I’m not grateful for this 8 month journey of pain and frustration.
I know that’s not the kosher thing to say. I’m supposed to tell you how it’s made me a better person, stronger human, better runner, happier because I dug deep and learned so much about myself.
Of course it did. You can’t go through the tough stuff without coming out different.I’m still not grateful for it. (or those bags under my eyes, yikes!)
I was in the midst of enjoying some seriously fantastic new trail running. Cherishing each mile, fast or slow, new places or old…seriously I wasn’t taking my runs for granted.
I’d just signed a contract with one of my favorite brands, who coincidentally dropped me the day before surgery.
I had goals and plans that got me fired up to go run.
I knew exactly who my “real friends” were already. I knew who would show up to make me laugh, embrace slow crawling hikes and send me notes of concern.
I was doing ALL the PT, cross training and SMART runner things to avoid an injury.It was a fluke thing that I somehow bashed my knee and none of those smart things mattered one bit. I didn’t need this injury to open my eyes to anything.
New to this whole what’s wrong with her knee journey? Here’s the last 8 months:
How Did I Feel?
I’m not mad at my body or this injury. I’m not angry. I’m not sad. It just is.
While there were some high and low moments over the last 8 months, I still managed to do an awful lot of cool shit: Malibu running camp, Frisco biking, Dublin running, my first trail race and so much other stuff.
So if I’m not running around waving the banner of gratitude or grrr I’m so mad, what the heck am I feeling?
This mostly goes towards the doctors, who are part of why it took me so long to get to surgery. Initially I tried less invasive options on my own with manual manipulation and physical therapy, but once I knew those weren’t working I dove in ready for whatever we needed to do to fix it.
Each doctor took weeks to see, weeks to call me back, weeks to request another MRI, CT Scan, etc.
It took 4 Orthopedic doctors before I landed on the one who after looking at everything said, I think we can fix this pretty non-invasively. I don’t think the previous doctors were bad or wrong, they just hadn’t seen the things he had and were all trying to keep me running.
Yes, at times I felt broken. Running is where I sort through ideas, it’s where I cultivate words to create content that I hope is helpful or funny or inspiring on RTTF. It’s also how I mull over things that are happening in life and no amount of cycling or weight lifting or journaling gives me that same mental stimulation.
I feel like sometimes shat just happens, you deal with it and you move on hopefully for the better.
In 15 years of running, I’ve only had one other injury that took me out for months. My dear old IT Band was a real pain in the arse, leg and everything else until I learned all the tricks to manage it (checkout my ebook if that’s you).
Since then, I truly do all the exercise I share on the site and I moved into a place of enjoying my run regardless of the pace. Thus, I had forgotten all the emotions and mental craziness that goes along with an injury. This gave me a chance to reconnect in that way with so many of you, to gather information and resources that I’ve already heard have helped a bunch of you run pain free (particularly this knee taping!)Do you have to be grateful for all the bad things that happen? Injury talk - #runchat Click To Tweet
Instead of just beating my head against a wall wishing I were running, I sucked it up and for the first time ever hired a trainer to focus on strength training.
3 to 4 days a week religiously since March, I’ve been hefting around weights and while it hasn’t miraculously changed my body shape as many would love to say it should, it has meant that running roughly 1/4 of my previous mileage I haven’t gained weight, but I have added muscle.
Post Surgery Update
I shared an update on Instagram, but for those who missed it here’s what finally happened in an exploratory surgery on Tuesday (Aug 22).
- Clean up of meniscus
- Clean up of cartilage
- Clean up of fat pad (this is an area behind the knee which looked to be dislocated for me)
- Laterally knee release (or realignment of my knee cap)
Thus far my biggest issue has been my stomach!
I haven’t cried once from pain, but did cry multiple times when we first came home because every movement swept me in to a wave of nausea that was horrific. You know that feeling right before you throw up that makes you sweat, color drains from your face and then…nothing. You don’t throw up so the feeling just hangs around, that was my life every time I needed to pee!A few days post op, I’m still doing pretty great with pain, though I admit I didn’t anticipate being unable to bend my leg. It’s humbling to feel like you’re starting from zero, but encouraging each time you make the tiniest bit of progress.
So far haven’t really needed crutches, I made it to my first PT session and I’m now doing those exercises 3 times a day. The biggest issue for me is to keep the swelling down, which mostly was the doctors way of saying “DON’T BE A RUNNER, you can’t rush or push through this. If it doesn’t heal right then you’re back where you started.”
Again, I know every obstacle teaches us and that’s great…but do we have to be grateful for all the crappy stuff?
None of this is to say I’m not a grateful person.
I write in my gratitude journal daily and throughout this journey often it included things like “I’m grateful my knee allowed me 2 glorious hours on the trails with friends today.”
Maybe it’s because I had the benefit of mindfulness on my side this time, I just took each day as it came and now that’s how I’ll be handling recovery.
More to come as I know many of you are looking for exercises or what to expect after a knee surgery, but today I just needed to unload my brain a little. Thanks for your notes all over social media, I can’t tell you how important they’ve been to keeping my mood high!
Do you feel like you have to be grateful for the tough stuff?
What are you grateful for today?
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