Cadaver Grafts and Karate Class

karateBradley (age 10), Nathan (age 7) and I were all taking a karate class.  I thought it would be a great way for the boys to learn some discipline and also burn off some extra energy. (which they had a lot of)  Many days, it was a struggle to get them to class, but every once in a while, they enjoyed going.

The class started out like all the others, with warm-ups and then practicing our skills so we could pass to the next belt.  Bradley was almost to his brown/black belt (one step before his black belt) and Nate and I were both at a green belt level (heading for our blue belt).

During one of the exercises, a 6’ tall young man was holding up a blocker for us to do a jumping snap kick.  At that point, I thought in my head “I can do this…”  Well – I jumped.  I snapped.  And then I landed and there was another snap.  That last snap wasn’t supposed to be there.  I sat on the floor and I couldn’t get up.  It didn’t really hurt, but my knee just felt like jello.  It wouldn’t hold me.  Turns out, when I landed, I not only tore my ACL, but also my medial meniscus and lateral meniscus. 

When I got to the doctor, they couldn’t do anything for me for a few days because they had to wait for the swelling to go down, but he did tell me that I couldn’t have torn anymore if I tried.  

I had surgery to repair my knee in 2005.  They ended up putting in a cadaver graft for my ACL and attached it with bolts that I can still feel when I kneel down, 17 years later. 

karateOne piece of advice I would give anyone having to have knee surgery is that when they give you exercises to do at home to strengthen your knee, make sure to do them.  I still have issues going up and down stairs as my knee just isn’t as strong as my good knee.

One funny thing we found out during physical therapy…  the therapist couldn’t figure out why I was having such tightness in my leg after the surgery.  After a bit of talking, we realized that after all my years of wearing high-heels for work, I had actually shortened my Achilles tendon.  From that point on, the therapist recommended that I continue to wear my heels throughout my recovery.  So – there I was – on crutches – wearing high heels.  People looked at me very strangely.

The sweetest part of the whole ordeal was that Nathan was supposed to graduate to his blue belt while I was still recovering, but he decided that he didn’t want to continue until I could join him again and graduate with him.  I didn’t end up going back to karate class again but finally convinced my sweet Nate to get his belt without me.

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