9/22/14



It happens in the blink of an eye for some. One minute you are sprinting down the sidelines, or doing something as mundane as walking down the steps, and the next minute you find yourself sitting across from a doctor being told you need surgery. Life as you know it will be turned upside down temporarily, but those weeks or months will crawl by at a snails pace. Physical therapy can be boring, and combining that with the fact that you are going to be limited in what you can do until you are fully recovered makes for a tumultuous journey.


The truth is that the physical aspect of recovering from any surgery is the easy part. Follow steps A, B, and C, and when you are ready move onto D, E, and F. What makes this process difficult is like most things in life, not everything goes according to plan. You may be in the greatest physical shape going into a surgery but for some reason your body may not be ready to pushed to the next level during your course of rehabilitation. This is where your mind can get the best of you.


What if this surgery didn't work? What if I will never be able to play basketball again? What if I'm always going to hurt? The list of 'what if’s seems to pile up the longer you are unable to do what you want to do. You can have the perfectly laid out protocol from your doctor and physical therapist, but what if things don't follow that schedule? Just another 'what if' to add to the list. Speaking from personal experience, I have found there are several options to explore before giving up.


Talk to your doctor-

I know you may say you haven't seen your doctor since your surgery or when you do its for no longer than 3 minutes, but it will give you some piece of mind. At the very least, get friendly with their physician assistant & try to get an email address. One of my doctor's PA’s has gotten more emails from me than she probably ever cared for, but was kind enough to answer them all.


Trust your physical therapist-

As difficult as it may be, try to have some faith in your therapist. If they are trying new techniques and alternative methods rather than doing the same thing, over and over again, there is a pretty good chance they are listening to you and are trying to do what's best for you.


Do less, not more-

As crazy as it may sound, sometimes just backing off for a little while can make a world of difference. Many times I have noticed patients in the clinic getting antsy to do more. Your physical therapist should be able to challenge you without making the mistake of overloading the involved joint. Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways to make even the simplest exercise more difficult.


Talk to someone who overcame something similar to what you are going through-

Your closest friends and relatives may have no idea what you are going through. But there are many people out there who have gone through the same thing, if not worse than you. Between Facebook, twitter, and Google there is no reason you cannot find someone who has overcome the exact same trials and tribulations you have gone through. I was fortunate enough to reach several people from around the globe who were able to provide me with real life insight into what I was facing when I had my 6th knee surgery.


Remember you need to get your head right before you begin to feel right. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a short period of time after any surgery, but it’s counterproductive to your recovery if you continue to feel this way throughout the process. As long as you know that recovering from any injury is a journey, not a sprint, you will be just fine.

Yours in health,


Keith Pacific