Weak in the Knee

Early last week, during an intense cardio workout on the treadmill, my left knee twisted and popped. I kept going. I had been diagnosed with Patellofemoral pain syndrome more than a year ago and the treatment was exercise so I rationalized continuing. After getting home, my knee still tender, I thought to myself, “I should take it easy so this doesn’t get worse.”

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But the next day I thought to myself, “this knee injury was no big deal a year ago and the prescribed treatment was exercise – I’m going to keep going. I’m going to stay disciplined. I’m going to push through the pain. Don’t wimp out now, Jody!” After all, I have been losing an average of two pounds per week. I’ve moving the needle. I’m dedicated, I’m on a roll. I can’t risk losing that momentum. I pushed through the pain and kept going.

Over the course of the week, I’ve had to shave five minutes here, ten minutes there off of my cardio due to knee pain. I’ve had to lower the leg press machine with one leg, not wanting to bend my left knee to an extreme degree. I’ve sort of nursed the knee, but I pushed through my workouts. Now, more than a week later, the knee is swollen and throbbing. I didn’t sleep last night, unable to get or stay in a comfortable position. Even now, sitting at a desk, I feel the pulsating pain in that knee. I think I screwed up. I am in a situation where I can’t do much of anything in the gym. Even low-impact cardio forces painful bends in the knee.

I find myself saddened. Last night, as I sat on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my elevated knee, the tears started welling up in my eyes. Who knew I could come to a point of being emotionally devastated by having to stop working out? I used to actively seek out lame excuses to skip the gym (i.e., I forgot my hair tie, I can’t find a decent parking spot.) I have to stay mentally strong now and look for answers and alternatives. I am stocking up on athletic tape. I have ordered a compression knee brace online and paid for expedited shipping. I’m using someone’s ice pack from the office freezer (sorry, coworker). I made the heartbreaking decision to dial back my workouts until this knee recovers, putting all my goals and milestones on hold. I know it’s what I have to do. I know it’s what I should have done in the first place. Swimming. Arm bike. Supersets of upper body and core exercises to get my heart rate up. I have to find alternatives to using my knee that allows me to rest and recover without sacrificing my progress or dedication. I have to adjust my expectations during this time.

These are the challenges we face when we step foot onto this path. That is one of the reasons I wanted to write a blog as I lost weight and transformed, not just after I’d already taken the journey and reflected back. I believe these are important lessons and trials that most people face. This injury may have left me weak in the knee, but it will also make me strong in the spirit – in the heart, the mind. I limp along on my journey, exercising and strengthening my spirit as my body rests. I try to stay positive, I try to find the lesson I must learn from this injury. 

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