2 years ago I was having knee surgery.
2 years ago I was under the assumption that I’d be taking PTO for a week and then work from home for 2 or 3 weeks.
2 years ago I had no idea that my issues wouldn’t be fixed by a ‘minor’ surgery that I had scheduled.
2 years ago . . .
February 2012 I started having hip pain. I thought it was sciatica and that my ‘Couch to 5k’ training plan was causing me pain. As the months went on, my pain increased, my leg became inflamed and I couldn’t walk regularly anymore. By June, my doctor and I thought we had a game plan. I’d be walking fine within a week; back to traveling for my job about 3 weeks after that.
Looking back there are a few things I would do differently. I know that thinking about them won’t change anything, but humor me for a sec.
Up til this point in my life, I had had 3 other knee surgeries and had what I was told was sciatica. I’m willing to bet the house that if you added up all the time I’ve spent in physical therapy, on crutches, wearing braces or in pain it would add up to a ridiculous amount of YEARS. The last surgery I had had was due to plica growing in my knee.
I just googled plica and clicked on the first article that came up. What is so interesting to me is that the first line says “Plica syndrome of the knee is a constellation of signs and symptoms that occur secondary to injury or overuse.” (Medscape, 2013) Prior to this issue I had not had an injury and as a high school student, who was more interested in performing on stage than on an athletic platform, I most definitely wasn’t ‘overusing’ my knees.
The last physical therapy stint I did was due to a diagnosis of sciatica. I went for weeks on end to the therapist, started doing yoga and worked my butt off (haha literally) to get my piriformis muscle to loosen up. I was told that my piriformis muscle was too tight, it was causing inflammation and that it was pressing on my sciatic nerve. Becoming just completely fed up with having to go to PT at 7am, 2 to 3 times a week, (since I worked late) I stopped going when I wasn’t getting any better at all. I legitimately had seen zero improvement. Then one day my pain stopped and it didn’t return.
I wish that prior to my synovectomy, I would have connected the dots. My Mom told me she was convinced that it was all psoriatic arthritis related, because way back when I was 12 years old a rheumatologist told her that they thought I had it. Every time she brought it up I’d get mad and would yell at her for it.
“If I had psoriatic arthritis don’t you think I would know it? Don’t you think I’d have had all these problems throughout the years? Arthritis is an old person’s disease.” and on and on I went with the stereotypical arthritis thoughts.
I’m sorry Mom. I’m sorry that I did that. Even when the doctors didn’t see it, you did. I wish that I would have taken more stock in your thoughts and perhaps scheduled a rheum appointment prior to my surgery. The plica and the sciatica were dead giveaways that there was most definitely a chronic inflammation problem going on.
But I didn’t!
And like I said before, you can’t change the past. What’s done is done. All you can do is learn from it.
What have I learned from it?
Shit, what HAVEN’T I learned from it.
I’ve learned that you need to be the biggest advocate for your health and wellness. Don’t just rely on medical professionals.
I’ve learned to never take things for granted that you do on a daily basis. Things as simple as getting out of bed, taking a shower, walking up the steps, spending time with friends, just plain WALKING… there are no guarantees in life.
I’ve learned patience. Growing up with italian tempers, patience was never my strong suit.
I’ve learned to enjoy the ride. I don’t need to see the end, I don’t need to know my next move or my life plan… and I’m ok with that. I have a completely different outlook on life now and I truly love my new view.
And I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Like the saying goes, ‘If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans’. 2 years ago I could never imagine my current situation. I would have laughed in your face if you told me what was going to happen in the near future.
Have the 2 years gone quickly?
I’ve been sitting here trying to answer this question. Yes and No.
On one hand, last year this time my year was dragging. The pain was never-ending. The medications were never-ending. My depression was never-ending. It seemed like every doctors appointment would bring disappointment and more questions than answers.
Sitting here now, I cannot even believe it’s been 2 years. My last flight to and from Chattanooga, the ever-moving pace of my jet setting life, my last trip home from New York … it really seems like last month that I was wincing in pain, hobbling through Atlanta’s airport, coming up with obscene names for the different terminals with my coworker at chili’s.
The past 2 years have brought MANY MANY MANNNNNYYYYYYYYYYYY ups and downs, but it’s been such a blessing in disguise. Although my health is nowhere near where I want it to be, that I may never return to the lifestyle I lived before and that some people who were in my life at the beginning of my journey are no longer with me – I can honestly say that I’m extremely grateful, blessed and happy.
I’m so grateful for those who have taught me lessons along the way, for those who have helped lift me physically, mentally and spiritually and for everything that I’ve been afforded.
I feel so blessed to have the most amazing family – if it weren’t for them I would have never made it through this alive.
And I feel so happy that I’m, not only on an amazing path to completely health and wellness, but that I’ve found my purpose in life. My soul is here for a reason and it’s an amazing feeling when you realize what that reason is. I would have preferred this identification some other way, but I wouldn’t trade my journey for anyone else’s.
Thinking about the last 2 years of my life, not dwelling on what is gone, but how far I’ve come, I can’t help but wonder and be excited for where I’ll be 2 years from now.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!