Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making a Comeback

Tomorrow I meet with an orthopaedic surgeon about my knee. It seems from the MRI that I do need surgery after all and until I have surgery it will be incredibly painful to run. But nothing will be sure until I meet with a surgeon. Something that has been interesting is how everyone says but you are a medical student, you should understand what is going on. My knee has multiple ligament tears, some appear healed from the previous surgery. It also has a cyst, "densities," and a large chunk of cartilage missing in a manner that looks as though it must be "traumatic", not an overuse injury... meaning I was hit by something and I'm not sure what. Oh, and also a bit of bone missing with bone marrow edema. I had surgery on that knee thirteen years ago after tearing my acl from a sideways hit while playing girls' "powder puff" football. The acl snapped the rest of the way while I kicked a ball during a soccer game the next day. Every doctor that has looked at that knee since has said that acl is loose, meaning the surgeon probably didn't do a great job of fixing up the knee.

So in summary yes, I am a medical student, but I am NOT an expert or even a doctor. One very important aspect of medicine is that expertise means something. I will be better every year that I work and every case that I see and contemplate. That is why I chose the field. So no, I cannot diagnose myself. Further, I am going to try to see at least two surgeons so that I can prevent the knee from getting worse.... because every doctor's opinion is formed by the cases he or she sees and my case is complex. Different surgeons may have different opinions and capabilities. The more complex the case, the more different doctors' opinions will vary on how to  best treat the problem(s).

In the meantime I have been learning how to swim and doing a lot of spinning classes. This has put a huge hamper on my writing, so I apologize for going missing. But when I run my mind and heart are free. I used to compose poetry and songs while running, using the beat of my feet as a metronome. Not having that outlet really changes the way I process information and in a way who I am.  I want to write about swimming, which really is so very very very different than running, but still similar. Mostly I want to disprove the notion that if you are a runner and haven't been a swimmer that means you have pegged yourself into a hole and can't adopt a healthy balance of a sport into your regimen. It frustrates me every time people tell me they don't swim, they are a runner. I am a runner who stinks at swimming. I was never on a swim team and I never competed. Also I was chubby growing up so I didn't want anyone to ever see me in a bathing suit if I could avoid it! I played soccer and occasionally went rafting.

But I'll tell you what I am not. I AM NOT A GIMP! When I am fifty I am going to have kids and take them skiing. I'm going to laugh with them as they beat me down the mountain. I'm going to kick the soccer ball around with them and run after it. If swimming = long term happiness then heck yeah, I am going to keep being a swimmer, even if I suck, don't enjoy it very much, etc, etc. Also when I am 70 I am going to be in those old lady pool workout classes. I'm going to jump around in that water and enjoy it. Because I am not a gimp and never will be! So cheers to swimming and being a runner and don't tell me you aren't a swimmer but a runner because I will roll my eyes and work my hardest to beat you in a running race as soon as I have surgery and can run again! Because I used swimming to keep in cardiovascular shape and strengthen my hamstrings, quads, hips, back, stomach, and lungs so I can be all I want to be!

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