Major knee surgery…Oh No…but the adventure continues

Well, after the fun and adventures of the spring and summer it’s back to earth with a bang!! This time at least this particular bang was scheduled and my time in hospital not something unexpected, but that still doesn’t make it all that much easier!! But I am not one to dwell on the bad, or actually more accurately I have become someone who doesn’t, and despite being laid up for months due to this operation I am seeing it as just another adventure on the journey that is life and an opportunity of a different kind! When life gives you lemons…make lemonade!!

 

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Sometimes we go on about making the life of your dreams, of pushing yourself and doing amazing things. But hey, life doesn’t always work out the way you planned but that doesn’t mean that attitude or dreams change. This post is about realness! No unforgettable mountain views or dream like scenes floating above the alps. But a swollen knee, a post puke selfie and tired smile!

I also have to say of all the crazy things we have done this year, running off mountains with just a canopy to keep us alive, hanging off a steal cable 2000ft in the air…this was the scariest thing of them all! Not only are you trusting someone to fix you but also keep you alive, going under always freaks me out!

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Loving life!!
Not the most flattering, but this blog is not all just about when things go right, but it’s about showing people that everyday, normal people can overcome all sorts of challenges and still go full throttle towards those dreams people call crazy! Non of us feel or look our best everyday, and we won’t pretend otherwise! But…we never give up!

 

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Dook kissing my leg better!

So…My wonky knee!

Well, my knee has been plaguing me since I first twisted it back when I did gymnastics as an 11 year old. I have always been sporty and although it did hold me back in some aspects I never let it stop me doing anything. After a few years it got worse and I eventually fully dislocated it when I was 13 (I’m 27 now). Back then the doctors told me there wasn’t much they could do, I had a few x-rays but never saw a specialist or surgeon about my options. At that point I was majorly into football (soccer), making teams and progress.

 

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After a while every time I played football my knee would give way and dislocate, I stopped playing at around 14 and took up skateboarding shortly after. Skating was a blessing for me, it allowed me to really get strength in my legs that meant I could do so much more than I had before. I even played the odd casual game of football, as long as it was strapped up and I did regular exercises on my quads it was usually ok. But then I would be walking down the street and it would give way, or I would be messing about the mates at school and dislocate it!

 

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Waking up after the operation! I’ve felt better!
Anyway I managed to get through university playing on the football team for 3 years without any major incidents, though luck or hard work, who knows. But straight after I finished and was at a festival that summer it went again…this time pretty badly! I carried on regardless again and took up climbing, mountaineering and adventure sports as well as running. But this time all the damage was catching up with me, it started going again more often and after I completed the Three Peaks the pain I was in during and for weeks after made me realise something needed doing!

 

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How good to I look in stockings!
I finally plucked up the courage to see the doctor and after being passed on to a specialist and having an arthroscopy last year was diagnosed with a grade 3 MPFL tear as well as patella misalignment and cartilage damage…this required a major reconstruction and long recovery. I was luck enough to be referred to one of the UK’s top knee surgeons via the NHS…time to get my knee fixed!

 

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Ouchy!

An amazing 2015

Having known I would be having this operation all year I firstly made sure the date was towards to end of the year. After the summer so we could make the most of it but also not to far into the freezing winter and also with enough time to get fit again before setting of travelling long term next April.

 

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With this in mind it was time to step up our adventures a notch, of course, we always got out climbing and pretty much based our live around exploring, but this time we put in extra effort to get out every time we could. Each and every weekend would be an opportunity to climb, kayak, hike, go canyoning or try something new.

 

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We headed over to Slovakia, Austria, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. During our Swiss trips we packed in so many adventure activities it felt like the trip of a lifetime…but really this is just a preclude to our world tour!

 

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After all this excitement it is now down to the hard work of rehabilitating my knee. The adventures of the year sure do make this hard period that much less mentally painful!

 

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An Opportunity

After laying in my hospital bed confused and in pain I had time to gain some perspective. In many ways I could resent my knee and what I had to go thorough, but I have been so used to adapting to my knee that I realised this was an opportunity to no longer have to do that. After all these years of it playing on my mind, of going through pain and discomfort I had been given this chance. I had seen one of the best knee surgeons in the country, a sports injury specialist, and he had fixed my knee for me, given me this new ligament after I had given up ever having it fixed.

 

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Not only that but often I have been so caught up in trying new things, improving my climbing and pushing myself to my limits that I have forgotten how to relax and rest. Being a relentless explorer and adventurer is tiring, now what my chance to take a break without feeling guilty for doing so. To take a step (limp!!) back and look at all the amazing things we have done, to look at our plans, to catch up on blogging about all our adventures and to learn some new things about myself!

A Challenge

After feeling almost invincible climbing up cliffs, jumping off waterfalls and tackling rapids I now need help having a shower and getting dressed is a major challenge. I thrive on challenges, on climbing higher and harder routes, on trying new things and learning more about the world through experience and adventure. But now, the smallest things you take for granted are a challenge…who knew you couldn’t even make yourself a drink and taking it to your living room on crutches!

 

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Doing rehab and the dog things I am a bed!!
It’s easy for these new challenges to get you down, but instead I have to find new ways to stay amused, to keep myself occupied without climbing or outdoor adventures. To allow myself to see the beauty in the everyday challenges, to learn patience and to motivate myself to rise to these new challenges and get back stronger than ever! Coping with pain and also frustration, gaining metal strength is important too!

 

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Making the most of the everyday is something we talk a lot about, sometimes things like this come along and make you feel like you can’t do that. But instead of feeling sorry for myself and getting down, it’s about making the most of our situation!

 

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Tired but at least I am still so stylish!

The plan!

So, what will we be doing without all our usual adventures. Never fear, the Roaming Renegades is still alive and well!

 

Blogging – Now I have the time to catch up on all of the adventures and trips we have been on, to reflect on what we have experienced and our feelings about travel and freedom. Seeing as we can’t head out, we can concentrate on the blog even more!

 

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 Getting fit – Now it’s time to get ourselves back in peak shape. Not only do I have to work on the knee but we are taking this opportunity to get as fit and strong as we can. This means that when we get back to climbing and other activities we will already be a few steps ahead!

 

Learning and developing – Doing a TEFL course is something we have wanted to do for a while but have always been so busy. I also have lots of ideas for a Ph.D in the future but not got around to writing them down and exploring them properly. Now is the time to put this down time to good use!

 

MPFL reconstruction, knee surgery, mcl, ligament, hospital, nhs, private, scars, adventure, recovery, explore, blog, climbing, climber, canyoning, rafting, Switzerland,

 

Planning – Next April we plan on setting off on our round the world extended trip! This needs quite some planning, research and organisation. Often when you can’t do something, planning and making sure that happens is a great way to stay motivated! We also have plenty of plans for the beginning of the year before we head off which include kayaking and climbing!

 

Spending time with family and friends- Sometimes we are too wrapped up in adventures that we forget to take joy in just being with people, doing nothing just talking and laughing. Seeing as we are heading off next year being with family and friends is even more important to us and when you rely on them so much it really puts things in perspective!

 

MPFL reconstruction, knee surgery, mcl, ligament, hospital, nhs, private, scars, adventure, recovery, explore, blog, climbing, climber, canyoning, rafting, Switzerland,
Low!!
So there is it, it’s not the end but the beginning of the next chapter, of new challenges and adventures! And in a few months time we will be back to our crazy antics!!

Have you ever had to overcome anything similar?

UPDATES:

Ok, this is the bit where it might get a bit long, so you can opt out here! But I decided to keep a bit of a recovery diary down here so I can look back and how far I have come but also so you can see where I am at!

1st Nov (One month post op)

After 4 weeks on crutches completely non weight bearing I started to walk and put weight on it, this was scarier than I ever expected it to be. I still used the crutches for support and didn’t feel ready to put all my weight through what was now a significantly weaker leg. My Thigh muscle was around 2 inches thinner on my left leg than my right and my hamstring also very tight and weak. The hardest part was trusting my new ligament without having the back up of a strong leg like I had had before. I realised at this point that I would need a further 2 weeks off work as walking unaided felt so far away. However, I did start going to the gym and stepping up my rehab and conditioning. I have been doing my set exercises 3 times a day as well as a pretty gruelling press up and crunches routine. I also ate a lot healthier during my time being laid up. During this month part of the difficulty is being indoors so much, even walking to the shop around the corner on my crutches is hard work and the prospect of slipping quite scary. It does rock your confidence quite a lot, you feel pretty exposed and even everyday things are a challenge. It gives you a bit of perspective to what disabled people go through. My Gran has had to come around everyday and make my lunch! I have however got a hell of a lot done on my blog, researched loads for travelling next year, signed up for a TEFL and even written a lot of notes for a future P.hD!

 

 

 

8th Nov

All week I had tried to put more and more weight through my leg and had even walked a little without the crutch whilst using my dad as support. It felt painful and really freaked me out to be honest. Just shuffling the length of the kitchen whilst clinging to someone was scary! The physio I had seen was not brilliant to be honest and I did feel a little behind because of the lack of info I got. However I do know my surgery is very rare and with no protocol I think she was playing it cautious. I did however progress to using only one crutch, at first this felt pretty awful but I did feel stronger for it. I also had gone to the gym almost every day and not only did my leg feel better but I was glad to be working on general conditioning again, although I felt quite strong from my press up and crunches routine. We also went out into Manchester to watch Spectre and have a nice meal, It was so good to get back out again although we didn’t really walk too much in the crowded centre!

16th Nov

This week I finally started to walk again on my own. I left it until the morning I was due to see the physio again, this time a different one who really pushed me much further. I was limping heavily whilst walking and often hyper extending which felt pretty grim, I had to fight the same type of sensations I got when my knee cap used to come out. My body and mind had got that used to going into protection mode as soon as I felt that! I had upped it at the gym quite a lot and felt much fitter and stronger. Even just getting on the pull up bar made me feel so much closer to being able to climb again! Still, the idea of going back into work next week feels scary and I still feel unsteady when I walk. This week was the first time I really got upset and it all got to me. After seeing the physio I felt like I was really behind on where I should be despite be putting in as much effort as I could. I felt like if I had known some of the stuff he told me a few weeks back I could have been further on. I will be seeing him again in two weeks and I am not even more focused on what I need to be able to do my then.

19th Nov

First few days back in work and my knee is aching quite a lot, maybe that is a good thing though as just walking is helping build my strength back up. Stairs are a challenge but I always take them instead of the lift and use my bad leg on every step to help build it up. It got quite icy this week though and that didn’t help my confidence, although still limping I feel like I am getting better at walking every day. I did worry that being back in work would stop me with my daily rehab but I have been to the gym as many times as I could and feel more focused now on what I need to do. We went into Manchester again this weekend and even in with the crowds, although I was a little slow I managed to cope quite well.

27th Nov

Two weeks after seeing the physio I was back this week and keen to show him how far I had come. I was able to do the one leg squats, balance on one leg and almost fully straighten my leg, my flex in my knee was only around 5 inches off my good knee too. He was pleased with my progress and said I back to where I should be which really made me feel like I was back on track to starting light indoor climbing again in the new year or even over Christmas. I am also finally starting to see some shape come back into my leg too although my hamstring is still falling behind. I mentioned that when doing my hamstring rehab I am cramping up so much I can’t push it as far as I wanted. So I am booked in for a sports massage next week to alleviate the tension. He also said I am ready for the lower limb class and will be going every week now for 5 weeks. I am still limping and the joint does still feel tight and achy but I feel more like I am not thinking about walking as much and doing in more naturally. I have also really been enjoying the gym, not only for my leg but going pull ups, bike, rower and weights too. Generally I do feel much fitter and stronger but I am so eager to get back climbing. Now I have to make sure I push myself but stay patient too and not get ahead of myself!

Leg before and 2 months after the op. Getting some definition and shape back!
Standing on one leg feels like a major achievement, only 2 weeks before this photo I couldn’t put any weight on that leg at all and had to basically learn to walk again!

3rd Dec (2 months post op)

This week I went for a deep tissue massage on my thigh and hamstring, my god those things hurt! But that night we headed off to the gym again and the tightness was all but gone. It’s expensive but I might go a few more times just to aid my recovery, he also things my back is out of line and that has caused previous tightness and shoulder pain…I’m broken!! We had another good gym session on Tues and will go again tonight (Thurs), I do feel like I am really making progress although I do think I am maybe around 1.5 weeks behind…but that’s not due to lack of effort, it’s due to the initial physio I saw being very poor. I went to a group physio session this week and feel like it was really my first proper work out with them. If I hadn’t taken the intuitive myself I would be so far behind! The session was good though and Dave really pushed me. I did more advanced exercises than he had initially planned for me too and so my gym plan has been changed to be more challenging. Next week he suggested I would be ready for some light jogging so that’s good, but also I am a little nervous for that! I was pleased to do the one leg squats on a balance board just 2 months almost to the day after my op and pretty much walk up the stairs without needing the bannister now! I am hoping after next week Dave will day I am ready to do some light climbing on a top rope (which means I can’t fall anywhere!) I can definitely feel the strength coming back into my leg and feel like I have more control, it does still ache and especially after a session, bending it too still hurts when it gets to the point where I can’t move it any further, but I am around 3-4 inches off my other leg!

 

 

10 Dec 2015

This week I have been quite tired as I was at a TEFL course literally the entire weekend – 9AM til 7PM!! wow! So I had a few days off the gym just to get a bit of rest. But it was also good for me to see how I coped with going to a course, getting on the tram and train on my own, walking across town to be on time etc. I felt like I was pretty much back to normal in that sense and I wasn’t being held back by my knee. Although I was a bit achy at night. I had another physio this week and it went pretty well. He had be progressing on a few of the exercises again which is good. I also did a few new things, the first was to jump onto a trampette and land on my bad leg. I was a bit apprehensive about it to be honest but I did a set without any problems, he wants me to be able to run and jump onto it eventually. Then he brought up jogging again, I was pretty nervous about this as I have always felt like my knee was venerable when running without a strap. I was on the treadmill for almost 15 mins trying to build it up to level 4, in the end I did get there and did a little bit of a jog. It wasn’t really what I was hoping for but I still need to build by confidence up and it was a step in the right direction. He wants me to do some jogging just in the house or even on the spot over the week and see if I can improve any. I was limping as I jogged, its hard for me to know if its pain or confidence. I suspect a bit of both but I am battling 13 years of protecting the knee and persistent pain, sometimes I don’t realise I am in pain with it unless I think about it because I am that used to it. The mind is a hard thing to over come and part of me doesn’t even know what normal is any more its been that long since my knee was working properly! But all in all I think I progressed again this week and I see the surgeon at weekend so I am hoping he is happy with me. I am aiming to do some top roping over the Christmas holidays and see how that feels, I am no where near bouldering yet as I can’t risk falling but the jumping activity this week gave me some hope on that front!
Decent bend now, about 3 or 4 inches off the other

23 Dec 2015

The last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic with Christmas shopping, parties and getting on with my TEFL and of course the blog! So I haven’t been quite able to do as much as I would like but just getting out more and walking around town is good for my knee. Once Christmas is out of the way I can then really concentrate more on getting my knee and myself back to full strength. But I feeling much stronger in general and the knee is getting back to normal. I have been struggling a little with stiffness and aching in the knee a little though but I have been told that’s normal. My consultant signed me off that that’s a good sign but also a bit scary too as the knee isn’t fully better yet but I do still have weekly access to the physio at least. I will try to get to the gym a couple of times over the Christmas period but I will more than likely take this time to rest up a little and enjoy Christmas at home before really pushing myself in the new year! Jan 1st will be 3 months and I hope to be running/ jogging when I see my physio on the 6th!

 

29th February

It has been a little while since my last update as things have been moving a lot slower and progressions in many ways smaller. I climbed for the first time just after christmas and did so on top rope…which means with the rope above so you can’t really fall anywhere. I was a little nervous with my foot placements at first but ended up climbing some quite hard stuff. I have been another few times after that and just last weekend I was absolutely buzzing to not only lead something for the first time again but I tried out a climb which was only 1 grade lower than my hardest and did it first go. I wasn’t really nervous climbing now as I just concentrated on climbing rather than my knee. I think climbing is the best way to gauge how I am doing as it is easier for me to compare how I was and how I now. Going to the gym three times a week means I have kept my strength up too for climbing and only lack a little bit of stamina in my forearms. My strength and tone in my leg is getting much more noticeable now and it does feel strong. When I ask shorty to do some of my one leg physio he struggles when I don’t which is a good sign! I am now in the advanced lower limb class at physio which is much more demanding, I’ve only got around 3 weeks left there though so I am a little worried about stopping going. I am still struggling to run and feel I still have a slight limp when walking that is only really noticeable to me but when I run it really is exaggerated. My physio has been pushing me to keep trying and although it feels quite scary I am improving and have done a bit of jogging around the class. The knee in itself goes feel stronger but it doesn’t feel “normal” yet. It truly is hard for me to know what normal is after is being damaged for so long but I know it isn’t there yet. It is still stiff and feels a little bit jerky when I go down steps. I can bend it to about an inch off my bum when I stretch and warm but but that does feel painful. I can’t fully kneel down because of that and I am not sure when that pain will go away, it does seem to be slowly getting easier but when pushed to its max without being warm it is very sore. I think also my confidence is not where I want it to be either, part of that I think it just that the knee doesn’t feel normal and when it does maybe I will find it easier to get it out of my head. I am hoping to get outdoors climbing in the next couple of weeks and maybe try and do a mountain if we can organise it. I feel like I really need these sorts of challenges now so I can start to push myself again and test it out. I think these will go a long way to building my confidence. Not only that but I really do need to get out and climb or have an adventure. I feel like I have been stuck in for so long!!

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5th September: 11 month update:

I haven’t updated in a while how my knee is and I am hoping that maybe someone else out there who had the questions and doubts I did in the lead up and recovery can follow these updates and see how this process goes. So, 11 months on and things are very different to what they were, in some ways things are different to what I expected and in some they are better.

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I maybe finished my physio a little early but we were heading off backpacking (in April). I had by that time a lot more confidence but I still wasn’t quite were i wanted to be to be honest. I was still walking with a slight limp and I couldn’t run. I was almost getting to the point where I though I might always walk like this and never run again. It bothered me a little but I though well I can live with that. I had climbed a little since my operation and when I was climbing on ropes I actually forgot about my knee and felt normal again. However I had a bit of a mental block with bouldering again too.

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My legs are much more balanced now…just after going for a run!

I was determined that my knee wouldn’t hold me back when backpacking and that I would just go for things. I did a lot of hiking, canyoning, paragliding and everything I had set myself out to to. We walked so much that I really tried to make sure I was walking properly and strengthening my knee in doing so. I couldn’t keep up with my physio on the road as I would have liked but all that walking made up for that. By the end of the 4 months I had lost my slight limp and felt totally normal.

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So. Where am I know. After coming home and walking properly now I was keen to give running a go and to do it without the knee support I had relied on for as long as I can remember. I was nervous I won’t lie and part of my nerves came from the unknown. When my knee went before as bad as it was I knew what happens and how to put my knee back in. I was so worried now that it would go and my knee be stuck out of place because of the new ligament.

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My scars after 11 months (4 of them in the sun!!)

I also wondered about my fitness having not ran in over a year. But I needed have worried. I ran 2 miles like it was nothing and felt really comfortable and confident on the home straight, and I have been running a few times a week since then too. I haven’t had any soreness with my knee at all, the only problem is that my calf on that side gets a little tired sooner than on my right hand side, but I think the more I run the more I will continue to build up those muscles and balance everything out.

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I ran off the mountain and landed on the beach…no problems!

I have also been climbing again, both indoors and outdoors. I bouldered for the first time which was again quite a big deal. Bouldering might be lower but you land on your feet and so for me it was scarier and something I had badly hurt my knee doing before my op. I decided for climbing for the mean time I am going to continue to use my support. I kind of wanted to be able to do it without, but climbing is an extreme sport and my knee strap isn’t huge and doesn’t restrict me at all and gives me that little bit more confidence whilst climbing.

mpfl, recovery, surgery, run, scars, time
Canyoning…jumping, sliding and climbing down a slippy canyon!

I figured why risk taking all that hard work back when it makes no difference either way, where as running I need to do for the strength in my leg without the strap. I have had no issues bouldering indoors and hope to go outdoors again next weekend. My hamstring has felt a little tight when stretching for some moves but I do think I need to still work on the strength there a little and running will help me with that.

mpfl, recovery, surgery, run, scars, time
Hiking for hours in Romania! Over 2,500m!

Overall my knee feels so much stronger and I feel I can do things without constantly thinking about it. I has played on my mind since my op and I have been more cautious but gradually that confidence is coming back. I was always a little like that because of my injury anyway. I am not sure if I will play football again or climb without my strap. I want to and I think only time will tell. But for now I feel stronger and pleased that I made this decision to have my op. It is a long recovery and more so with my mind than my body. The only problem I still have is stiffness bending it fully. I can’t kneel very well and it is painful but not painful in a dangerous way if that makes sense.

mpfl, recovery, surgery, run, scars, time
Backpacking in Poland. After a 16 hour bus we passed through Warsaw where we couldn’t store our bags. I walked all day with 20kg worth of stuff and then got on another 12 hour bus that night!

I still try and stretch it but it only seems more flexible after running. This doesn’t really bother me all that much but when climbing a fall from high can bend it past where it is comfortable and occasionally I might fall back into a kneel and it hurts! I might seek out help with this but for now that is a small price to pay for a kneecap that feels much more secure! My physio told me he was more than happy with me when I saw him back in April and that 12 months is the time when you see how it will probably be for the rest of your life. I hope the stiffness does ease but we will see.

I hope to push myself climbing over the next few months we are home and also run for longer too. We are heading off backpacking again in November and this time I feel I have nothing at all stopping me or slowing me down!

 mpfl, recovery, surgery, run, scars, time

October 2016 – A year since the op!

So here I am, I almost thought this day would never come and had a lot of fear about where I would be at this point. I was told on a few occasions that almost how I would be at 12 months would be how I would be forever and how slow my progress felt at first that prospect scared me. The 12 months have been a mixture of a lot of pain and hard work, frustrations and fears, learning and relearning and slowly building confidence.

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Getting the balance between resting and being cautious and pushing myself was hard. Getting down to the gym really helped me, even going other things such as push ups and core when I could only do basic leg workouts helped keep me strong and focused. The physio was really great for allowing me to know where and when to push and I really went for it 100% in those sessions and looked forward to them. I enjoyed being able to push myself with a professional supervising me so I could still stay safe. They got me doing a lot I was nervous about, jumping, standing on one leg, sharp turns etc. But for me running was a huge mental block, I was even climbing on top rope by Christmas time, but running just didn’t happen.

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It was like my head just wouldn’t let me and how ever much I tried I would always hold back and run kind of like with my legs bent. Its hard to describe how I would “run” but I knew it wasn’t right and I knew I had a bit of a hidden limp still when walking that really came out when running. I questioned on a few occasions whether I would ever run again properly, after doing a 10k before my first op in 2014 I had really come to enjoy the challenge of it but thought it was just something that was behind me. However one of the best things that I did was to go off backpacking, it almost distracted me from thinking about my knee and also made me push myself to do things because I knew I needed to take opportunities there and then. I also did a hell of a lot of walking and hiking which helped with strength, fitness and that limp.

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Coming back home I pushed myself to run and climb properly again. In August I went out and ran for the first time in over a year, I managed 2 miles at a decent pace and surprised myself. Clearly backpacking had allowed me to build my fitness which really helped and after so long I just switched off and ran as naturally as I could and tried not to think. I had built my confidence too being away and it meant I could just go for it. I then decided I wanted to push myself to prove to myself that I had finished my recovery and normal service had been resumed. This meant in 2 months stepping up from not running to going out 3 times a week and building up my milage. We took part in the Scouse 5k over in Liverpool and I felt great…lets go for the 10k again!

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So it was on, I expected a battle but actually found building the miles up easier than expected and certainly easier than the first time I stepped up to 10k. I even thought if we were at home I would seriously be looking at signing up for a half marathon for next year! So we did the Autumn Breaker 10k in October, a year since my op and I completed another 10k.

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I got 1:02:19, not my best time in an organised 10k, but my initial target was under 1 hour 5mins and I smashed that. Of course, I always want under and hour but given the recovery I have been through and the time i had to prepare in many ways this is a bigger achievment than those better times and I know if I ran another say next months I could knock those 2 mins off.

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We have also been outside climbing again too and climbing properly. I managed to climb almost my best grades in most of the main areas of climbing. In climbing its not always easy to do this as you loose a lot of the stamina and strength for the longer and harder routes rather than technical ability.

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But I pushed myself to lead some trad and sport again which is challenging in different ways and for me bouldering, which was always the scariest in terms of my knee. Having dislocated my knee badly bouldering just before my op I had lost a lot of confidence but went out and climbed one of the hardest problems I had done before my op again, one which took me a few sessions to get, and got it again in only one session. So that again was a milestone!

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I feel like with my climbing and running that pushing myself to get as close as possible to where I was before, given the 3 months we have been back in the UK, has allowed me to put a line underneath my knee op and move on to just being me again. The runner, climber, adventurer and traveller rather than someone in recovery. I have come through the other side and can do anything I want again and push myself to do bigger and better now and not even think about my knee. And if I do i know it is so much stronger than it was before and I also know how much I have come through to get back to this stage!

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If you are recovering from an MPFL or any knee operation just keep going, day to day try to make improvements and realise the triumphs in even the small things. I remember walking across the kitchen for the first time, heart beating out of my chest with nerves! It was scary and hard work, things don’t happen when they should, but keep going! Running was a mile stone for you, whatever yours is keep taking steps to get there. It might feel impossible but it will click one day!

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As for us, we are off backpacking again around Asia for 18 months and hopefully in the future I can climb even harder and run a half marathon…maybe even a marathon one day if we can stay in one place long enough to train!

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.