Going to start conservatively….

So, Michelle and I just had this text message exchange… and I’m not sure how I feel.  Bear with me while I work through how I’m feeling about it.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the year, when I started feeling my right knee pain and how it was really limiting what I could do and how I felt.   I put off going to the doc; because I felt like I just needed to rest it a bit; then I’d be back at it.  I took a couple of weeks off of pushing cardio hard to “let it rest”.  I came back and started running again; after a couple of weeks of 3 days per week running, I just couldn’t do it anymore due to pain; and had to stop.  It was at that point that I decided to get a referral to an Ortho doc.  I went in to see Dr. Nicholson in April; and he and his resident recommended an ultra conservative treatment, which I signed up for despite the fact that I thought it wasn’t the right course of action.  A steroid injection and PT.  The injection worked like magic on my other knee; so I thought I would give it a try on the right side.  The pain went away; no doubt about it for two whole weeks.   I took the time to give it a chance to work.   After those two weeks, I got on the elliptical; felt a familiar twinge in the right knee and haven’t touched  exercise equipment since.   I scheduled another appointment with Dr. Nicholson and he ordered an MRI.   On June 21st, I got a call from Lindsay the PA in Dr. Nicholson’s office to let me know that “Lol, you have no ACL in your right knee anymore; and this is more than Dr. Nicholson can do; so he wanted to refer me to Dr. Cole.” (emphasis mine, Lindsay was great and professional.. she would never have “LOL’d” at me).

So, today, when I went in with Michelle to meet Dr. Cole; I was really unsure of what to expect.  I had done my research into ACLR surgeries and recoveries and was ready for that discussion.   His recommendation is to go conservative.  He’s going to do a scope and clean things out and see if that alleviates the issue; rather than an ACLR with a big long recovery.  If I’m not having stability issues (which I admit, I’m not having major stability issues); then having that surgery off the bat isn’t worth the risk.

The struggle that I’m having is that its been nearly 8 months already.. and going conservative seems OK; but if it doesn’t fix it; and after another 3 months of PT and treatment it’s still not better and we end up doing the big ACLR anyway; I’ll have lost another YEAR toward reaching my goals.

So, in that respect, I’m a bit disappointed/doubtful that it will work.  So far, conservative treatments haven’t worked for me.  On the other hand, I know just how much work the recovery is from an ACL Repair; so I’m glad that a simple solution maybe, just maybe this time will work.

Also, I get it that he can’t promise that this will get me back to running and moving normally; but come on man, I’m coming to you because you are the best knee surgeon on the planet, give me something!  If it comes down to work that I can do; then he can take it to the bank that I’ll be back.   Beside, he’ll be just another doubter that I can prove wrong.

Let’s talk worst case.   Let’s say he gets in there and cleans it out and says “Aric, you’re good to go”.  I do PT like a robot; and am a machine.  I get back to it; and its still not right; or going out and/or causing pain.   When I’m there, then I can look at having the ACLR.   It wastes time.  That’s the biggest annoyance.  Doing a 1/2 Iron Triathlon before I’m 50 looks like a stretch goal now.. wait until I have another 8 months of rehab on top of it!

The Contributors of My Success Vol 2: My Family

Today, I’d like to talk about perhaps the most important contributors to my success, my family.  And by family, I mean my lovely wife Michelle, the boys and all of my extended support network.  Each of them have contributed to my success and I am thankful for every bit of it.

The biggest contributor in anything that I have been able to accomplish has been Michelle. She has been the person who has challenged me most to keep going, even when I don’t want to keep going.   But aside from the fact that I love her and want to be around for her and the boys, she has contributed in many practical ways that have allowed me to focus on keeping it up for these past 7+ months.   First, she has “been there, done that” with fitness and weight loss. She has managed to drop 40+ pounds after each of the boys were born and continues to be a workout maniac.  The fact that she knows what is possible and has the formula for success has been a huge boost.  Keep in mind that she is also a health education professional (currently!) gives her a unique perspective as well a communication style that works well with my often juvenile behavior.  She is a workout maniac.  I have often said that if we could combine my ability to ensure that I track everything and eat well with her “gym-rat”; we could make the perfect diet/exercise specimen.   More importantly however, she knows WHAT to do and how to teach it to me.  When I started out at the gym, she made little index cards with exactly what I needed to do written down on them.  I took those cards with me every time I went to the gym and referred to them.  It was the recipe for success.  All I had to do was cook it!  Far and away, the best thing she has done for me was to be my biggest cheerleader.  She has kept me on an even keel.  She was very good about not letting me get too excited about a good week or a good day and making sure that I celebrate milestones and achievements.   As much as she says that I did all the work, I recognize that there is no way on earth I would have been able to do this without her love and support.

My boys have been big contributors as well. Even though they don’t realize it at all and have never even recognized that “daddy is a lot smaller now”, they have made a huge difference.  Every time I am on the infernal treadmill, closing in on exhaustion and wanting to quit, I think about them and how they would want to know that daddy doesn’t ever quit when things get tough and he doesn’t ever just give up.  They keep me going.

Lastly, YOU have played a part in me getting here.  One of the things that I promised myself that I would do is tell EVERYONE what I am doing and how I am trying to do it.  And your encouragement, challenges and high fives along the way have helped push me along.  Yeah, there have been many times driving past the donut shop that I have wanted to just drive through and get a fistful of delicious donuts, but I didn’t.  I felt like I would be letting a lot of people down.  Thank you for that!

So, now you are thinking.. “But Aric, I don’t live with a trainer, who knows about nutrition and can tell me what I need to do; how on earth can I possibly do this?”  You can do exactly what I did; I went to my doctor and asked for help.  Yeah, Michelle had been going on and on about exercise and nutrition; but I didn’t actually believe her until I met with Dr. Pohlman and Cassie Vanderwall (http://onesource4wellness.com/) from the Rush Hospital Nutrition Clinic.  Dr. Pohlman and Ms. Vanderwall both laid out a sensible diet plan that consisted of eating RIGHT and how much I should be eating so that I can sustain a healthy weight for the rest of my life.  Of course, this validated what Michelle had been telling me all along; so really, I should just listen to my wife.


In Short:
See your doctor.
Ask for help.
I will cheer you on!