Showing posts with label knee surgery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knee surgery. Show all posts

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Playing in the mud!

I did it! I DID IT!

I went mt. biking for the first time since my surgery - count it - that equates to over four months - ages since I have hit the trails and ventured in the woods!

What a perfect day for it, come to think about it, it was sunny and cool, that was as perfect as I needed, I never minded the extreme mud factor to begin with.

Galbi - CHECK!

Oh and need I forget to mention the sweet new ride that made the day that much sweeter.... oh it is PERFECT! I can't wait to share it with you all. It is down right beautiful! It is John's "work of art." He has gone above and beyond anything I could ever dream of and has made me a feather weight, fast rolling, beauty just for me (well I actually think that he really wants it). Did I mention this bike is perfect. I can hardly stand to wait until the next time I get to ride it. Too bad it is the awesome "shoulder season " here in the "ham bone and it is going to rain all week. 

So the ride was great and then we had the people that we biked with over for a BBQ - the second BBQ of the weekend - that is. I love our new deck and it is getting use. What is better than feeding friends, chatting, enjoying the sunset, and every single one of us were whooped from biking that day - all 10 of us.

Life just got so much better - summer - here I come!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tales of my knee

I think I may be close to 75% with my "new" knee.
So close, so close!
The surgery worked or so it seems. I visit with my surgon this afternoon at which point he will give me a timeline for the next couple of monthes, smile and tell me that everything looks good and then send the bill. Gripping!
After spending the weekend tangling (litterlally getting attacked), whacking, chopping, cursing, pulling, cursing, and then digging out the roots and hauling away two truck loads of blackberry brambles. I HATE BLACKBERRIES! Non-native blackberry bushes are a waste of land and take an extream amount of effort to erradicate. The berries (left) look so tasty, why spend a weekend getting rid of them? Don't even get me started..... just plant natives and save the heartache when they need to go, just like ivy. Just don't do it.
J was a huge help this weekend providing motavation, lots of time and grunt work. Every bit of effort will help with our overall satisfaction and resale value. One project at a time. Next: roof, landscaping, maybe a pump track for J....
Pulling blackberries, digging up roots and carrying wheel barrel loads of gravel is right up my alley on a good day but with a lack of strength in my knee and overall weakened body, this task was a serious undertaking, especially just eight weeks out of surgery. I made it through the project with no mishaps, just extreamly tired. After talking to the doctor, explaining how excited I was to get back in the swing of things he told me to hold on doing these sorts of tasks until about July. Whew, more waiting; looks like J has to dig, mow, and landscape the rest of the season.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Coming out on top

Life is better when the bright side shows. Really, the light is so much better than the dark.

Instead of sharing my unhampered desire to go for a run, bike ride, yoga, get out of a chair with out looking like I am 87... I want to share with you the light that I have gained through this whole process.
First the lyrics to one of my favorite songs right now by Leonard Cohen titled, "Anthem"

The birds they sang
at the break of day

Start again

I heard them say

Don't dwell on what

has passed away

or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will

be fought again

The holy dove

She will be caught again

bought and sold

and bought again

the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs

the signs were sent:

the birth betrayed

the marriage spent

Yeah the widowhood

of every government --

signs for all to see.

I can't run no more

with that lawless crowd

while the killers in high places

say their prayers out loud.

But they've summoned, they've summoned up

a thundercloud

and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts

but you won't have the sum

You can strike up the march,

there is no drum

Every heart, every heart

to love will come

but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

That's how the light gets in.

That's how the light gets in.

If I hadn't came through this experiance with my head held high and surround by encouragement, well, I would probably laying in bed asking someone to bring me more pain meds, bread, and chocolate. Here I am, behind a computer, a zest for life that cannot be put out. The spring is slowy coming back into my step, I feel as if I can move again, I can walk with long confident strides, covering ground with purpose and intent. My body has waken up from its slumber and is full of life. I have a fresh twinkle in my eye because I have been patiently waiting, waiting to get back to my life in whatever form that it may take on.
Every day I am discovering the things that came through the cracks, the light that shines in my life. This bump in my life was meant to happen, and I am grateful for what I have learned. Let me share...
The most important thing I have learned so far is my invincability. I was strong and strong willed, but there is a fornce stronger than me out there (gasp) and it is not gravity (which is a very strong force that tossed me from my skis and then sent me tumbling off a ramp on my mountain bike, not at the same time though) it is something else. It is the force that keeps our checks and balances in order.
Health is our greatest wealth. Seriously, I am not trying to be catchy. If the body is not healthy, it is extreamly hard for the rest of the body to be happy and healthy. If the body is weak and injured the day to day activities are comprimised. I have also learned that wealth can buy health (or at least new body parts).
Through this incident I have slowed down and as I haved shared previously I have learned to appreciate other things in life a bit more. I have made dinner almost every night the last couple of weeks, taken on new hobbies and just slowed down in general. I love to be in my house, there possibilities are endless in our little nook and I actuallly feel comfortable. The best part about slowing down has been the time I have been able to spend with my husband. I feel that we have grown closer through the whole ordeal. Our lives have came closer, in a healthy manner and it is not just from him having to wait on me hand a foot for a couple of weeks.
I have had more time to spend with friends and make new ones in the process. Ususpecting people have reached out and helped me through the process and for this my life is richer. My physical therapists are great people, everyone at the gym is encouraging, and my family takes the time to make sure I am still sane. For the most part I am, but there are moments....
I am seeing the light...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


On a scale of one to ten he said I was an 8.5, not something he would like to see in a person my age. My knee injury was an 8.5, really?
It has been about five weeks post surgery. As of TODAY I have ditched the crutches completely, I am hobbling at lightning speed with one hand on the wall like I am two sheets to the wind (well not yet, at least), I can actually start to work on my range of motion, past the 90 degrees I have been working with and I can start to swim, even get on a stationary bike *gasp*. Now the real work begins. What I have been doing has been productive and self-satisfying, but I now feel like I have a neon sign above my head that only the physical therapist can see that is blinking, “begging for pain.” I can handle all the strength training you can shove at me, I will not get tired and complain about it and I can stretch for hours, but breaking down scar tissue is like running over your own leg and then as if that wasn’t enough you have a friend back up over it for you as if it brought so much pleasure. It is just not fun, I have yet to meet a person who will tell you otherwise. My doctor was very candid with me, bringing me back down from my 26 year golden cloud in the sky; this is going to take a good nine months, Michelle. I have yet another obstacle in the recovery road, I am a “skinny athlete” *hhhmmmmm* kind of like “skinny fat” where sure I am fit but I have no bulk to my muscles. My quadriceps look like my calves and that has to change to prevent any further injury. That neon sign just started to flash “she loves squats and lunges!”
On the bright side, because there is always a bright side; I can walk and my knee is incredibly stable, a feeling in which I have not experienced in almost one and a half years!
Cheers, here is to the recovery, the long recovery, the ups and the downs and most of all: the light at the end of the tunnel!

Your story

What is your story? No, seriously, I want to hear it, most everyone I run into, mostly strangers have one. Let me share because apperntly I am not the first person to have knee surgery ( I know, who would have thought?) and there are some people out there that have over came tremendous hurdles.
This morning while pumping gas, the most ususpecting attendant  befriend me, I knew she has had an injury because these are the only people that run to get doors, pull things off the shelf and are extreamly eager to chat.  She had the door open for me before I even realized that I was going to go into the service station and proceed to be amazed at the fact that I could have a knee problem, I think she thought that the only knee injuries were from obesity. I waited because I knew her story was coming, sure enough, she slipped at "pump 5" on gasoline and water which caused her to have over 150 stiches in her left shin which is holding a large metal plate in in her leg. We both agreed that having a good (i.e. good looking) doctor is a major up side to the whole ordeal AND never step on spilled gasoline while the pavement is wet. Never!
Yesterdaywhile I was at the gym, a fellow gym rat (I mean this in a very positive way) wanted to chat, his interest was sparked while he overhearn me talking to another woman about the amount of movement in my knee because her husband had the same sort of injury/surgery (twice) and had a hard time getting his range of motion back (she was a stranger). The man (he remembered me from last fall at the gym pre surgery) chatted about biking, keeping fit, and of course his injuries. His were impressive, mine isn't too bad. He was bench pressing a lot of weight and his bicep tore off his arm, just tore right off. He has the scare to prove it. Don't lift too much! His stories went on (kind of how J. can rattle off his injuries to his knees and ankles) like how he had his meniscus removed from a skiing accident and three lower back surgeries. He told me to stay active or else scare tissue runs your life and I will.
I could go on for hours about the stories that I have heard but I won't because if you are fortinuate enough not to have gone through something of the sort these are probably as boring as watching paint dry. For those of you who might find this interesting I have a few more for you.
My co worker was going up some icy steps and slipped breaking her leg, she had to recover on crutches all winter while it was icey. I know of two more women at work who have slipped on ice and broke their ankles.
While I was donating blood (well just tried to because my ACL is a cadaver I have to wait a year) the lady in the waiting room wanted to chat about my injury, she of course tore her MCL while playing with her dog at the dog park and an excited dog clipped her in the side square on the knee. Again, be careful of loose dogs (I am not advocating living in fear)!
Need I forget my yoga instructer who was playing professional football in the 70's, blew out his knee and killed his career in football when they cut a huge gapping whole in his leg and wrapped his leg muscles around his knee (or something gross like that) and then of course as decades passed and technology advanced he had his knee replaced. He says that yoga is the only thing that keeps his body moving after years of football injuries.
Our good friend had four knee surgeries in three years. He is a ski guru. Needless to say he can relate to what happens during knee surgery. His wife, also a skier, had knee surgery and walked out of the hospital that day.

Okay, I will stop there.
Please tell me about your story and what advice you can share with the rest of us, because it is all very interesting!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Plan B

I can honestly say it has happened. I hit bottom, and thankfully I am floating back to the top. I had a rough weekend, the wheels didn't turn, they tried but all that was there was build-up, rust and lack of energy to do anything about it. Life is full of these ups and downs and when your down, sometimes it is hard to remember how and why you got here in the first place. The golden lesson: always have a “plan B” in your back pocket.

This particular downer happened three weeks ago to the day but has been brewing for a couple months prior to the surgery. I was basically stopped still in my footsteps, my steps at the time were joyful, full of life, light, nimble, loved to bounce and bumble on a dance floor here and there. I have been forced to stop. HAULT. ALTO. First there were jitters, what am I going to do, like a wine-o in search of there next drink. Activity was my escape, I would much rather go on a run, walk, bike ride, practice yoga than sit and watch TV. Prior to the surgery, I was so preoccupied with the looming procedure that decreased activity didn't get to me; I thought I would be right back on my feet in a few weeks post surgery. The surgery hit me like a ton of bricks. I was struck down and began the slow recovery process accompanied by my man at my side each step of the way.

The first couple of weeks are a fog to me now, lost in the fog of trauma my body was trying to recover from and the haze left by painkillers. I know I was a pill though, my mind body and soul was (and still is) in shock. The buzz of the holidays came and went, I was grateful to have my family around; a little doting by family never hurt a girl. At the end of the day when the dust settled, people were gone, the phone stopped ringing and John was asleep, I was left wondering what was happening to me, my life as I knew and what to do with myself now. I had no plan, no backup. My life was going pretty good, I love all my hobbies and can’t wait to get back to them but until then I must find something to do, something I care about.

What came next I could have never predicted and would never have liked to experience. I would like to put the blame of my behavior to the anastia wearing off, the pain killers leaving my body... any excuse to pretend that this was not me acting like this, but it was. I had anger, frustration and sadness pulsing through me, in every cell. Splat! CRASH! It happened, John is still here, he weathered the storm thank my lucky stars. Like I said, I don't know where this came from exactly but I want it to leave!!! GO!

I did something that I do very seldom, I called my mom looking for comfort, and sometimes we get what we are looking for, it just takes time. In all this ruckus I found clarity. It took nearly six weeks in the making, basically weaning my body from the endorphins that it yearned for, I slowed down. I was (who am I kidding, I still am) forced to get back to my roots and try and capture the life before climbing, running and biking. WHO THE HELL AM I?????? Ahhhhh... I tried to keep myself busy with little projects here and there, nothing engaged me, I couldn't find any desire and I couldn't step outside for a few hours and escape.

Lost, until now. I book came in the mail the other day, "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg. I haven't put it down since I got it, I even plunked down in my favorite bar and read it, like talking to a life long friend, I was in great company. I have followed Molly's blog, Orangette some time, gleaning ideas and engulfed in her writing, it is so easy and friendly. First, her stories of food in this book made my mouth water and I began to dream of food. This hasn't happened in a long time. I want baguettes, I want to tear them apart and eat with a perfect little salad or dip in a warm bowl of soup. She made me remember that I absolutely love crusty artesian bread. The stories of food go on, dreamy stories of wedges of cheese, desserts, family and friends. This was just what I was looking for, this book was music to my soul, the kind that make you feel all soft inside, breathless and in awe of the beauty of life and how simple happiness is.

I have to let go of the death grip that I have on some parts of my life. Nobody wants to be friends with a crazy, and I feel as if a cloud has been lifted from my halo, I can breathe just a bit easier. I had a baguette, cheese and a perfect martini last night for dinner and I was completely satisfied and happy. I enjoyed my latte this morning with real milk, milk out of a glass jar that came from a local farm. I was happy drinking it. I was satisfied, no regrets. I had cornbread and black-eyed peas for dinner and.... well you get the idea. This may seem simple but it has taken me a long time to dig myself into this hole, I am ready to come out. HELLO!

Back to the second reason why I love this book, she writes of her father who has passed away. She chronicles the experiences in the kitchen with him and the rest her family, friends and husband. As soon as I got into a few chapters, I was greeted by warm thoughts of my grandma, my dad's mother, one of the most amazing people ever to grace my life. I couldn't sleep, the stories, memories and recipes of my grandma twirled through my brain like a slide show that has been gathering dust for years. Suddenly I felt drawn to my laptop and the words, ideas and thoughts poured out like never before. I want to write. I can say in confidently and with ease. I am going to write. I have no idea where it is going to take me, but we are not supposed to know these things. I need a commitment because this healing process is going to be long and I must pour all the energy that I exerted to my outdoor hobbies into something productive and fun or else the other side is going to take over.

I have found my plan B and learned a valuable lesson… never put all your eggs in one basket, you might drop your basket off a cliff and be left empty handed.

I have a book to finish!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The flame within

Pre 2009 Chuckanut 50 km race. photo source: Garrett Grove

Here I go again; all I can think about is the looming surgery. It might be the time on my hands, the idleness, the looming date, the increased discomfort. Whatever it is I am getting a wee bit nervous. I know it is a rather minor surgery and there are other people who face life threatening ailments around us all. I am really focused on one aspect of the surgery, am not worried about the ACL replacement, or the patella problem.... I don't want to remove my meniscus. The meniscus is part of the "cushion" on the knee. With the removal of this portion of the knee, arthritis is sure to set in early. Okay, I have come to terms with this and understand that it is inevitable. The problem I have is the fact that my running career may be over. Pwhew! That is a hard one to swallow. So as of right now, I know it may be a possibility but I am going to leave it at that because I know in my heart that I am not ready to be done with running.

I have said in the past that I know long distance running is not a lifetime sport for me. I don't think that my body can handle it. That is okay. I am not willing to give up running all together though. There is something incredibly simple and beautiful about running. I can leave my house, be on trail, in parks with just a quick change of clothes and a healthy pair of shoes. Then there is the efficiency of running, it only takes about an hour to get a great work out running, it might take twice that on a bike. I won't crash running (well not as often). What about the infamous "runners' high" it is one of the most satisfying feelings.

I haven't run in months, and I have come to the realization, the kind that comes deep within, I am not ready to stop running. I am unsure now what this means and what it is going to take but I am not ready to hang those tennies up.

To be honest, I thought that I would totally love the break from being active. Over the summer I yearned for more time to work around the house, do art, cook, and read but found myself biking increasingly more, yoga and lifting weights. Now I understand, I mean I have came to terms with the idea of balance. THere can be too much of a good thing, and too much of anything can be tiring (and even cause serious bodily injury!) and make one desire for something else, anything else. Now I have all the time in the world. I love it, I have started to actually cook, read, write, fix up the house (A HUGE THANKS TO J. & MY DAD!!!), decorate the house..... spend quality time with J. all the rich things in life. There is something missing, it is being active. My body does not feel the same (enough time has past to really notice) my energy levels have dropped considerably, my moods have changed, my body has changed. It has taken a few months but I know that even though I may never be at the same caliber that I was a year ago, I am going to lead a BALANCED active lifestyle for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Expecting a miracle

I made it down to Seattle to get the opinion of a "big city doctor." Every one insisted on the idea of getting an opinion of someone outside "the city of subdude excitment." The first thing  the doctor said when I got there, "what are you doing in Seattle if you live in Bellingham?" I guess Bellingham has a reputation of good orthopedic surgons.

He did all the horrible manipulations of my leg and knee. You know the whole "does this hurt?" routine. Arg! !@#$ yes that hurts and OMG you are going to break me. Okay my blood pressure rises just thinking about it. I still am in a mild state of denial, not really believing that they are going to slice my knee open and do three major procedures on one little knee. When they do these " how about now?" and I jump off the table in fear of the pain, I relize I might have an issue with my knee.

After all the fun aside he diagnosed me with the same exact symptoms/diagnoses as the surgon told me here in Bellingham. It is kind of mixed bag, I would of like to have heard that he could wave his/her hand and repair my knee perfectly, I am glad to know that the doctor I have choosen in Bellingham is completly compitant.

He did leave me with one token of advice. I am either going to have to pick longevity of my knees or insensity of my knees. His way of saying that what you are doing now is not going to make your knees last very long. There are signs of wear in my other knee that should not be there at age 26. Hmmmmmm....

According to the doctor in Seattle, my good looks and healthy physic will help me heal even faster. HA! Really? "I am an ideal patient." Actually I really like my doctor in Bellingham, and he reaffirmed my dislike for the "big city" what ever that is!

AND don't worry only 7 more monthes of me going on and on about stories about my knee. Only a couple more monthes and I will dwell on something else. Hang in there, I promise I will find other things to write about other than this stinking left knee pain!

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