Primary Medical Conditions: Cartilage and Ligament Damage
I am a young professional, a college graduate and fully active individual. I participate in such sports as hiking, yoga, mountain biking, surfing, running, skate boarding, skiing, as well as anything life throws at me sporadically (batting cages, golf, basketball, rock climbing, etc.) I enjoy hiking and backpacking, through back-country and established trails alike. I spend a lot of time camping and exploring local state parks such as Big Sur, Henry Cowell, and Big Basin.
I first injured my left knee night skiing when I was 16. I misjudged the steepness of the slope and after going over a small jump, lost footing and my left ski popped off and the landing was painful. I managed to walk down the slope to find my ski and the doctor said it was a sprain. I had no MRI or X-ray tests done. I was given an initial dose of Hydrocodone. I would take one a day and switched to 600 mg of Advil. After wearing a knee brace for 4 months, I felt better. Occasionally the pain came back, which I treated with Advil.
4 years later in college I tore my knee. I had just gotten to my friends show in the city and while I was standing and nodding to the music the injury happened suddenly and my knee buckled sending me to the floor in pain. White blinding pain. I thought I was either knocked over or that I blacked out from pain. I opened my eyes and saw my friends standing over me. I managed to get to my feet slowly, but felt like my leg wouldn’t support me.
Later MRI results concluded that I had torn my meniscus cartilage in my left knee and had scar tissue from the injury 4 years prior. I had chosen to do physical therapy coupled with heavy pain killers to bear through the pain and heal rather than surgery.
In 2009 I tore the knee again, this time picking a friend up as I was hugging her. The knee buckled as it did in the injury a few years prior, but this time her added weight caused me to collapse straight down. I went to the ER and had another MRI scan. I was heavily medicated with intravenous narcotic painkillers in the ER, followed by stronger painkillers for home. The results came back that I had torn my meniscus for the third time, as well as torn my LCL and partially torn my MCL. These are the two ligaments that support the outside of the knee joint. I was unable to walk for an entire month. I was in tremendous pain. Again I chose physical therapy over surgery.
This time around I was in rigorous therapy 3 times a week and in a pool 5 days a week. It was intense treatment, but this was when I began taking my healing into my own hands. I started treating myself with medical cannabis. I had been so out of it the first month of healing under a narcotic haze, I felt like a zombie. I felt that with the physical therapy and smoking cannabis I healed better and stronger than ever. Besides the occasional bump or strain, I have a resulting condition called “floating patella,” which mean both of my knee caps are held onto the knee joint with loose ligaments.