Saturday, April 16, 2011

3 Years Ago Today I Had My PCL Surgery

Hi Everyone, Skinnygurl here.

Three years ago today I had my PCL Surgery and began the long road of recovery. Instead of talking about me I would like to reintroduce Hamlet! He sent an update and I would like to share it with you. What an inspiration.


Hello Again Skinnygurl,

It's me Hamlet if you still remember. Would like to share with everybody about my latest development.
Attached is the picture of me with the medal and trophy we have won. I assisted our rugby club to win a state level league.

I played as a winger in most of the games. As you can see, I did taping on my right knee to assist my performance.
I can play without it but it is best not to take any risk. Otherwise, that is just a sign of insecure.

After such massive usage of the knee during the whole 2 months, I did worry about my knee so I scheduled a MRI scan with my specialist.
Thank God, the result was good. No sign of any damage and the previous surgery was a success. Of course I won't get 100% back the state of my original knee. But 90% is good enough to give me strength to continue playing rugby.

I know this is not much of experience to share, but my intention is to inspire everyone to not to lose hope. Faith is important for us to go on and achieve the goal of life. When I first decided to go for the surgery, I was in dilemma, some said better let it be without surgery, some say go on with the surgery.

I listen to my heart and tell myself I can go through this. So here I am, running again in the field with my new strength. This year 2011 is where I am officially back as an active rugby player. 2010 year end was more like a warming up and testing phase.

It is good to be back again after more than 2 years of rehabilitation and sitting as a spectator. Hope this will at least give everyone the motivation to get back on their "knee"


Molly said...

Congratulations to skinnygurl and Hamlet!

hamlet said...

You r welcome. I would like to thank you too for being here, for sharing your experiences and or the support. Without you, I might lost in this struggle. You means alot to lots of us.

Thank you Molly.

Skinnygurl said...

I would like to thank everyone, especially Molly for all the input and support to this blog. It's helped thousands and I'm so happy to see everyone helping out.
Stay Tuned! Looks like this blog is just beginning and will be here for years to come!

Speedy No. 9 said...

Great job there Hamlet. Glad to see you are back playing rugby. I think we have all benefitted from this blog and I think me must be thankful for Skinnygurl and the likes of Molly who have been truly inspirational to us all.

Skinnygurl said...

Agreed, everyone has helped make this blog what it is today. Helpful and full of support. I'm updating Mollys story today. Check it out!

warrior said...

hello i'm 14 days into my post op recovery of a complete pcl reconstruction, and only pcl i see that your back to playing rugby again so you must be running and i'm assuming that you were trying for an aggresive recovery, i was just curious how long it took you to walk even with a peg leg, i just want to ditch these crutches quick.

KJ said...

Folks have had different experiences but my PT told me it'd take 6 weeks for the graph to heal enough that it wouldn't stretch. I had to be guarded when using my hamstring up until that point (initially it was NO hamstring activation).

I personally was on crutches for 9 weeks but I think that's on the longer end. My PT was not aggressive since PCL surgery has a high failure rate and they didn't want me to stretch the graph. The PTs absolutely didn't want me walking with a peg leg or any limp of any kind so I had to stay on crtuches until I could show them I was strong though to walk normal. It sucked.

Unlike the guys, I didn't go back to playing rugby after my surgery but I do CrossFit & rowing now and have no stability issues. Pain is another story!

marissa said...

KJ, I am a 20 year old rugby player and I have been playing for 5 years. 2 months ago, I tackled a girl in a weird way and had pain in my knee. Thinking it was just a reinjury to my MCL, I took rugby very lightly for the last two weeks of our season. I let it rest for a month but the pain persisted. After visiting my doctor, he said it was a patellar injury and sent me off to surgery. I insisted on getting an MRI because I knew this wasnt patellar pain. He finally confirmed that I have a grade II PCL tear. He wants me to swim, bike, run, and general exercise for three months and then reassess my knee. He said it will either scar over, stay the same, or possibly move to a grade three. All of these options seem the exact same as if I were playing rugby! My season is just starting and though it is painful, im able to endure practice. Even the conditioning aspect. You know that general exercise is nothing compared to rugby, especially after playing for so long. I'm so sad and have seen all these posts about how PCL tears have really impacted peoples lives. Do you have any advice for me.

KJ said...

Hi Marissa,

I am so sorry to hear about your injury! You're about the same point in your career as I was when I did mine (6 years) but I was a little older (23).

You are not going to like this but I strongly advise you to take this season off of rugby, at a minimum. I say that because this past year I met a guy that wrestled for Michigan St. and he suffered a PCL tear his freshman year. He rehabbed for a year and built tremendous leg strength and let scar tissue form and was able to finish his career with no issues. That’s not something I did when the original injury occurred and I deeply regret that.

There’s a fella on my rugby club now who had PCL surgery when he was your age and was able to fully recover and play rugby again. There are also a couple guys on this blog that did the same. I’ve yet to learn of a female who has fully recovered from PCL surgery and gone back to a contact sport though.

I think most folks will agree that you should try to avoid this surgery if you can. Yes, there’s a huge difference between rugby and the general exercise your doctor suggests; his suggestion is so you can guard your knee. This isn’t ACL where they say, “Play until it tears fully and then we’ll fix it.” This is a longer, more complicated surgery, with a higher failure rate and a very long recovery (took me about 2 years total).

Honestly, I would tell the 23-year-old me that until you can catch your toe on something and not have a lot of knee pain, I’d stay off the pitch because there’s not enough scar tissue formed yet to protect the torn ligament. Now I don’t know if the 23-year-old me would listen or not… :)

I understand the addiction and the desire to play rugby every chance you get but you’re very young and you can play rugby into your 40s if you take care of your body. I didn’t and trust me, there’s nothing more awful than not being able to play at all. I could still cry about it because it’s something I love so much. It’s hard to see it now but losing a season or two when you’re 20 is not a huge deal.

I also had to look beyond rugby and think about wanting to have a kids and being able to run around with them some day. I can’t even kneel down on my surgical knee because I’m just about bone on bone. That’s because my tibia was smashing around under my patella for at least a couple years while I played rugby with no PCL. Not taking care of it when the injury first occurred is what led me to where I am now and there are so many things I would change if I could do it over again. Unfortunately there wasn’t a fabulous blog like this one where I could educate myself.

It’s really hard to see down the road when you’re 20 but you have to consider the future. This injury changes things.

If you want to email me direction to talk more, please feel free. ourugger (at) gmail . com