HealthTraining4 summers…..3 surgeries

FasterSkierJune 30, 2004

Some people may refer to me as “Megan the Klutz” (I had a book with that title when I was a kid) and sometimes it couldn’t be more true! How many other cross country skiers (a non-contact sport I might add) have undergone 3 orthopedic surgeries in 4 summers (two ankles and now a knee)?? Well, I am the lucky one! My dad says I’m no longer allowed to do the following things:
Football, soccer, basketball, rugby, sahlu (Finnish road hockey), wrestling, orienteering, hiking without really good boots, running down stairs, walking on uneven ground barefoot, and cliff jumping………

My mom, however, just said I should stop acting like a boy! But really, if I wasn’t aggressive and didn’t enjoy running around playing stupid games, I may never have come as far as I have in sport (or I may have been further ahead since I wouldn’t be recovering from my 3rd surgery right now). I guess I’ll never know.

One week ago today I was up at 5am ready to go to the hospital for my 8am surgery. My mom came along as my moral support and once checking in the mandatory 2 hours ahead of time, we sat and waited. I knew what to expect since I had both my ankles fixed before, but this was a bit new, and as the surgeon said when he came to sign the correct knee (a precaution so that they do the right one!) I looked terrified! The surgery I was having was “patellar autograft anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction” ( this website tells a bit about it… ). So, I tried to relax a bit, met with the anesthesiologist and a nurse who led me into the OR. Being in an operating room is quite an experience. You go in, lie on a small table in the middle of a bright room with at least 6 doctors and nurses preparing to cut you open. Then you get a needle and the next thing you know its 3 hours later and in my case….you’re freezing! (some people are mad, others upset…it just depends).

While most of you have been out training this week, my biggest challenge has been to see how far I can bend my knee, the goal is 100 degrees by next week this time. I am approaching 90 right now! Other than that I’ve been reading (I’m on book number 5), watching movies and sleeping. Hopefully I’ll get off the crutches soon and I can get back into the upper body training.

The rest of the summer will be a combination of intense physio and imaginative training. It’ll start out with kayaking, canoeing, swimming (no legs) and upper body strength, move on to road bike riding and double poling, and by the fall I should be able to walk with poles and classic rollerski. Right now, I have to look beyond the stupidity of hurting myself yet again and focus on recovering fully and racing as well as I can despite this slight detour in the road. Unfortunately I do have a lot of experience with this type of problem but I’m hoping this is the last one for a while!

So, the moral of the story,….be careful when you’re fooling around….you never know what could happen, but even if you do get injured, it’s not the end of the world. If you like skiing and racing enough, you’ll find a way to make it work. Maybe your focus will have to change to a later part of the season, or a technique you don’t normally favor, but in the end…you could end up improving some weakness that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Until next time, good luck, have fun and be careful!

Megan McTavish races for the racing team.

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