Saturday, June 22, 2013


I didn't get cut Thursday.  I've known for a couple of weeks now, since just before I left for Germany.

The original injury was in Europe last October.  A kid got frisky (sometimes, when I feel old, all students are 'the kids') and I heard something when we went down.  Got position, control. Then realized I couldn't use my right leg to stand up.

Finished the class.  Hid the limp.  If you walk consciously enough you can move and even demo on an unstable knee.  Had to teach a full seminar the next two days.  The leg utterly collapsed once during the seminar.  I was sure it was ligament damage because there wasn't much pain, just a weird, weak, watery sensation.  Strangely, it felt better after the collapse.  Even stronger.

Made it home, made a doctor's appointment.  A little delayed because of seminars, especially New Orleans. (A place I will always think of with the word yum-- thanks, Scott).  During this time it collapsed again.  Sideways this time.  The doctor needed to refer me to a specialist, but scheduled an MRI. MRI showed severe tears of the ACL and LCL. Someone said that walking on my own, much less hiding the limp, was unusual.

Months delay before I finally saw the specialist, and it got reinjured again.  Stupid, just stepping off a curb it collapsed to the front/inside angle.  Since the injury it had now collapsed straight back, to each side and to the left/front.  I started pushing to see the specialist right away.

And the doc was upset because I had delayed so long.  And really upset at my lifestyle.  He added a torn meniscus to the diagnosis and we scheduled surgery for the 20th of June.  It was grim.  He explained that ligaments rarely heal on their own after this kind of delay.  He also said that the damage was bad enough that some things were off the table.  He couldn't use tissue from my own body-- there simply wasn't enough to repair the damage.  The replacement ligaments would come from a cadaver.  And the damage was to extensive to do arthroscopic surgery.  This would be the old-school, wide-open slash.  He said no weight at all for 8 weeks, no serious physical activity for 18 months except for PT.

So just before the Europe trip we had the final pre-surgery consult.  And the knee was so much better Doc thought it was better not to do the surgery.

With a little help from friends.  Dana sent me a book on TCM that was helpful.  Wes sent some shuang jin xu gu wan.  Randy gave excellent advice on what exercises I could do.  Ana of Hag Gefluster made some Beinwel salve. Thanks.

Long term, this is likely just delaying the inevitable.  But it's a big relief, for now.  Things are far too busy to take eight weeks off, much less eighteen months.

Thanks, friends.  And mutant healing genes.


The Budo Bum said...

Ouch. I just had my ACL replaced after completely shredding it at judo and waiting 18 months to see a doctor. I think you can have a very successful surgery, just make sure you find the best surgeon you can. Don't settle for whoever is convenient. Find someone who works on college and pro-athletes and who expects people he repairs to be able to do incredible things when he is done.

Jim said...

Envious... I didn't avoid the knife.

Ruptured a disc. Not much pain -- but my left foot wasn't working. Kind of a problem... Doc essentially said we could try conservative treatment, but the whole time, my muscles would be getting weaker AND we'd almost certainly be doing surgery in a few months. Meanwhile, I'd be working and chasing my kid and you name with noticeably impaired mobility. Healing well, and will be back to normal work on Monday -- but spent yesterday at an NRA Tactical Police Competition. Had fun -- but definitely was feeling it by the end of the day. And definitely feeling it today.

Glad you're feeling better; take care of the knees!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are feeling better.
rachel kunoichi

Steve Perry said...

You need the surgery, I hear the voice of rationalization echoing over; I recognize it, having used it myself.

At the very least, get and wear a good quality knee brace, like the ones pro jocks use -- have a look:

Charles James said...

I firmly believe that because you kept going and kept control of it when walking your body did an outstanding job of self-healing and considering your teaching and lifestyle makes for a truly awesome thing.

I would say miracle but this kind of thing is not one but rather a tribute to your body and mind-set.

Even now at 59 1/2 years I find that for most injuries go go easier but you still go. Tore a rotator cuff left side a few years back. They wanted to do surgery, I said no thanks, kept working it with pushup's, etc. and now seldom feel it.

Still, a knee is different in that it supports everything you do so I wish you the best of recovery, i.e. your own or surgery if that has to happen, so you can continue leading the way.

Jake said...

Glad you're feeling better, but heed Steve Perry's may not be out of the woods yet.

The Budo Bum's advice is also excellent. One my student's tore her ACL...went and found the best doc in town (guy works on members of the Red Sox), and got it fixed. Came back after a year and did some amateur Muay Thai fights, a couple of grappling tournaments, and wants to fight amateur MMA.

She's in her 40s, btw.

Find someone good, and you'll come out the other end ok.