I recently had a knee surgery to remove torn meniscus. About four months ago I snapped it and had a 3rd degree tear, it was painful every day for all of the four months. I kept delaying seeing a doctor hoping it would get better by itself.
So much so that I even got used to the pain, it was uncomfortable, but familiar condition I noticed every single morning when I woke up. I slowly started reducing the things i love to do, like dancing, walking in the nature, going to gym, running by the sea…
My new reality started becoming dull, boring and colourless. But we all can get used to things no matter how good or bad they are. We can live with the pain whether it is physical or emotional, we learn how to live around it, to think around it, and we start blocking how much this pain actually influences our every single move, and thoughts. Slowly it takes the joy out of life, we get used to it. It limits our possibilities, we think it is only normal, we get used to it. It stops us from embracing our full potential and explore new opportunities, we say this is just life, we can’t do everything, we get used to it.
Months after months, we get used to it and one day we wake up and we are not the same person we used to be. Our unresolved pain dominates all aspects of our lives by then. Through this knee pain I realised how much unresolved emotional pain I have been storing for years, getting cosy with it, saying that’s just who I am, my experiences shaped me as a person I am today, etc. It is all true, of course my experiences and painful things shaped me as a person, I tried harder to get ahead in life, but true me is still there somewhere inside me, every time she shows up, something amazing happens, something exiting and exhilarating. I get to heal some of the pains, I forget my self- limitations and move forward just a little bit at a time.
This true self reminds me that I can change things, I can choose to either continue living in a discomfort of the never forgotten pain, or choose to say no, I still have a bit more to go. It took me four months to say no to my knee pain. I could not get over the fact that I was no longer running ad feeling the breeze on my face. I was not ready to settle for reduced lifestyle. My facts were very obvious in front of me, I could continue getting used to a changing life filled with uncomfortable pain, limited activities, or I could start doing something about it, research and explore what could be done to remedy it or whether it was possible at all.
I’m a person who does not like to be ill, not because I’m a screaming face of a healthy lifestyle, (haha) but because I’m a terribly mopey, whiney and miserable ill person. Although I’m very much realist about the facts of my health condition, I do not beam with positive ‘oh it’s all fine, I’m going to get better in a heartbeat’ attitude. Going to see doctors and going through scary procedures creep the shayt out of me and triggers my anxiety. But it is what it is, if I want to get better, I have to go through all that, there is no way around it.
What helps me immensely though is to research it, to get all my facts right, every word a doctor says is checked against available data, I research survival rates, side effects, recovery time, etc. I need to know what exactly I am choosing. This is my process, it helps me to tame my anxiety, and eliminate all the possible excuses I can throw at myself in my moments of indecisiveness. Plan the course of action, even financially, administratively and emotionally. Whatever helps to make the decision to change the situation I’m not happy with.
So, I did all that, I read endless numbers of medical articles about meniscus tear, what to expect from surgery, how long it takes to recover, whether I would be able to function normally again, ie run, dance, hike. Where to do my operation, go back to UK or do it here in Azerbaijan where I am currently residing. I watched numerous youtube videos on surgery, recovery, post op exercises. I did it all, then I realised I had no excuse left, I had all the information I needed, all the support I needed. All I had to do was to make the decision to get the surgery done and choose a pain free life.
Five days post op later, I am very happy to report that the dull and persistent pain was gone immediately, my knee is recovering beautifully, and I am already walking. It turned out that the hardest part of the surgery was the procrastination, unreal imagination and preparation, the procedure itself was completely pain free, I was awake with local anaesthesia babbling the whole time during the arthroscopy and even watching it on the screen as it’s been done. And now my anxiety is gone, and the prospect of running again with the breeze on my face carefree is looking pretty great…!