The day of surgery
I’m about to head to the hospital for a knee reconstruction (repair of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament). Leading up to this operation has been a ten-month affair. I injured my knee, snapping a couple of ligaments and damaging a bunch of other bits, in July 2015.
What followed has been a lot of healing, learning to walk again, physical strengthening, and working through a lot of ‘head stuff’. I’m a different person now, that’s for sure.
In the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on the pathway that has led me here. Having an operation to fix my knee is something that I never wanted. Having an intense fear of needles and medical procedures in the past has hampered my ability to accept what is needed to get my physical body back on track. And it has added to my anxiety.
Over the time since my initial injury though, I am proud to say that I have danced with some of these underlying and long-term fears. Fears that I have carried with me since being a very young child.
They no longer serve me. They never did, logically, but they were part of the baggage I carried around with me for years. Part of how I defined myself. A victim of sorts I guess. Even though the quest to ‘be strong’ has been a common feature of my life over the recent decade.
Meeting with my surgeon and discussing the procedure and what it would mean for my future helped steel me on my course but I still had questions:
Would the surgery fix my knee to be heaps better than it is now?
Would I have less pain and clicking than I do now?
Would there be complications from the surgery?
Who knows. And that’s the rub. All we can ever do is weigh up the evidence and advice with our own desires and reactions and make a decision from there.
I have wondered if I could avoid surgery altogether but the reality is—and I need to face it, there is no hiding—my knee is unstable and if I didn’t get it fixed in the short term it would be likely to get worse over time. Also, as the physiotherapist pointed out, if I continue to weight train and exercise on it and it’s unbalanced, I will always be loading up incorrectly, which will affect other parts of my body as well.
And so, I have accepted this operation and am even moving to embrace it. To welcome it. To help me have a better future.
I feel a lot stronger and ready to deal with the pain and challenges ahead than I did the first time around with my injury. There was so much shock involved in that event as well as other factors that made my suffering worse. This time, my fiancé is here to look after me (my milkshake order is in), we have a very affectionate cat for me to cuddle and I know I won’t be off my feet for 9 weeks like I was the first time around.
Reflecting on the experience and how I felt last year, I know that I am much more resilient and will be able to cope better this time. But it’s not a competition and I will also be kind to myself as I heal. I will be keeping a journal of how I feel and what I have a crack at to change my wellbeing along the way. So I look forward to sharing some of this on my Recover from Injury website to hopefully help others facing similar challenges.
See you on the other side.