Overdue: Part 2
Skip 3 years into the future: I'm 21 and have slight knee pain. My doctor told me I needed to have more x-rays and another MRI done to find out where my knee pain was coming from because there was nothing overtly wrong. Weeks ,and a good chunk of change, later, I find that I have a torn meniscus. The only way to heal a torn meniscus is to rest or have surgery. My tear wasn't bad enough to warrant surgery, but I tried to not rotate my knee/leg too much and rest it as much as possible. Turns out resting doesn't do much when there's a larger issue that's being masked.
I spent the next 2 years with that annoying knee pain. Yes, I'm stubborn, and I know I'm not helping myself by being stubborn regarding my health. I decided it was time to get this taken care of once and for all. I ended up visiting multiple doctors, who all told me I would need surgery. I can't blame them though because of the shape my knee was in.
My knee cap had managed to partially dislocate itself and was just hanging out, having a good ol' time, on the outside of my leg. The medical terminology is a lateral patellar subluxation, which is not a full dislocation, but just my kneecap deciding to wander out of socket.
After a fair amount of convincing, I finally went to my first physical therapy appointment in June last year. Granted, I was skeptical that it would help at all after years of pain and misdiagnoses.
The verdict was in. I needed to work multiple muscles around my knee and, of course, get my cardio in. Workouts spanned from a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour. I returned to my physical therapist once every week all through June and July, which resulted in slowly changing exercises within the routine and learning new movements.
Slowly, but surely, I found that the tendon that runs from my ankle to my knee and through to my hip was under oh so much stress. This meant adding in multiple hip flexor exercises, glut stretches, and hip abductions -- and by this, I mean that my physical therapist told me to "work it like you're Beyonce and get that Beyonce booty." Her words, not mine.
I do need to fess up though. After all of this effort, I took a vacation to Portland with the fiancée and a friend (stay tuned for more on that). While in Oregon, I stuck with physical therapy for the first few days, but didn't find it as beneficial at that time to continue. We were walking or hiking anywhere from 5 to 10 miles a day for that week and a half, so the possibility of further injury from overworking my ankle, foot, knee, and hip was very high. Knitting the Farmhouse Shawl and icing my ankles became a nightly ritual after a day of frolicking, hiking, knitting some more, and eating vegan donuts with the best damn cold brew around, a.k.a. Stumptown.
Returning after this trip, at the beginning of August, I slowed my physical therapy down from exercising my knee every single day to only 3 or 4 times a week. Knowing myself, this was the end of my physical therapy practice.
Halfway through September, I had gone back to doing absolutely nothing about the pain. I would do a half-assed session once a week until it just tapered off to nothing. Motivation since then has been difficult because my knee is no longer dislocated. No matter how much better I feel now, though, my Iliotibial Band is still trying its damnedest to pull it back out of socket, so I have a ton of work left to do.
I do have to say that winter is a bitch and I can never seem to feel anything, especially motivation, during the winter months. I've decided to say fuck depression though and do my best to push through it. Last week, I reignited my physical therapy and went a little too hard. My fault because I jumped right back into the exercises I was doing daily when I was up to 1 hour workouts. Oops! This week, I plan to be more aware of my pain levels and listen to my body.
All of this is to say that no matter how committed you feel like you are to a cause, you will falter. You will have days where it seems like it isn't worth it. This is my reminder. After years of pain, doctor's appointments, money, and time...a healthy, functioning body is worth it. If I don't remind myself of this often enough, it's going to slip away from me again. I need to be held accountable for my physical therapy, therefore, this is on the internet for the world to see.
You are always in process. Be accepting of the process.