulty I would have if I couldn’t teach and run my business for 6 months.
So where does that leave me? Well, the surgeons can put their knives away for now. I am in rehab and got fitted for a nifty brace that takes up most of my leg. However, I can still remain active, and most important to me I can still RUN. I can’t imagine my life without running. To me, running is my therapy and often clears away my worst mood or thought.
I also have had to face my own reliance on the endorphin’s exercise releases and the impact on my mood! My poor husband doesn’t know what to do with me. My good fitness friends get me though. I couldn’t imagine going through all this without the support of good friends who have gone through injury before. Oh, and awesome instructors who help me along the way.
So, I’ll turn it on you. Tell me when injury sidelined you. How did you get through it? It sounds cheesy- but I am a person who if I don’t exercise in some way for more than two days in a row starts to crawl the walls and yelling at cute puppies. It’s bad. I need you all to tell me it will be ok!