Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recovered

Of all the things I’ve discovered I love to do since losing weight, hiking is probably my favorite. It’s certainly the most spiritual.

I’ve done on a lot of hiking in the last few years, but yesterday’s hike – while not the most challenging – was the most momentous, especially since it marked the 4-month anniversary of my knee surgery.

Yesterday, October 23, was not only the first day I’d hiked in four months, it was the first day I felt I’d made the right decision to have my knee repaired and not replaced. The pain has been significant and the rehabilitation slow and many times I doubted if keeping my own equipment was worth it. But yesterday, feeling my knee working the way it did years ago, feeling like myself again and doing something I truly loved, I knew I’d done the right thing.

My doctor told me I’d recover in 6-12 weeks. My physical therapist said 6-12 months. Both were right because if I’ve learned nothing else this summer and fall, it’s that “recovered” is a slippery slope of a word that runs the gamut of meaning. For some, recovered means, “Hey, I’m recovered enough to go to the bathroom alone!” (which I did less than a week after surgery). Others aren’t recovered until they can climb Mt. Everest (which I will never do). I’m somewhere in between. Recovered to me means I can hike for 40 minutes through a gorgeous section of Cook Forest that has been my place of solace for almost 20 years.

I had no idea how long I’d last, but I needed to test the waters and to measure just how strong my knee was. I used my Leki poles and worked up to almost a normal brisk pace, enough to get a little sweat on. Twenty minutes in, I felt great. Surprisingly great. But I knew to turn around if I was going to keep feeling great. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment when we got back to our starting point was second only to the feeling I had the day I made goal nearly four years ago. It was a freaking rush.

We found a log and I took off my backpack.
And ate lunch.
Then I laid down in the leaves and looked at the sky.
And I was very, very happy, despite the burrs.
I was happy because of my fabulously awesome knee.
Is there something you do that makes you this kind of happy? I hope so. I really, truly hope so.

11 comments:

  1. I really think you did the right thing keeping as much of your knee as possible. You are so young that you don't want a complete replacement until you absolutely have to have it.

    Congrats on the hike!

    I was just commenting to John that this weekend I was at an amusement park and reveling in fitting into the seats and not worrying about whether or not I would fit. That will never get old.

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  2. You look so happy, standing there with your awesome self! I'm so glad you were able to get back to hiking this season - it really does seem to center you.

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  3. I love this post! Good for you, I'm happy you had a great hike and that you're pleased with your choice and progress on your knee.

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  4. Love your post, and taking a hike is what I love to do the most too! I can never get enough of it. However, I am a fair weather hiker, so until I head back to the states the rain and cold keeps me in to much here in England, but I stay plenty active until I am back in the good ole USA! I love that you laid down to look at the sky. That is what life is all about!

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  5. How great to see you out and about again, Lynn!

    I think playing with fabrics and colors (the planning stages of a quilt) has a similar affect on me.

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  6. So terrific to hear how grateful you are feeling. And how much you love to hike.
    I have certainly experienced that there is a huge difference between recovered and healed.

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  7. I admire your positive attitude through your tough surgery. My friend had knee repair surgery and I know how hard it can be! Good for you for getting through it- I love your pictures you look great :)

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  8. I just saw a t-shirt today that said, "Running is my happy hour." I am so going to find that shirt. Because it's true. My early morning runs make everything about my day better and brighter! Glad your bionic knee cooperatee and you got to revisit your happy place.

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  9. So glad to see you are out enjoying the fun things in life. It reminds me of the quote I read in "Who Moved My Cheese" ,
    What would you do if you weren't afraid?

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  10. glad to hear the knee has recovered and that you are hiking again. Hiking makes me really happy too, kayaking on the water too. Really anything in nature.

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  11. Hi Lynn,

    Love this post. I commented a couple of months ago when I was recovering from a triple-fractured ankle + surgery. I'm now 4.5 months post surgery, spent 7 weeks in a PT clinic doing 5 hours of PT each weekday, and now I am able to live back home. I still use one crutch when I am walking outside (for balance, since my proprioception got completely whacked out) but I'm WALKING. I understand your joy in this hike completely. The day I moved back home, took a walk around my neighborhood, went to a cafe and had a bite...it was all so wondeful. Such freedom and such independence. I hope I never forget the feeling that this mobility gives me.

    I'm just catching up on your blog and am saddened by your news of separation. I hope long hikes in lush surroundings will help you through this transition. If you ever find yourself in Paris, I will walk with you here!

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