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Author Topic: Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues  (Read 1855 times)

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Offline alon0019

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Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues
« on: April 21, 2017, 10:45:51 PM »
I had ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair almost three weeks ago, but have at this point spent a month in bed, because my meniscus tear was bucket handle, so I was stuck in bed for two weeks even before the surgery. Hence, more than a month in bed.

Like many here, I'm an active person. I play(ed?) a martial art, danced, taught dance, and ran and hiked regularly.  I'm 34, single, with a big group of friends who all do fun things together, many of which are physical.  I have a job I like, and most of the time I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the things that haven't gone right (of which there are many). .. which brings me to the present.

This month has been tough.  I seem to do nothing but dwell on past failures or present frustrations.  Including the time I spent caring for my father and then burying him a decade ago, this has been one of the most tough months I've been through.  I don't think I've ever felt so negative or down on myself--or generally depressed.

I can't complain that I haven't had support--I have! People have dropped by and brought me food (especially the first week this was a godsend)--but I'm still alone the majority of the day.  My job involves a lot of driving, so I'm not back to work yet.

I know it will get better, of course, and I am trying to breathe into it and see this as an opportunity to really examine my life.  That said, the sadness and negativity (and there's some fear--what if I am never active again?) are pretty hard for me to deal with.

What have people done to get through it?  All my normal mechanisms (working out, hiking to somewhere secluded, going out with friends) are not available to me, and I'm left with a feeling of just deep sadness.  I've expressed this to friends and family a little, but honestly, I don't want to scare them, and the response is often 'it'll pass! not that much longer!'--totally ignoring that each day feels like a struggle and that until I'm even semi-normal for daily life if I'm lucky will take three months, exercising aside.

Anyway--what do people do about this?


Offline Brandon123

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Re: Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 12:39:30 PM »
Hi Amaya,

I somewhat understand what you are going through, due to a problematic knee I had all my outdoor hobbies (running, hiking, skiing, traveling, cycling etc.) taken away, and had to try to find a new meaning in my new involuntary indoor/limited outdoor existence.

With all the normal things 'gone', and bedridden or house bound, you are forced to face life in a new way, and at least temporary (because I am sure you will be fine in a few months) find joy in new things. And this is tough mentally, no doubt. All these things you talk about, old decisions, choices, mistakes etc. just start to pop up and bombard you. I read somewhere it is because the brain is getting limited ?new input? and kind of reprocesses a lot of what you already have stored in there.

My best suggestions for coping with a situation like yours is a) Try to keep things in perspective. Although it kind of destroys your normal life, it is only for a limited period and fortunately a limited problem compared to for example serious disease. And you will get better. b) Still try to accept that life comes with obstacles that many of us face at one point or another. This was so difficult for me, as basically everything had gone my way up until my knee broke down. c) Try to immerse yourself with indoor hobbies such as reading, studying, personal development, watching TV series, playing video games, origami, catching up with old friends online or over phone, or whatever. Google 'indoor hobbies' for ideas! And be willing to reconsider things you considered as silly before:) 

During the periods of being house bound, I have for example, read a lot, explored new music, new podcasts, new people and cultures (through books and documentaries), immersed myself in astronomy, started playing chess, explored myself, my beliefs, and my entire take on the world. Previously, I was very success/career-oriented. I am a now much humbler, more understanding, and considerate, and for that I am thankful. My knee forced me to explore other values in life and new things to do. Things I would normally not have cared for or had time for. 

Of course, I also try to keep up the hope that some treatment/surgery will make me much better or even completely normal, but at the same time I try to make peace with the fact that I probably always will have a bad knee, and will not downhill ski, run etc. anymore. But most of us have limitations in different ways, or at least we will as we grow older, it is part of life. Nowadays, I would be so grateful to just being able to go to work and the grocery store without pain and stiffness and swelling of the knee. So, to conclude, I have learned to accept that life comes with obstacles and we better just accept them as a fact of life, and to appreciate the (sometimes little) things we can do.
RK sharp pain while running, diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 6/09
RK arthroscopic chondroplasty 9/09
RK rehab, recovery, 90% normal, started running again -> back to square one 5/15
RK diagnosis patellofemoral arthritis + LK diagnosis chondromalacia patellae 8/15 -> conservative treatment

Offline Torao

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Re: Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 02:57:50 AM »
I wasn't quite bedridden after my last knee surgery, but I did spend 8 hours a day in the CPM and did the first 7 weeks of my recovery at my parents' house 4 hours away from my friends/life.

Things that helped me was finding something to do. In my case I worked on computer stuff like using a Raspberry Pi to work on projects, I digitized my parents' music collection, as Brandon suggested listened to podcasts. Anything that took my mind off the fact that I couldn't go work out or move around much and let me get lost in what I was doing rather than thinking about what I couldn't do.

I also meditated a fair amount. I know Qi Gong has a set of sitting brocades specifically for those who can't get up and move and I'm sure other meditative practices do as well.

Also finding a way to stay active/physical. I kept a set of hand weights close by and would do various exercises that didn't involve the knee. If you've been give PT exercises, do them. You have limitations, but limitations can breed creativity. Play around with what you can do.

That said, sometimes it's okay to get overwhelmed by it all. Acknowledge that feeling, accept it that it is there and if you can put it away. If you can't put it away, try keeping a journal of things that went right and wrong that day. Force yourself to actually acknowledge the positive things and to objectively look at the tough things. This is something I generally struggle with, but I think it really helps over time to have a record that say two months ago I could do 10 leg raises and had to stop and now I can do 50 leg raises. But I have a tendency to look at it as saying why can't I do 100 leg raises? Forcing myself to have that record of the progress, and while progress is rarely linear, it does happen over time.

And if it is possible, get outside, even if it's just reading a book on a patio, or sitting inside next to an open window. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression in some studies. Getting some sun helps with that.


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Re: Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 12:56:52 AM »

« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 12:58:56 AM by MissMiniscus »


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Re: Post-ACLR/meniscus Op blues
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 12:57:25 AM »

Hello Amaya,

I'm very sorry to hear about your injury. I completely relate to the experience you shared and I find it helpful, I have been nearly completely isolated since my MCL tear, patella fracture. My father is also ill and lives in a different city, the stress and distance the situation is causing is devastating for me to witness. I'm extremely sympathetic to your loss.

I know EXACTLY what you are describing in terms of friends/family. What I am finding infuriating (in terms of the depression accompanying the recovery), are the complacent ways people respond when they ask "how am I doing" or "hows the knee". They offer tidy anecdotes to the effect of "There will get better", but as you know it becomes challenging feel like one is being understood and "It'll pass" when one cannot easily bathe, or do laundry or the simplest of activities, let alone activities that one enjoys. The people I turn to for support are not there to see the reality of day to day life. I too try not to disclose too much pain/suffering/sadness to members of my family because they suffer from mental illness and are not equipped to deal with the stress that ensues.

I think you have demonstrated immense ability to recover, your feelings are valid, and normal, and will not stop you from living a happy fulfilled life! Some things I am trying are psychotherapy (this is proving to be VERY difficult and painful, very slow process), meditation (far more gratifying in a much shorter time), I would like to say returning to painting and drawing but I haven't felt motivated enough to do that yet), but the biggest thing so far has been accepting and celebrating even the most minute, incremental changes/improvements. I.E. I can almost see my knee cap through the swelling, I bent my knee 3 degrees more than two weeks ago etc.....I really don't know if that helps, but thank you for sharing your experience and I'd also like to know what others do to battle the negativity associated with this!