Just four weeks after having surgery on my left knee, I was sitting on a spin cycle with no resistance set spinning in slow motion. It has to be the best feeling in the world for a injured cyclist to regain that motion - for me without a doubt. But it did not come easy. The surgery which involved cutting tissue away to release my knee cap has resulted in a lot of swelling and lost of mobility. It has taken great patience and work just to get to this point where I can now sit on a bike again. Any athlete faced with an injury involving some amount of time off to recover will face frustration - it is a given - recovery is the most difficult endurance sport on the planet!
My recovery began immediately with my leg in a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine the day after surgery. Per doctor orders, I used the CPM for 8 hours a day to reduce the formation of scar tissue in the area. Yes, that is right - 8 hours a day for 2 weeks!! This machine became a mental torture devise as I had to sit around and watch my knee go up and down with no effort on my part but the benefits became apparent. Mobility came back rather quickly and has been consistently increasing as time passes. Along with the CPM, I started Physical Therapy (PT) 3 times a week with Mark Kane (www.kanetraining.com) just 2 days after surgery. The use of manual therapy of the soft tissues supporting the knee and active movement exercises in combination with my time on the CPM is working. The CPM is gone now - YEAH - and I am continuing to work with Mark Kane 3 times a week on improving mobility and strength with simple exercises to engage the quad, calf, and glut muscles. The battle with wanting to start where you left off is hard to fight but you have to think baby steps to get back to that point. Reality of this hit when Mark asked to see if I could do a bridge exercise with the band - normally a really simple exercise almost requiring no real effort but I could not do it - not even close. The muscles used to perform this simple
exercise are not working right now. I had to accept and believe if I continue with these baby steps, I will recover better and stronger than before.
One thing I find helpful with this whole recovery process is to find peace with it and not fight it. It is a mental game for sure and I have some exciting things happening in 2012 but I have to be healthy first! Anyone who knows me knows there is always a plan :)) Stay tuned to follow the progression of recovery - it will be a long road as I will have to have surgery on the right knee as soon as the left knee heals enough. Is this really happening ???
To read more about the surgery - visit www.teamup4type1.org.