The road to recovery is marked by two scars

Back at the beginning of March I had an arthroscopy done on my knee in the Sport Surgery Clinic. This was to address all the knee problems I’ve had and have referenced previously. In short, it worked.

Step back a little

After the marathon, I waited a while before heading back to see the consultant. After a little back and forth we agreed on get an injection into my knee to try sort the muscles. He wasn’t sure if this would really help things, something that was going to become a common theme. A few weeks later when I was in to get the injection, that consultant didn’t want to give me the injection as he thought he saw a bone spur that may be causing the problem but needed to confer with the original consultant. Roll on another two weeks and they wanted to see the surgeon. After two years of back and forth of working leg, non working leg, I wasn’t one to argue.

The consultant ran through the MRI and ruled out the bone spur. The original meniscus tear was likely the cause and resulting in the other related issues, however I didn’t have the other symptoms that would fit with these things. In medical speak, my condition was A-Typical. However the surgeon did feel that cleaning up the tear was the best option. It could fix things, but he was honest and said that it wasn’t certain and I may be back in the office in a few months still with the same problem. Main thing, it was unlikely to make it worse, so surgery it was.

The big day

I had never experienced a full general anaesthetic before, but it was just like the sedative they give in other procedures. A nice easy sleep with groggy times afterwards. Only difference this time is my head really remaining groggy for the rest of the day. Its funny, you say things, then shortly after realise that it wasn’t right. Definitely strange.

Anyway I was out from one I entered the pre-op room outside of the OR. I remember getting first the injection and my heart fluttering, then returning to normal. Talked to the anaesthesiologist for a bit and was watching the clock. Next thing I remember, I was out in the bed in the waiting room again. A few hours later I had seen the physio and surgeon and was on my way home again with a stop at the pharmacy to collect the prescription. Really no major fuss.

Pain, what pain?

Before the op the most pain I had really experienced in my need was a very occasional dull pain, but mostly it was like hitting the funny bone. They warned that the op could cause stiffness, swelling and lots of pain. The prescription included 100 pain killers and they said don’t be skimping in the first few days if you need them, and call back if it gets too much.

During the following two weeks I took the anti inflammatory meds, but no pain killers. In fact bar sleeping, my knee was in less pain than before. Sleep just required a pillow between my knees as contact was sore. Walking up and down stairs also had its moments. The worst day was after returning to work. While at home I could stop every hour and do the stretching and other exercises, but in work it wasn’t suitable. That evening was the first time I experienced proper pain, struggling to move my leg properly for a while. Lesson learnt.

Where we are now

Primarily for me, I’ve been able to cycle again. It isn’t perfect, and the rides aren’t even pain free, but I can go out and don’t experience sudden loss of power. I do need to be extremely careful turning as that has caused pain quite a few times, but otherwise it is getting back on track.

Unfortunately my powertap on my training bike is broken so I can only compare times. The dates are nearly a year off and do show things where fairly far off. My weight was within 3lbs of the same period too, so it really was about power and cardio.

27/03/2012    10:53:00
30/03/2013    16:05:00

Over the weeks I did manage to get down to 12:56:00, but that is still nearly 20% off in basic maths, and as any cyclist will tell you, speed vs power is far from linear, so it is most likely more.

Am I happy with the results?

Hell yes. While things are still way off my pre-injury times, I was lighter and had a much better cardio base then. For the first time in the last two years I do actually see myself being able to start training again. Yes I do have pain in the knee, but its consistent and I can ignore it. It is getting less with the exercises from the physio visits, and hopefully will go away completely in time.

Maybe before the year it out we’ll even have a race report or two.