Monday, December 5, 2011


Well, it's been a month since the surgery, so I figured it high time for an update.  The long and short of it is that I'm healing quicker than the doc's already quicker than average healing prognosis, which is good.  But I'm not back to perfect and it's making me certifiably nutso, which is bad.  If that suffices, you may want to skim ahead for some gory photos, if you're into that sort of thing, otherwise I'll give you the play-by-play.  It went down like this:
WED 11/9:  I have surgery.
Surgery is not like I remember it.  Back in the day, I remember surgery as being kind of a big deal.  Today I go run, go to work for half a day and my co-worker drops me off at the hospital.  Next thing I know, I'm waking up behind a sheet and the worst thing that's going on is I'm remarkably thirsty.  Dom's stuck in traffic and Gabi's lost without an American number, so I just kind of chill for a bit.  Gabi eventually picks me up and gives me Swiss chocolate, which I devour in less than 30 seconds.  Surgery is not a big deal.

The best part is that the doc, who has long since left the hospital, makes a call to talk to me about what he found.  It wasn't just scar tissue.  It was straight up yucca tips and even he was in shock over the whole thing.  Boom.  I'm an episode of HOUSE.  Check it out:

1/3 of an inch yucca splinter hiding in my knee joint for 6 months.
Apparently the scar tissue (the stuff that looks like cherries here) was
growing around it and obscured it from detection via MRI.

There were not one, but two of these assholes.
And just in case you were confused as to what you were looking at there...
Yeppers. Two of those suckers hitched a ride along the AC100 in my knee joint.

So anyway, the worst part of the whole ordeal is coming down off the anesthesia. Holy shit.  Back home to my apartment, I am restless, my legs are spasming and my life is possibly ending in a blaze of anxiety.  I'm quite certain that is the closest I will ever be to understanding what it's like to OD on Meth.

FRI 11/11:  This is what my knee looks like:

The top left is where the camera went in; the far right is where they pulled out
the scar tissue and the spawn of yucca; the two bottom are drainage holes

MON 11/14:  I abandon the use of crutches, mainly because they are annoying.
JJ100, 3 days post-op:  Most pathetic crew chief ever.

THURS 11/17:  My knee looks remarkably better, though quite swollen.  However, I am shocked at the loss of muscle mass in only 7 days and how weak my left leg now is.  Like, as weak as Hootie and the Blowfish's sophomore album.  Seriously weak.  It hurts like a bitch to bend my knee, but I force it via PT's "knee slides," i.e. the worst thing ever.  I begin doing wall sits during all meetings at work and have become quite the overachiever with all my exercises.  However, my resolve is strong that if freaking Darius Rucker can make a comeback, so can I.  Accordingly, I've started listening to a lot more country.

Looking good... but doc says 3 weeks to hike and a month to run is likely.
SAT  11/19 - 9 DAYS POST-OP:

Top 'o Temescal
Oh, that's weird because I went for a hike today.  4 miles and 1,000 feet on a perfectly beautiful day.  And I was passing people the whole way up.

TUES  11/22:  I return to hot ballet class.
I plié.  I lengthen.  I can't quite make it into child's pose, but I give it a good effort.  I'm happy I didn't put my membership on hold for a month like they told me to.  "If you're having surgery, you won't be back for at least a month. AT LEAST."  

WED  11/23 - EXACTLY 2 WEEKS POST-OP:   I run.
It's not much, and it's not pretty.  But I do it.  Run a mile to CVS.  Walk a half mile.  Run another half mile.  Walk another half mile home.  Throw a heel click in for good measure.  I begin to believe I am invincible.

THURS 11/24 - THANKSGIVING:  Turkey Trot
I go to Torrance to watch Dom and Vinny run the Turkey Trot.  I decide I will run the first mile with them and then walk back.  Next thing I know, I am crossing the finish line.  The case for invincibility becomes infinitely stronger.

FRI 11/25:  Return to the trails.
Now that my recovery phase is already over, I decide to head to Sullivan with Dom and run/hike up the ridge.  There is no hiking involved.  I run the singletrack back, and by the end, my knee is sufficiently tired and my opposite hip is definitely aching.  I am tired and sore the rest of the day, but I attribute this to being out of shape.  I am definitely invincible. 

SAT  11/26:  More.
I run up Will Rogers and run/hike back down.  There is no stopping me now.  Someone should make a movie about how awesome I am.

SUN 11/27:  Hmmmm....
OK, maybe they shouldn't make that movie just yet, 'cause I am kind of hurting a lot. But I can't resist the urge to run and hike Mt. Wilson.  In my defense, I just got the new iphone and am really excited to test out the camera.  

MON  11/28:  I enter the hurt locker.
Today, I realize that I went from not running at all to running four days in a row on a surgically repaired knee. Today, I realize I am actually the opposite of invincible, and this really pisses me off.

Reality check over.  The real healing process now ensues....

In the days since I realized I'm actually a human, I've been building up a little more gradually.  I've run up to 7 miles on the trails, but to be honest, it hurts pretty badly.  I'm good on the way up, but the down is quite painful.  That said, I've checked with the doc and apparently that is to be expected.  I've just got to get my mobility back, so for now, I just have to be in pain for a little longer.  Whatever.  I can handle it.

Hiking with Maruoka: returning to the trails 2 weeks early
from FAI/Labral tear hip surgery

Favorite activity when I can't run an ultra:  Crewing an ultra!
Dom, me, Mari & Jorge @ TNF50
While I'm mostly positive about this whole thing and focused on being thankful for finally having an answer, there is one thing that kind of sucks.  Getting back into the kind of training I was rocking before AC is going to be really hard. The problem being, I don't want to just get back to what I was doing.  I want to do more.  But I feel so out of shape in the mountains right now and I can't imagine being able to give an honest effort to a 100 (likely AC again) this summer.  Dammit, I'm going to try, but will my knee be able to handle the volume of training I'd like to throw down?  Last year was 80 mile weeks with an occasional 100+ in there.  This year, my goal by spring is to be doing 100 mile weeks regularly, with upwards of 120-30s when I'm seriously rocking it.  It's what I feel I need to do to get where I want to be, and the only thing holding me back is this goshdurn freak accident.  

But I digress.  A month ago, I had knee surgery where they pulled freaking imbedded spikes out of my tendons.  And I'm already running again.

That is pretty cool.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience on knee pain.Its really great that you recovered from your knee pain with the help of some Best Knee Surgeons In Los Angeles..I will be waiting for your next post.