Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekend Warrior

I had my first post-op follow-up on Friday. The doctor's branch office is across a busy port highway from where I work, and since I can't bend my knee to drive yet I decided to walk over. I had visions of the old Frogger video game with me being the frog trying to dodge the aiming of the big rigs. Fortunately for me traffic was light and no green guts were left behind.

Dr. Graham's PA was very thorough and answered my questions with detail. I always feel no matter what the situation, it is better to know exactly what conditions you are facing. My knee was not quite as swollen since the appointment was in the morning, and there was no evidence of bleeding through my bandaids which have been permanently discarded.

Thanks Google images
My knee, outside of the tear, is in very good shape. According to the operative findings, I had a "complex tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus." In the illustration, mine was like the bottom right, although I think the tear was smaller. The tear had folded over the meniscus as well.

The PA and I talked about the time I had left to train and the healing process itself. My concern was even if I could run, would doing the minimal mileage to run the marathon potentially compromise my surgery and make things worse. She told me how a small portion of the meniscus beyond the physical tear is removed to help prevent any further tearing. All of this area including the incisions is raw and inflamed from the trauma of surgery and needs time to heal. Any aggravation - like training for a marathon - can irritate the knee and will result in swelling, a precise indication to back off.

As a runner, we know we have to push through the discomfort of our effort. With an injury, it is imperative to know what pain is expected and what amount of unpleasantness we can tolerate like that of PT. The body must have time to recover; I know if I felt comfortable enough to run today that the knee is not healed.

I will be doing my PT at Private Therapy Services, which shares the Velocity Sports facility down the street from where I work. I'm already thinking once I have recovered to see about getting some strength training to help steel myself for the future.


For this weekend I will be focused on doing my knee exercises, elevating and icing, and doing a little walking. I had a welcomed call from my friend Scott Rigsby shortly after I came back from my follow-up. We talked for some time about my injury in a realistic terms; I simply will not compromise my ability to run in the future to drag my injured body through a single race. We talked about the marathon course, one that will only be more familiar to me when my shoes are striking the pavement. I sent Scott some links to a couple of the elevation charts so he can prepare himself for this great adventure.

I've had many supporting inquires and messages about this bump in the road, all of them very appreciated. Yes, when I think of missing this year's race it is disappointing, only to get worse as April 16 approaches. Yet the thought I will get through this injury and have an entire year to train for the 2013 edition gives me comfort. Strange that not having a foot will not stop me, but this tiny piece of torn cartilage has derailed the entire train. 


I know this all sounds like I have written off this year's race and I don't like acknowledging that is close to the truth. It is still possible, but if I can't run with a high degree of comfort by next weekend this window may be nearly closed. Through my entire amputation journey I've come to find when things seemed to be going in the wrong direction, I would come to find a brighter light. This has been true every single time.

This injury is not life threatening. It is not a terminal disease. I will run again, and likely stronger than ever. And no matter what, I know I was to run this grand race with my friends.

In many ways, I already have.


  1. I know it is disappointing but I am proud of your mature decision to postpone if necessary. Too many people think they MUST do a scheduled race whether for themselves or for a charity event. Running on an injury does not a hero make. Patience, consistency, and thoughtful decisions are what makes a hero. You.

  2. What can I say?

    Happy you are my #1. :-)