Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Last Stand

For a while...

I reported to the Hospital at 6am this morning for ACL reconstruction surgery on my knee (thanks Sis and Mom for getting up so early to shuttle me over !).

10 years ago I completely tore the ACL (ligament) out of my right knee during my fight at a full-contact martial arts tournament. I had gotten knocked back and fell backwards onto my knee 'the wrong way'. My corner man had kept urging me to 'go for the kill' as I had stunned my opponent numerous times with strong but nearly undetectable body blows which left him completely open and defenseless against any quick followup attack. I found out in the ring that I had no desire to beat down a helpless person for sport (it would be a completely different story in cases of real combat or legitimate self-defense, of course !). So, I hobbled out of that match gaining some self-knowlege but losing an ACL.

Barring a few minor mishaps, the torn ACL had not been an issue until I took up dancing 3 years ago. Through all my dance training and classes, when I would start to advance to the next levels of technique my knee would have trouble handling leaps, jumps and general hopping off the floor (well, the landing parts of said manuvers anyway). I would get swelling and painful knees and have to take a break to recover. Finally, having been through numerous of these hop-injure-recover cycles, the time has come to finally have the ACL reconstructed, especially before it leads to more serious injuries: cartiledge damage and arthritis (which a torn ACL will eventually lead to dancing or no dancing).

There are a number of techniques for reconstructing the ACL. All of them involve attaching ligament material to the leg bones where the torn ACL was. Some of the methods involve taking the ligament material from yourself (patellar tendon or hamstring tendon) and another involves using a ligament taken from a deceased donor. I've opted for the 'Frankenstein' donor method. Miraculously after the foriegn donor graft is 'accepted' by the body (there is only a slight chance of rejection), the body begins to grow blood vessels into the graft and accepts it as it's own !
The long post-surgery recovery time (6-9 months) is required to regrow the drilled out bone material (holes required to able to thread and secure the new graft into the bones) and for assimilation of the donor graft..

It will be nice to able to hop about on an uncompromised (well, less compromised) knee after the recovery is complete !

Update: 16:20 I just got off the phone with the surgeon. Looks like I've gotten a bonus Meniscus repair in the back of the knee.. 6 weeks on crutches while it heals ! I need to see about getting a handicap permit !


Claire said...

Good luck with the recovery!

thorick said...

Thanks Claire !
And it's great seeing you dance with Kathy Mata Ballet :-)