Thursday, February 24, 2011

From one joint to the next

Don't let the laugh fool you, this was my hell for most of 2009
In January 2009, I injured my knee quite severely. I spent the best part of a year on crutches or wearing a brace, not able to bear weight. I went from 5 days a week at the gym, softball, baseball, triathalon and rockclimbing, to nothing, losing 10kg in 4 months, my thigh wasting to half its size within that time. Despite visiting naturopaths, physios and surgeons, having MRIs, CT scans and gods only know how many tests, no one was actually able to tell me what was wrong. There were plenty of theories, ligament damage, ruptured ACL, meniscus tear, cartilage damage, but none seemed to cover the complex range of problems I was experiencing. I iced, heated, strapped, massaged, drugged, herbalised, rested, exercised and stretched, with very little improvement for many months. Eventually, my body adapted, and the other parts of my leg took over from whatever the injury was. I went to the local community physio once a fortnight. Eventually I was able to walk without aids, and even run (very!) short distances, but I didn’t regain the strength or stability. Rather than helping me toward my old form, the community physio refused to see me once I regained function, i.e. I could walk. Things like rock-climbing or triathalon were, and still are, completely out of the question. I still have issues with pivoting, balance, loading, and couldn’t walk for 3-4 days a few months back because of jarring my knee on a wet floor.

This morning, I actually got a definitive answer.

I’ve been seeing a physiotherapist since dislocating my shoulder a month ago today, about 7 visits in that short time. Thanks to a highly intensive program, it’s back to 80%, which is great, as it hasn’t been 100% for years, and now it feels like it might actually get there. Basically, short of my doing more stabilization, endurance and strength exercises at home, there’s nothing more we can do for it. So, we moved on to the knee. He had read its convoluted history during the week, put me through the motions this morning, and within 10 minutes was shaking his head…

“How did they not pick this up as a meniscus tear?”

I swear, I bounced… on the good leg. Of course, there is a long road ahead. In order for me to be able to walk, other muscles had changed their usual function. We have to retrain everything from the hip down to go back to their original state. Even the two small and relatively easy exercises I was shown today had me fatigued and breathing hard after only 5 reps. It might be tiring, but I’m excited, I’m hugely motivated to get my body to where it should be, and I’m fueling my recovery with yummy creations like this! 

Monster tower of an organic lunch.

Local leg ham, grilled zuchinni, eggplant and sweet potato, vintage cheddar, baby spinach, sundried tomato and basil pumpkin hoummas on a fresh crusty roll. Delicious lunch, and great fuel for rebuilding muscle!

Hopefully I'll have some new recipes to put up in the next week or so, including rhubarb jam and maybe something involving a rabbit. Might also throw in to a conference wrap-up from my fun weekend in Lorne if I can pull anything non-sciency out of it! In the mean time, enjoy the last of our sunny summer weather, cause autumn starts next week!

Love Neysa xo