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my full meniscus repair journey: part 8

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On September 16, 2019 I had a full meniscus repair on my left knee. This is part 8 of the story of my recovery process. In all its raw and real glory, my best account of the journey I have been on. To those who may be facing this road, you can do this! Let’s see how far I’ve come!

DATE: March 8, 2020

WEATHER: Snowing and -22. It’s Alberta.

TOTAL TIME SINCE SURGERY: 25 weeks tomorrow.

STAGE OF RECOVERY: The HOME stretch!

holy crap I am walking!

Walking. A concept that most of us take for granted every step we take. Not this girl. Not after a full meniscus repair. I haven’t walked without consciously thinking about every movement, every step, since September 15, 2019. Actually if we are talking about walking without any pain, we need to back the train up to to April 2019. It’s been a REALLY long time. Well, I am happy to report however, that little by little I am walking without even thinking about it at all!

Let’s be more clear. When I get out of bed in the morning, it takes me a moment to “steady” myself. I’ve learned through extensive physiotherapy that I have a VERY “funky” central nervous system. For so many years I’ve lived in a state of being FROZEN, so to speak. My physiotherapist Tessa at Weber Physiotherapy, (who is an angel that works miracles), works with a lot of patients who have experienced trauma, whether it be physical or emotional.

The first day I was with her, she asked if I scared easily. Yes Tessa, pretty sure JUMPY could be my middle name. She then told me that when you’re a jumpy person, you tend to go from 0-60 quickly. That’s me. Moods can change, bursts of energy, scares easily. All of these things put my muscles right on the edge, ready to freeze up. Clench, if I think I am going to fall, trip or be in pain. Well when you’re in that constant state of “clenched” for an extended period of time, they tend to freeze up. We are now working on getting me to relax.

knee bruising

Another super interesting fact, a lot of what happens all the way down the legs, actually starts in the kidneys. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. On day one, Tessa asked if she could check my kidneys. She then very gently, slid her hands palms up and rested them under my back. I’ve now learned that mine need to “chill out” a bit. When they have a chance to relax and breathe (so to speak), everything loosens up. Kidneys, hip flexors, ankles, all connected and all needing each other to RELAX to work properly.

acupuncture here we come!

In addition to physio, I also get acupuncture. I started with six, one hour sessions with Vonalee Gilroy in Red Deer. Simply amazing. Sadly these treatments are not covered by our insurance, which makes ZERO sense to me. In these sessions Vonalee was able to loosen up the back of my calf, which in turn helped loosen up the whole leg.

Then I would relax for about 30 minutes, in an “acupuncture nap”, while listening to a bubbling fountain, quiet music all the while a glorious heat lamp warming my knee and ankle.

My physio sessions at Weber also finish with about 10 minutes of acupuncture. Since these sessions ARE covered with our insurance, I’ve been pretty consistent with a treatment every 2 weeks.

Massage for days…

I get a lot of massages. Make no mistake however, these are not SPA massages, we are talking “get right to the heart of the issue” therapeutic treatments. The massages also happen at Weber Physiotherapy, with Danielle. What’s been so great about this entire process, is that Tessa (upstairs), gives all her notes to Danielle (downstairs) and vice versa. Each time I visit the clinic, they pick up where the other left off.

I am currently under construction. Thank you for your patience.

Little by little, bit by bit, step by step.

I’ve definitely turned another corner. Massage and physio are helping me bend better. Move easier. Get around without over thinking. When you have a full meniscus repair, you start to measure moments, or “markers”.

I think the moment I knew I had reached another “marker” was a few weeks ago after seeing Tessa. I got up from the table, I walked to the front desk, DARE I SAY without even limping? I was elated. I quickly paid, then walked to my car, bursting into happy tears when I sat down. But I knew the feeling I was experiencing probably wouldn’t last.

But here’s the thing. It did! I mean, not completely, but in the past, I would get relief, then the next day everything would seize up again. NOT this time! It’s almost as though something SNAPPED back into place.

HERE WE GO!

Viva las vegas

Did you hear we went to Vegas? Yes, let’s have a meniscus repair then go to the city that never sleeps, the city that’s ALL WALKING! Well, we had a flight credit that needed to be used by February, so back in November we booked 4 days in Las Vegas. SURELY I would be fine by then, right?

Not so much. I thought in the days leading up to the trip that we were making a big mistake. The day we left I was limping, bruised from physio and feeling quite nervous for the vacation. Were there tears? YES, a lot. Have you met me? But, I think in hindsight the fact that we HAD to walk, and walk, and walk may have actually helped in the end.

We joked about getting me a motorized scooter but ended up just taking it slowly. SO slowly. I promised sweet Wadey that we will have to go back, when we could fully enjoy and explore. Let’s just say thank GOD for Uber. And great New Balance runners. And the beautiful Wynn Las Vegas and our glorious TUB. That made it worth it!

Vegas collage

Going forward?

We carry on! Here is a list of ALL the things that make me VERY, very happy!

  • I can climb up the stairs without holding the railing
  • I can go down the stairs, step by step (still holding the railing), but not like a toddler anymore!
  • I can step in and out of the shower, then easily stand at the sink to dry my hair, without even feeling tired
  • I can stand and cook!
  • I can sit at my desk for about 20 minutes without my knee starting to ache
  • I can put on my own shoes! CUE THE CONFETTI!

In closing, it’s happening. It’s been about 6 months of recovery since my full meniscus repair to my left knee and while I am not fully back to normal, I feel SO proud of all that I have accomplished.

Guys. I was in a full wheelchair, full leg brace, zero weight bearing with NO hope of even SITTING outside, much less going for a short walk. HALLELUJAH for my healing team! Tessa, Danielle, Vonalee, and of course my SWEET, SWEET WADEY! I couldn’t do any of this without my “VILLAGE”. If you are going through surgery or recovery, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We’ve got this. Meg xo

PS Missed the last chapter? HERE YOU GO!

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