Thursday, February 16, 2012

Me? A runner?

There are lots of people out there who have decided to do things they thought they couldn't, and I've decided to turn myself into one of them and become a runner. But it wasn't an easy decision.

A little history: when I was little and just learning how to walk, my right knee started swelling up inexplicably, preventing me from walking on it. This would happen periodically, and my mom and dad of course had no idea why. They were worried. So was my pediatrician. My parents heard lots of "could be this, could be that," such as leukemia, and that was scary. Ultimately, the decision was made to perform surgery on my knee. It was opened up so that the doctors could see what was going on. Since then, I've lived with this lovely scar that grew as I grew:


{I've been asked about this scar my whole life, and it doesn't bother me a bit. Except when I apply tanning lotion to my legs and the scar doesn't change. :P}

So back to surgery #1. When the doctors opened up the knee, they found a hemangioma, an abnormal collection of blood vessels that are sort of open-ended, growing inside the joint. It would bleed into the knee joint, causing the swelling. Doctors removed it and scraped out the inside of the joint. Problem over, right?

I wish. Periodically through my growing up years, my knee would swell. If it swelled really bad, yellow fluid would be aspirated from it. This happened maybe once every two years or so, with more minor episodes of swelling in between. When I got to be a senior in high school, it swelled badly one day, requiring a visit to an orthopedic surgeon. He aspirated blood from it. He also took x-rays and determined that there were bone fragments floating around inside the joint, which were probably causing irritation. I had surgery again to clean it up (arthroscopic this time, thankfully). After the second surgery and several months of physical therapy (ouch!) the knee was better than before, with still some very occasional swelling, but not nearly as often. Most of this would happen with pregnancy and the extra hormones.

Fast forward to the last several months, and I'm growing tired of watching my hubby and daughter go out and run without me. I've been exercising consistently for over 18 months, and my knee feels better than ever. After reading that recent studies show that cartilage in the body, especially joints, seems to be HELPED by exercise instead of harmed (sort of like a supply & demand thing--more demand equals more supply) I have turned my "I can't run because of my knee" into "I'm going to try it and see what happens." I am using this schedule (I'm on week 3) and so far, it feels great! I am loving to run. I can feel myself becoming addicted to it, and I love breaking a good sweat and feeling the stress drain away. In between days on the treadmill I am keeping up with my strength training and yoga because building leg strength has really helped strengthen the knee.

I'm realistic, and I know that I won't run any marathons with my hubby (he's running one this June). That would probably push it too far, but I am excited to work up to being able to run a 5k or maybe even a 10k with him. I'll keep you posted! If I can do it, trust me, anyone can. :)

1 comment:

  1. You can do it Chris, I have NO DOUBT. Didn't know about your knee problems :( But hey like I once heard..."It's gonna suck anyway, so might as well have fun" I would love to run a 5k and (one day) run a 10k with you. But I know you just wanted a reason to show off your legs :)

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