Friday, May 28, 2010

Following My Own Intuition

On April 13th I had surgery to repair a lateral meniscal tear in my right knee that has forced me to majorily scale back on what I can do physically. At my 2 week visit the doctor warned me, “If you don’t let this heal, you are screwed.” Screwed (he actually said that) meant I would have to have surgery to remove the meniscus completely, and be faced with the strong possibilities of pain, arthritis, and a meniscal transplant and/or knee replacement by 50. He reluctantly gave me the go ahead with upper body workouts, with lots of warning, but only because I pushed the issue.

This morning I returned for my 6 week follow-up. I was all excited that he would discontinue the brace I had been wearing and I was prepared with a list of questions. I wanted to know when I could start doing specific exercises. I was all excited about the possibility of adding exercises into my “I can do list” By the second one on my list, he made it very clear; even though the brace is gone, and my healing was 100% on track, I should not do any exercise involving my knee for an additional 6 weeks.

He said as a sports orthopedist, he runs into my dilemma all the time. He said, “Someone like you who is young and athletic has a hard time stopping their physical activities to heal an injury.” He went on to suggest I use this opportunity to read, to try something new with my brain. He said I could do the stationary bike, “it doesn’t burn as much calories but it is something” He mentioned how caring for my body isn’t just about exercise, and that it also involves self-care and rest when you are injured.

First of all can I nominate him for the doctor of the year for calling me young (which now that I am 30 comes less often) and Athletic (I think he is the first person who EVER called me that)? I like this doctor very much and its clear to me he has my best interest at heart as his patient. I respect his opinion and am grateful for the information he so clearly has explained to me about my injury, surgery and prognosis. I know that his advice, stated plainly would be to stop working out for the entire 3-4 months post surgery. However, I am not the ideal patient. I don’t take the doctors advice as gods proclamation, as in my opinion our culture expects us too. The only proclamation I take as holy is the one that comes from inside my self.

Pirate Rowing (aka one-legged) with the assistance of my sons skateboard, Coach Jason's idea.


I have been doing modified workouts ever since the week after my surgery, at home and one on one with a Crossfit Coach. I have been careful with my knee, limiting workouts to upper body exercises, or those that can isolate my good leg (aka pirate rowing). I will follow the Doctor’s advice and continue with those standards for another 6 weeks, despite my want to get back to the things I miss (like Olympic lifts), because he is right, SELF-LOVE includes rest and recovery for an injury. But it is also in the name of self-love that I continue to workout, rather than just stoping for 4 months. I don’t continue to workout to burn calories, or I’d be running to Wal-Mart to buy a stationary bike today. The loss I felt when I found out I had to do the surgery, is not about fear of gaining weight or not losing more. AMEM…HALLALUAH! I can continue to build the new relationship I have between mind, body and spirit even under the circumstances. I can strike a balance between doing and not doing. In this moment in my life…cutting off all physical exercise is not the highest expression of self-love. At another moment, or in someone elses life the conclusion could very well be different.

I ultimately decided to vary a bit from the course the doctor thinks is best. I made this decision much like I have others in my life. I learned the facts, listened to the doctor’s advice and the advice of others that know me and those who had similar experiences. But ultimately I made a descion that was right for me, from my own intuition. It is our own intuitions, our own authentic selves that are our very best guides. When we follow them the possibilities are endless.

Link:

Quote:
“The advantages to recovering CrossFit-style over watching TV and waiting for the leg to heal are threefold. First the injured leg will heal more quickly and atrophy less. Second, Mac (aka Stephanie) will acquire skills and strengths that he wouldn’t have developed otherwise. Third, the mental anguish that nearly always accompanies an athlete’s down time is greatly reduced.”
– Greg Glassman Founder of Crossfit

P.S.

I have begun to really enjoy my individual sessions with Coach Jason. In fact, yesterday when I thought I’d be returning mostly to class next week, I felt a little sad. It turns out I get to continue with my one on one sessions after all (with a scaled class that subs easy from time to time). I have really begun to look at this experience as positive thing and not just for its spiritual lessons. Their lies an opportunity to develop myself as an athlete too. I lovingly quip, “I am training for my comeback.” I have set some specific goals that I’d like to meet by the end of this recovery period, late august.

1. At least one strict push-up, chest to deck.
2. 95lb shoulder press (my PR is 85)
3. 125lb Bench Press (my PR is 115)
4. A dead hang pull-up with the 1 inch band/blue (I can kip with the 1 3/4inch/green)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Best wishes for continued healing!

Cartilage injuries are no joke and the possibility of all those things you mention is high, especially for overweight women. I echo your doctor give it the time it needs.