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Offline rnm37

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Slightly depressing...!
« on: January 12, 2013, 02:50:37 PM »
Hi all,

Sorry if I'm being a bit dramatic but I have felt slightly down since watching my football team play this morning :(. My recovery from this surgery is going well but being back down at my local park watching my teammates play (where I actually hurt my knee) and it brought out a whole lot of frustrations and feelings of injustice ("why is it me who is standing at the side limping about?" etc) that I havent really experienced since my injury. I also started wondering; probably irrationally, if I would ever get back to that level of fitness again, even with diligent rehab. Do people on here agree that recovering from a long term injury can seem quite lonely and unfair at times?

Just posted this to see what people think about the mental side of recovery, seeing as most posts here are about the physical aspects.

Ross
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 02:53:05 PM by rnm37 »
June 2012 - ACL rupture and lateral meniscus tear

December 2012 - ACL recon (hamstring autograft) and meniscus trim

October 2013 - Retore ACL and tore medial meniscus :(!

January 2014 - Revision ACL recon (hamstring)

Offline Diegas

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 05:32:17 PM »
I hear you that the mental side is a huge part of recovery.  I remember 6 months after my surgery it still felt like I had concrete in my joint.  My knee still felt so heavy and full of gook, I thought that feeling would never go away and I was very depressed about it.  However, now after a year that feeling is almost completely gone.  So one of the biggest things I have learned is that recovery requires extreme patience which is very mentally challenging.  Someone at work told me to try to turn my knee situation into an opportunity to learn about myself and life, which I thought was good advice. 

I truly believe with diligent rehab anything is possible.  The body has an amazing capacity to heal and if you really stick at the rehab and don't give up I think you will have a very good shot at achieving your goals. 

01/2012 RK synovectomy and chondroplasty surgery
01/2012 Same problems start with LK
01/2013 Considering surgery on LK

Offline Brambledog

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 06:34:14 PM »
Hell yes, it certainly does seem monumentally unfair at times.... Even if your predicted outcome is good and you are going to get back pretty near full fitness, the period of being 'on the sidelines' is tough tough tough. When things aren't going well and even surgery can't allow you to return to the active things you loved, it is like a punch in the guts every time you see people enjoying those things. It's natural to think 'why me?'.

It does get easier to bear, you become more used to it, and to a certain extent you 'accept' your new situation and find new things to occupy you, but I don't think those feelings fundamentally change, they just blunt and dull with time and new occupations...

Before my knee issues, I was Chair of my local tennis club and competed within the county, I loved galloping about on court and had a pretty good serve for a gal  ;), used to chase my kids up the hill near us, loved anything physical and competitive. I haven't been able to do those things for two years now, and it's still hard, but I don't feel bad every day now like I used to.

You should never give up hope of improvement (and definitely don't stop the PT exercises!), but you need to be realistic about what is reasonable to expect in your future, and find as many new ways to enjoy yourself as you can.

You're not alone with this one. Take care and good luck!

Brams  ;)
2009 - diagnosed coeliac
Aug 2011 - L knee arthroscopy
Aug 2011 - diagnosed PF arthritis L knee
Nov 2011 - diagnosed CRPS L knee
Dec 2011 - MRI R knee, PFOA is worse than L!
June 2012 - no surgery 'til TKR's
Nov 2012 - CRPS spread to L foot/thigh, increasing pain
- Worsening pain/symptoms R knee
;-)

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 10:39:10 PM »
I think the mental side is sometimes harder than the physical. You can almost dial out the pain to some degree or the stiffness or the weirdness but the thought of missing stuff, losing the ability to do stuff, feeling sidelined, jealous....oh yes, been there.

Never give up on the thought that you will improve though. Very often people DO return to where they were - look at the footballers, athletes, skiers who return after extensive injuries. However sometimes you need to adapt or adjust and that is not a rapid thing. I don't know what your knee history is, but as already said, never give up your PT and keep working on things. Diligence can pay huge rewards and open the doors to new and old options.

If you seriously feel you're struggling don't be afraid to ask for help. Talking to someone who isn't in your circle of family or friends can sometimes be a mood lifter. Focus on what you are achieving in rehab, especially as you say things are going well. Keep a diary, track your progress and this can really help with working towards your goals and remind you of how far you've come since the injury.

Keep us posted,

Lottie  :)
Bilateral patella OA since 2009, no surgeries.
Euflexxa working well x3 to current
Right forefoot CRPS post fusion surgery 2011
Refusing to let the ailing parts stop me....

Offline Adobec

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 03:41:05 AM »
I have done 3 acl's and a whole host of other things.  And without a doubt, the physical pain, while excruciating, is nothing compared to the mental agony :-(

Hang in there!  I have learned so much from each injury and rehab.
1991 - R ACL patellar tendon, med. meniscus removed (50%)
2002 - R ACL revision, cadaver, lat. meniscus removed (50%)
2011 - L ACL patellar tendon, med. and lat. meniscus REPAIR. 
3/2012 - L Medial meniscectomy (didn't heal from 2011), microfracture
11/6/12  - L TTT (maquet). Micro fully healed

Offline Snowy

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 05:44:07 AM »
I agree - the mental side is way tougher than the physical. The physical is simply something you endure and keep plugging away at, day in and day out, with a defined goal waiting for you at the end and providing your motivation. The mental is, in comparison, a morass.

I think I struggled with two things in particular. The first occurred earlier in rehab, and was the sense that my entire life had become about my surgery and recovery. I wrote in a blog at the time, "I am no more and no less than the current state of my left knee." Off work, unable to do much for myself, I felt like my knee had become the single defining element of my life. This was really hard, but as rehab progressed and I was able to start driving myself, helping out around the house, and generally doing more, it gradually receded.

The second - and the one that you highlight here - was that awful sense of missing out. For me, this started from the moment of diagnosis and lasted a very long time. An injury like this sidelines you. It takes you away from the activities you love and the relationships you've established with other people who participate in that activity, whether it's ski buddies or soccer teammates. If your participation in sports and activities is a core part of who you are, it feels like that's been ripped away from you. That's a very hard thing to deal with.

The trouble with ACL rehab is that there's no quick fix. The whole point of rehab is that it's a slow, slow building process that will eventually get you back to the things you love, as long as you're patient. And really, that's the only way to deal with the psychological side: make it a motivator. Make all the frustration and injustice and unhappiness something that drives you to get back to not only the place you were before, but somewhere better than that. Keep it in mind when you're ready to scream with boredom during the tedious early rehab exercises, and during the particularly hard phase of later rehab when you feel strong and able to resume activities but your OS tells you that the graft and fixation still aren't quite ready to allow it.

There were many times during recovery when I felt like I'd never get there, or that I'd reached a plateau that I'd have to accept as my new reality. But 2.5 years on from my surgery, my left leg is stronger than it was before I blew my ACL and my knee is holding up awesomely to the highest demands I've ever placed on it. You WILL get there - it just feels so daunting and frustrating when you're stuck in the middle of it.
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline rnm37

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 01:05:19 PM »
Thanks for the replies and advice guys :D

To be honest I'm pretty sure I will make a full recovery, my knees were strong and healthy before this injury and I'm aware the success rate for ACL recon is over 90%, it's just that I am the type of person who worries a lot. My physio say my recovery is going extremely well (2 weeks ahead of schedule apparently despite being only 5 weeks out of surgery) which of course is encouraging for me, it was perhaps just underlined yesterday how much more work still needs to be done! I am also studying for uni exams right now which means I cant just focus solely on getting my knee better which is kind of annoying!

Once again thanks to all, really glad I found this forum, it's been a great help!

Ross
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 01:07:33 PM by rnm37 »
June 2012 - ACL rupture and lateral meniscus tear

December 2012 - ACL recon (hamstring autograft) and meniscus trim

October 2013 - Retore ACL and tore medial meniscus :(!

January 2014 - Revision ACL recon (hamstring)

Offline JTB

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 04:05:30 PM »
RNM,

Lucky for you all the best and wisest responded to your post (I'll try not to ruin that too much): Lottie, Brams, Snowy, etc.

When I was in my early 30's and a bike racer, I suffered a severe compound leg fracture and spent quite some time recovering and during that time missed my sport and riding buddies and it was depressing, among other things. I think those feelings are normal. Sometimes a friend would stop by to say hello, because they cared, but that could be really hard, listening to racing and training stories. Eventually I came back to racing and had some good seasons. It was a long haul, but I like to think I learned from it.

Good luck to you healing and hope you post when you play again
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 02:43:44 AM by JTB »
Bike racer electing sport-med scope Jan 2011 for patella catch: shave patella, MFC and trochlea (with sneaky lateral release) Grade 3 findings. @ 1 year, CRPS, pain inhibition, muscle atrophy, osteopenia, sudden bilateral chondromalacia. in free-fall 2 1/2 years.
Today on Strava riding well.

Offline Elle0383

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 12:31:24 AM »
rnm37 - your post touched me and made me sad.  I feel like I've sat on the sidelines for most of my life due to knee issues from an early age.  I am about 2 months post-op from a major knee surgery, and while I am already used to the feeling of restriction, it hasn't made the recovery any less frustrating.  The lowest point of my recovery came at 6-weeks post-op.  I had just had enough, and there were a few days where I just cried because I was so frustrated.  I was sick of it all.  Sick of being on crutches, sick of being stared at in public with my brace and crutches, sick of having to work so hard to accomplish the simplest task, etc.  I felt like a burden to the people around me because I needed help with things.  I felt like less of a girlfriend to my boyfriend because I couldn't go out to dinner or the movies with him.  I just felt like a dead weight.  It may sound dramatic, but when I'm out in public and I'm limping or in a brace or on crutches, I feel like people look at me like I am less of a person.  That could be my own self-consciousness, but I get sick of the stares.  I want to shout "I do not have three heads people!  Haven't you ever seen someone with an injury before?!"  I also felt resentful.  Why do I have to deal with this when other people my age are active and out skiing or doing fun things? 

As hard as it was to break out of my gloom, and believe me I still struggle with it, I decided to find things to be thankful for.  I am not paralyzed, I do not have cancer, I have people in my life that I love and who love me back, things will get better, and at the very least, I am alive.  There was an ice hockey player from my area that had an accident on the ice a year ago and is now paralyzed from his shoulders down.  He is only 17.  When I get frustrated that I'm still walking with a limp or that I have difficulty putting a shoe on, I try to remind myself that I should be grateful that I can even use my legs.  Of course you need to have your moments of self-pity.  We can't be saints all the time, and sometimes it just helps to shed some tears or wallow a little bit.  It's important to give yourself some time to grieve for what you've momentarily lost, but don't count yourself out and don't think you have to settle for a less desirable outcome.  You will be back on that field again.  Just be patient (easier said than done!).  :)
11/2012 LK - TTO+MPFL Reconstruction+Lateral Lengthening

Offline RLE

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 03:36:58 AM »
Hi all,

Sorry if I'm being a bit dramatic but I have felt slightly down since watching my football team play this morning :(. My recovery from this surgery is going well but being back down at my local park watching my teammates play (where I actually hurt my knee) and it brought out a whole lot of frustrations and feelings of injustice ("why is it me who is standing at the side limping about?" etc) that I havent really experienced since my injury. I also started wondering; probably irrationally, if I would ever get back to that level of fitness again, even with diligent rehab. Do people on here agree that recovering from a long term injury can seem quite lonely and unfair at times?

Just posted this to see what people think about the mental side of recovery, seeing as most posts here are about the physical aspects.

Ross
I have noticed that recovering from a major accident you go through the same stages of grief as a death: shock/denial/ bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance etc.
I was so enraged for a long time that my accident was totally random. I never played any sports (I was a dancer and I walked and did yoga, rode my bike etc) or did any high risk activities. Didn't even ski or anything. I never put myself into any kind of a dangerous situation and one day I'm walking in the park and the next I'm literally crippled and in so much pain I didn't want to live. I was so so upset and angry and it was so unfair. I went through every emotion there is. I admit I'm still occasionally angry and confused about the total randomness. But I'm recovering physically and probably will never be the same but that's life. Totally random. People deal with all kinds of things, illness, accidents, losses of all kinds.
I think your feelings are normal.
I'm a different person than I was a year and a half ago. I don't sweat anything anymore and I don't give a s*** about people and their opinions. You're either on my side or you're out of my life and I'm in the process of changing careers. In some ways this was a very good thing for me. I know this sounds insane but there might be a silver lining to it for you too. 
Accident 2011: permanent dislocation, hole under the patella, bone fragments/debris embedded, scar tissue, 3 torn ligaments, fracture, cartilage sheared off, contracture,
2011 MUA
PT on-going
2012 MPFL reconstruction,TTT
        TTT
        Lateral lengthenin
        Arthroscopy/clean out
Thx Dr. T

Offline Snowy

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 05:22:52 AM »
Quote
In some ways this was a very good thing for me. I know this sounds insane but there might be a silver lining to it for you too.

This is an excellent point. I think if I had to sum it up, I'd say this: of course I wish my injury hadn't happened. I wish more than anything that I hadn't lost that time, that fitness and strength, all of those opportunities. But do I regret the lessons I learned because it did? Not for one second. It forced me to completely re-evaluate my priorities and goals, and make some decisions I hadn't anticipated or predicted. It was an awfully hard way to learn those particular lessons, but they've proven more beneficial than I can say.
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline Brambledog

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 09:07:18 AM »
Fab thread, lots of brilliant stuff on here...

RLE, you are bang on about the stages of grief. I was talking to a psychologist as part of the pain management side of the CRPS, and I told her it felt like grief - but the person who had died was the old me, the one who could do all those sporty physical things with her kids and just rush out of the door without thinking. Like grief, that raw pain does dull and you can set some of the negative stuff down at the side of the road and walk on. You look back now and then, but it gets less.

But as Snowy says, you do get something deeper out of the whole thing, you find out things about yourself and your character. And the amazing thing is that it turns out you were stronger than you knew, more resilient, and that so many little things you thought were important really aren't. That kind of knowledge liberates your mind if not your body.

Not caring about what other people think of you is a big part of that. I used to care way too much about people's opinions! Of course I still make an effort socially, especially when I'm in my chair, but I don't NEED acceptance or approval like I did.

I told my OT last week about my wheelchair coat  ;D - not a physical coat, but a sort of mask. I decided early on that I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me when I'm in the chair, so I am deliberately cheerful in it. I talk to people, and ask for someone to reach up for a packet for me without embarrassment etc. I kind of enjoy it in a weird kind of way, not being in the chair, but being able to manage how most people view me. It's like a game. Some folk are really uncomfortable if they even see you, but once they realise you are actually normal (ha!) and even smile and chat, lol, something sort of clicks and their whole look changes. I always end up thinking I might have made a couple of people feel a bit better! Smiles are free, but it's amazing how mean people are with them sometimes. I see people so often who physically are fine, but who seem to go through their day making people feel bad by being grouchy or mean, and I realise I know something they don't, which is that you have to put in to get something out. (Don't mean to sound preachy there!)

Brams  ;)
2009 - diagnosed coeliac
Aug 2011 - L knee arthroscopy
Aug 2011 - diagnosed PF arthritis L knee
Nov 2011 - diagnosed CRPS L knee
Dec 2011 - MRI R knee, PFOA is worse than L!
June 2012 - no surgery 'til TKR's
Nov 2012 - CRPS spread to L foot/thigh, increasing pain
- Worsening pain/symptoms R knee
;-)

Offline allyd

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 04:16:47 PM »
Quote
In some ways this was a very good thing for me. I know this sounds insane but there might be a silver lining to it for you too.

I also could not agree more with this statement. We all have our ‘silver linings’ and while I’ve learned more about ‘knees’ than I ever cared to, and could definitely life without THAT knowledge – the lessons in strength, conditioning, fitness, motivation, are personally irreplaceable. Without my knee problems I likely would have never found the motivation to get healthy, lose weight, and make fitness a part of my daily lifestyle. It was something I needed to do and the knee problems were just what I needed to get me there and through a successful rehab.

Regrets are easy to come by, but look forward and stay positive. We are a sum of our experiences, and who we are is reflected in that. Allow it to make you stronger. Keep your mind strong and focused on your goals, use watching your team as a motivator to hit your rehab hard – the mental side is definitely more taxing than the physical, hands down.
04/09 RK - Dislocated Patella & Grade III MCL Tear
06/10 RK - Re-Dislocation Patella
09/11 RK - MPFLr + Lateral Lengthening

Offline JTB

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 06:51:30 PM »
Great thread here, will try not to ruin it. Have this huge sense of grief and loss and hope (outside the box of the healed cartilage, conquering the alps kind) overwhelming me as I read all your stories and as I write my own. My own sense of loss no doubt mixed up in with others. Have a feeling of being overwhelmed by how far I have to go from where I am right now, in order to accept my circumstances- to find my own "silver lining." Sometimes I don't think I am capable of accepting this kneeless life. It seems easier to just keep doing what I do best, fighting  >:( and extending my denial, which it seems is just causing me more pain :'(. Am afraid I am not strong enough to embrace that reality/possibility yet. 

People are still looking at me as if I am going to get better and I have thought so too, but recently have begun to allow myself to suspect otherwise. Denial goes in more than one direction it seems.

Brams, Snowy, RLE, ELLE, Lottie, et al, you folks amaze, inspire and give me hope that I too can be a better person, even with my bad knee(s).


« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 07:24:47 PM by JTB »
Bike racer electing sport-med scope Jan 2011 for patella catch: shave patella, MFC and trochlea (with sneaky lateral release) Grade 3 findings. @ 1 year, CRPS, pain inhibition, muscle atrophy, osteopenia, sudden bilateral chondromalacia. in free-fall 2 1/2 years.
Today on Strava riding well.

Offline Brambledog

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Re: Slightly depressing...!
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 12:38:38 AM »
JTB, you have guts, and you describe how I feel such a lot of the time....especially the feeling that where I thought for a long time I would have an injury, a diagnosis, a treatment and a recovery. I now seem to be left in an endless loop somewhere outside of time, trying to stay positive and hope for that recovery despite all the evidence to the contrary. With some people wondering why I'm still pulling the 'limpy act'...

I can talk the talk as well as most on here, but the inner me that can't fake it to myself does feel abandoned and lost sometimes. I try not to listen too hard. I don't know that there is a silver lining per se, more that when you come out the other side of the initial long, dark tunnel of 'why me?' you look about you and take a deep breath, and hang on to what it is that makes you YOU. And you get more days where you don't feel so bad in your head, and more inclination to try stuff, and your fire returns, and you start to live again instead of hiding from life. Haven't quite got to that bit yet, but I stick my toe in the water sometimes...

You do the best you can. That is all  8)

Take care guys,

Brams  ;)
2009 - diagnosed coeliac
Aug 2011 - L knee arthroscopy
Aug 2011 - diagnosed PF arthritis L knee
Nov 2011 - diagnosed CRPS L knee
Dec 2011 - MRI R knee, PFOA is worse than L!
June 2012 - no surgery 'til TKR's
Nov 2012 - CRPS spread to L foot/thigh, increasing pain
- Worsening pain/symptoms R knee
;-)















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