Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ACL Surgery - The Boy Scouts Are Right...

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                   ...Be prepared.


     About a year ago, I came home and surprised a burglar. I posted my experience on Facebook and one of my fellow lung cancer ninja friends, Lisa Goldman, commented:  "Oy. I'm sorry Luna. I'm always kind of taken aback when regular crappy stuff happens to us. It feels like a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis should render us immune to any other shit."  I know Lisa knows how it feels to juggle the ups and downs of life while dealing with serious cancer.  At that time, I couldn't have agreed with her more, but now...at least for today, I feel differently.

      Two years ago I had a downhill skiing accident and partially tore my right anterior cruciate ligament, (ACL).  I realized after the accident that I hadn't prepared myself for skiing that year.  In the past, for a few months before a ski trip, I was in the gym training - doing strengthening exercises specifically for downhill skiing.  For many reasons, I didn't do that before my accident and I paid the price.  In addition to getting really hurt, I ruined a ski trip get-away with my dear friend, Vicki.  I was so mad at myself.  

     Since then, I've been a dedicated rehab-er. Without exception, every morning I roll out of bed and do calisthenics and resistance training.  Two or three times a week I'm at a hot Pilates class and am regularly on my stationary bike or elliptical.  All this is to work toward being strong... mind,body, and spirit.  You know, that triad I've written about in the past.  (Excercising, especially in a hot room, greatly helps me manage chronic achiness I have from metastatic bone disease.)

     Last November, I fell to my knee and tore my ACL completely.  Despite being stronger from regular training, my knee was very unstable.  I saw my regular orthopedic surgeon and went for a second opinion.  Both surgeons recommended ACL reconstructive surgery.  After checking with my oncologists and getting medical clearance, I had surgery last week.

     Post-surgery nausea was pretty awful for about 36 hours, but as far as my leg goes...so far, so good.  I have minimal pain and 7 days post-surgery, I've hit all the milestones needed to be optimistic about my recovery.  Thanks to an ice cooling system, swelling has not been significant.  I'm able to bear weight nicely and am walking around the house, with a brace. I have a Camoped to bike (without any resistance) twice a day, which has helped me bend my knee to >90 degrees already. Physical therapy starts later today.

     I hope my recovery continues to move in the right direction.  I'm certain that it's starting out well because, unlike before my last ski trip, I prepared myself.  I was stronger heading into surgery than before that last fateful downhill run.  My goal is to never make that mistake again.  Life certainly has its ups and downs - some ups are really high and some lows seem unbearable.  And...although I'd love to be immune from "any other shit", I'll do my best to be prepared when I can be, and...bring it on.  

     This knee surgery has been a distraction for a follow-up brain MRI I will have next week.   Hopefully, it will help sort out the small, questionable lesion seen on my last MRI.  Bring that on, too.  I'm not quite prepared for all possibilities yet, but I'm working on that now.

      I can't end this blog without thanking Wynn, Nina, Brigid, Seth and Renee, and Ann for helping me get through this past week.  Thanks, too, to our nephew, Harold - 5th year orthopedic surgery resident - for the referral to my surgeon.  You were right, Harold.  Thanks to Rachel, RN - who is taking care of business for me at work. 


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