Monday, July 27, 2015

Diagnosis: Torn Meniscus. Next up: Surgery

Since the first week of February, my knee has been injured.  In the 5 months that followed, my road to recovery has had many false summits. I would post about an amazing run where my knee felt great - only to have it flare up again with swelling and pain. (Examples of great runs just before this post, also here... quickly followed by crushing bitch-fests here and here.) Believe me, the irony of posting "I'm back!" about 4 times over the last 5 months only to not be back isn't lost on me.  Hopefully, it is with an MRI last week and the resulting diagnosis, that I reach the TRUE recovery summit and start to get back to myself..... I have a torn meniscus and will require surgery to repair and/or trim it.

Before I could get to where I am with (hopefully) a final diagnosis, I jumped through many hoops. If I had it to do over again, I essentially would do every single decision differently.

Where did the time go!? It seems like just yesterday, I was lubing up my undercarriage with Body Glide!  Boy do I miss those days. (KIDDING! I still do it all the time for old time sake)

To summarize:
  • I somehow hurt my knee the first week of Feb
  • Like any good runner, I ignored it for the first 4 weeks or so and went on a bunch of "test runs"
  • Also, like any good runner, I self diagnosed myself (Thanks, Dr. Google!!) and did Active Release Therapy / non-prescribed Physical Therapy for a month
  • When that did nothing (shocker!) I finally went and saw my sports med / orthopedic doc who diagnosed tendinitis with 95% certainty and prescribed physical therapy
  • I then went to 10 weeks of physical therapy
  • When physical therapy did nothing (after 2 failed test runs each 3 miles long), I went to the doctor again and he scheduled an MRI
  • The MRI showed a 30-40% tear in my lateral meniscus and I was referred to a surgeon
  • Oh, and I bitched to Laura the entire time.  The. Entire. Time.

If you have never had one, MRIs are so expensive they require Vasoline to handle very interesting procedures. Even though I've had a handful in my life, I always seem to forget how loud and terrifying they are. I seriously thought the thing was going to rip apart the entire time.  Plus, it is fascinating that shooting magnetic energy at me can produce detailed pictures of the inside of my body.....all of which essentially look like I'm pregnant.

In fact, here is one of the images from my knee MRI looking straight at my knee.  As you can plainly see, I am almost certainly pregnant.  My uterus has enveloped my little peanut in a protective cocoon of whatever that white stuff is (likely, a mixture of beer and French fry grease).

I can’t wait to meet my new baby

The best news is that I am obviously going to have another baby boy!!! I mean, what else could this “appendage” be? My son is going to be so excited to have a play buddy.

Chip off the old block!

I go in for a surgical consultation on August 3rd and will know the specific course of action after that.  The silver lining is that I do indeed know what is wrong, but the process to get to where I am now has been more frustrating than trying to take off a sweaty sportsbra. (I mean, I’ve been told. I don’t normally wear those. Just sometimes I like to have a bit more support when I run.  You know what, I’m getting off track…)  I’ve spent more money than I would like to admit and more importantly spent twice the time that I should have.

But, at least I know and can FIX it. I’m not excited about being told some of the long term risks of cutting away too much of my meniscus or the prospect of downtime, but I’ll do about anything at this point to get back out there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getting back to running

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper.  – Somebody famous, probably. 

As such, as suddenly as it started, on Saturday my 18 week running hiatus ended. I didn’t really get approval to do it, my knee didn’t even stop hurting 100%, but the timing felt right and I just decided to dive in and get it over with (That’s what she said!).

I don’t take a lot of pics while running, so here is a pic that basically looks like me 

Probably the most frustrating thing about this injury has been the ambiguity.  It is seriously the most passive aggressive injury I’ve ever had. “Well Adam, if you knew me well enough, you would KNOW when it was okay to start running again. Also, I’m not mad. I mean if I have to tell you why I’m mad then it really shows what you think of my feelings.”  So, I suppose it is rather fitting that even the ending should be somewhat ambiguous.  My knee isn’t 100%, it probably isn’t even 90%, but I’m going to push forward as long as it doesn’t get any worse. If it ever does get worse, it is back to the Ben and Jerry’s, sweatpants, and Netflix.

By all measures, my Physical Therapist essentially got tired of seeing me. So, Monday was my last scheduled appointment. Over the course of the last 10 weeks or so he ran out of new exercises for me to do, put me on a ‘self study’ course, gave me a swat on the ass, handed me his personal “special clients only” number???, and after a gentle embrace whispered into my ear to “call if I needed ANYTHING at all”.  He sure was nice. The pain has only started to get better within the last 2 weeks, but the PT said that I am getting much stronger in my hips which should hopefully prevent any issues in the future.

So, I’M BACK!  It should be really interesting to see how much fitness I’ve lost in the last few months and how long it will take for me to be 100% - if I ever will be. I’m going to follow the same general comeback plan as I did for my stress fractures whereby I run 3 miles 2x a week followed by 3 miles 3x a week.  Once I’m running 3 miles every other day I’ll slowly start to bring up the mileage.

All of that said, while I have the approval to run, but I am obviously very guarded (and, judging by this blog post, rather jaded). I don’t want to run too far, too fast, or too consistently.  I’m essentially in the airport security line of hurry up and wait:  Hurry through the security checkpoint line to wait in the metal detector line and oh my god who carries $3.78 in nickels and pennies anymore and NO you can’t bring your Starbucks mocha through and SERIOUSLY is that a full sized shampoo bottle!?  

But, ambiguous or not, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel….and that is an amazing feeling.