Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3 Years Ago Today



Hello and welcome to my blog. 3 years ago today I went to the gym, ran 4 1/2 miles, logged my progress and went to work like any other day. That night I took a fall which changed everything. I tore my PCL.
Prior to that I didn't know what a PCL was. If you're reading this you probably can relate.
I had surgery and after a long recovery, here I am!

I invite you to read my story along with the journey of other PCL survivors.

Stay tuned and feel free to leave comments. If you have a journey you would like to share feel free to email me at sprinter2fun@hotmail.com

Skinnygurl

19 comments:

Molly said...

Happy Anniversary!

Skinnygurl said...

Thanks Molly,
You're my hero!

KJ said...

Happy Anniversary! Your post reminded me to schedule my 2 year post-op appointment. Last one!

Skinnygurl said...

Thanks KJ and good luck!

Nataly said...

Hi, I tore my meniscus and my PCL by slipping on wet floor. I'm 25. In my case, there are reasons to operate and reasons not to. It would help me to know what your "symptoms" were when you decided to operate. (for me, I don't feel any pain when I bear weight on that leg- since they drained the fluid. But then again, im on crutches and that awful brace. I'm just now feeling pinches and uncomfortable if I turn a certain way - 3 weeks after injury).

Here are a few things Im concerned about. My other knee was recently diagnosed with arthritis in my knee cap and I have depleted the fluid (need OrthoVisc). How will treatment affect that knee? If i did conservative treatment, what are long term effects? Will I have issues 5 or 10 years from now? Would I ever be able to kickbox again?

I didnt realize how serious the surgery would be until I read this blog. The dr was leaning towards surgery to fi the meniscus tear, and examining the PCL while he was in there. As naive as I am, I was thinking just do them both since I'm already in there. I didn't realize it would take so long to fully recover!!

Skinnygurl said...

Hi Nataly and welcome to my blog.

For me at first my knee was so swollen it took time for the diagnosis to be made. I wore a brace for awhile but my knee kept slipping and didn't feel at all stable.

During rehab after surgery,I was asked to have Ortho Visc but because of the expense it was turned down so I can't really answer that question.

The length of recovery and success of the surgery varies so much. In my case the healing seemed to have taken longer but I'm older. Also I don't push myself as hard as I used to but I see my surgery as a complete success.

I hope others chime in as they have a bit different journey and experience.

Good luck and let us know how things are going.

Skinnygurl

lisa.case said...

Hey Nataly, I feel like I may be able to relate to your situation some. I'm 21 and tore just my PCL playing soccer in September. They put off surgery til December because I wasn't having many symptoms other than the occasional twist or turn that sent me through the roof! It was usually stiff in the mornings and would occasionally swell. I didn't have any major fluid in it though. I was not exercising or playing at all during that time though, fear of injuring something due to the missing piece in there. I had some surgeons tell me I could live without my PCL if I just kept my quad strength up but for me that sounded crazy. I was told by therapists and surgeons that if I left my knee the way it was at this age my onset for arthritis could be easily in my 30's or 40's (granted I've beat my knees up pretty badly in my years). They also worried me by telling me my risk for tearing ACL or anything else was much higher, which seemed silly then to live in a state of fear of exercise the rest of my life when I had an option to fix it! Youth is DEFINATELY on your side when it comes to this surgery. I had an achilles tendon donor graft done about nine weeks ago and am able to now ride a stationary bike fairly well and climb stairs normally again. My flexion came back quicker than others I have talked to, which I believe is partly due to age. It is a very long and tough process, but if you make it out of the first four weeks post-op I've found leaps in improvement. I definately questioned if I made the right decision in the weeks post-op, its very frustrating because it did not feel 'hurt' or bad before surgery but looking at the long run for my life and I think I made the best decision. Hope that helps some!

susanv85 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susanv85 said...

Nataly, I am about 13 weeks post op PCL repair, and I lived with the torn PCL for about 5 years. Like you, I'm also 25, but I didn't operate right away because I didn't get a diagnosis for a couple years afterwards, and at that point, it wasn't much of a problem. It got progressively worse though, and I started developing arthritis in my knee. I found an amazing surgeon who did my repair, and I don't regret it for a second.

Just to give you an idea of where I'm at, I am walking without brace or crutches and have no limp. I am on my feet from 8-4/5 without sitting down, and yes, it gets sore, but it's possible. I am 2 degrees off of flexion when compared to my good knee, but still within the normal range. I am doing leg extensions with 30 pound weight, and started using the hamcurl machine. I am seeing my surgeon next week and I'm hoping that he will clear me to run at that time.

For me, this was the best decision I ever made. I don't worry about my leg giving out when I walk, it used to collapse on me every day, now, I go for a full day running around the hospital on my feet without any problems. I still have soreness and stiffness if I don't move for a while, but it's not as bad as the pain I was having before the surgery.

Nataly said...

Thank you guys for responding. I am a single mother of an almost 3 year old. I hate that I can't chase after him and that fear of injuring myself worse. I'm still debating - but am leaning towards the surgery (since it'll be the best in the long run). With this injury, I have two bad knees :-(

KJ said...

Hi Nataly,

I waited 6 years to get surgery. I believe I went 4 years with a partially torn PCL and 2 years with no PCL at all. I too thought it was no big deal!

I consider my surgery a success in that my knee is very solid and I do not need a knee brace but the damage I incurred during those 6 years still causes me pain daily (I played competitive rugby the entire time). I have arthritis but I think it's the chondromalacia the really causes me the pain. You can certain hear it when I bend my knee!

I would be very concerned about you having arthritis already in your other knee. You may be predisposed to it. Lisa is right in that you have youth on your side to aid your recovery.

I got the surgery already knowing my rugby career was over. I did it so I could play with my kids when we start a family in a few years so I understand where you're coming from. I also did it to put off knee replacement :)

Dr. Noyes, out of Cincinnati, OH, was my surgeon and he pioneered the new double bundle technique that is now being uses with this surgery.

You can read more here about why the surgery is difficult and somewhat controversial.
http://www.noyeskneeinstitute.com/index.php/pcl/

If you understand medical jargon this goes into deeper explanation about the technique: http://www.orthosupersite.com/view.aspx?rid=1952

You need to be very sure that you have a good surgeon because this surgery has a high failure rate at 20% (30% if you use cadaver). Find out how many PCLs your surgeon has done because it's not a common injury. I went to 3 orthos before I decided to get the surgery and I still think I took the decision too lightly!

If you do move forward with this make sure you have a good support system around you particularly with a 3-year-old :)

Bailey said...

Congratulations on reaching over One Million Visitors!

Awesome Blog!

Marty said...

Congratulations on reaching over One Million Visitors Pam!

Awesome Blog!

Marty

Skinnygurl said...

Thanks a million!
So glad my blog and team members have been there to help so many.
Skinnygurl

Ken said...

Recovering from motorcycle accident 15 months ago.
Ruptured acl,pcl,lcl,mcl,plc,it band and patella tendon.
Tore medial and latteral meniscus and broke fibula, caused by an open twisting dislocation.
7 surgeries, some worked some didn't, one that didn't work was my pcl reconstruction. 8 months on crutches with minimal or no weight bearing. The doctors finally concluded that my knee could not be fixed and performed a salvage total knee replacement. I was walking unassisted within 3 weeks and 10 months out I walk with very little limp. I know I will never be like before( no running, skiing, or basketball ) but I have my leg and can walk. My ROM is 120* now because of tons of scar tissue, the max with my TKR is 135*.
I found a website that ranked the worst knee injuries and I had 4 of the top 5 (one of them twice).
I have pictures if you can stomach them, one is known as "the picture", it is my leg as I lay on the side of the road.

Ken Parker

Skinnygurl said...

Hey Ken,
Wow, what a story,
Sure thing - shoot me a blog post and a couple (all user friendly) photo's and I'll post your journey.

Thanks for stopping by

Skinnygurl

michelle said...

Hey, I hope this is still an active blog. I am 58, 8 weeks ago I ruptured my pcl,acl and mcl while water skiing,still not too old to slolam! Was having fun til I went down and ski was too tight to release. I have a great team of doctors and PT guys helping me to strengthen my quads and all other muscles to gain some stability. The 5 weeks following injury were tough with no weight bearing and so much swelling.I have come to the conclusion that surgery is a necessity to achieve confidence for an active future. My surgeon would prefer I continue on the present course of conservative treatment as acl and pcl reconstruction is a long and risky surgery. I was inclined to follow his advice but my gut tells me I won't be happy with such a modification in lifestyle. I hike,ski,dance,run after granbabies and love yoga. It has only been 8 weeks but pcl and acl ruptures do not heal. I like to workout so initially thought no surgery was a good option
Now I feel I could be wasting years following this conservative option. I have spent many hours researching what to do. My anxiety level is through the roof! I do have a great support system at home. We have a fifty acre farm, yesterday some cows got out, I was home alone and was not confident enough to go down and open the gate to let them back in! It is hard to find information on this dual ligament surgery. Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks Michelle

Molly said...

Hi Michelle. Wow, you have a big big injury! I was 50 when I shredded my PCL and stretched my MCL when falling down riding my bicycle. I had a cleanup operation about 4 months after the injury. That didn't completely resolve my laxity, so I had a PCL reconstruction and MCL repair 11 months after the injury. It took more than 8 months to get back to 'normal' except that I never did get back to normal. I'm 61 now, still have laxity and pain (which I control very well with hot pepper ointment) and have developed bone on bone arthritis. Like you, I hoped the surgery would get me back to an active lifestyle. I was able to ride for a few years after the surgery, but I never got back to a pre-injury state. I don't know of anyone who has. For me, it was hard to acknowledge that my injury was permanently life-altering. I guess I was unwilling to accept it. The post-injury surgeries and recovery took two years of my life! If I knew then what I know now, I would have simply continued the conservative treatment and worn a high-end brace for all activity. That plan would have probably got me exactly where I am today, with a lot less pain suffered, money spent, and downtime. Your doctor may be exactly right about continuing the conservative treatment, but a second or third opinion about the surgical options may make you more confident about your ultimate choice.

michelle said...

Hey thanks for your story. I am still all over the internet looking stuff up it's difficult to find info on this combined injury. As with you my concern is I do this conservative treatment then decide to have surgery the recovery from that I'm looking at close to three years of my life dealing with this. I have face the fact that this is a new normal for me and it will never be the same. Just trying to weigh all the options so I have his little regret as possible no matter which path I follow. One day I am hell-bent on having surgery the next day I talk myself out of it. I do trust my team of doctors and we'll get a second and third opinion ultimately they are not me. My massage therapist yesterday told me the muscle tone in my injured leg was near as good as the uninjured leg that's how hard I have been working and just over eight weeks. But having known me for a number of years she said Michelle if I were you I would get the surgery because I see how hard you are working at this and feel you would come through it with flying colors. In the meantime I will try to keep my anxiety level in check LOL