Dealing with a Chronic Injury

Over the last few years I have seen my fair share of orthopedic surgeons for my right knee. In April 2013 I was knocked over in a soccer game and tore my ACL clear in half. About a month later I had reconstruction surgery and figured I had a few months of rehab ahead of me and life would be back to normal. Little did I know that a mere year and a half later I would take a tumble that would sever my ACL once again. I pretended everything was fine for a few months and eventually caved and had my second reconstruction in June 2015. So for a quick recap:Pretty exciting stuff right? And, yes I used power point, this is my nerdy office loving self coming out, perhaps one day I will even find a reason to put a spreadsheet in a post, let’s all cross our fingers for that.

At the August 2017 appointment I got some crap news from my orthopedic that my body has some pretty stretchy ligaments and since my knee has already been through some trauma, it basically can’t function like a normal knee ever again. Even though the graft that is put in place is great muscle tissue, my body eventually converts it to it’s normal stretchy ligament tissue and gets so stretchy it is useless or I buckle and fall, thus tearing it again. So bottom line, I will been dealing with occasional falls and never being able to do things like take sharp right turns or jump on a trampoline.

Normally I can handle all this pretty well and focus on what I CAN do. It is not lost on me that I can still lift and even run when I want to. I can also normally tell when my knee is fatigued so I take it easy and am more deliberate with my movements; in hopes of avoiding a spill. I normally wear slippers around the house for traction (or go barefoot) BUT on NYE I forgot to put my slippers on before running upstairs, on my way down my sock didn’t stick to the last step and the instability caused my knee to completely give out and I collapsed. Some falls are worse than others and this one sucked. A mix of the shock value, the actual pain, it being NYE, the fact that we had friends over, etc. all made this fall SUCK. The after math has been a slow recovery too. I hardly slept that night because moving was incredibly painful and I was anxious from the fall. The next day I spent on the couch elevating and icing through out the day, the following few days it got progressively better, just slower than I had hoped.

I am off work this week and had big plans of some longer gym sessions, maybe a hike, playing with the dogs, and now I am limping around, doing more upper body work outs than I care to, and fitting in some walking at the gym. I am also taking some time to reflect on how I handle this type of set back. I catch myself feeling sorry for myself or thinking about all the things that I can’t do because of me knee. Things like play sports, run with my dogs, jump on a trampoline with my potential future minions (we are not pregnant, this is a long game pity party); I even find myself thinking about how I will handle this whenever I am pregnant. Will I have to wear my knee brace all the time at home due to fear of potentially falling on stairs?! It is exhausting!! I find myself thinking “Is this really what the rest of my life is going to look like.”How horrible is that? Just focusing on the negative and things that I really can’t change. The thing I can change is my attitude. Yes, it sucks that my knee doesn’t function the way it was meant to. Yes, there are things I won’t be able to do for the rest of my life. No, I do not have to let one bad joint completely overwhelm me. I have my health, I have a loving husband, I have two sweet (but nutty) dogs, I have a beautiful home that I share with the aforementioned family members, I have a great job I enjoy, I have an amazing extended family, friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and a plethora of other joints that work just swell. I find that whenever I go down the pity party spiral the quickest way out of it is thinking about how, while my situation is not ideal, there are people in the world that would LOVE to have a bad knee as their only physical ailment and energy suck.SO moral of the this long story and post – chronic injuries suck, but they don’t have to define us. Learning to change your mindset is an incredibly powerful tool. I mentioned in a previous post how I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately by some pretty inspiring people lately (check it out) and I feel like I have handled this set back much better than I would have previously. I find that I am able to cope a bit better and again, focus on all the good in my life and all the things that this ABLE body of mine is capable of. No, I may never get to jump on a trampoline again BUT what I will be doing later this month is going skiing for the first time and rocking my awesome knee brace.

Life is only what you make it, don’t waste your precious energy on shit you can’t change.

 

Q: Are you dealing with any chronic injuries? How do you make lemonade out of your lemons?
(lemons are delicious, not hating on lemons)

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3 thoughts on “Dealing with a Chronic Injury

  1. I’m dealing with chronic illness, does that count? I get stuck in the pity party mode often, but have come so far from my original diagnosis days and learning to live with the problem instead of fight against it. Plus when I work with it I’m more in control of my choices thus my symptoms are minimal. I remember when you had this tear originally, it was awful. REST up from that recent fall I’m so sorry that happened on NYE! Sending you love.

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