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Hello folks!

Yesterday, I was supposed to be scheduled for 3rd surgery to remove 30% of meniscus from my right knee.  I cancelled it a bit over a week ago at doctor’s office.  Here is a story: Last February, I signed up for outdoor guided rock climbing last February and I couldn’t climb due to little strength in my right leg.  I didn’t noticed it by then because I was able to walk and climb up and down with little difficult.  However, to climb vertically was entire different game for my legs.  I decided to focus on building strength in my thigh areas.

This past March, I began to experience some swellings and pains in my knee.  I think my meniscus may have shifted while doing a deep lunge training.  Swellings and pains went away and returned several times between March and April.  UGH…..In first two weeks of May, my knee was in constant pain and swelling.  That was bad enough that I had to grip on the rail to climb up and down supported.  Oh my gosh….I threw in towel and went to see my doctor in mid-May.  He wasn’t happy upon seeing my swollen knee.  MRI has been ordered.

My MRI results returned and it didn’t look good for my meniscus – it wasn’t healed properly and still in tattered shape.  He said that the last option is to have 30% of my meniscus removed which will set my development of arthritis earlier than normal and candidate for total knee replacement earlier than normal.  OH MY GOODNESS…..I was in terrible pain that I said ok, let’s do the surgery.  I thought about my prior commitments and decided to kept them up to end of August.  I sadly told Ad-Cane and his fiancee that I wasn’t able to join them celebrating their wedding in Croatia.  I also had to drop attending Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany with my friends once again.  😦

I didn’t gave in though.  I was continued to work on my knee by doing yoga, stretching, home exercises, applying essential oils and eating more of antiflammatory food.  Over the summer, I began to notice pain gradually reduced, swelling went down and flexibility slowly regained.  Ohhhhh……I read some articles and spoke to some people.  Some of my friends gave me some advices and recommendations.  I am grateful for them for their supports.  By beginning of August, I began to consider to postpone or cancel my surgery because once part of my meniscus is gone, it is gone FOREVER.  I thought to myself that I should try some more options and move surgery as last resort as it is supposed to be.  As the appointment of my doctor started to creep up on me, I made a decision that I shall postpone my surgery and request for physical therapy as one of options.  I was nervous, but felt comfortable with my decision.  My doctor supported my decision.

Yesterday, instead of surgery, I commenced my physical therapy evaluation.  My therapist noticed some areas of weaknesses.  We discussed and agreed on working on targeted rehabbing my thigh and inside knee.  Today, I worked hard at physical therapy.  My therapist made comment that it was good thing that I had a break since last physical therapy (last year in September) and I am now in less pain than before.  Back then, I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t made much of progress with sessions.  The general health insurance companies in USA only care if you are able to get in/out of bathtub and car, climb up/down the stairs and walk, then your sessions are to be ceased.  UGH…..So, I am back focusing on building up more strength in my thigh area to help my inside knee to support and stabilize my leg for next 4 weeks.  I feel better knowing that my therapist monitors me to make sure I do not injure myself and sees where I need to work within short frame of time before my follow-up appointment with doctor in mid-October to decide if a surgery is necessary.

I plan to gradually add some activities such as cycling at flat terrain, hiking with gentle elevations and swimming during off-day from physical therapy sessions.  This month, I plan to remain in New Jersey to invest time into myself.  Between October and November, I plan to travel occasionally and continue to work on my knee.  Please wish me well on my working toward avoiding a surgery.

Hello folks,

This week is 8th week since my ACL/meniscus reconstruction surgery (25-Nov-2014).  Here is my progress so far:

9-Dec-2014 – It concluded my CPM machine for two weeks.  I made a great progress!  Thank and good-bye, CPM machine!

CPM Machine

CPM Machine

10-Dec-2014 – Completed my anti-inflammatory medicine a day before and went out for a dinner to celebrate and toast my amazing progress of my knee recovery along with a picture of my legs!

A pint of Guinness

A pint of Guinness

As of 10-Dec-2014

As of 10-Dec-2014

 

Between 11-Dec-2014 and 13-Jan-2015 – I have been working hard on rehabbing my knee at physical therapy 3 times a week and attending 1 personal training session at my local gym and several sessions at two different yoga studios during the week.

13-Dec-2014 – 17-Dec-2014 – Nanette, my best friend, flew in from Texas to spend time with me and lend her support to my knee recovery progress.  It was wonderful to have her with us for a few days.  A huge thanks went out to her super husband, Paul, who made it possible for her to come out and took care of their family of 3 young kids.  It meant the whole world to me!  Here is a picture Nanette captured during my physical therapy session:

Roni & Ruth - Physical Therapy

Roni & Ruth – Physical Therapy

Here is a picture of Nanette and me in the backyard on left – my hair color shone under the sun with fiery red.  Normally, it is not how it looks like inside!  🙂  Here is another picture of my hair looks like inside on right.

Nanette & Roni

Nanette & Roni

Roni & Nanette

Roni & Nanette

 

 

27-Dec-2015 – My parents took me out for outing – my first brief hiking on flat path at the J.A. McFaul Environment Park – my knee did well along with some soreness, but felt great!

J.A. McFaul Environment Center, Wyckoff, NJ

J.A. McFaul Environment Center, Wyckoff, NJ

Early January 2015 – I finally was able to bend my knee 90 degrees, so I was able to sit in back seat of the car ever since.

Last Monday – 5-Jan-2015 – I drove on my own for first time.  I noticed some aching pain in my knee area, but not too sharp or painful.  I decided to keep my driving short – less than one hour.

On that evening, I hooked my right leg with my ACL knee brace around the chair leg while I was sitting down.  I accidentally applied too much force on my leg inwardly which caused my knee to pop in/out so fast that shocked the hell out of me.  It hurt like hell – similar to what happened to me on the trail (which I ended up collapsing onto my hands and knees) before the surgery, but at this time, it hurt even more!  I became panic thinking that I might damage or mess up my ACL!!!  I tested and found out that I was able to walk, but in pain and sore!  I applied ice for next five days along with putting arnica, popping in NSAID, and taking epsom salt bath.  I had a conversation with my physical therapist about this incident and she said that it does happen to any knee even perfectly “normal” knee since it occurs with force and knee has many joints.  It bounds to happen, anyway.  I asked her for the term of this incident and she said, “subluxation”.  She examined my knee and found my knee swollen, but other than that, shethought that I will be ok, but best that I called my doctor.  I called my doctor and after discussing, I decided that it was not emergency since I was able to walk and would see my doctor the following week, anyway.  Whoa…..a lesson learned, do not *ever* hook my leg around the chair leg again!!!!

After 13-Jan-2015 – After seeing my doctor for my follow-up appointment and was pleased with my progress, my physical therapy has been scaled back to 2 times a week and added one more sessions for my personal training at my local gym (it is my choice, not doctor’s order).  I continue to attend several sessions at two different yoga studios during the week.  My doctor said  I am allowed to walk/hike, but *NO* running and jumping.  Shucks!

If you recalled about my dilemma with changing my clothing due my wearing ACL knee brace full-time.  Here is updated listing of my clothing and boots.

  • Gave up and put away 18 pair of my pants for storage –

    Pants to give up

    Pants to give up

  • Around 5 skirts
  • I get to keep leggings/yoga pants!!!!  I wear ACL knee brace to yoga studio over my leggings/yoga pants, then take my brace off during the session only.  My ACL knee brace digs into my skin and muscle during sessions, so I had a conversation with my physical therapist about this problem and got her blessings to have it removed only if I do not turn my leg inward or outward at all, put all my weight on my right leg, and putting my both feet apart beyond my shoulders.  My knee was not ready to perform that tasks yet.  I complied her requests and found my right leg doing much better without brace.  I just make some adjustment to make my right knee more comfortable and noticed a huge improvement of flexibility and mobility with my right knee over the time.  YAY!
  • A couple of sweat pants – they are for home, gym, and physical therapy use only!
  • Few long dresses
  • Some shorts – I wear it most of the time.  LOL
  • Ankle-high winter boots – I left it out to see if I can wear later in the winter.  Who knows?
  • One pair of leg warmers – lovely gift from my mom!
  • I haven’t shopped for a new skirts, dresses, wide-pants, and shorts since I am tight on money because money being spending on my physical therapy, gym, and yoga sessions.  So far, I manage ok with clothing, so I am not worried.

My current challenges with mobilization are:

  • walk up/down stairs freely without brace
  • turn/twist my right leg/foot pain-free
  • pick up my right leg sideway to put socks/shoes on pain-free
  • put full weight on my right knee
  • full-squat
  • push-up and sit-up pain-free
  • stand on my right leg for five minutes pain-free
  • sit down, pick up my leg, and ride bike click-free
  • knee flexioning pain-free

I am still eyeing for going for snowshoeing/hiking sometimes by end of this month or next month.  Wait and see how my knee feels.  Onward to work on making some more amazing progress on my knee for next few more weeks.

 

 

 

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