It has truly been a humbling experience having a knee injury. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion since that night in April that I felt that snap, crackle, pop. I was in the gym working legs. My mom was with me, and my boyfriend was finishing up his cardio. I did some pistol squats, which were kind of tough and unsteady, then I did some lunges that required me to cross my leg behind me. At that point, my knee felt pretty irritated. Once Joe finished up, we all went to squat. After doing one set, I brought the weights down on my second set, and my knee erupted in pain. It was sharp and there was some cracking that scared me, followed by a dull ache. I quit my squats, and I limped over to the leg press. I tried one 90 lbs rep, nope. I was done for the night.
The pain was so great that I could not sleep. “It would be better in the morning, I told myself.” Boy was I wrong. I left my flats under my desk at work, so I put on my 3.5 inch heels and dragged myself into the office. It only took about a half hour before I felt like my knee was coming off its hinges, and almost like I had a gap that was making it click. I looked down to realize that my right knee was twice the size of the left. Also, for long stretches of time my leg from the knee down was completely numb. I called my primary care doctor to set up an appointment.
That night, I went to urgent care to get it checked. The doctor bent my leg and straightened it. He asked me to walk on my tippy toes, and I screamed. “I think it’s your meniscus. I think you tore it.” He ordered an MRI, and I was on my way.
I kept my PCP appointment for the next day, considering that bones are her specialty. She did a similar battery of tests, but she also tested my knee strength. “I definitely think you tore your meniscus, and maybe your ACL as well.”
Those words hurt almost as much as my knee. I’ve never had a serious injury that would possibly change my life. I cried nightly for about three days, fearing what I didn’t know. I was also getting denied by my insurance company for the MRI, so I was terribly anxious waiting to find out what was wrong. I made one last attempt to get my MRI, going to the ER hoping I could get it there. Nope, but they felt that I was in bad enough shape to need crutches and an immobilizer.
I had big goals for this summer. I maybe wanted to train for another race, I wanted to cross some fun activities off of my bucket list. I wanted to be in tip top physical shape, in case my relationship got more serious and we decided to have a child. Kind of one last hot body hurrah.
The thought of long term or permanent injury haunted me. What sobered me up? A guy by the name of Casey. He went to the same college as me and is paralyzed from a diving accident. I thought of my wheelchair bound cousin Garlin, who is that way from a gunshot wound. I immediately felt guilty. When my pain was gone, I’d be walking normally. With surgery and physical therapy, I’d get back to some normal activity. It helped me to realize that I was being superficial sitting and crying thinking I was going to get fat.
I got my MRI two days before my pre-Korea work trip-just in time. Results? Inconclusive, no tears. I was diagnosed with a strained meniscus and ACL, and bruised knee cap, which was caused by my patella banging into my femur. I was also downgraded to a knee brace that held my patella in place. I honestly think God looked out for my crybaby self. Maybe you believe, maybe not. As for me, I think prayer works.
Today is two months since I hurt my knee, and I can jog from my car to the porch when it’s raining. I can squat with no weight. I take the stairs at work (carefully). As you saw last week, I can do yoga!! My leg shook as I did eagle and tree pose, but I know it just means I need more strength. I’m more determined than ever, and I know I’ll come back from my injury tougher and stronger than ever.