I received my official diagnosis on Friday from my MRI. It is pretty much what I expected, but still crushing. I have a long road ahead of me and I’m not too sure I am ready for it again so soon.
The results from my MRI were as follows: A ruptured ACL graft and a large, “bucket-handle” tear in the meniscus. Surgery is the only way to fix it.
The tricky part of this diagnosis is that back in 2006 I partially re-tore my ACL graft from a reconstruction surgery I had in 2005. I blame the doctor. He told me after I re-tore it that had he known this would happen, [he] would have done a better job and made it stronger.” Thanks, doc. So, with this, the workers’ comp insurance adjuster is going to have to instruct my orthopedic surgeon to examine the MRI results from my incident in 20006 and compare them to my MRI films from 2010. I’m worried that workers’ comp is going to leave me hanging, but I’m pretty sure that there is significantly more damage to my ACL graft this time.
When I meet with the orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday, I am going to have a lot of questions for him. Unfortunately I am doing my 10-week student teaching this semester and if I delay it, I also delay getting my credential in time for the 2010-2011 school year. If I have just arthroscopic knee surgery to fix the meniscus, my ACL will still be damaged. Before Zac and I have kids, we want to have that fixed so that I can do more things with them. Also, with the meniscus, there are a number of procedures that can happen. I could have it removed (which I don’t want beause it leads to arthritis earlier), I could have it cleaned up, I could have it repaired, and I could have it repolaced. There are so many options. Then with the ACL it gets even more complicated because it is considered a revision surgery. I’ve read that revision surgery could require 2 actual surgeries with time in between for recovery. The first would be to clean everything up and remove the hardware installed in my bones (2 screws) and the second would be for the actual procedure. Also, I’ve read that it can happen in one swoop. Then, the procedure gets even more complicated when deciding a graft. Autograft (my own tissue that is harvested from my hamstring or patella tendon) or allograft (a cadaver). Auto versus Allo
My first knee surgery on my left knee in 2002 was an autograft. The doctor harvested part of my patella tendon from the same knee to use as my new, replacement ACL. The doctor recommended it for young athletes beause it is stronger, and is less likely to fail. And, out of my two knee surgeries, this one held up. However, this option was extremely painful. I woke up from anasthesia in screaming pain. A day later I was in the hospital on a morphene drip because of the pain. The experience was horrible and the pain is indescribable. But, it held up.
My second knee surgery on my right knee (the current knee) in 2005 was an allograft. The doctor recommended it because I had such difficulties with my first knee surgery. It was great. The pain was much more manageable, and the recovery was a bit quicker short-term. But, this graft failed me and I am in this situation right now.
So, as I sit here now on the heels of my third knee surgery I am full of worry and question. If I have to choose a graft, I’m leaning toward autograft because it is the graft that has proven to be the best for me. I have a lot of important decisions ahead of me. Should I have the surgery during Spring Break of student teaching, or wait until after? Should I pick allo or auto? There are so many choices and too many hours of thinking between now and my appointment on Wednesday.
I’ve come to the realization that I am out of the Los Angeles Marathon. I am out of the Rock and Roll San Diego Half Marathon. I am probably also out of the Rock and Roll LA Half Marathon. Pretty much, I am out of running for most of 2010.