“When the world says ‘Give up’, Hope says ‘Try one more time’.” -Unknown
The day started off in a hopeful way… another run on the Alter-G treadmill. I arrived at PT with my usual happy and cheery disposition but under this façade was churning an uncertain and questionable feeling I could not shake. I tried to bravely tuck away those feelings in order to get going on the treadmill. I had the gravity adjusted, I knew what the running plan was for the morning and I soon began the run. At first, it felt good to get these legs running, to feel my pulse increase from my quad and calf muscles doing exactly what I was requiring from them with little pain.
I usually get to PT at 7, right when they open. Frequently there are no other people rehabbing. Lately however, but there has been a patient that has made me question exactly what I am doing and whether I am chasing dreams while not realizing that the dreams I wish for, are just that… wishes…. It is always hard to admit to yourself that the very thing that breathes life into your spirit really may be taken away and there is nothing you can do but watch it fade.
On this morning, a new patient arrived. He is a runner who obviously had some minor injury as he has been walking on the “regular” treadmill. I have seen him a couple of times and yet it is hard to walk by him as I wonder what he must think… “Why is this woman constantly on the anti-gravity treadmill?” On this morning, I was running at a pretty good clip, with 80-90% gravity and then he looked over and gave me a quizzical look and that was all it took for me to regurgitate those feelings of question and uncertainty… Wondering if this is as good as it will get… It was at that moment that I had to fight past the knee pain, overcome the doubts, and focus on the future…
Today presented another opportunity to help this knee and I wasn’t going to let anyone take that hope away, not a look, not a thought, not reality… I still have wishes and I am not ready to give up on them now! I finished a 7 mile run on the Alter-G and as I finished, I walked past the patient. He looked over at me and I gave him a smile and wink, maybe just to say, it isn’t over just yet! 😉
My next stop was back to South Lake Tahoe for a PRP injection to the left knee. I have been told this really is the last non-surgical hope to help resolve the knee pain. Essentially the PRP stands for plasma rich plasma. How it works is that blood is drawn from the arm and spun down so that the rich plasma which has growth factors intended to help heal the arthritic areas of the knee, is injected into the knee joint. Studies are showing some promise with this medical treatment, but nothing definitive has shown that this will work. I was told that I should notice a difference in about a month if it is to help. That said, this is my last and final treatment before being referred to a surgeon for a partial knee replacement. I am too young to want to have the replacement and I am willing to try anything that might help minimize the pain and allow me to maintain some semblance of physical activity. But reality is that I know if this doesn’t work, the next step is surgery and a modification of all my activities moving forward.
I arrived at the Dr.’s office hopeful, prepared and a little anxious as well. My blood was drawn and I was told that there would be a ten minute wait until the procedure would begin. I sat in the room and for the first time felt empty with thoughts. I have been in this procedure room before. This is the first time I found myself truly seeing the pictures on the walls that I have seen before but never noticed. Julia Mancuso, Liz Lyles, Olympians, professional athletes… all thanking Dr. Finoff at Tahoe Orthopedic for retuning them to their lives, their passions, their love… My eyes began to water just a bit as I sat wondering for a moment, “Could that be me?” “Could this injection give me back what seems to fade away day by day?”
I took a couple pics not really knowing why, but feeling compelled to do so, almost as if it were a piece of tangible hope I could hold onto. The minutes went by and the procedure was to begin.
I was positioned on the bed, knees bent, a sterile field made and the ultrasound to my left. Dr. Finoff pulled the first needle out and numbed the area, then he removed fluid on the knee and before I knew it, the PRP was injected.
The procedure was minimally invasive. A Band-Aid was applied, care instructions given and I was out the door. I remember walking out and taking that first breath of mountain air and thinking “Please let this help”….
As I drove away, I reviewed in my mind the events of the day… the Alter-G run, feelings of my dreams fading, seeing all the Olympians and professional athletes having their dreams restored, the procedure and what my current thought about what my reaction should be at that very moment. I debated feeling helpless with staying positive. I was internally arguing over giving up instead of going on. I contemplated a new life of restriction with potential change that could bring about a better life with just different activities. It was at that minute that I came to only one conclusion… the choice is mine how to react, what to think and how to be. Not knowing when my last day will be, I have vowed to make this life full, meaningful, enjoyable and to appreciate and experience all that I can as if it were the last!
The answer is clear. I will move on with my head up, my spirit strengthened, maintaining my body in the best shape I can for the adventures ahead. I will change what I can and accept what is as the truth, but never compromising the determination to live each minute to the fullest and always smile. The runners may have to be exchanged for walkers, the bike may have to be sold, but the spirit stays…. Always hopeful, always determined, always smiling…