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Sunday, August 23, 2015

It was the Summer of Lowered Expectations.....

I so wish I could say I came up with that Title, but I have to give credit for it to one of the sharpest, fastest thinking guys I know.... my son Aaron.

I told him it reminded me of a book I had heard of but not read..... "The Summer of Living Dangerously".

This blog has chronicled much of my Life for the last 5-1/2 years... pretty incredible and dangerous concept.

And for the last year and a half it's been kind of a blow by blow of my journey through a lifestyle change based on intense exercise and strict diet with an emphasis on stress management and prioritization of daily activities.

But starting last August, injuries and frankly, the culmination of 30 years of arthritic degeneration in my left knee, started reducing and / or diminishing my capacity for athletic output.

A torn left Achilles Tendon in February and intense left knee pain beginning in May led me to return from Santa Fe in April and again in July - August to define the nature / extent / treatment of the injuries.

So far, the Achilles Tendon, seems to be slowly healing on its own.... if you call a grossly bulging mass above my heel a "healing" Achilles Tendon.  I keep waiting for a little fucking Alien to burst out of the thing and go skittering across the floor.  When I asked the good  Dr. Hudson, my Lake Jackson Tx Orthopedic Doctor about it, he paused and slowly drawled....

"It's reconstituting."

Holy Mother of Mercy Batman.... WTF does that mean anyway?

So.... the Achilles Tendon is getting better.... I guess.

Which leaves the left knee....

The problem is the knee is arthritically compromised.... I made that phrase up.

The medical term my orthopedic surgeon at the Fondren Orthopedic Group used was.....

"That's the Worst Knee I've ever seen".

And for a guy that's probably seen a quarter of a million knees... that's saying something.... and it ain't good.

It is visually represented by a grossly misshaped knee looking more like a grapefruit than a knee with a huge bone bulge on the inside.

Which, with the bulging left Achilles Tendon, makes my left leg the site of the Second Battle of the Bulge(s).

But beyond that, what happened to my left knee starting in May went above and beyond the usual debilitating pain and discomfort of arthritis.

After a vigorous hike up and down a mountain north of Santa Fe, I got up the next morning and started down the stairs to get coffee and just about took a header down the stairs when my left knee locked up with such pain and intensity that it felt like somebody had stuck a knife in the inside of it and twisted.

It was like the muscles and tendons running along the inside of my left knee got "caught" on some internal "hook" on the inside of my knee.  For the next 2 months, the knee would lock up countless times while going up and down stairs and with certain leg movements and I found that I could "push" the muscles and ligaments off the internal hook and relieve the pain and return the knee to somewhat normal function.  Helluva way to go through life. I was basically an Intermittent Cripple.... I just made that phrase up too cause it described my condition perfectly.

So I went to a Santa Fe orthopedic surgeon, which proved again a concept I have always held to, that being that all doctors (or practitioners of any profession for that matter), are not created equal.

So I scheduled an appointment in early July with my Lake Jackson Ortho doc, Dr. Samuel Hudson and my go-to Knee Surgeon at the Fondren Orthopedic Group, the good Dr. G. William Woods, who did my left knee ACL Reconstruction back in 1993.  In between doctor appointments, I had a left knee MRI that revealed a sizeable bone spur in the area of the "knee events" and countless other osteophytes aka bone spurs and complete destruction of the prior ACL Reconstruction by the arthritic development inside the knee joint.  Talking about an F'd up knee.

So long story longer, on July 14th, Dr. Woods made a long cut on the inside of my left knee and separated the sartorious muscle and gracilis tendon and slipped a chisel in between them and knocked a 1-3/4" bone spur off the inside of my left knee with a sharp rap from a  hammer.

Since then I've been recovering from the surgery and trying to figure out what this "new knee" (which every knee seems to be after surgery - and "new" doesn't mean new but different) would be like and what it is capable of.

Kind of ironic....

Last Summer I was sprinting wide open outrunning guys half my age in Family Fitness Boot Camp classes.

This summer, I'm just happy to be walking.

Sometimes you have to step back to step forward.

Sometimes just stepping....

Is a step forward.

This has indeed been....

A Summer of stepping back to move forward...

For me, it has been....

The Summer of Lowered Expectations.

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