Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fight or Flight?

Well I got my MRI results back for my knee last week. I had a feeling it would be what the results now tell me, I was just in denial, or hoping for the best, not sure. Denial and I are good friends, we go way back.


I have completely blown my ACL, nada, zip, zilch, no ligament left. As well my Medial Meniscus is torn. I am relieved I have a full diagnosis, but it doesn't make it better.

My lack of ACL isn't bothering me that much, besides feeling unstable and the hyper-extending there isn't a lot of pain from it, some swelling after alot of exercise and some knee cap pain, which is from the Femur and Tibia not aligning properly, and rubbing on the knee cap (Patella Fermoral Syndrome - which I've been having treated in Physio for 4 months), then it gets stiff and swells. I did injure it 10 years ago playing Rugby. At that time the Ortho. specialist figured it was partially torn. Now it is totally gone. The ACL is required to stabilize the front and backward motion of the knee - sudden stops etc. as well as pivoting, the Meniscus is a cushion and shock absorber ... see where this is going ...

The most painful part is my Meniscus, I am in some amount of pain all the time, I've just gotten used to it. It won't heal on its own - it is cartilage, and it is just hanging there in the knee joint. So as I do more it gets inflamed, then is swells, then it hurts, then I ice, repeat as necessary - a couple times a day when I'm on my leg a lot, a glass of red wine helps at night too. I am at the Gym 3 times a week and now I will will be kicking it up a notch again. My physiotherapist wants me even stronger - call it Pre-hab. Bring it on.

I get a super-mega-custom-knee-brace made today. Designed to keep my leg aligned and act as my ACL should. Then I start a regim of getting used to wearing it at the Gym - doing ladder work, cutting, pivoting, treadmill, biking, free running etc. more strengthening and agility. I need to trust it. I have Regionals and Nationals this summer, and well, I am going to run. I've thought about pulling out, and a part of me still wants too, but Gyp is in her prime, and Kaleb isn't getting any younger. I need to do this, I need to prove it to myself. I'm done with the "why me", I just have to move forward.

The part that scares the shit out of me is Surgery. I can't even get my blood taken without 2 nurses holding me down. And I turn white when I step in a Hospital. The Meniscus repair will put me out for a couple months with physio, but a complete ACL reconstruction with the Meniscus repair will put me out for up to 9 months with intense Physio. My surgeon said no running whatsoever for probably 4 months, no sudden stops, pivoting for up to a year, a strict Physio regim up to a year if I really want to be 100%. For the complete reconstruction, 2 Hamstring tendons are grafted to my Tibia and Femur, holes drilled in the bones and the tendon tied through like a shoelace to mimic the ACL. Sounds fun eh? Not.

I love dog training, and I love Agility. There isn't a dog sport I love more. And it is a major part of my life. I've tried to love other dog sports, but I love this one the most. I have a lot of running years left in me and I want to run, and I want to run fast. I've been a competitive runner off and on since I was 11 years old, it is just sort of important to me to continue doing it. I guess I like to be a part of the race.

The thought of not being active, being so vulnerable, having people do things for me, not driving, being on crutches, not being able to get in the shower by myself, not running, not teaching, not walking the dogs, not working out, not training my dogs, not doing Agility with my guys for a minimum of 6 months scares me to death, so does the fact that I will be immobile. And what if something screws up. I thought the last 4 months were hard. That was nothing. Perhaps there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or maybe a puppy?

I am doing my best to stay positive and convincing my self I can get through Regionals, then Nationals, but a part of me just wants to hide and cry and eat ice cream. If you happen to see me burst out into tears, I'm sorry, on a very rare occasion, I do enjoy a pity party for myself. But if my past life experience has taught me anything, I rarely give up, and if I want something I need to keep my head up, and I fight for it. Hopefully this journey will be no different.

16 comments:

Diana said...

wow, its to bad it took long to get a diagnosis. Here's sending positive thoughts your way. Diana

Jules said...

oh drat. I am sure you will make the right decision for your knee and your mental health. I hope you are comfortable with any decision you do make.

Taryn said...

Crap, so sorry you have to deal with this. I can certainly understand your mindset. You have my sympathies having to deal with such a situation.

manymuddypaws said...

it really, really sucks. I wish there was something I could do or say to make things better for you. I am glad that you are going to run at regionals and nationals. I think it is a good choice for you- as long as you have confidence in yourself you will do great. You have two (well, three) really great dogs that will do their job even better so that you can do yours.

on a lighter note,
Are you going to get a hot pink brace? that would be hot....

lol

Visichy said...

I'm sorry you are going through this. Life isn't fair at the times we really need it to be fair. A pity party is totally understandable. But I also know you are strong and will shake it off and be even better in the long run.

Lisa said...

Oh crikey, that's awful.

fulltiltbcs said...

YUCK YUCK YUCK!!! Damnit! I am so sorry girl!!

Having had an ACL repair, yeah it sucks, but I am glad I had it done...honestly...I am...

Papillon Penny said...

Remember, you are still young - you have years of agility (& anything else you put your mind to) ahead of you! Make your decision after Nat's is my suggestion. I'm so sorry this has put a dent in your enthusiasm but I'm sure we'll see the old Sarah on the podium!

gussysmom said...

Well that news just sucks. Of course you're allowed to pull up a chair at the pity party cafe; we all have a coffee there once in a while. But no matter what life throws at you, I know you will find a way to not just survive but thrive. You will kick ass!

gussysmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gussysmom said...

sorry I seem to have doubled posted - I deleted the extra one. I guess I'm turning into my analog husband....

Kristina said...

ouch that sounds painful how bad =0( hope you all the things going better for you and there is another choice or way to fix your knee beside the surgery

The Thundering Herd said...

Our hu-dad finally was forced into back surgery six years ago to repair an extruded disc. After years of back pain and leg numbness, it became necessary because he totally lost reflex in his right ankle.

The surgery was an amazing success. He recovered and did re-hab faster than the neurosurgeon said was possible. By all accounts, he should never have been as mobile as fast as he was.

He was able to accomplish that because he wanted to be ready for the winter pulling season - something the doctors originally thought would have to be off limits forever and never thought would happen in the same year.

My advice - set your goal. Make it faster than the doctors say it can be done. And when you step back onto an agility course - in months or a year or whenever - it will be the greatest feeling.

Nicki said...

That sucks but you'll make it through. I know about the being scared part. I was shaking the whole time they prepped me for my wisdom teeth surgery. I nearly passed out when I cut my leg a little with a saw. But you'll do fine. We'll be thinking of you.

BCxFour said...

I am so sorry. The surgery will suck. The rehab will be tough, yes. But living with no pain will be super! Puppy would be even BETTER! Hang in there, I wish I could say something wise and comforting - but only time will get you through this. Big creepy internet [[[[hugs]]]] being sent your way.

Kris said...

Hi! My name is Kris, 32 y/o and I follow your blog because I am a graphic designer and also a fellow dog lover- I have Ari and PIney a border collie and bernese.

What is prompting me to write you is that we have parallel lives I feel like!

I too have no ACL in my left knee. I have had BOTH my ACL's repaired and last November blew out the graft in my left one.

I am 6 weeks into INTENSIVE rehabilitation because I REFUSE to have another surgery. You too, I believe can rehabilitate your knee and you do NOT need your ACL. My ortho finally conceded that yes, I could get along in life just fine without it-- although it took much convincing on my part.

The meniscus you will need fixed- fine- but the ACL is a year long rehab. It sucks and in the end you may blow it out 15 years later. I've already had two ACL repairs-

I want to let you know I am going the route of not having surgery and my recovery is going VERY well. My knee is no longer unstable (just after 6 weeks!) and I will be doing another 14 weeks to begin really building up my muscles.

My feeling is that minimal running, and heavy cycling at this early juncture have really helped me. I used to be an avid runner- but find that minimal running coupled with heavy cycling, kneehab and swimming are winning the war for me.

If you ever want to chat or share about exercises, I would welcome it. krismack11@gmail.com is my email.

I really wish you all the best and that you are able to come to a decision, but understand that not repairing it should be an option that doesn't limit you.

Cheers!
Kris