Shit, I Tore My ACL
I thought it was time to say something. This post may still be a little pre-mature, but I’ve wanted to share. Two weeks ago I was playing ultimate Frisbee and one of my opponents came down on my knee and bent it 90 degrees the wrong way! I collapsed to the ground, yelled a primal rage for a couple minutes, and went to the hospital. I had torn my ACL, lateral and medial meniscus. No minor injury.
The first couple days were spent not falling into a chasm of depression. I was doing what I could to keep my spirits up. I was not able to walk or bend or straighten my knee at all. By day 3 or 4, however, I noticed that even though I was still nowhere near being able to walk, I was able to practice yoga. My yoga teacher has always said, our yoga, our asana’s, are here for us….not us for them. This was the perfect example.
I started practicing every day. I was still not able to bend or straighten my knee more that 30 degrees but there was no way I was going to let it just sit like that. I started working on flexion and extension of the knee every chance I could get. It was not long before I was able to take Virabhadrasana I and II (Warrior pose) with my thigh on a chair. Then I was able to take the chair away and work deeply on the stability within the joint of the knee. I started practicing most standing poses with a chair on either side of me for support. I was also able to practice inversions so I was spending as much time as I could upside down and letting the fluid drain from my leg.
For the past week I have been practicing upwards near 3 hours a day. I am watching TV, a lot of Mets games, but I have turned this into a mini retreat. Two days ago I had my first PT appointment and the PT was amazed at my range of motion. She said she had never seen someone so good only two weeks post ACL tear.
The emotions around such a traumatic injury have been whirling at the least. For the first 4 days I felt like such a failure. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to play frisbee that day!” “I never should have even put myself into that situation!” “This wasn’t supposed to happen to me!” “Its all a dream, right? I will wake up tomorrow with full functionality.” Despite how it may sound, I wasn’t beating myself up too badly. I was simply acknowledging and giving space to a feeling I was having. Then, during one of my practices, something changed. I was observing the compensation patterns in my body as a result of the injury and realized that the compensations I am experiencing were only exacerbations of a flaw already in my body. I realized that what I am experiencing is a massive magnification of something that has already been going on. And then I realized that maybe this is OK and wasn’t as freak of an incident as it appeared to be.
Patanjali said, “Heyam Dukham Anagatam” which means the pains of the future can and should be avoided. Without really knowing it, that is how I had been practicing for some time. I was not successful, but that’s ok. There are many other opportunities and so far I have been very successful with the rehab. I have been video taping and taking notes of all my practices and am gaining a much greater understanding of Knee-hab that I will be able to share with people.
Movement is the key to life. It is often what fucks us up, but it IS what will heal you. Too many people shy away from pain after they have an injury. They are afraid to make the injury worse, afraid to go into the pain. Going into the pain IS what relieves the pain. It takes time, it takes awareness and it takes consciousness, but when you can combine all three, success is bound for you.
I wish you all luck exploring who you are. Traverse every inch of yourself. Explore every diameter. See who you are in extension. See you are in depression. It is all here to be observed and understood by you. It takes great effort, but it yields great rewards.
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