I didn’t mean to take an unusually long break from writing here, but it has been a busy call week and I’ve had a lot to process, so it was probably a good thing.
The concrete: My knee is definitely injured. It continues to lock and catch and hurt; going up and down stairs normally is impossible and I wake up at night from the pain. I can walk and stand, but every time I have to bend it there are problems.
I was able to get an MRI slot for Saturday night, and now it’s done and I am waiting on the results. If it is *not* a meniscal tear I will be surprised (though I’m sure there are conditions that could mimic the symptoms). From my recent searches, I have gleaned that some meniscal tears heal with PT and time; others require surgery. I am worried that the ‘catching’ symptom I have might put me in the latter category but I don’t actually know that (nor do I even know if it’s a meniscal tear).
The emotions: And so, I am in a bit of limbo. But I know it’s not great. I have absolutely let go of the idea of running a marathon anytime soon; I don’t mean I’m not sad about it (I’m sad about that, and a lot of things) but it’s not something I’m even trying to salvage because it doesn’t seem realistic.
Honestly, I’m pretty sad in general. I am reminded of how I felt when I had infertility (which also involved stopping running) and there is a lot of anger around not feeling ‘in control’ of my own body (as if anyone ever is!) and I’m just . . . low. I can do all of the life things still, but it’s like I’m wearing grayscale glasses. (It also 100% does NOT help that calendar-wise, I am squarely in PMS-land right now. Ummmm great timing.)
On the flip side, I have learned a lot since then and have more perspective and truly more positive non-running things in my life, including 3 human pieces of evidence that my fertility issues did not last forever. I already have reached out to a therapist (found someone who specializes in injured athletes!) and have started thinking of other things I can do with my time, assuming I will not be running any time soon.
I am also looking forward to starting PT as soon I am recommended to do so — I need to get diagnosis and find out what ortho says first — and learning what my path to recovery might look like. I am not going to try to rush it though. I hope I can find people who will give me very specific and thoughtful instructions because I know I would respond well to that (#upholder).
The next steps: I admit I spent the most of the past week in more of a wallowing state of mind. It did not help that I was also on call (I did feel rather sorry for myself walking around the hospital with pain). But I have deemed tomorrow (Monday 10.30) the day I am going to officially move towards acceptance. I will not try to rush the process and will focus on the things I can do, both to help with recovery and to ensure I am still enjoying life and not just “waiting until things are fixed”.
More on some specific ideas of what I will try to do/not do later this week.
Finally: I know some are wondering, “did this knee stuff happen in the initial injury, or with the fall when you attempted a speed workout 7 days later?”
I honestly am not sure. My guess is that it was brewing — I noticed the knee starting to do the ‘catching’ thing prior to my speed workout, but it was infrequent and seemed to go away when I changed the angle. And then I probably made it worse when I ran hard on it and fell. (My hand is 80% better by the way – at least something healed up!).
I do remember questioning whether it was okay because it hurt when putting on my shoes (!), but upon taking a few steps running, nothing hurt other than the superficial bruise stuff and my sore back muscle, so I went ahead with the marathon pace workout.
In retrospect, this was clearly a mistake and I OBVIOUSLY wish I hadn’t done this workout. Or any running. But I didn’t know, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know, if that makes sense. I do believe I would absolutely be more cautious with injury in the future.
But, I also don’t feel guilt/shame about it. I thought: these are bruises. This isn’t internal. My coach did not say not to run. My husband initially expressed some trepidations about running with pain in general, but then when my first few runs seemed to go okay, did not express specific concerns about the workout. I recognize that I am in charge of my own body, but I just didn’t know.
(Now I know.)
So, I am not going to dwell on what might have prevented this injury. It is largely unproductive and will remain a mystery anyway – maybe it was inevitable anyway and maybe it wasn’t, but since I don’t have a time machine it’s pretty irrelevant. The takeaway is that after going through something like I did, a conservative and thoughtful return to activity would have been a much better choice, and that will be my new philosophy and strategy going forward.