What a Difference a Year Makes
The post title says it all – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!
Yes I used all caps on purpose, because the past year has been one of change in my life and getting my life back.
Now what do I mean by that statement?
One year ago today I had exploratory arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. I had injured it in February 2010 and the initial diagnosis was Osteochondritis Dissecans, which meant that they thought I was going to be a great candidate for knee replacement and the exploratory part was to go in and see how bad it actually was. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t scared when I went in the hospital that day - I was.
However, what they found was great news for me! A piece of cartilage was the major problem, so the good doctor removed that offending piece and gave my knee a 50 year cleanup while he was in there. This discovery meant no knee replacement was in my future and that the first diagnosis was wrong!
It did mean that I would heal and get my old life back and I have completely - to the tune of being able to run 13+ miles in under 2:00:00 hours and improving. So if anything it is better than it was before and yes I am happy with the results. Thank you Dr. Golden.
Back up a bit
In the 15 months leading up to the surgery, my knee had gotten progressively worse and worse, until I had started walking with a cane and using the elevator at work instead of the going up or down stairs. Finally in April 2011 – I relented and went back to the doctor and requested the surgery they had recommended and I had delayed in September because school had just started.
Needless to say, I was in constant pain, had added 20 pounds to the 25 pounds, I was already needed to lose and was pretty miserable most of the time. I am proud to say that it didn’t affect my performance on the job too much, because I was still very well-respected and completed all of my teaching and special education duties in my usual professional way. However, as soon as I got home I would be sitting in my recliner and would just fall asleep, because I was so exhausted for an hour or so.
The strains and stresses that go along with teaching 3 blocks of special education English Language Arts and being a case manager for 15-20 students in a public school setting are pretty significant. When you add-on the constant pain and lack of exercise, I had developed what my wife described as a gray pallor in my face which never been there before. I am usually full of energy and always doing “something” and by April 2011 I was just tired all the time – she was very worried about my health and so was I.
Changes were needed
It was very clear to my wife and I that we had to change something.
After the surgery we sat down to discuss our future and what we wanted to be doing. She had retired a couple of years earlier due to a variety of reasons, including her own health and was enjoying her retirement.
Based on her positive experience with retiring, we decided that I should resign from my teaching position – go into retirement (using my Coast Guard retirement) or as I preferred to call it, a sabbatical for a year. That way I could focus on my getting my health back and decide whether to stay retired or return to the work force after the year was over.
The Year is Over
I no longer look like that person in the photo – thank goodness.
I have my health back – having lost over 40 pounds, there is a sparkle in my eyes that was missing last year at this time and I just feel great about the progress I have made in that year.
No it wasn’t always easy or painless, but I have worked through and am now in the best shape I have been in the last 20 years.
The biggest problem I have now is finding clothes that fit – those old 36-38 waist pants, just don’t fit the same and the large shirts look more like a tent than anything on me, but it is a great problem to have.
However, we also had to make a decision about whether I should stay retired or go back to work.
Back to work decision
As you can see from this blog, we made the decision that I should look for employment and I am learning a lot about the job search requirements in today’s world.
Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision to have the surgery one year ago today and that taking a year’s sabbatical to regain my health and decide what to do with myself professionally was one of the “doing the right thing for the right reason” actions that needed to be done.
To celebrate my 1 year anniversary, I am going down to Portland, running 2 laps around Back Bay, going to the Portland Running Company for a seminar on Newton shoes and having my running gait analyzed. That is what a difference the year has made – I have my health and the twinkle is back in my eyes.
Now to find a job .
If you are interested in my qualifications and experience, please download my Resume, read my About Me page, go to my LinkedIn account, read my other blog “A Veteran Runnah” or better yet ask me by contacting me directly – by clicking here.