“It’s okay not to be okay…” – from ‘Who You Are’ by Jessie J
From the moment I heard this song by Jessie J years ago I fell in love with it. It was this one line that instantly made me feel better. Why write about this now? Well, let me explain…
As many of you probably know, in 1998, as a sophomore in high school, I tore my ACL in my right knee. So began a close to 19-year battle with my right knee (whom I recently named “America”, because just when I thought she was doing alright, she is actually broken again and needs to be fixed.) Being a young female athlete this wasn’t really that uncommon. I had the reconstructive surgery using a piece of my own patella tendon, did some PT, and went back to sports. Only to find myself in the operating room again a year later with a torn meniscus. At that point in high school, I had accepted that any dream of being an athlete was pretty much over.
From there I went through college, Spain, and grad school always having to be careful with my knee, unable to do the things I loved. I battled excesssive weight gain and loss and pushed myself through the work outs I could do until I couldn’t take the pain any longer. My knee hurt me every day since I hurt it at age 15. In 2013 I pushed through three day a week boot camps to drop as much weight as possible because I knew my knee wasn’t right and that I must need another surgery. Knowing that meant that I knew I would be on the couch for 6-8 weeks with no way to burn an extra calorie and that I wouldn’t be back to any substantial workouts for 6-9 months. I had to get as fit as I could before that time.
I was right, another ACL reconstruction. Then, just a year later in 2014, dejavu, I was back in again for the meniscus. Something about the two ACL reconstructions was causing the miniscus to tear and also to keep me unstable. I just figured this was life now.
Jump forward to two weeks ago. My knee gave out for probably the 100th time and I fell, but this time on stairs. Normally when I have fallen I get my bearings and get back up. I’m in pain but I move forward. This time I really hurt myself and it required some X-rays. In the X-rays my new Orthopedic Surgeon saw something that shocked him. The holes in my tibia and femur where my ACL was screwed in were three times the size they should have been and not even in the correct place or direction.
Although that sounded bad I agreed to two more surgeries and jumped right in because, well, why the hell not at this point. The only thing is that I didn’t realize how complicated this first one was going to be. I thought I would be able to move around after a week and wait it out until the big one this Fall. Ya see, that’s why many of you haven’t heard from me yet, it isn’t that simple.
As my PA put it, my knee issues are abstract in the orthopedic world. This is very complicated and they have only done 3 other sets of surgeries like this in their practice’s history. Why? Because it’s rare they are needed since these surgeries are to fix other surgeries that were most likely done wrong. Can I walk this week? No! I can’t put weight on my leg completely, drive a car, or release myself from this straight brace for 5 more weeks. I was crushed!
Look, I know people have it worse than me, I get that, but this is me and this is MY struggle and I’m exhausted. Why do we always have to tell people that “it’s going to be okay”? Or tell them how to feel and point out all of the positives immediately after they get bad news or something bad happens? Stop it! Guess what? It’s okay not to be okay! It really is. For a couple of days I want to process this. This is going to effect my every day life more than it already would have pretty significantly for the next close to two months. It’s going to hinder work, my social life, travel plans, my relationships, my weight, my activity, etc. Let me be upset for a damn minute. You wanna know what else? I’m getting married in 8 months. This year was supposed to be cheesy romantic and super fun celebrating US, not focusing on my damn knee again. I’m supposed to fit in a dress that now isn’t going to fit me. I already don’t have a father here to walk me down the aisle or have a dance with and now I’m nervous that I won’t even be able to walk or DANCE! No dancing at my own wedding? If you know me at all you know how sad that makes me. So, please, don’t throw your Patty Positive in my face just yet. I’m not amused by any of this. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty damn sad.
Watch out, everyone, today on social media I’m not showing the picture perfect side of my life, today it’s real and I’m sad and angry and frustrated and a little depressed. It’s been a long 18 plus years and I’m tired. I’m tired of not playing the sports I want or not being able to go on the hike I want or not be able to exercise how I want to. I’m tired of being in pain when it rains or from walking the dog. I’m tired of hating myself for my size and my weight because I can’t be active like I used to be. For that, I’m not okay.
I will feel better and I will see all the bright sides of this. I already do. But for crying out loud I bet you’d be pretty pissed off and tired too. So please excuse me while I bitch, pout, cry, and feel sorry for myself for a moment. Thank you!
End pity party!
That all being said…Thanks for all of the support and love. Catch me in a week when I’m shooting balloons and teddy bears out of my ass again and hate myself for throwing a pity party because I support kids for a living that fight battles a million times the size of mine. I know, you don’t have to tell me, I’m aware. 😉