I like to consider myself an active person. I’ve always been involved in any sport I can find. Growing up, my number one choice of all school sports teams was always soccer. But I also seemed to thrive at basketball, volleyball, tennis, etc. You name it, and chances are I’ve played it.
So when I moved to Vancouver 6 years ago, I made short work of finding recreation teams to join. I first got involved with indoor and beach volleyball. Not too long after this, I was invited to play soccer with a colleague of mine. Not knowing what to expect, I was just excited to have the opportunity to play in a relatively competitive league again. I quickly fit in with the existing team which played weekly games in Burnaby. Our team did quite well for the first couple of seasons finishing second place in my first year, and first place the following year. The funny part about my team was that at 26 years old (when I joined the team) I was considered an old-timer! I was running around the field with players as young as 16! But I’m a strong believe that you’re only as old as you feel. Fortunately for me, I refuse to completely grow up
Last year I was leading the team in scoring as the playoffs were approaching. We were playing in one of the final games when I stretched my left leg out to block a shot. As soon as the ball hit my ankle I knew something wasn’t right. My foot came down to the ground, but my leg could not support my weight. I buckled over with excruciating pain in my knee. I’ll avoid most of the details and descriptions, but I had never had any type of knee injury before, so I was pretty worried.
To make a long story short, I was put on a waiting list for an MRI to diagnose what had happened. It took months, but I finally got my appointment (which was about 2 weeks ago). Today I had my follow-up appointment to find out the results of the MRI. It was no big surprise that my ACL was torn. All along, the doctors had told me they figured it was the ACL, but an MRI was the only way to make 100% sure. As well as the ACL being damaged, I was told that the medial meniscus was also torn.
Most people I know would either throw in the towel or opt for surgery right away. But I’ve never been one to quit or follow the mainstream. Through my education, experience and beliefs I have developed a mindset that I have the innate ability to promote my recovery from within. You often hear stories of ‘miracles’ and ‘spontaneous recovery’ from all kinds of injuries and illness. I don’t believe there is anything ‘spontaneous’ about it. The body naturally wants to be healthy and well. Given the right circumstances and support, I think we are all capable over overcoming anything.
So here is my quest. I know that an ACL tear is serious and difficult to recover from. I accept that it may take a while. But I am on a mission to return to a level of health I was in before without the use of surgery and drugs.
So what will I be doing to promote my recovery? There are several things I plan to incorporate into my lifestyle and diet to help me along my journey. Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, selenium and zinc will be very important for me. I will also focus on exceptionally high quality protein, Vitamin E and essential fatty acids (EFA’s). The main principles will be to promote the reuniting of tissue fiber, facilitate protein metabolism and strengthen the immune system. Adequate fluid intake will also be a critical factor. I’ll be making sure I consume as much fresh, clean, filtered water as I possibly can.
Approaching this injury from a holistic perspective means that I will also look at the Body~Mind~Spirit connection closely. I recently read how the placebo effect has now been shown to impact surgery patients. The Baylor College of Medicine released a study in which 180 people participated. Of these patients, some were given knee surgery while others were merely anesthetized, a small incision made, but no instruments were inserted and no surgery was performed. Incredibly, all groups in the study experience the same recovery rates and reduction of pain. If this doesn’t demonstrate the power of the mind, I don’t know what does. Although I don’t have the option of being a placebo patient, I do have control over my mindset and thoughts. I will be actively practicing meditation, affirmations and visualization techniques to see myself recovering completely.
That’s where I am today. Many people probably think I’m crazy to not consider surgery. And that’s ok. I respect everyone’s opinion and choices. But respecting an opinion does not mean I must agree with it. If I have the choice of recovering naturally, safely and happily, OR having to undergo the unnecessary risk of surgery (the risks are a whole other conversation I could have) and a long, painful, miserable rehabilitation process, then I choose the first option.