Saturday, October 13, 2012

Embrace The Knees

The Compliant Patient
  Four days shy of two months.

 2 months that I am so grateful to finally put behind me.

August 17th seems like a lifetime away now and almost surreal.

It was the 2012 Cycle-Smart Cyclocross camp in  Easthampton MA that day and  one I'll  have a hard time forgetting for a long time.
 The two full day clinic was to be a perfect bridge for me into the cross season after a full
summer of focused road cycling and no triathlon. I was stoked. A sponge ready to take in everything I could learn in the  2 days and then reinforce it by drilling it into myself repetitiously in hopes that I could become a more confident cyclocross rider.
Oddly I waited all summer for the season to end impatiently watching everyone racing triathlon through the social media outlets and being envious at times but always reminding myself, "Your race season is coming. Keep your pants on."

The long and short of it was I would be dead in the water before I even got out of the starting gate. Perhaps this newest  snafu wouldn't have stung so much if I had gotten in at least a smidgen of racing. But alas, it was not meant to be. Instead I have murky images in my head of making the trek back home  that summer day balancing a bag of ice from a gas station on my knee confused and in shock that something went terribly wrong with a part of my body I had never  ever had an issue with.

3 hours into the clinic during a drill set,  I  coasted up to the barriers like I've done a million
times before. I un-clipped from my pedals and proceeded to step over the first barrier and my right leg
on touching down just gave out. I collapsed into a heap. I had just fallen in front of a group of people and for what appeared, no apparent reason. I didn't trip on the barrier. I didn't ram my bike tire into the barrier, I didn't even twist my ankle, yet there I was on the ground. My knee was burning and I couldn't put weight on my leg right away to get up. Needless to say, I was mortified.  GET UP, I told myself, your holding up 15 athletes wondering why your ass over tea kettle and in the flow of traffic without
blood flow and gashed skin to validate."

In the act of complete denial, I  tried to quickly get up and shake (whatever "it" was) off to get back in line and continue on with the drills.  Camp had just started and damn it, I wasn't going anywhere.  On inspection, my knee showed no injury, it wasn't swelling right away and I thought maybe I just stepped in a hole in the field and just twisted it enough to send me down.

It's never that simple. Is it?

Down I went AGAIN.  Same place, same leg, same scenario. I'm not sure what the camp coaches witnessing this were thinking at this point but I didn't stick around long enough to find out. I was done.  I knew then something was terribly wrong and after gathering
up my gear and bike as quickly as possible, I exited stage right as inconspicuously as I could. I'd had enough embarrassment for the day. * Girl falling for no reason*  As my car door shut to start my drive home, I cried ( ok wailed) until I had to pay for my bag of ice and  then resumed my breakdown until
I reached my drive way.

After a quick visit with the ortho nurse practitioner that following week, a meniscus tear was the initial diagnosis. After the MRI was completed, I had sprained my MCL, I had severe bone bruising, I tore my meniscus and my ACL was torn almost completely. 

  Surgery is FINALLY completed  and my days of being stuck in the no man's land of  non healing waiting to be fixed are over.   It's all about following the  recovery protocol now and not rushing the healing process.  Reconstruction of your ACL is certainly not uncommon but you can screw it up if you don't heed the advice given and are impatient. A graft is non discriminatory. It doesn't care if you
are under weight, over weight, fit or not. It's a set time for the graft to heal and you just have to wait it out. 

I am forever grateful to my family and all of you that have checked in/reached out and given me advice. It has made a rather stressful and painful time for me that much more tolerable just knowing that people genuinely care and are concerned with your well being. It's incredibly helpful, not forgotten and  so very much appreciated.


LittleRachet said...

Yikes!!! I wondered what happened - unreal! Glad you are on the upswing now. Recover as hard as you race - you'll be back to it in no time.

GoBigGreen said...

Oh I know you have been so patient and remember you WILL Get thru this., tho its a long recovery ( not sure they did an Allo or Autograft or what they did) but ACL tears are usually ALWAYS completely rehabbed will be ok! And stronger on the flip side bc of it i know!
Hang in there, you can VENT To ME as well anytime!


Eiric said...

You will come back stronger than before

Unknown said...

You need ample rest now. I am sure you will recover soon and will be back for a triumph.


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