Living with Pain

Yesterday, May 6, marks the two year anniversary of me living with chronic pain. It’s been a soul-searching, sometimes agonizing process, and it’s not finished yet. But I carry on, and yoga continues to teach me how to deal with what I’ve been given.

Ever since I further damaged my right knee un-mindfully demonstrating a posture that I NEVER demonstrate because of its potential to hurt me, I’ve been thinking about writing about my feelings. Maybe my journey will help someone? Maybe it’ll allow me to say out loud what my mind is screaming inside? Maybe it’ll help me to heal? I don’t know, but I’m going to begin anyway.

When I was 14, I had my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repaired after repeated injuries in soccer and track. I remember the doctor telling my mom and dad that they took part of the tendon from behind the knee to repair the ACL and in the process, scraped out some damaged cartilage in between the knee joint. He noted that in doing this he set me up for osteoarthritis and an eventual, almost inevitable, knee replacement when I “got older”.

Fifteen years later I showed the signs of osteoarthritis. I underwent another operation. I kept active with biking and hiking, and endured the pain afterwards. Most of the time, it was manageable and it stayed like that until I injured the knee again. Dancing. Go figure. The pain after that injury was more frequent.

Ten years ago, I had my third operation, which found “significant degenerative change in [my] medial compartment… [which] may require an ostemotomy…” There was a fine line between doing too little activity and doing too much. I figured it out. I could do almost anything I wanted, excepting running (which, to be honest, I never really liked anyway). Walking the cobblestone streets of Europe was also something I couldn’t do without a good dose of vitamin I afterwards. I could walk with my dog, Coyoacan, in the woods and I learned to live with a dull ache, but not always pain, all of the time.

And, I had yoga.

(To be continued…)

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