Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 week anniversary

So, last time I posted, it was a few days post op, I thought things were better and I was feeling good about the start to recovery... unfortunately, I ended up with an infection which caused immense pain in my shin (on the leg that I had the surgery) every time I stood up... and I mean pretty excruciating. While that didn't stop me from going to PT and continuing to do the exercises at home, it definitely hindered the amount that I can do. Nonetheless, I got my antibiotics, it kicked in and by day 8 post surgery, I felt much better. Keep in mind that if it weren't for this infection, I think by day 4 post op, I would be doing pretty well.

Now, I am regaining mobility and strength (albeit, little by little) and actually the funny thing is each night, I look forward to the next day because every day is a little bit better... a little, but noticeably so.

So, I went ahead and registered for the Vegas half in December. Last year, my time was 1:43:00... so, on the race form, when they asked me where I expect to finish, I put down 1:40. That is gonna be my goal. I did run it by my physical therapist to make sure I wasn't too crazy and while he said it's a pretty rare goal considering the timing, he also felt that it wasn't unreal either. He did make sure that I've ran half marathons before and reminded me that it would still require a lot of work. But after spending 2 weeks (7 sessions) with me, I think he now knows that I'm extremely deetermined and motivated. I mean even at PT, while half the people moan when they are told to use the tougher band or heavier weight/resistance, I'm like craving it and always quick with my smart ass remarks.

I also finally hit the weight room today with my knee brace and crutches and while some undoubtedly thought I was crazy, there were several people that said that I motivated them... their point was that if a guy on crutches who can only limp around can hit the weight room and be smiling about the recovery, there's no reason for anyone else to not hit the gym. Fact of the matter is, I refuse to let this injury slow me down. I'm in as good a spirit as I've ever been and I don't want any pity and I refuse to let this get in the way. In 9-12 months, I'm gonna be faster and stronger than I was before this injury. That's a promise I am making to myself and now that I've set a tangible goal (half in Dec), I now have something to work towards. And when I have a goal, I'm relentless.

I love it. Now I just need my knee to cooperate by reducing the swelling and getting some mobility back... speaking of which, I guess I should do some exercises before I go to bed. I'm out!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

And so it begins

The surgery went well. My hired help (for here on out referred to as the nanny) arrived around 8:30am to pick me up and take me to St Joseph's hospital here in Tampa. FWIW, St Joseph's is great. First off, it was really relieving that every time I told someone where I was getting surgery, they all said "oh, that's good, that's a great hospital." And sure enough, the people there were great. I don't know how many of you have had the experience of surgery (I've had 3... man, I'm injury prone or something lol) but it's the same every time... at least at the good doctors. You get your anesthesia, you pass out, and everything is a blur but it's all done. The nanny took me home, I don't really remember but I passed out on my bed and few hours later, I felt good enough to Skype my parents. I knew that my parents would be worried so I figured the least I can do is call them and let them know I'm ok.

That was Wednesday. Thursday morning, I still felt fine. The nanny came back to check on me, get me some food, etc etc and I dismissed her thinking I'll be fine. Well, it was probably around noon on Thursday that I started feeling really uncomfortable. The pain in my knee, coupled with the soreness of my body for just laying in one position just made me feel miserable, even with my pain medication. And even though I tend to "tough it out" I did take the pain meds as prescribed but Thursday night, I could barely sleep... I kept waking up every couple of hours and not being able to fall asleep. By Friday mid day though, the pain started subsiding at which point fatigue really overcame me. I dosed off a few times until it was time for my post op rehab. After two days of having my knee wrapped up, it was obviously swollen.

The first exercises I had to do are simple things that you would never think twice to do. One is flexing your ankle towards you. It stretches the calf and the muscles behind your knee which at this point is like stretched super tight (and painful). The next few exercises are like flexing your quads (which are completely dormant at this point). Basically, the first step is to regain your range of motion as well as waking up your muscles which at this point is completely shut down. Mike, the rehab guy, gave me the exercises to do over the weekend.

Friday night, I probably had the first good night of my sleep. Today was the first day that the nanny did not come over and I was able to manage... even though, simple tasks like going from my bed to the kitchen for a glass of water takes 10 minutes (no joke) and it feels like hell of a work out, even with the crutches. Even then, it feels good to know that I am taking my first step towards recovery.

Even though I think this might be a fairly tight time frame, it always helps to have goals so I decided that this year's Vegas half (December something) will be my goal. Well, obviously, to run it faster than last year. I don't know how realistic that is. It's probably pretty close - like it's not totally unreasonable but it's not easy to achieve... ie perfect for a goal to recovery.

But man, to think that I was gonna work from home on Friday... ha ha ha ha, I was in so much pain and then completely drowsy, I would not have been in any shape to think straight.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yeah so I'm selfish

I think I'm mentally, pretty tough. I'm competitive, determined, ambitious, and generally speaking, very resilient. However, there are times I wonder how much of it is natural and how much of it is forced.

For example, when it comes to things I'm pretty good at, I talk a lot of shit. But I usually back it up. You see, me talking shit is like my way of applying pressure on myself. Now it doesn't work all the time (remember I was trying to bench 250lbs? I still can't... I can't go higher than 225lbs but in my defense, I only weight 170lbs). The most recent shit talk that I had was that me and my buddy (both of us played in the county basketball league together) would beat 4 of my friends playing 4 on 2 half court. The rules were fairly standard. 2's and 1's (the 3 pters were 2pts), game to 15, take back everything except for steals, and loser's ball (as opposed to make it take it for those of you familiar with the bball lingo). If these were the conditions, it's pretty much a guarantee that the two of us would win. The four of them are not bad in terms of athletic prowess (whether it's running or lifting or whatever, one guy was high school football defensive player of the year... in his division or region or whatever)... anyways, but not bad does not equal great. And they have close to zero basketball skills (yep, I just outed you guys to all my blog readers... which is probably about 10 others). So, to make this fair, I also went as far as to say that the spread is 9pts... against us.

So the deal is, it will be 2 on 4, and they start 9-0 with the game being up to 15. This might sound ridiculous to those that don't play ball but I'm fairly certain we'd win. I mean I was ready to take bets... now of course, this is gonna be delayed for another 9 months since no, I'm not pregnant, but I am going in for my surgery tomorrow for my ACL reconstruction. But what was the point of all this? The point was that by making bets like these, it would drive me to work harder, train more, practice more, etc in order to make it a reality. It's self applied pressure that makes me good at the things I care about.

But tonight, as I sit here, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't nervous. I usually cherish my alone time. But it's times like these that I feel a lot more alone than normal. In Tampa, I don't really know anyone. I mean I know coworkers and I have some friends to go out with but no one that I can ask to take time off to take me to the hospital or stay with me post op... no family member, no nothing... now don't get me wrong. I have family that would fly on a moment's notice but I really can't do that to them. Of course, they'll read this blog and feel immense guilt and helplessness but that's not the intent. The fact of the matter is, I want to get this surgery done as soon as possible so that I can start the rehab as soon as possible. It's just that as I went through the trouble of hiring a nanny (yes, I really did hire a nanny who would take me to the hospital, pick me up, grab my prescription, and take care of chores around the house for the next few days), I felt a bit vulnerable.

I mean here's a stranger that will be taking care of me (it is from a reliable place so no worries there) and seeing a very vulnerable side of me (cranky, in pain, miserable, etc) and I'm just not used to that. Now I did warn her that I could be extremely cranky but she's an older nurse so she knows and whatever...

So yeah, I guess that is my way of saying wish me luck, and if you think a hot nurse strip o gram would cheer me up, you are absolutely correct... now as Bayne pointed out, I just don't know how I will get to the door...

I know, this is extremely selfish as I know some others who are going through much harder times. You know who you are and to those, my thoughts and wishes truly do go out to you and your family. But I'm not gonna lie... some of that prayer is gonna be set aside for my operation tomorrow... so here's to wishing that my left ACL will be reconstructed just as awesome as my right one. GL me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No more ACL to tear

13 years ago (damn I sound old), I blew out my knee, completely shredding my ACL, MCL and the meniscus into pieces. What ensued was a surgery which was a complete ACL reconstructive surgery (which essentially means they take your patellar tendon and put it where your ACL used to be) and a long, long period of recovery/rehab. With multiple ligaments torn, my recovery took almost a year before I was running like I used to. However, from that point on, I always said that that was an experience that I would never wish on anyone else but it's also an experience that I would never take back. The reason for that is that it's moment like those (or times, I guess a year is longer than a moment) that make you appreciate the things you take for granted. I had to work hard just to go up and down the steps. I mean like months to be able to go down the steps (going down is harder than going up - the steps, you pervs). And I remember, the first time I could actually run outside and not on the treadmill, I actually enjoyed running. Now you might think, but dude, you run all the time now. Well, that doesn't mean I love it. I do it because I'm competitive. Not for health, not out of love, just pure competitive nature drives me to train.

Well, I have claimed that for the past 13 years since my knee injury and now, I get another chance to put my money where my mouth is.

I got the results of the MRI and this is the official diagnosis:
- complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- partial tear of the medial collateral ligament (MCL)
- tiny tear in the medial meniscus (a cartilage between the bones)
- bone contusion and a small fracture

Here are the MRI pics (cuz I think they are pretty cool):

The white area on the bone in the middle is the knee contusion - white is where the liquid is seeping through

Is it just me or is there something dirty about this pic? Yeah, I'm a perv I guess... but the dark part in the middle is the ACL and apparently, that should extend all the way through... so white on the left side and the right side is where it should all be dark... hence, the torn ACL

This is a pic of bone on bone with meniscus in between... again, you see the damage from the contusion:

All the white area is where the liquid is that shouldn't be there... that's my swollen knee, hence somewhat limiting my mobility now:0

This might sound unbelievable but I'm actually not that bummed right now. Actually, to be honest, and you might not believe me unless you really know me but I'm actually looking forward to this. I thrive under challenges and set backs. I mean would I rather not have this? Of course. But am I bummed about it? Not really. I'm not trying to be tough or be dishonest or anything. I really do thrive under these conditions. There's nothing more satisfying to me than to overcome something and achieve something greater and this injury gives me a chance to do just that. I've been working out pretty hard up until now but I was starting to fall into somewhat of a cocky stage where I felt that I can challenge most things and succeed. This is like a little reminder that not everything will fall my way... or will it? This sounds sick but I'm already looking forward to the physical therapy. Because I know I'm gonna reinvent myself through this process.

I know I know, total cheese ball speech... the whole overcoming adversity, blah blah blah.... I mean what's next? I'm gonna be like let's do this for all the small schools (oops, wrong movie, still in the Butler/Hoosiers craze) yadda yadda.

Thanks for the well wishes everyone. I really do appreciate it but all things considered, I got it good so definitely don't feel sorry for me. I'm looking forward to this recovery and for most of you, by the time you see me next time, you won't even know that I had my knee operated on. I'll be faster and stronger than I ever was... ok, that's a lie... I was a student athlete in college so maybe not quite that kinda shape but you get my drift.

To get this process started, I scheduled my surgery for next Wed. I guess I'm not wasting any time. ACL recovery part 2, here I come!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

uh oh

So about a month ago, I had an incident on the basketball court where I injured my knee. After going to the urgent care, it was diagnosed as a bruised knee and based on the tests that the doctor ran, he felt that there were no tears in my ligaments. If you have ever gone through a ligament tear in your knee, the fact that this time it wasn't a tear is like a joyful moment. I blew out my ACL, MCL and my meniscus when I was a junior in college and it was not a pleasant experience... the surgery and the 9 months of rehab that followed was just brutal.

Well, the doctor did say that I should see an orthopedist just to get an expert opinion so this past Tuesday, I went to see one near my apartment. He came recommended by one of the guys I play ball with... and he did do a much more extensive tug test (you check for ligaments by tugging on your leg in various directions and apparently, you will feel a pull/stretch like a rubberband if you know what you are checking for). Anyways, after he tugged on my leg every which way, he tells me that he's worried that there might be a partial tear in my ACL (this is my left knee since I no longer have an ACL in my right knee - it has been replaced by a patellar tendon). He said that this could be how my knee has always been but it was worth getting an MRI...

So now, on Friday, I went to get an MRI done. I don't know the results yet and I won't find out till Tuesday. But by the way the orthopedist was trying to tell me about how the surgery these days (my last surgery was in '96) is much more advanced and that a "young, motivated guy such as yourself can get back to and surpass your current abilities through rehab" tells me that he was fairly certain there's a partial tear.

I really don't want to go through the procedure again, even if it is less invasive... So here's to hoping that on Tuesday, when I get the results, my ACL is fine. Come on. ONE TIME!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dear diary

The blog is a funny thing. It's obviously very public in that anyone can read this. There's no privacy setting. If anyone wanted to know what "RecessRampage" was like, they can read this blog, click the nonpoker filter and probably find out a good deal about me... especially about who I am on the inside. In a way, this is like a gateway to my inner thoughts. And yet, this blog offers me a sense of anonymity. It might not be real, but conversing about thoughts and feelings with strangers (well, most of you aren't strangers anymore but you know what I mean) had a strangely soothing effect... and it's somewhat easier...

I've been wanting to blog for a while. I just hadn't made it a priority and nor am I doing it because I feel like I owe it to anyone. I mean for all I know, no one reads this. I don't really care. When I first started this blog, it wasn't meant to be something where I update what's going on... it was just a virtual outlet of my thoughts, feelings, etc. And since at the time, I was really into poker, the title of my blog was born. Nothing more, nothing less.

But this post... this is gonna be personal. Because I think I'm ready.

I went out with this girl tonight. Some girl that's in the neighborhood, we met a few times, decided to go catch a movie. The movie theatre is one of those places that serve dinner also (very pricey) and it was really good. We were going as casual friends but once we were together, it was obviously a date. She likes me more than I thought/expected and then that's when I realized this...

My failed marriage had (or still has) a huge impact on my emotional well being. I thought I was fine. I mean after all, we separated back in late 2007, divorce was made official in Jan 2009. I've gone out with several girls since then though none successfully. I was happy, I had more time to do whatever, I picked up new hobbies, etc... seriously, if anyone asked, I was back to being happy again and I truly meant it. I have a good group of friends, have a great career, a loving family, good health, etc etc... you know, stuff that people take for granted but what truly makes life special. And yet, I never quite thought about how the marriage impacted me.

I mean it was easy to play it off. We were only married for a bit over a year. We only dated for like 9 months before we got engaged. It was her second marriage. She traveled all the time. I was consumed with poker and basketball. I felt closer to bloggers than I did to my wife at times. It was just a failure in the making. It was a mistake. No big deal. At least that's how I played it off in my mind.

But you know what? I'm not gonna lie. I somehow didn't realize it at the time but I was more hurt by it than I ever thought or cared to admit. Since then, I haven't really gotten emotionally involved with anyone. I just thought I hadn't met anyone but I'm not sure that's true. I've met people. I tried to like them... but I just can't seem to conjure up any romantic feeling... and really, that's not something you need to "conjure" up... it should just happen if it's with the right person. I catch myself comparing women to my ex-wife. And unfortunately, no one lives up to her yet... The thing is, I was truly in love with my wife. I still remember the day we got married... once again, I thought I was fine and I was just happy... until I saw her in her wedding dress for the first time and I was just overcome with so much emotion (yes, I was the first one to break down and cry... I know I know, say what you will). I think what haunts me to this day is that I never got a chance to have true closure. She never gave me a reason as to why she left me. It's almost as if it woulda been easier if she said "sorry, I cheated on you" or "there's someone else" or "you weren't there for me when I needed you" or something. Something where I can point to. Unfortunately, there was nothing...

This post isn't meant to be a "feel sorry for me" or "give me some supportive comments" type of post. And I know I've written something along these lines before. If this stuff bores you or bothers you, you woulda stopped reading by now and frankly, I don't care because I'm not writing this for anyone else. This blog is for me and this is my outlet. I actually love my blog for what it is.

I know (well, I hope) that I will eventually find someone special... but right now, I'm finally at a point where I realize that I have some emotional baggage that somehow I need to get rid of... or at least get over. This is progress since I didn't even know that I had such baggage until now.

I'm not even sure why I'm writing all this here. Well, that's not true. I do know why. It's because this is essentially my diary. And writing was always therapeutic to me. I really need to make more time to blog more often.

Missed opportunity

It may have been more fun if I had posted this yesterday... that way people coulda wondered if I was just totally effing with them for April Fool's day or if I were actually serious.

Nonetheless, here goes.

I'm closing my fulltilt account. R.I.P. RecessRampage.

I no longer play as much as I used to and really no longer have much interest in playing as much as I used to. Of course, I still average like 5hrs per week so that's probably a lot for some but I no longer have the interest or the drive to do it. Just like any other hobbies, it is a very time consuming thing. And between my new job, new location, and my new hobby (training for triathlons and other races), I just don't have the time.

Another big factor is that as you all know, I don't get rakeback from Fulltilt. I've tried, begged, pleaded, and everything else but I never got rakeback. Not that I cared that much (obviously) but it's just another thing that made me decide to hang it up on Fulltilt. FTP was good for me and so was poker. I met a lot of people through this blog and I am definitely glad for that.

For what it's worth, this blog will live on. Obviously I don't post like I used to but I still enjoy having an outlet for myself so with or without readers, this is a space that I will continue to keep for quite some time.