Friday, November 9, 2007

Moving On

So I am still feeling like the biggest, most sadistic game of deja vu is being played on me right now. I have been here before, I remember this feeling. But now I know what is involved and how long it takes and how hard it is on me mentally.

It's not the pain. I don't mind pain. Rehabbing an ACL reconsruction is a hard painful process. I know and remember this well. First there's the inital pain of the actual surgery. Every movement is excruciating. I remember laying on the couch wondering how long I could go with using the bathroom. Holding out like I was on a road trip or something where you are trying to reach the next rest stop 27 miles away. Because the pain of the need to go is less than the pain of actually getting up to do it. Then there is the pain of rehab. Trying to bend a knee that doesn't bend. They give you a stap. You wrap it around your ankle and you pull you heel towards your but. Your body resists, your mind says "stop that hurts" but you just keep pulling because you will not regain your mobility until you can bend it all the way. Some people just don't have the pain tolerance to do this and the therapists have to do it for them. Then there is the pain of teaching your leg how to take pressure. Pressure of walking, then jogging, then stairs, then sprinting, etc and it just keeps going. With each new activity, it says "woah, seriously, I am not ready for that." But you can't listen. You just ignore it, watch it swell and continue and ice it when you are done.

Eventually, the pain fades. Maybe in a year or so. I think I was exactly one year before my knee stopped hurting every time I exercised.

But like I said, it's not the pain I am dreading. It isn't what is making me despair. It's way more mental than that.

It's having to give up my dreams for another year. Dreams that were becoming reality. I was already scheduled to compete in my first 24 hour biking race, the 24 Hours of Pueblo in February. My adventure racing team had our plans set for races we were going to do next year leading up to our first 24 hour race. I had plans for playing in a competitive ultimate frisbee tournament in December with the Phoenix A team, a team I have been dying to play on since I became a beginner in this sport. It just sucks so bad.

That and the reality that I have to make considerations of my life. I will most likely never step foot on a rugby pitch again. My heart isn't in it anymore. But what of frisbee, I should probably give that up too. Then there skiing, terrible on knees. The list just goes on. Where do you draw the line between danger of re-injury and normal life activities that bring joy and happiness? These are hard questions and I am don't know the answer. I am 26, not that young but not that old. I don't want to be restricted on what activities I can engage in, but right now I don't know how to draw this line.

My life is truly blessed. I know this and appreciate what I have in it. Staying positive is hard though. But my mother always says everything happens for a reason. Maybe it will force me into competitive knitting and I will become a world champion sponsored knitter. Or something.


Crazy Rower #2 said...

Although I've never torn an ACL, I have been in a different devastating situation. I know what it means to have your dreams smashed in the blink of an eye. I know how mentally hard it is to wait for years to get on with your dreams. But, I know that you will get that chance again. And when you do, you'll be stronger, mentally, and eventually physically, because of what you have gone through. Stay tough, killer.

chris thomas said...

Sorry to hear about the knee. Hang in there hannah. Knee braces will let you do more than you'd think, and as far as skiing goes, if you can't risk it, you can always get tanked in the lodge with sarah. Either way I'll sponsor you in the knitting thing. What are your thoughts on tatoo advertising?

Rebecca Brafman said...

I linked to your blog from "Scrumhalf Connection." I am a rugby player who tore my left ACL this summer, almost four years exactly from tearing my right ACL in 2004. You expressed how I feel about the process so well -- the sense of being devastated by knowing what's involved in the process of rehab, and being angry and yourself for feeling like you can't possibly go through it again. But also the hope of having to put off your dreams for another year -- I was very close to being selected to tour the UK with the Eagles this winter, and now I have to sit at home and watch the team head off to England without me, wondering if I missed my chance forever. I hope not. I had my surgery in July, and I'm still pushing through the rehab, learning to bend, jump, hop, and run all over again. This process can make you feel so alone, isolated in your attempts to put your body back together. It really means a lot to me to hear my emotions mirrored by other athletes. I wish you the best of luck with your race coming up, as well as with your eventual surgery and rehab.

la chaser said...

crazyrower: You are getting your second chance now so make the most of it.

chris: i feel honored that you would sponsor my knitting. would you like a hat or sock?

rebecca: i have found people who have had previous surgery's get it. and the ones that have had it twice get it 2x more. it being the incredible devastation. but i think we all get tougher from our life's experiences so i know that you just have to keep fighting. i feel for you with the Eagles spot. its such a short window of opportunity but if you want it bad enough, you can get it again. Look at Laura Cabrera, ACL reconstruction survivor and one of the best eagles ever. But as always, its a risk to play again as I am testament to that fact. Just make the decision and go with your heart. You can't regret that.