Last Friday I had the last bit of hardware removed from my knee. Following a tumble I took back in November (You can read about the fun Here) and after months of dealing with pain, swelling and just generally not feeling like myself, my Orthopedic surgeon and I decided it was time for the screw to go.
It was a very minor procedure to be sure, but I still spent the better part of this last week babying my leg and off my feet. Time was spent watching TV (Something I never do) and there may also have been ice cream ingested at some point. (Ummm…I am going to chalk that one up to post anesthesia nausea. Yeah.)
It’s been over a week now, and I am finally 100% weight bearing and have pretty much all of my ROM and mobility back with the joint. It’s still sore and bruised, though, so I am taking it easy and slowly easing myself back into activity. It will be a bit of time yet before I can do high impact activities (read: running). I am challenging myself to walk every day from now through the month of April, and while it isn’t the same as running, I am enjoying getting outside with nature and my knee sure does feel better with each and every walk.
Which brings me to two important point us runners (or any athlete or active person) faces and should come to peace with: Patience and maintaining perspective when faced with time away from doing what you love.
Patience can be a tough one. When I have suffered with ITB and – more aggravating – bursitis issues in the past, ALL I wanted to know was when it would get better and I could run again pain free. I wanted a timeline for my healing and I wanted specific benchmarks to know I was progressing (funny how the body has other plans!) Screw being patient; I wanted to run and I wanted to run NOW. This often leant itself to me not giving the process time, and not being patient and diligent with my stretches and exercises (thank God I am better about this now). I would rush the process, and rather than take the time off that was needed, I would jump back into my training the minute everything seemed fine. But, usually it wasn’t, and it was like going back to square one and starting over with now the burden and aggravation of MORE time off.
(On a side note, patience has been a theme in my life this past year; almost one year ago my husband went on a one year deployment…but will be returning home in mere days! If that doesn’t teach one patience and resilience, I don’t know what will!)
As far as perspective; I am not saying it is easy, but keeping perspective means packing up your pity party and realizing that an injury or time away from running (or insert activity here) is not the end of the world, and far from being the worst thing that will ever happen to you (even though at the time, you may think is.)
When my original knee injury occurred in 2002, and I was off my feet for months, I was in so much pain that all I could really focus on was wanting to be able to walk again. Hell, I would have taken being able to shower unassisted at that point. I would later grieve after having been told I would never run again (Doctors can be wrong, you know!) but at that moment, I simply wanted to heal, be out of pain, and be independent. I wasn’t even considering the “no running ever” part yet.
Now, when I face an injury or setback, it is so much easier to keep my perspective of the situation. Bodies heal (in most cases) and the time is going to pass anyway, so I use my downtime post injury as a time to cross-train, to try new activities, and to learn as much as I can about strengthening my body in order to try and avoid future injuries (when possible). I spend time with friends I haven’t connected with in months, because my training schedule wouldn’t allow it. I focus on staying positive. And I remind myself that no matter how bummed I am about not being able to do what I want, it could be so much worse. I currently have extended family that is quite sick, friends grieving the loss of loved ones, and many other examples I can look to that puts my inability to run for a few months seem rather trivial. In the end my body is strong and overall healthy…so now is the time to strengthen my mind as well.
It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I no longer drive myself crazy or get frustrated. I know that removing this screw – while a small set back now – was the right move and that I will be 100% soon. In fact, I plan on being physically and mentally stronger than before, and will have my hubby home to share all my adventures with. Now THAT is something to get excited about! 😀