Have you ever had the feeling that something is going to happen, but it feels as though it is going to happen to someone else?

Yet, at the same time, you know without any doubt that it is happening to you. That is the strangeness I am feeling about my upcoming arthroscopic surgery on my left knee. It seems so far away that at this point it feels as if it happening to someone else, not me on the 28th of November.

Though I am glad that it isn’t someone else though.

I hope that this surgery gets rid of the discomfort and varying levels of pain that I constantly have endured since I hyper-extended and gave a wonderful twist at the end to the knee while rototilling back on May 9th.

Yes, I have all the usual trepidations and normal worries about surgery. Especially, when you have over a month to wonder, worry, and think about everything that could go wrong. Then when my anxiety kicks in at odd times to make things even more interesting. You know – all those wonderful thoughts about what could go wrong while in the operating room.

Despite all those things, I am very much at peace about the decision to have surgery.

The Left Knee

My left knee injury interferes too much with my chosen lifestyle or even my ability to do simple chores around the house without being uncomfortable and then becoming painful while doing them.

If I attempt to forecast what would happen if I don’t have surgery, the prognosis isn’t great. Based on my experiences in 2010-2011, I believe that the discomfort and pain will only get worse. Waiting for my knee to get better, didn’t happen then and hasn’t happened this time.

Unlike in 2010-2011, I have been much more proactive by getting treatment and following the protocols that medical professionals have in place. But at the same time have I been more assertive about my needs when there was no progress in healing, pain reduction, or physical therapy. I know that there are significant time lags built into any medical system for non-emergent care, so I pushed hard to not waste time any more time than necessary to have an MRI and orthopedic consult. The timeline would have been much longer than May 9th to November 28th, if I hadn’t been proactive this time.

PRE-OP

One of the rather “interesting” parts of this pre-surgery time is that the VA has already set up appointments for my pre-op physical, pre-op COVID-19 testing, 2-week post-op, and 6-week post-op. Along with having sent me crutches and an ice pack cooler unit for after the surgery. During the entire process, I have nothing but good to great things to say about the treatment I have received through the VA at Togus.

Since the decision to have surgery was made, they have been very efficient and diligent in making sure that I am ready for the surgery and the recovery process.

I must admit when I opened the box and saw the crutches, it made the forthcoming surgery that much more real.

Flashbacks

Which in turn, prompted flashbacks to 2011 and more than a few thoughts about my experiences with my right knee leading up to that surgery. Thankfully, that surgery was quite successful, and I have put over 15,000 miles of running on it. Despite the surgeon boldly claiming I would never run again, before surgery and at the post-op appointments.

He was more than a little perturbed at my 2-week post-op appointment when I told him I had already run a half-mile that morning. Although I did wait until after he had told me that I would never run again. Yeah, I had one of those grins going when I told him.

I am a tad stubborn about my running and I will be running again in 2023 if everything works out the way that I believe it will.

Keep Moving Forward

The bottom line is that my left knee hasn’t improved much if at all since early June. Which definitely sucked, then when I add in the hamstring woes, that were the result of a January encounter of the icy kind while running outside. Between the two, those injuries left my running in 2022 with too many red lines in the running log. I will end the year with under 200 miles total. At least 1,000 miles less than I expected when the year started.

However, knowing that I have been through an arthroscopic surgery before makes me a lot more confident that the outcome of this surgery will be successful. I have to remain positive despite the anxiety and negative thoughts that will creep in from time to time until November 28th and during the rehab process.

After rehabbing the knee, I expect to be back to running regularly sometime in March 2023. No, I am not going to attempt to run a couple of weeks after surgery, like I did last time. However, I plan to do the rehab smarter this time and work on strengthening the old body pre-op and post-op, while ramping up the running slowly.

Another thing in my favor this time (besides being a little smarter), is that I don’t have to lose almost 60 pounds. This time around, it is only about 15, although losing another 5 after that wouldn’t be too bad either. Getting under 150 pounds would mean lots of good things are happening.

I do want to get back to regularly running about 30 miles a week and enjoy participating (not racing) in a few low-key races here or there. Racing even at the age-group level has to wait. At least, until I have multiple consecutive months of good training and making progress toward my rehab goals.

Then we will see what happens and how I am feeling. After all, I do have a brand-new pair of Nike VaporFly 2’s in the closet (I had ordered them just before the injury and got them in after it – that sucked), and my name is written all over them. I gotta try them out at some point.

You know me, I have to be Harold being Harold.

Well, those are my thoughts today, as I move closer to surgery on my left knee and look to getting back to running at some point.

  • Gotta stay positive and keep smiling.