Friday, December 28, 2012

The Almost-Worst News Imaginable

So I need surgery to run again. The surgery will take some cartilage from a non-weight bearing region and place it in the weight-bearing region that is missing the cartilage. At some point a chunk of cartilage was traumatically knocked loose from my knee and must have just fell away sometime recently. Who knows where it is, probably attached to some soft tissue somewhere. The surgery usually has a high rate of success, meaning no complications for the rest of my life.

This is a view of the back of my left knee, with the right side of the picture being the left/lateral portion and the left being the right/medial portion. On the lateral side of my knee where the femur articulates with the tibia, the lucent space under the femur is where there is a rectangular chunk of cartilage missing. The light area in the bone above the chondral defect is from bone marrow edema as the bone has been breaking down over time due to the chunk of cartilage missing.

In this view of the lateral portion of my knee, you can see the lucent area on the posterior portion of my knee showing the cartilage is missing on the back of my femur. You can also see that the bone marrow edema/lighter portion of my femur goes up pretty far. Apparently this is why I have been betting bone pain on my medial knee and above my knee on the femur, because the bone is affected pretty far from the injury. Once again, the bone should all be dark.

The downfalls. I will not be able to bear weight on that knee, meaning no walking for a fairly significant period of time (possibly up to two months), as the part that is going to be fixed is directly where I bear weight on my knee. Apparently I should be able to swim about 2 weeks following the surgery. I will apparently not be able to bike for ~3 months following surgery because of no weight bearing. I will not be able to run for 5-6 months following surgery, once again because it will be on the weight-bearing portion of my knee. The upsides include that I will be able to run again because this isn't one of those overuse injuries i.e. from running. Many forums I have viewed the people are never able to run again. But if I get the surgery in january by june or july I will be able to run :)

I'm trying to arrange to have the surgery Marthin Luther King Jr weekend, that thursday to be exact. But this will take a lot of planning and I don't know how I will get to class the following week, hopefully I will be able to crutch and be off narcotics by then. My goal will to be able to run by the time I take the USMLEs in June. That way I can run during my next vacation before rotations start and I will really have no time to call my own for many years to come.

To people in the Norfolk area, I will probably need some help following surgery. I will probably look incredibly pitiful as I did following ACL surgery. I will try to line up a handicapped sticker for the time right after surgery so I don't have to crutch to and from school. I have distinct memories of trying to crutch to and from class following ACL surgery in Montana and they aren't pretty. The narcotics made me dizzy so I would regularly do what I called crutch-by vomiting. I didn't want to stop crutching to where I was going, so I would just lean to the side and vomit as I mosied along my way to and from class. This is going to be an unpleasant experience. But that's life, sometimes you just gotta roll with it.


  1. Hey Courtney, you have an answer and a way forward and that's good news and there is plenty of life yet to be lived and races to be won and the Olympics are not until 2016! Swimming will be fun.

    1. Thanks Dai! It is so unbelievable that I won't be able to walk for two months that I can definitely use positive input and positive reminders! Any recommendation on which paddles I should buy? cause I will be doing a lot of just upper body stroking I guess I will try to accumulate all the tools necessary to make that part of my stroke perfect :)