Some people Blame it on Rio. Not me. For me, Rome is the culprit. In fact, all of Italy is to blame.
I'd never been to Italy. Heck, I'd never been to Europe or in fact across either of the Oceans. My life, although much traveled, is domestic in nature. But the trip I took this summer with my wife Linda, and her family, sort of woke me up. And now it's time for decisions.
I'm not big on decisions. In fact, here's how bad it is. The four major life decisions I have made went like this:
1. Began dating my ex-wife because as I was getting ready to leave a party, she said, "How come you're not dancing?"
2. Went on my first date with Linda because she asked me to a wedding.
3. Became a teacher because Dr Beer said I would be a good teacher after I delivered an A+ informational speech in college.
4. Became a real estate agent because someone said, "You should go into real estate," and I said OKAY.
Traveling to Italy, however, stirred up a bunch of stuff. Italy, obviously, made me want to travel more (I gave up acceptance in the Mount Blanc Marathon for this trip AND of course my crappy knee), the in flight movie Free Solo and Alex Honnold made me want to climb and be all over the outdoors, my son made me want to hike, camp, and kayak, Linda is also tired of me walking like I'm 98 years old, and I just, simply, want to run..... Another decision has/had to be made. What do I do about my knee?
Tuesday, I took step one on the road to answering that question by going to see my trusted Physical Therapist, Pete Emerson. Pete is awesome. Pete is honest. Pete doesn't like medication, doctors, surgery. Pete also cured my piriformis syndrome when NObody else could. So, I went to see Pete. Here is what he said:
The ligaments in my knee are strong. The tendons around my knee are strong. My quadriceps are strong. My issue is simple: after nearly 114,000 miles, my left knee is suffering from severe degeneration. No stretch will cure that, no strength exercise will cure that, doing nothing won't cure that. "I hate to say it," said Pete, "you may be looking at a knee replacement."
Not the news I want to hear, but exactly the news I expected. After my knee surgery in December 2016, yeah the one that didn't work, it has been a steady trail of pain, discomfort, non-support, bone on bone hyperextension, and flat out knee buckling. On the upside, however, Pete said he sees three athletes in his PT business who are presently running pretty well with replaced knees. In a world where surgeons are afraid to suggest that is possible it's good to know it is.
SO, what is the plan? Pete suggests I get my own x-ray and MRI, take it to several orthopedic surgeons and say, "Here is my MRI, here are my x-rays, here is what I want to be able to do in my life. What do you think?" I like that.
So, what DO I want to do in the rest of my life? Well, I want to run without constant angst over whether my knee will give out. I'd like to race again. Maybe not a marathon (but why not?) but for sure 5Ks, 10Ks, Halfs, Trail races. I want to jump, climb, hike, and, oh yeah, be able to go up and down the stairs or get up from the couch without it being such a big deal. I want to lead a fabulous active life. Not too much, right?
Pete suggested losing 25 pounds prior to a surgery. Twenty Five is nice, why not Fifty? Either way less pressure on the knee (real one or fake) can't help but help. So, OUT is soda, meat, bad stuff, and most every sugar known to man. In is pool running, cycling, 3-5 mile easy runs, beginner rock climbing lessons, and vegetables - oh so many vegetables. I'm shooting for early December. That gives me six/seven weeks of recovery time before I hit the teaching road again.
No doctors with a million years of experience, says Pete. We want a youngish (40s maybe), tech inspired, computer knee mapper surgeon who's done a lot of knees in the last decade. He says the technology of the knee stuff has grown by leaps and bounds. Awesome, that's what I'm talking about!
Now taking applications......