It’s been 2 years but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the sound of the pop and the scream I let out after the second pop. I remember my coaches telling me I could have strained it, even though I am sure they knew what really happened. I remember the ER visit and the doctor saying he thinks its most likely my ACL and maybe my meniscus but we wouldn’t know for sure until I got an MRI. I remember the feeling of my heart breaking on my 17th birthday when I received my results and the phone call I made to my coach telling her I was done. It’s all so vivid.
On November 12th, 2014 I had surgery on my knee to repair my ACL, MCL, and Meniscus. After waking up from surgery I don’t remember a whole lot because I was heavily medicated but what I do remember is this. I remember the multiple times I had to get out of bed to either pee, walk, or shower and the amount of indescribable pain I felt rush through my leg. I remember going in and out of sleep, barely able to finish a conversation let alone a text message. I remember taking a shower and crying the whole time while the nurse washed my hair. Then finally, I went home.
I ended up staying in the hospital for 2-3 days longer than I should have. Finally being home in my own bed was nice. We had to set up the machine that kept my knee moving and the ice bucket machine and I had to sleep in both of those. For someone who does not sleep on their back this was a huge struggle. I would wake up multiple times to either take more medicine or needing more ice in my bucket. When I finally went back to school things weren’t too bad. I had to be in a wheelchair because the doctor wanted me to keep my leg elevated. This is where things get hard.
I just had the one thing that meant the world to me taken away in an instant. The one thing that made me who I am, what I am all about. So needless to say it was hard to adjust. My daily routine consisted of waking up, going to school in the wheelchair, and then going home. I did nothing else. I was lucky enough to be able to attend my, at the time, boyfriends play-off game but other than that, that was it. About 2 weeks after my surgery I lost my beloved dog. Now if the injury and surgery weren’t enough, losing my best friend made things so so much worse. I then started physical therapy which was utterly pointless because it was so soon after surgery that there really wasn’t much to do. At this point I lost a lot of hope and I was so down and in such a depression.
My first post-op doctors visit she told me I wasn’t improving. This was partly due to my physical therapist who sucked at her job and so she sent me to a new one. My new PT knew how bad I wanted to walk again and cheer. Ah walking, that was a new one. This injury/surgery takes a lot from you. I literally had to re-teach the muscles in my leg how to walk and lift my leg again. It was probably the hardest thing I had to do. 6 months go by after a lot of PT and my doctor still told me I wasn’t ready. She told me my ACL was still loose and that I needed more PT but… I didn’t go back. By this time I had accepted the fact that I was never going to cheer again so what was the point of going back to PT if I wasn’t going to cheer?
It’s been 2 years since my injury and I still remember every detail. Days go by and some things are still harder than others but I do go to a college that has stairs and hills that keep my knee in some shape. All that matters is that I made it through. I made it through one of the toughest surgeries/events in my life and because of this injury I am now going to school to study Physical Therapy.