Sunday, June 15, 2014

4 Weeks Post-Ops

On Tuesday, it will be four weeks since my surgery. I am still on crutches but have been back to work full-time for the past two weeks. My knee is sore and since I started working again, the swelling got a little worse, but otherwise things are still doing great! Now that I am feeling pretty normal again, it is hard to slowdown and take my time. I am pretty tired of being on crutches and it is a struggle to still not be able to drive and do things without asking someone to chaperone.

Joel and my parents have been wonderful still, even though I am not always great to them. Sitting around drives me nuts and I have taken my frustration out on them a far too many times. All they do is help me and in return I release my frustrations on them for some reason. Definitely not winning girlfriend of the year or best daughter award. It is difficult to say the least. My knee is sore but being back at work and having the weather nice, I feel almost back to myself.

I realize how selfish I am sometimes. I have two legs that work, I have parents who support me both emotionally and financially, I have a boyfriend that still worries about me even when I lash out at him. I have a great life and I very fortunate. I lose site of that from time to time...  Some people don't have any of that...

This makes me think about the things I have taken for granted. Lately, all I want to do is run. I hate running and never have been a runner, but once it's taken away from you, you realize what you had. Once I start walking again, I want to work out and be better to my body. Everyone knows how much I love candy and junk food. I abuse my body in the sense that I feed it what I want and not what I need. I can't say I'll stop completely, but I really want to be healthier; working out, eating right, spending more time outside than inside. All these things I have taken for granted.

My last thing that I need to get away from is my cellphone. Since I have been sitting at home so much, I have been on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the internet (in general) a lot more than I ever was. It was my window to the things I was missing. But now, since I am more active, I feel like I still look at my phone way too much. This I can change at anytime and I don't have a problem with my phone (I can go without), but it does detract from just the simple things, like sitting with Joel on the couch or sitting at the land with him.

A week from Monday I go back to the Dr. and get X-rays to find out how everything is healing. Hopefully I will get the good news that I will be able to start walking on my leg again! As long as I continue to listen to my doctor and working on my phsyical therapy, I will be back to my usual self in no time. These past four weeks have really dragged on, but at the same time, it seems like forever ago that I had my surgery.

Each surgery teaches me something new; patience, understanding, gratitude, kindness. Each time I learn more about myself and the person I am and want to be. Joel and I talk about how he would handle the situation I am in and he says he would handle it completely different. I never wish a surgery on anyone, but for those that haven't had to be limited in their daily activities, it is hard to explain the kind of claustrophobia you encounter when relying on others just to get around.

People joke that injuries (like mine) are the reason they aren't athletic; they don't want to get hurt. But I don't think I would change anything for the world. The surgeries have been hard and if it was something I could have foreseen, I would have tried to avoid it. But in the end, the sports teams I was on were my family. The girls I met were my sisters. The memories I have while doing sports were the best there ever was. So with that, I say thank you to each and everyone one of those people who I encountered on my sports career, my life would undoubtedly be less fulfilled if it wasn't for all of you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Post-Op Follow Up :)

It's been just over a week since my surgery. Things are going well compared to what I have been through, but since I am feeling much better than my last surgeries, I am also anxious to get moving again.

Here is a recap of the last week;

The surgery took 5 1/2 hours. The three things that were operated on were my medial and lateral meniscus, and my bone.
Here is a little anatomy lesson for those of you who don't know your knee too well. My lateral meniscus was torn a slight bit. The meniscus provide a cushion between your bones. Trimming my lateral meniscus was just a little routine cleaning.

My medial meniscus was completely taken out and replaced with a cadaver piece. It's kind of scary to think that someone else's DNA is in a part of my body. This part went well during the surgery. They use bone plugs to secure the meniscus in place. There is little chance of rejection with this part because the piece was not a "live" culture.

Finally they put a bone graft in my medial epicondyle. I had bone cartilage damage from when I first tore my ACL. At that time, the bone was cleaned up. Since then (five years later) the area has acted like a pothole in the road; the more jumping I did, the deeper the hole got. This surgery was to plug the hole the resulted from the damage. This is the reason I am non-weight bearing on my knee. I can't put pressure on the graft or it could shift it's place.

Since the surgery I spent one night in the hospital. It went good enough. They had some problem with the femoral block but they got that fixed. Joel stayed with me the whole time and was there to help whenever I needed it. He honestly has been the greatest.

I've been home now for a week. The first few days were pretty difficult since I was on the narcotics. I stayed home a lot with Joel. But we did visit my parents a little and we did visit Joel's family. So many people have stopped and sent me flowers. I can't thank you enough. Physical therapy is going great and I love seeing Mike, he always brightens my day. It has been tough learning to not use one leg and its a struggle sitting home but I am managing. I will be back soon enough :)

I have a doctor's appointment next Monday where they will remove my stitches and make sure every thing is looking as it should. I am nervous because there is a chance that the bone plug moved and I might need surgery again but that is a small chance and I shouldn't focus on the negative! Thanks again for your thoughts and wishes :) I am making a speedy recovery, just impatient to use my leg again!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Post-op pictures; If you don't like stiches, don't look!

I'm safely back home and everything went great. Joel is doing an amazing job as my caretaker and my parents have been incredible. Here are a few shots of my knee :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Well, it's finally time. It seemed like such a long time ago when I was coaching 5th grade girl's traveling basketball and decided that my surgery was going to be in May instead of January. It's been a long couple of weeks, but with school finally done for the semester and everything set in order, I am ready.

I can't tell you how great Joel has been through all of this. I have been a nutcase the last few days (or longer :/) and he has put up with rants about all my fears and doubts and craziness. I broke down today and all he did was put his arms around me and remind me things will be fine and that he (and my parents and everyone else) is always there for me. It's been hard trying not to dwell on all the bad stuff that has happened with the previous surgeries, but he helps me focus on how much better this one will go. Just to let everyone else now how amazing he is; I went to a bachlorette party this past Friday... When I woke up on Saturday, I found the house to be spotless and the dining room and living room were arranged so I could navigate with my crutches without having any problems. Needless to say I was touched and couldn't help but cry with happiness at how lucky I am to have such a man. I even woke him up at 1:00 am when I came home and he didn't complain at all (and he had to work at 6!)!!!!

My parents, as always, have been rock-stars too. The last four surgeries I lived at home and my mom and dad both went through the bad times with me and they were troopers. I think every parent can relate to feeling pain and sympathy for your child, but still needing to be strong for them even when they hurting almost as much as the child. I know my parents would do whatever it takes to keep me happy and healthy, even if it means compromising their own strength. You can't ask for more than that. I am a little nervous to not have my parents in the same house (although Joel will be great and my parents are only a text away), but I am glad they get a break from me being hurt. They have been through the good, bad, and the ugly with me, so it is time they get a little rest. ;)

To my foundry family - you are the best. The support and well wishes from every co-worker has kept me strong. I don't care what people say about the foundry, some of the best people I know are employed there. It honestly is my home away from home and they (everyone) are like a family to me. I couldn't ask for a better work team with Annette and Kim. Kim has been wonderful, giving me the time off I need and the support of a true friend and boss. Annette has kept my spirits up and been my rock for the last year. They are both incredible women, role models, and friends and it means the world to me.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to EVERYONE who has sent kind words, heartfelt prayers, and kept me in their thoughts. This blog was not meant to attract sympathy or worry anyone, just a way to keep my head clear, but the support from everyone has been incredible. It is easier to go through tough times when people are rooting for you.

This surgery will go great and I have complete faith in my surgeon and medical team. I will be posting pictures and keeping everyone updated as often as I can. Thank you again to everyone. I love you all :)

Pictures of the clean house!!!

Had to take some before pictures also! The transformation is kind of creepy when my muscle starts dying from me not using it. Haha sorry for the leg shots.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pre-Op May 5th & Surgery May 20th

Sorry for the  last post, but i haven't had my sugery yet. This monda4, May 5th i have the pre-operation appointment. At this appointment I will likely get an MRI done and also solidify the plans for the surgery. I am hoping to have my surgery done early on Tuesday morning, May 20th, so I can rest and recover a full day in the hospital. I am pretty ready to have my pre-op appointment. I want to know the extent of my surgery and how I will feel in the aftermath. Although  I had some bad luck in the past, I think this surgery will be the most extensive one. I am just ready for school to be done. It's stressful trying to not think about the surgery and focus on school. I get excited I only have two weeks left this semestr, but then I remember while evdryone else is working or playing in the sun, I will be on the couch barely moving :( But for now there isn't much more information I have, but I'll follow-up on Monday after my appointment! Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


So I found pictures from my second surgery. I don't think I took any pictures from my first surgery and I was too sick to think of pictures for my third and fourth surgeries. This surgery was done on December 23rd, 2009. I had come home for Thanksgiving Break and had practiced with the Varsity basketball team for fun. Well, I ended up not being able to walk after practice because, apparently, I had re-torn my meniscus. It was horrible timing because I still had a week of school left and then finals. I had to take medication to placate the pain, but my school work suffered greatly. I always struggle with medication and it pains me to see people abuse drugs. For some reason I am hypersensitive to drugs. I either react the opposite that I am supposed to or the proper reaction comes at a cost. Knee surgery is pretty extensive and the pain meds are heavy duty. They are necessary for the pain but I have all the side effects they warn you about. That is my biggest fear for this surgery. I trust my doctor completely and they always have the best staff caring for me, but the pain is the most intense I have ever experienced. During the surgery, the doctor puts a femoral block in my leg. It paralyzes the nerve that sends pain signals from my knee to my brain. In the fourth surgery, they forgot to perform the block. I came to from anesthesia and the pain was excrutiating. My mom said I was screaming and crying. Needless to say it was a horrible and I am afraid to experience it again. I am sure they won't forget again, ;), but still it is a worry.

These first two pictures are after 1st surgery, before 2nd surgery.

The long scar you see is from my ACL. They used my patella (knee cap) tendon to fix the ACL.

Post 2nd Surgery. Dec. 23rd, 2009.

 These are kind of grotesque, but I figure it might be neat to see and learn about. I know more about the knee anatomy than any other part of my body! :D

The 3rd surgery was in the hospital and since I was so out of it, I didn't notice my knee until I got home. I was used to the stitches, but seeing staples in your leg is a whole other story! Don't worry, I don't have any pictures of those.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Round 5

This time is going to be different. It's going to be easier and things are going to go smoother. As I gear up for my 5th knee surgey,  I am obviously on the defense thinking the worst will probably happen. But Joel keeps reminding me to stay positive and not worry so  much so this is one attempt at doing so. Writing this blog takes my mind of the inevitable and gives me something contrstructive to do. I enjoy writing and I've told my story a few times so why not once more, right?

Feb. 2009 - I was in my senior year of high school playing basketball and life was going alright. My parents and I werent7 always one the best of terms, but I am difficult so that shouldn't surprise you. We were playing Xavier on our home court. It was still the first half whe n I went up for a lay-up and came down on my knee wrong. I felt it right away. It's already been a few years and I was in shock so the exact details are unclear to me. What  I can remember is that my dad was there and then pain was the worst I had fekt up until that point. I remember asking coach to put me in at the end of the game and I know I got suckers so that was a plus! Needless to say, this was the beginning of the end of my sports career.

My 1st surgery was Feb. 10th, 2009; four days before my 18th birthday. I texted people to come over for my birthday, but I was in bed before the party got started. I did receive lots of candy, though and it was nice to see everyone. I coached Saturday Morning Basketball at the time and one of my favorite players, Rainy, stopped by with her dad and brought me flowers. I still have all the get-well cards and have most of the thank yous filled out but that was as far as I got.

I had already signed a scholarship the previous November so I continued my plan of playing basketball and running track for Northern Michigan University.  Calling my coach to tell him the news was pretty difficult, but he was understanding and had faith I could bounce back. So I started my freshman year and things were going great. I was out of Waupaca after a long summer with my parents and living the dream of sports and the typical freshman year. I had a great group of friends and I loved my sports teams. I felt a sense of belonging,  like ni was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Nov. 2009 - I came home for Thanksgiving break and was helping the varsity basketball team practice. I came home after a good practice and my knee started hurting,  badly. I was unable to walk and the pain was getting worse. After calling the doctor, it was determined that something was wrong but nothing could be done because of the holiday, so I was perscribed pain meds and sent back to school. It was a rough two weeks. The pain was manageable but it was hard to focus on school with the meds. I don't do well on pain meds. They affect my entire system. I don't eat, I can't sleep, I am not thinking straight. I was just ready to get the week over with.

Dec. 2009 - The 2nd surgery is done on December 23rd and it is rough. I don't fell right and the 10 day period from surgery to the post-op appointment was a long one. My older Nick brought me to my appointment; I remember he was hungover and looking a little tired from the night's festivities. So we get to my appointment and the doctor is doing the usual range of motion and it is hurting. He was happy with my limited motion and why I wasn't improving, so he drew blood and sent it off to get checked. Nick and I waited for what seemed like an eternity... finally, my doctor returned and told us I would be heading to Theda  Clark for my third knee surgery because I had a Staph infection. Hearing that news was quite a blow. I was scared and didn't really understand what it meant. I was glad we found out what was wrong but it made me nervous.

Jan. 2010 - My 3rd surgery was done in Neenah at the hospital. I was immediately taken into surgery when I arrived. They asked if I wanted to wait for my mom to get there, since Nick had to drive home to give the car to my mom, but I said no. I just wanted it to be over with. My four day stay in the hospital was a blur. The family came and I had morphine so things were good, but I wanted to be home. I was home for three dYs then we t back for another post-op appointment. I was pretty sick at this point; lost a lot of weight, still not eating, not sleeping. Still unimpressed,  blood was drawn and I was sent home. That night, unknown to me at the time, the doctor called my parents from his house phone and said that the infection had not decreased at all since the last surgery and I would need another. He said we would be having surgery the next day. This night was the first night I actually got a good night's rest. I woke up and they told me i would be going under again. At this point I cried my heart out. I didn't want another surgery but of course it was necessary.

This surgery had to be the worst. When they performed the previous operations,  they put a femoral block in my leg. This means they paralyze the nerve that senses pain in the knee area. It is the best way to keep the pain at bay until the pain meds kick in. Well this surgery, they femoral block was forgotten. I came out of anesthesia screaming and crying the pain was so intense. My poor mom was the only one who was there that surgery and she had to get me into the truck and home. Over all my surgeries, my mom was just as distraught and unhealthly as I was, just in a different way. Our relationship over the past couple of years was not great. I made a lot of mistakes in my high school years and it had almost ruined my parents. So going through this difficult time with them was a challenge.

In the end, I got dropped from my scholarship,  transferred to Oshkosh,  changed my major and got back on track with my parents. And now almost 5 years later, I have a wonderful relationship with my mom and dad, will be graduating in December and am making a beautiful life with a wonderful boyfriend and two dogs.

Reflecting on the life changes since my first surgery are proof enough that things will be different. I'm going to try and stay positive and look on the bright side, focus on the good. The family and friends who surround me are my greatest support and I am blessed for the life I have.