As I write this the date is 17th January 2020, and it dawned upon me the other day that my blog is over 10 years old! In that time it has covered climbing/trekking trips to Kilimanjaro, Russia, Bolivia, Argentina, Nepal, and several in Europe, cycling in Thailand and the UK, and very recently running the New York Marathon, to name a few. It’s been a blast! And so with the dawn of a brand new decade I am very much not hanging up my shoes (any of them!!) just yet.
The above statement I should say is not quite as straightforward as it may appear: If you followed my New York Marathon blog you may recall that I was carrying what I thought was a calf muscle sprain late in the programme. Well, this turned out to be a bit worse than I thought, as over the Christmas period I’ve been diagnosed with a torn cartilage in my right knee. Bummer!
Basically, following the New York Marathon (actually during the run my calf wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be) I decided to rest for a while. My knee was then starting to seize when just sat at my desk at work, and I was in considerably more pain just lying in bed at night than I had been even doing exercise previously, so something wasn’t right. A trip back to my physio wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I ultimately got referred to an orthopaedic surgeon via my GP for an MRI scan. I’m lucky to have private healthcare and so I got fast-tracked, otherwise this process would still be ongoing and I’d be none the wiser here still.
So the official prognosis post MRI scan is as follows, in all its gory detail – for posterity as it were:
– A significant multidirectional tear of the junction of the body and posterior horn of the medial meniscus.
– A para meniscal cyst situated posteriorly
– A popliteal cyst
– A (tiny) knee joint effusion
– A grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament
Joy! I discovered all of this a day before Christmas. But what does it all mean?
Well, I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks googling all of the above, and as with most things you google on medical forums, most of it isn’t very pretty, and very sobering. At worst, I shouldn’t/can’t use my knee for much at all and am at risk of a knee replacement in the not too distant future. My orthopaedic surgeon however, who (would you believe!) turns out to be a 3hr 20min marathon runner, is ( a bit) more hopeful.
He has said that he hopes that the effects of the meniscal tear can be initially treated by means of physiotherapy. Time will tell, as on the 27th January, a mere 10 days away, if it isn’t improved in terms of the pain I am suffering (and that is a lot), then it is surgery time. The operation involves shaving off part of the remaining cartilage and removing the part that is basically floating somewhere in my knee cavity and contributing to the pain I get. I currently can’t even tie my shoelaces, or put my socks on, or squat or extend my knee through 90 degrees currently without it being excruciatingly painful. In theory the physiotherapy (which is essentially half an hour every day on an exercise bike at low resistance to stimulate blood flow to the knee area) will help my body adapt in the meantime. Fingers crossed and all that!
So, despite the digesting all of that news, I remain hopeful. There was a chance (and I suppose there still is) that when I went to see the surgeon that he told me that my knee issue was degenerative/arthritic (he told me this might be a possibility before we both saw the MRI scan results in fact) and that I shouldn’t run any more. He could also have told me that I needed surgery straight away and that would be the end of running for probably this year at the very least. I’m not, after all, getting any younger!
But he hasn’t. He’s told me that resting it is the last thing I should do right now in fact. And although he’s told me to stick to cycling for now, I’m not doing that, as he’s also told me that by running I won’t actually be making it worse.
So, over Christmas, I’ve done about five runs, most short, and including a double Park Run with Melanie on New Year’s Day in the Lake District. That in particular was great fun, even if getting up at 7am on New Year’s Day to dash across the Lake District (we were staying in Ambleside and the runs were in Keswick and Penrith) wasn’t! We’d also climbed Helvellyn (my favourite mountain!) the day before and my leg was hurting because of that too, but enough of that!
So, where is this leading? Well, until (or unless!) the Surgeon on the 27th January tells me he’s not happy with things and he’s chopping it off (or something almost but equally as unpalatable) then I’m running, simple as that. Life is here to be enjoyed, and I’m on a roll!
I (and in fact we, Melanie and I) are currently signed up for the London Winter 10k in Feb, the Cambridge Half Marathon in March, are going trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal in April, and have signed up for the Edinburgh (full) Marathon in May. That should keep me out of mischief!
Watch this space………………:)