Control Issues, Lifelong Learning, and Fighting My Own Fight

I found my big girl panties.

After calling Mike to tell him about my MRI results.  And then calling my mum to complain about my MRI results.  After tweeting, blogging, stuffing my face with commercially manufactured chocolate cake, and generally doing my best fist-balling, foot-stamping I-DON'T-LIKE-THIS routine.  After all of that (and a good night's sleep) I put on my big girl panties and got to work.

The scan's most shocking revelation was not that my knee is intact.  My physiotherapist thought micro-tears in the ligaments might be possible.  My doctor thought cartilage damage could have happened.  But both were clear that my decent mobility gave reasonable certainty that the joint is more-or-less okay.  That means if runner's knee was the issue, the cartilage may have been abraded but had not degraded, and sooner or later I'll be able to run again.  Disappointing in terms of estimated recovery time (I really like firm dates and predictable outcomes), but generally good news.

So, I wasn't actually shocked until my doctor's assistant told me I don't have arthritis.  Quote: "There is no arthritis."  Which is remarkable to ME, because I was diagnosed with juvenile onset osteoarthritis when I was sixteen years old.  Without an MRI, ultrasound or X-ray.  As the explanation as to why my knees hurt while running competitive sprints in non-supportive shoes.  As the primary reason for me to stop running any distances, because it would only aggravate my condition.


So you can imagine my surprise when, eighteen years later, my supposed prematurely calcified joint was given a clean bill of health....  And then my anger at all of the lost time.

The worst part about waiting to see my doctor, and then attending endless physio sessions with negligible results, and now waiting again to see my doctor to get a referral to a waiting list to see a specialist....  It's the utter abdication of control.  It's waiting for someone else to determine the next step in my recovery, and by extension to determine when I will recover.


As soon as my extra kids left for the day, I pulled out all of my books, articles, and online resources on running and cycling injuries, strength training, prevention, and recovery.  I read studies on illiotibial band syndrome and myofacial release, forums on SPD pedal positioning and float, and viewed dozens of certified physiotherapists' videos on runner's knee in all of its incarnations.  I looked at my shoes and my feet, my calluses and wear patterns.  And I learned.

On Tuesday, when I meet with my physiotherapist, we'll talk about how eighteen years of possibly unnecessary knee supports, arch supports and weight training restrictions may be driving this injury.  And how nine months of running in bad shoes followed by cycling with poorly positioned SPD's may have made it worse.  And how we're going to make it better.

I've been That Parent for years, now.  It's about time I become That Patient, too.

I might not get to race this year, and that's okay.  My vision of propping my textbooks up on my aerobar to get through social theory analysis might not come to pass.  That's okay, too.  It'll give me more time to look at this:

My Princess, Hamming it Up

And this:

My Stickbug, Rocking His Skate Frame

Because they will be waiting for me at the finish line when I race again next year, and the year after, and then finish my first Iron Man Triathlon in 2016.

And it will be SO worth the wait!

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