Posted by: ElliptiGO Girl | June 26, 2010

Run, run, as fast as you can – or not

Day two after right knee surgery. Sucks.

About four months ago, I hurt my back lifting and moving things while we were having the house modified to allow for wheelchair access. I had to stop running. I also stopped lifting heavy things. But in order to function, I relied on my knees to do the brunt of the lifting.

I knew that I have a vulnerable left knee. I was born with congenital bilateral “discoid meniscus” and I injured my left knee during my wild, tomboy days as a child – jumping off trees, etc. 31 years ago, in 1979, I had the lateral meniscus removed. The surgeon told me at the time, I should expect to need a total knee replacement in about 15 years.

Jump forward 26 years. 2005. I discovered that I could run well despite the left knee. Although it complained, I was dealing with far more painful issues in the left toe. Running did not seem to aggravate the left knee- the toe stopped me before it could.

Jump forward another 4 years. 2008-early 2009. Hal and I were running together. Hal was training for the Boston Marathon. I built up my distance – although speed was my forte – and ran my first half marathon, in Denver, with Hal. I also won the Masters Women State Street Mile, and did some really fast, fun running.

Jump forward one more year. Late 2009-present. Hal was diagnosed with ALS. Then he could no longer run. Then he had problems walking. His balance became bad, and he started falling. He began to spend most of his day in his motorized wheelchair. We had to modify the house.

Jump forward to back injury, March 2009. I stopped running. I tore the meniscus of my wonderful, strong right knee not running, but, while protecting my back while still babying my annoying left knee. Did not know that the injury to the right knee was serious. Thought it was some annoying minor knee strain. My back healed. I tried running. My right knee screamed at me. I tried to use my left knee more. Both knees screamed at me. Finally went to see an orthopedist who insisted on an MRI – for a minor knee strain? and then informed me that I had a torn medial meniscus in my wonderful right knee. A big tear. From the rim into the posterior horn. The scan of the left knee showed “bone on bone” arthritis in the lateral compartment, with some tears and irritation medially and behind the kneecap. The right knee was treatable – remove the torn meniscus ASAP or the tear would get bigger. But this orthopedist felt the left knee was way too “far gone” – the only option for the left knee would be total knee replacement.

So here I lie. Right knee elevated, compressed, iced. Post-op bandage on my right knee. Annoyed with my stupid left knee. Sad that I injured my beautiful, trustworthy right knee. I want to run.

Yet I do see the ridiculousness of my behavior. My angel Hal is losing his walking. His standing. His moving. His speech. His eating. Yet here I am fretting and getting mad about an arthritic knee -while Hal continues to lose more and more of his movement and strength.

I want to run. I want to fly. I want to break free from the restrictions of my evil knee and toe. I am a child. Trying, trying to grow up.



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