So waaaayyy back in December, we went skiing. Or tried to. Until I fell. And blew out my knee. Remember this post?
When it happened, I asked the on-site doctor to give me medicine and ice so I could ski the next day. I mean, seriously, was that too much to ask for? This is all the swelling I had and I didn’t hear or feel anything rip….
Instead, she put me in an immobilizer and I spent the next three days of our ski trip locked up in the hotel room. Throwing up. And crying about how I ruined our perfect vacation. You can read more about my pity party here.
My accident was on December 19th, I finally saw the orthopedic for the first time on January 2nd and had surgery on February 22nd. That’s a really long time for a torn ACL… most people have surgery within two weeks of their accident. I however, had a concert to attend and other personal stuff going on, so for two months, I built my strength back up and did PT before surgery. (Because of using crutches and not knowing it was OK to walk on my newly destroyed knee, I lost almost all of the muscle mass in my right leg. It’s like Jell-o right now. It completely grosses me out and I was told today it will take A YEAR to get my full strength back. Oy vey.)
I never saw what my knee looked on the inside like until my follow-up appointment after my surgery. My jaw dropped when I saw the pictures he had taken while I was in surgery, and while this stuff normally grosses me out and I stayed as far away from any science field as possible, I just thought this was waaaayyyy too cool not to share.
And because I have no shame, here is me before surgery. Want to see me before my last surgery in January of last year? Click here. (Nasal septum reconstruction)
First, I’ll show you the pictures of what I could see on my knee right after surgery.
They have come a long way from what you would have seen after an ACL surgery a couple of years ago. People used to end up with a scar going all the way down there knee (about 5-7 inches) from where the surgeon would cut them open. Now they scope everything. The ‘scope’ is a very small lens that is placed into the knee joint and is connected to a camera and monitor so the surgeon can examine and operate on the knee with less invasive techniques (via). During my surgery, my surgeon made four scope holes and only one 2-inch incision from where he grafted part of my hamstring to reconstruct my ACL. (Athletes and older people usually receive cadaver grafts, while everyone else uses grafts from themselves.) There are also two very teensy holes where the surgeon inserted a support rod above my knee to hold everything up during the surgery. The only scar I may have will be from the 2-inch incision, but I was told that normally heals without scarring.
Now for the jaw-dropping (to me at least) part of the whole operation.
Here is what a normal, healthy ACL should look like.
And here is the picture he took when he first saw inside my knee.
There was absolutely nothing there. I had completely ripped my ACL in half. I don’t ask a lot of medical questions, so I guess I didn’t realize I had done more than tear a part of my ACL.
This is what my ACL looks like now, after he cleaned everything up and reconstructed it with part of my hamstring.
I know this may be gross to some people, but I have a few readers that were interested in what the surgery entailed. And I know some of my family may find this interesting. As for my meniscus tear, because it had been two months since the accident, the meniscus had started to heal on its own, so the surgeon is letting it do its own thing.
It’s now been two weeks since my surgery, and everything is going great! Before surgery, movement in my leg was minimal and the swelling never really went down. I have more movement now than I did previously (and I’m ahead of where they want me to be) and there is hardly any swelling left. After an ACL surgery, you start PT again within the first 48 hours, whereas in the past, you would have a cast on for six weeks. It’s amazing how far they have come and how quickly you can recover from something like this. I will wear the big-bulky-hinged brace for another four weeks, and will start doing weights in the next week or two. For the next two and half months, my physical activity is limited, and by the end of six months I should be cleared for everything. We’re hoping to go skiing again this December, but this time, we want to at least make it through the first day (knock on wood).
We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! We are both off this next week for Spring Break, but I’m hoping to contact a few real estate brokers around town to try and find a sponsor as well as tackle a few DIY projects!