Darn You, Taylor Swift!
On September 9, 2017, I tore my ACL. And it is all Taylor Swift’s fault! Ok…not really…but kinda. I had the amazing opportunity to take class from one of my dance crushes, Kevin Maher! (Dancers, if you don’t know who he is, look him up! Do it! Right now! I’m waiting…) And as luck would have it, I managed to push off my planted right foot in juuuuuust the right way to send me crumbling to the floor and army crawling to the back of the room. Yup…that’s the story! No impact, no twisting, no soul-crushing pop. Just an abrupt level change. I claimed to be “fine,” but when I eventually stood up to exit the room, I immediately knew I was not. Thankfully, my dance studio network is AMAZING, and I had an MRI and results by Monday and an appointment with one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country by Tuesday. In the middle of a hurricane no less! I still feel bad for the poor PA who had to call me to deliver the news. Honestly, I have no idea what happened after the phrase “completely tore your ACL.”
I had never really had any knee pain or injuries prior to this incident. My only guess is 30 years as dancer, neglecting any form of self-care and working myself silly, finally took its toll. My generation did not have the same knowledge and respect for our bodies that today’s dancers do. Sprung floors were a luxury, not a necessity. Try that patella slam 25 more times? No problem! My poor abused ACL was like your favorite ponytail holder that finally snaps… And because I’m a crazy person, I decided to take a look at the MRI scans myself. Yes, this involved watching several videos on how to read an MRI. Yes, this involved downloading special software to be able to view the files. Yes, the doctors were all correct. Unfortunately.
So yeah…here I am. Writing this blog. I’m not a writer. I don’t really like writing. But I’m about to have A LOT of spare time. And there’s not a lot of easily accessible information out there regarding the specifics of ACL reconstructions, especially mine. So hopefully my experience will help someone! My surgeon will be using a quadricep tendon autograft (read: my own quad tendon) to construct a new ACL. They will drill a hole through my femur, a second through my tibia, and then thread the tendon through. Easy peasy, right? Let’s talk about “easy” after my 10 months of rehab. 10 months until I can really dance again. We will discuss how delightful it has been to cope with that fact in a later post. For now, I will just hang on to the fact that about a week from now, I will have a brand new ACL…in a stiff, swollen, bruised knee. Here goes nothing!