Friday, March 11, 2011

A Slight Hitch in my Giddy-Up......and therefore, my PLANS!

Unless you work in the medical field, or have had experience in may look at this picture and have no idea what it is.  It's actually a cross section picture of the knee, looking down from the femur onto the lower half of the leg.  If you look closely, you'll notice that there are two crescent shaped bands called the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus.  These bands sit between the upper and lower bones of your leg, and offer sort of a cushion in the joint space.
In 2005, I started having pain in my right knee periodically.  Mostly it happened when I jumped up/down and landed wrong, or when I crouched down and then stood up again.  A brief, shooting pain would occur, and then nothing.  It wasn't frequent enough to cause real concern, and I felt like a hypochondriac seeing the orthopedic about it.  Sure enough, no real swelling in the joint was detected, the knee seemed stable, and I was sent on my way.
Since then, same story.  Occasionally, I'll notice a slight pain in the knee, but no big deal.  Well, this past Monday night, I guess it became more of a big deal.  I was doing a high intense cardio workout at the gym....a workout that I love and that I've been doing for a couple of months.  I pushed off from right to left and catapulted myself over a platform, and I felt one of those shooting pains in my knee.  And then, nothing.  Finished the workout, actually decided to stay and do the next lifting workout too, then went home.
I woke up at 3 a.m. really thirsty.  The double workout probably left me a tad dehydrated.  When I stepped down out of bed, my right knee was not stable, and I yelped!  I could not bear weight on it.  Whaaaaat?  I hopped all the way to the kitchen sink, then made my way back to bed.  I got up again at 6 a.m. and same thing......could not even walk!  At 7, I called and woke up the GU trainer, Steve.  I described my symptoms and told him that I didn't have time for this.  I've got a run this Sunday, and I'm training for a marathon.  He told me to ice it, wrap it, elevate it and try to stay off of it.  Riiighttt!  I've got stuff to do, how do you stay off of it?
Tuesday and Wednesday, I iced as much as possible and tried to convince myself that there was really nothing wrong.  By Thursday, the knee was super tight, super stiff, and intermittently, the pain high enough that bearing weight was impossible.  Steeeeeve!  I called him back.  He's sort of the Godfather around these parts, and within two hours I was getting X-rays at the orthopedic and an evaluation.  It's definitely not what you  know, its WHO you know!
Well, the bad news folks is that I have a lateral meniscus tear.  I was able to finish my workouts Monday because the good news is that there is no ligament damage.  If there had been, my knee would have screamed at me to STOP!  The bad news is that the knee was visibly unstable with swelling in the joint space that had my kneecap "floating" as the doctor described, and I failed the McMurray test, which is a shifting of the knee to see if an audible click can be heard.  Unfortunately, click, click, click it went.  He told me I might as well skip the MRI, because it's torn, and all that would tell me is how severe.
Surgery to repair the meniscus is scheduled two weeks from now.  Between now and then, I'm supposed to get as much fluid and swelling out of the joint space as possible through Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (R.I.C.E.).  After surgery, up to 3 weeks on crutches, and then rehab.  Really?  I was feeling sorry for myself for about two seconds.  And then I considered some of my fellow teammates and former athletes who experienced far worse knee injuries/repairs and came back to form stronger than ever.
 Here's one of them.  This lady showed up at Santa Clara in the midst of her third ACL tear and repair.  Within one year, she was named the Collegiate Player of the Year, and then went on to work her way back onto the US National Team, sharing the first ever Women's World Cup title within two years.  This is that famous shot that made the cover of Sports Illustrated when the US Women made history in Los Angeles....World Cup 1999.  I watched how hard she worked at that time....there's no room for whiners!
As I said when I started this blog.....I'm not sure of the adventures I'll be taking this year.  I'm not super pleased that this is one of them, but I'm heading off to surgery in a couple of weeks nonetheless!  Not sure of that marathon in July either.  Time to alter my workout plans.....swimming pool, here I come!


  1. I admire your good attitude! I'm pretty sure I would have grumbled longer than 2 seconds. No doubt you will be stronger for it. Can I brag on my stud husband--another former stud soccer player like you? He has run, mt biked and tele-skied better than ever after two ACL surgeries! Can't wait to hear your adjusted goal.

  2. Sometimes the detours turn out to have the best scenery! Take a look around at your new surroundings that you would have missed. I can relate to all this, Shan! It takes discipline for me to appreciate the detour, but I"m trying'!