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Author Topic: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end  (Read 993 times)

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Offline turkdlit

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Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« on: March 08, 2013, 05:54:56 PM »
Hi everyone, didn't know where to go because I feel so frustrated and angry right now.

I had a horrible knee injury a year and a half ago - torn ACL, LCL, PLC, grade 2 PCL and femur fracture playing soccer. Had everything fixed in one go. Did fine post-op, but then 9 months ago later noticed worsening instability. I met with my surgeon, and had a CT, was diagnosed with bone tunnel widening of the ACL grafts, and he suggested a 2 stage ACL revision (bone graft, then revision autograft). He told me this wasn't too big a deal, and that I am lucky because the LCL and PLC was a success. I started a thread on this topic here -

So 3 months ago I had the first stage, with no issues. Have been waiting patiently to have the second stage, but in the meantime have noticed much worse laxity in my lateral structures. I am a physician, and knew that my worsening stability was not simply due to just being ACL deficient.

I made an appointment with Dr. Noyes and saw him earlier this week. He has determined my LCL/PLC is now stretched out, and that I have a 4 degree varus defomity. He recommends first a high tibial osteotomy, and then revision of the LCL/PLC/ACL 6 months later.

Needless to say I am depressed, frustrated and angry. I feel like I'm back to square one (actually, even FARTHER back than that, because I need the osteotomy first). Had I known about this, I could have had the osteotomy done at the same time as the bone graft 3 months ago.

Its been one and a half years now....I'm so far away from getting back to running, or doing what I love (soccer). I was collegiate athelete, and struggle to get through the day at the busy hospital I work at.

Just needed to vent a bit....I feel so lost and confused and wondering, why did this happen to me?


Offline Maverick

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2013, 05:38:44 AM »
Turk, I am very sorry to hear of your challenges.  Although I cannot relate to your specific situation I have have been through the change cycle (surprise, anger, rejection, acceptance, and committment) more times than I can remember.  Each time I assume that I have accepted my situation when in fact I find that I am angry and frustrated again.

My only thoughts are maybe to express how I deal with my situation (at least most days).  I don't know if I am going to wake up to a day faced with challenges, a decent day or a good day.  I do know, that only I can control how I feel about and how I choose to deal with it.  Yes, some of this is mind over matter and knowing that you are not the only one in this boat.  Some of this is knowing that there is hope and a possible fix. 

I am a very task and goal oriented person so I set goals.  That may be to make it until 10:00 before I TENS or take a pain med.  I may reward myself by letting myself TENS or take a nap or pain med after I force myself to go for a walk or go to the gym.  Why put myself through this?  Because I know that these activities are good for me whether I feel like doing them or not.  All of this becomes somewhat of a routine that I know if I follow will eventually help.  In my case, help maybe months or years off but I know that if I don't try that I won't get better.

Maybe I am just rambling here but the key is to believe in yourself and your capabilities.  As an athlete myself, I have learned to be pushed further than I thought was possible.  I try to take this same approach and attitude with me each day.  Sadly I don't win each day but I know that the next day could be better.

I hope that this helped a little.  Vent anytime you like.  That I part of why this forum exists.

1976 Arthoscopy, damaged cartilage
2007 Lateral release of the patella
2011 Meniscectomy and microfracture (grade 4)
2012 Debridement / Chondroplasty
2013 CRPS left knee

Thank you, Maverick

Offline Rknees4

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 08:47:04 AM »
Sorry to hear of your very frustrating situation.
Being on your feet all day must be difficult, especially when you are trying to help others.
Time for a new sport until the knee is back together.
What would you tell one of your patients in a similar situation?
Thankfully you know the right people to help you get better.
There are no real answers to why but I am sure it will make you a much more compassionate physican.
It will also make you stronger and more understanding of the people you treat.
Remember what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. This may just feel like a platitude right now but when you get to the other side you will feel it.
Hang in there we all get frustrated when things don't move fast enough or the way we think they should. Vent away and keep us posted. Know that we all get it.
Take Care
Knee pain since teens
06/09 Patella mal-alignment grade 3/4 chondromalasia both knees, PFS
09/11/09 patella realignment,Trillat/LR/scope cleanupRK
10/02/11 patella realignment,Trillat/LR/scope cleanupLK
Cortisone LK 04/06/11
Scope LK,/RK HW removed 28/06/12
Chin up keep hobbling!

Offline kimb

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 05:05:21 PM »
I'm sorry you have struggling so much! Sometimes, when we are in the thick of suffering times, we can't possibly see a reason for what it happens. Then sometimes, even years later, we can look back and see that what we went through brought us to where we are and it turns out it was a good thing to have to go through, even if it was really difficult at the time.
Every day that you wake up is a new day.  Some days, we just need to have a pity party. Other days we feel like superman when dealing with our challenges.
I'm a Buddhist, and in Buddhism we practice training our minds to rid ourselves of the suffering we go through. Of course, pain is pain and has to be coped with, but most of our suffering is brought on by our thoughts, and with time and training we can control that.  You may find meditation to be something that helps you. There have been many studies that show it helps reduce pain and stress. There are thousands of youtube channels and websites that can show you various techniques that might be worth a try for you.

I've used meditation a lot when dealing with my knee issues. It's not magic, and it doesn't always make everything go away. But it helps me cope with whatever comes up every day. I know someone who tore up his knee skiing a few weeks ago (cross country, leg got caught in deep snow and body twisted and fell on the leg). He had to wait for a long time for rescue while sitting in the snow, unable to get up. He meditated while waited and it helped to calm him, and he has been using it since to deal with the long recovery he has. He tore his ACL, MCL, and his meniscus, if I remember right. It does work, if you give it a chance. Plus, you can do it anywhere!
Best wishes to you. I hope that your outlook improves and that you can get back to enjoying the things you are missing.

Offline Luckypete

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 12:50:30 AM »

I was in a similar position with the frustration and anger, I felt like I was taking one step forward and two back, but I've been given some positive news about my recovery recently and for the first time in nearly 3 years I feel like I'm actually making a recovery, I still get pain but it's more managable now.

I posted a thread very similar to this about 3 weeks ago and I've gone from having 12 mm of sag in the knee joint to just 3 mm now after a seemingly successful PCL allograft so all I can say is you've got to remain positive because I was ready to chuck in the towel so to speak but this operation has changed my attitude no end.

I hope your recovery goes well and good luck.


Offline turkdlit

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 04:28:19 PM »
Thanks for all the positive vibes everyone. Its just hard staying positive...seems like I'm just having more bad days than good recently when it used to be the other way around. Sometimes I can't grasp the element of unluckiness that is involved with this whole process...given that only a small fraction of people damage so many ligaments at once, and then the even smaller fraction who have failed grafts. Everything that could go wrong with this knee (apart from devastating complications, infection, etc) has. Everyone says don't worry, you are young, in good shape, and as long as you do your rehab, watch your diet, follow doc's advcie, etc, you will be fine. When you do all of that and more, and have such a disappointing course, if just overwhelms you, and thhoughts of, "maybe this whole thing will NOT turn out ok." start creeping into your head. I can't help but think, maybe I am destined to walk with a limp and never play sports for the rest of my days.

Thanks again for the encouragment and am hoping all of you fellow knee geeks with jacked up knees get well soon as well :D


Offline kimb

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 05:14:12 PM »
There is always something on the horizon :) But when we can't see it it sure makes it hard to cope. I was glad I read so much hear when I first hurt my knee, because I was more prepared for the mental battle. Mine is much more minor than what others go through on here, but still a huge change for me and very frustrating. But at least I knew, so I'm thankful to everyone who shares their stories here. I love to trail run with my husband, and I'm not sure I'll be able to do that again (or any variety of other things but that is one that will be hard to give up) but we both have decent bikes so we are going to do some upgrading to those this spring and enjoy a new hobby together instead. If you can find something to look forward to, that helps. I made myself a diamond willow hiking stick a couple years ago, and now it turns out that stick will enable me to keep hiking with my bad knee. So just seeing it sitting in the corner makes me feel a bit better. Sometimes it helps to think of the things you can do instead of the things you can't. But other times, it is ok to just feel bad for yourself once in a while.

Offline chrimarsh

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 08:38:46 PM »
I fight with depression and feelings of helplessness every day since my accident caused a tibial plateau fracture. I had surgery and had screws and a plate put in, big deal. It's only a leg - But it is so much more than that! It is an entire way of life. And then to have more issues, after the initial issue is fixed... how can it be anything but traumatic and depressing. You have no control over when you will become "normal" and you can't even grieve and and come to terms with being disabled... because you still have hope that it will all turn around. You are sitting on a picket fence and that can't be anything but miserable.

I think you have every right to feel lost and depressed. My OS's resident told me when I apologized for whining about how the staples made me flinch and gasp while being taken out "you have the right to b*tch, you've had surgery!" Not only have we had surgery, our lives have totally changed and are now in someone else's control... our OS (of whom very few have taken the "beside manners" course in med school, and if they are any good, don't have a lot of time to address anything but the their surgical site).

So when I need it ... I give myself permission to sit and have a pity party. I put a time limit on it, but I allow myself to wallow all I want as long as I finish when my time is up. Giving myself permission seems to help and planning to do something I like after my pity party makes me feel good too. It sounds silly, but hey, whatever works, right?!

Hopefully we will all get through this and back on our feet again soon!

Offline margret

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Re: Lost and depressed...when will the bad news end
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 09:08:17 PM »
So sorry about your situation...I'm still having surgeries years after being run over by a car, and it isn't clear whether the earlier doctors missed the issues I'm having treated now, or whether rehabbing from complicated injuries just keeps creating new damage that's bad enough to need more surgery. I'm not even halfway through my life expectancy yet, and at the worst times, I see a long long long road of one surgery/rehab after another stretching out ahead of me. I truly understand the lost and depressed feeling.

What's helped me is building a strong relationship with my PT, who keeps me focused on getting as well as I can. If there's someone you know who can give you more than platitudes about how it will all work out, maybe you can make an arrangement to check in with that person a few times a week...knowing you'll have someone to listen to you, guaranteed, could help you keep the emotions under check in between. Another very small thing--so small that I'm embarrassed to admit it works for me--is 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in 4 seconds, hold 7 seconds, breathe out 8 seconds, repeat. It could just be the ritual aspect--if so, then any small thing you believe will help keep you from going over the edge into despair will work. Finding yourself a saying or a quote that helps you deal with life as it is (not necessarily as you want it to be), can help too. Mine's from John Wayne: "Saddle up anyway."