Hello ACL warriors!

I am days away from “celebrating” my 5th year anniversary of ACL surgery. 

I don’t even think about my knee anymore. It’s that healed and that much back to normal for me. There’s not much in my life that I modify or have to stay away from. But that’s not to say that life after ACL surgery is easy. I still have to work at it every day. I still have to be active, work my knee and be careful (as not to re-injure it) every day. The thing is that I just think about that stuff less and less because after doing them for five years, it’s just a second nature and a way of life for me. How about you?

In honor of Mothers’ Day coming up, I have a shameless plug for the woman who helped me recover immensely from my ACL surgery–my mother.

My mom battled chronic pain for 40+ years as a result of being born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia. She endured multiple knee and hip surgeries (even two total hip replacements and revisions) to rid the pain. She is now pain-free because she has employed many methods and modalities to do so. Seems like my family has kept some orthopedic surgeons in business over the years. So that said, my Mom recently wrote a book about her pain journey and recovery. If you or someone you know has endured pain and wants to move towards wellness, check her book out. And let me know what you think! 

The Kindle version & paperback are available on Amazon.

The Nook version is available on Barnes & Noble.



More info on my mom? Check out her website. 

Happy Mothers’ Day and happier knee days ahead to all of you 🙂

A few days into 2011, as we all think about how to better ourselves this year, I wanted to reflect back to where things were last year.

Post from December 31, 2009:

Happy 2010 everyone! Since 2009 brought me a new knee, I resolve to get it into tip-top shape in the new year. That said, here are my 2010 Knee Year’s Resolutions. And, please, feel free to add yours, too!

1. Get in shape to hit the slopes in the coming months–Tahoe and a TBD Colorado destination

2. Work on plyometrics/my jumping

3. Continue to build up stamina to run a 12K in May. (I did my first 5-minute jog last week–woo hoo! Yes Knee Can jog again!)

4. Try my best to do PT EVERY DAY! (This will be the hardest one of all!)

5. And finally, for the enjoyment of all of us, I plan to compile the unofficial running list of professional atheletes who have torn their ACLs. It’s an exclusive club and the price is steep, as we know, but we should keep track of our members. You heard it here first!


So how did I do? Maybe not so well, but I never gave up. I didn’t end up skiing in Tahoe, I missed the deadline for the 12K in May, I forgot about #5 and, let’s be honest, I didn’t quite make it around to doing PT every day. I’m only human. But since Father Time is granting us all a fresh slate with 2011, I’m going to get my redemption this year. Even though the knee is good as new, I still see it as a daily reminder to never stop moving.

Knee Year’s Resolutions 2011

1. SKI!! End of January. Vail. No excuses.

2. Plyometrics: Get back on the Bosu a few times a week.

3. Run a 12K in May. I signed up yesterday for Bay to Breakers in San Francisco! I’ve never been an endurance runner, so the world’s craziest run is more my pace.

4. At the very least, even on bad days, do clam shells, squats and hamstring bridges EVERY DAY!

I’m going to try to be four for four this year. Now it’s your turn. Whether you are a new tear or a healed ligament, let’s hear what’s in store for you this year.


Giving It a Tri

This whole rehab process has inspired me. This blog has inspired me. And all you wonderful readers and commenters without a doubt have inspired me to keep pushing forward–so much so that I have decided to put the pain behind me and debut the my-new-ACL-is better-than-it-ever-was comeback by participating in the 2010 Chicago Triathlon (Supersprint level–let’s not get carried away).

What better way to make myself and everyone else forget my bench-warming months of rehab than by doing three sports in one day? (*Note the word “participating,” meaning I’m not busting over backwards to break records, just wanna shatter any previous painful ACL memories.)

So there you go. I’ll be hitting the chilly waters of Lake Michigan on August 29. More details to come.

That’s my ACL-is-better-than-ever goal. What’s yours?

Feel free to share your comeback stories, especially if you did a 5K up to a Tri. And be sure to comment if you are participating in the Chicago Tri or will be in the area–you can sport a Yes Knee Can t-shirt. (Yes! That’s right–a YKC tee! It’s about time you had something cool to wear to PT. T-shirts with actual blog logo coming soon.)

Image from revolutionmyspace.com

Unbelievable! It’s hard to think that it’s been a full year since my knee surgeries. I’ve spent a few moments today re-reading some of my first posts. It’s was very humbling.

Orginally I started this blog as an outlet to vent through the process. But what ended up happening was far more than I could imagine.

People connected to share their own personal stories.

Parents found information for their kids.

And people stepped in to encourage, support and advise others, which, once again, proved that no one is along on this journey; we have all feel the same pains and triumph through gains together.

It’s incredible and I thank everyone who has read this blog, commented on this blog and connected on this blog. This is all for you. My ACL journey is the journey of us all. As I reach this day, which signifies a year of progress, I plan to post less frequently since my goal was to document for a year. (And now I’m onto other things, like training for my first triathlon.) But I will continue to approve comments and reply to them.

So I wish you all the best and continued success in your own personal endeavors. Keep learning, keep moving and never take the simple things in life for granted.

Until next time … yes knee can!

So how many months post-op ACL surgery does it take to feel like your old sports-playing-high-flying-risk-taking-dive-for-anything self? In my case, 10-11 months. We all are different, but you will know when you are there.

You won’t think twice about playing two soccer games in one night.

You’ll become the one begging YOUR friends(who most likely have both ACLs in tact) to run the marathon of your choice.

And then you’ll see other people with massive, black and constricting leg braces hobbling across the street and you’ll think, “ouch! that sucks!” nano-seconds before you remember that you, too, were once in their humbling position. (Soon after you will express your condolences and tell them to “hang in there” because you are a good person, right?!)

The CPM, ice machine, vicodin, stitches are distant memories that have left your vernacular. Those were all ages ago. But if you close your eyes really tightly you can indeed remember the pain of not being able to lift your leg off the bed in the morning without the assistance of BOTH hands. Don’t think too hard, though. Look at your knee now. The faded traces of scars. The muscles around it you worked so hard to build back up. And think, “there’s an entirely new piece of ligament underneath that cap that has grown accustomed to me for almost a year. WHAT!”

Now stop reading this post.

Lace up your running shoes. And go engage in your favorite outdoor activity you loved as a kid.

Here’s to feeling like brand new again, but never really having to pause to think about it ever again.

As this year’s NCAA men’s tournament wrapped up, many brackets were busted from the beginning and one superstar’s ACL, Da’Sean Butler’s, got busted at the very end–with only nine minutes left in the game to determine who would play for the national title.

“… with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation, Butler drove the left baseline and went to plant his left foot. However, Butler’s leg gave out on his way up to shoot, and he went down immediately in pain.” From tsn.ca

Yesterday Butler went in for surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee. WVNS, CBS 59, is also reporting that Da’Sean sprained his MCL and sustained two bone bruises. Ouch! Sounds like me, only that when I went down on the indoor soccer turf during a recreational game, I didn’t leave the field as “the Mountaineers as the third-leading scorer in school history. He racked up 2,095 points. The Newark, N.J. native also played in a record setting 146 games.”

(Source: http://www.cbs59.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=78036&catid=3)

Congrats to Da’Sean. The dreaded tears and pops happen to the best of us.

I’m moving for the second time since I had my surgery. Not just moving apartments, but moving cities. I moved from Chicago to San Francisco at 3 months post-op and now am moving back to Chicago this weekend, 10 months post-op.

Two pieces of advice for those who move post op:

1. Seek a reputable therapist and gym membership immediately!! I waited until I “settled in” until I found a therapist out here and it was too long. Do it ASAP because good PTs are hard to find and harder to schedule.

2. Be careful with all the lifting, carrying and stair climbing. Be sure to stretch pre/post move. (Or bribe friends to help you out!) I might sound like a broken record here, but if you are lifting, be sure you are doing it properly.

Here’s some advice from About.com:

  1. Plan ahead before lifting.
    Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.
  2. Lift close to your body.
    You will be a stronger, and more stable lifter if the object is held close to your body rather than at the end of your reach. Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting, and keep it balanced close to your body.
  3. Feet shoulder width apart.
    A solid base of support is important while lifting. Holding your feet too close together will be unstable, too far apart will hinder movement. Keep the feet about shoulder width apart and take short steps.
  4. Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
    Practice the lifting motion before you lift the object, and think about your motion before you lift. Focus on keeping you spine straight–raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees.
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles.
    Tightening your abdominal muscles will hold your back in a good lifting position and will help prevent excessive force on the spine.
  6. Lift with your legs.
    Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles–let your strength work in your favor. Again, lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps to keep your back straight.