Today's the day (December 10, 2008)

by Evonne
(Oahu, Hawaii)

While most of the people that I've read about had their ACL repair right after their injury, I pulled the Superwoman act and waited, thinking things will be fine. Here I am today understanding that maybe I wouldn't be in this painful predicament if I hadn't waited (about) 2 years later to get something done. The doctor convinced me (through the worry of having osteoarthritis and other such ailments related to the injury) back in August of 08.

I'm not going to lie, I am scared. But not of the whole being put under general anesthetic ordeal, but just of the pain. I am a wuss (is that what you would say for a girl?) for pain. I've been dreading this day.

I was originally scheduled to go in for my pre-op at Kaiser Moanalua on Dec. 3, but it was pushed to Dec. 8th. I'm not to enthralled with the idea of finding out the expense of the surgery even though I am covered by my parents medical insurance (I'm 20 and just graduated in Oct. with my Associates). I started working after high school and "attempted" to save money... of course, I also had to help my parents... today I find myself with less than $500 to live on and I'm hoping the doctor will not have to do too much. Who would've known that surgical screws would be $71/screw!? (this is after my insurance covers 80% of the cost). I think the money and pain issues are what worry me the most.

I know that I should let things go and just work with it as I go along (I keep singing Bob Marley's "Every little thing, is gonna be alright") but I like to pre-plan just to have the feeling of being in control of my life.

If anyone is wondering how I experienced that "POP," here it is:

I joined judo as a high school sport because I wanted to be "involved." I started as a sophomore and made 4th place in the OIAs. I continued to play hoping to do even better by my senior year. I was not the best player, but I loved doing mat work the most. My junior year rolled around and I was still playing judo and sucking up the pain (we were constantly told to "suck it up!"). I did. I think I even twisted my pinky toe after getting it stuck on the mat - but I didn't even realize it... now that toe is just kind of deformed.

There were always new people coming in and dropping out of judo. Well, one day I was given the usual task of teaching a new comer a move that involves sweeping their leg behind the opponents knee (props if you know what it is). The guy I was "teaching" stood at least 2 feet taller than me and judo is about the height advantage - at least the smaller person is supposed to win.

That day, it didn't happen; as he continued to tap the
back of my leg, our sensei told him to throw me. He tried, but didn't exactly throw me. I stood there and once his leg hit mine, my knee buckled forward and I heard a loud POP that I thought everyone heard. I fell to the ground after what felt like a few minutes and just rolled on the mat holding my knee and sobbing. People crying in judo was a normal thing (even if the person wasn't hurt), I was sent to the trainer.

Fast forward to the doctor's visit due to my swollen knee and the advice of the athletic trainer. My knee was fat and all I remember that night was: "torn ACL," "Can't play sports," "knee surgery is an option." I freaked out and said no and that I would refrain from playing sports and all that, just give me the PT.

I lied about not doing extraneous activities and constantly found myself gasping as my knee gave way. I can't even jump to catch a tennis ball without my knee locking and swelling for a few days. Life has been lame not being able to do things people my age do for fun! Now, if I had gotten this done while I was still in high school, that would have been the smarter thing to do (so much for graduating with a 3.9 GPA).

Now I get to worry because in two hours from now (it is 10:05am Hawaii time) I'll be getting prepped for the surgery. It doesn't seem to matter what anyone says, I'm still worried, scared, etc. I hate pain and I've had enough IV for a year after having an asthma attack and ending up in the hospital in October. As a girl, it has been quite an emotional roller coaster and I am hoping that my boyfriends nagging comment -"things will get better"- comes true.

I don't know if it is me being a pessimistic person about life, but everything is just wrong. I graduate (yey!) and have a fun dinner after the ceremony -> I end up in the ER/hospital for two days because of an asthma attack -> I go to the Cirque du Solei show at the Blaisedell (awesome) -> I am given the opportunity to see my grandma in the hospital because she might not make it through the week (I thought I had more time) -> My grandma passes on November 26 -> I have my surgery and I am freaking out (I have no medical insurance/paid leave because I haven't been working at my current job for long enough) -> I also have my grandma's funeral to attend two days later.

I just want to skip the rest of next year and get back to "normal." I'm glad that I found this site and I feel some what better about my pre-op jitters. If I can, I'll post a picture later. For now I'm bidding my full ROM, my shiny smooth scar free knee farewell. Deep cleansing breaths.

It will be OK.

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