Monday, June 17, 2013

Who, What, Why, How?

I look back on how the hell it got here and I still don't know.  So I will at least try to give you guys a background that way you can compare your experience with mine and then think "I will be better than this dumbass."

At the time I had my surgery I was 29 and about to turn 30.  I live a very active lifestyle with a very inactive job - lawyer.  Yes, boo, hiss, moan, and hate. To my defense, I work primarily with small businesses and entrepreneurs so at least I am not an ambulance chaser, right?  Okay, so maybe you still hate me but, I promise, you will love me if you ever need me!  I play basketball, volleyball and workout several times a week among other things.

I played basketball my entire life.  When I was 17, I had a vertical of 34.5 inches.  I was a pretty good athlete. I was an exceptional athlete if you consider my genetics.  My father has a couple of athletic bones in his body but never pursued any sport seriously until golf later in life.  He was, however, a national champion debater and is the best lawyer I have ever seen in a courtroom.  My mom is creative, smart, witty and completely non-athletic in a traditional sense.  I don't mean to minimize my parents, but I don't think either one of them would describe themselves as athletic.  Their strongest attributes by far are their minds.  Something I take great pride in being their kid.

My brother, however, is a pretty good athlete but never an explosive athlete.  He rode competitive motorcross for a number of years and is an extremely talented musician.  My athleticism was manufactured through hard work, working out, proper diet, and sheer will to be good at something.  Athletics has always made it easy for me to make friends and it is a bond that will bind business relationships too.  Needless to say, I always saw athletics and sports as both fun but also something that was necessary to get ahead in life.  Many a deals are struck on golf courses and many a life-long clients are met through pickup volleyball, basketball, or whatever you love.  Passion makes people a believer in you.

My childhood was spent playing basketball 24/7.  I went to bball camps every single summer around the country (I lived in a lot of different places during summers - travel crazed mother who has single-handed cultured me through travel).  I was in sport or training for basketball year-round.  I ran cross-country, did track where I high-jumped, played golf or just worked out.  I was a basketball junkie - always searching for my next high.  I played street ball, went to every open gym, played every single day, rain, shine, snow, 110 degrees, whatever, I was playing.  I played against the best as much as I could.  I always guarded the best player and provided myself as being a "glue" guy - make open shots, rebound, guard any position and being the most annoying player on the court.  You hate JJ Redick and Shane Battier?  Mold those two together that was basically  my game.

When I went to college at the University of Oklahoma, I discovered something amazing: girls.  I had one girlfriend throughout my entire childhood and high school.  I just didn't have time for them and, if I am honest with myself, I was one of the popular kids but kind of a late-bloomer.  I was very academic minded and very much focused on sports.  I was pretty much a nerd.  In fact, my nerdiness led me to have the highest grade in every single class I took in high school minus one where I had the highest grade but the teacher decided a freshman shouldn't get the award over a senior.  First lesson in politics, age 15.

My discovery of the opposite sex led to another discovery: playing sports with girls in bikinis.  This led to my obsession with volleyball. I started playing indoor volleyball after I became friends with members of the OU Women's Volleyball team and from there picked up beach.  I discovered a group of AVP Next players that had gathered about 45 minutes from OU at a newly constructed beach volleyball facility, and I would go up there and watch/attempt to play nearly every day.  I would get my ass kicked, ridiculed, told to leave, probably spit on a couple of times but I would always show back up the next day ready to learn.  Finally, these guys stopped shitting on me and figured I was serious about learning.  A couple of guys took me under their wings and showed me how to hand set and how to jump serve - some of the most difficult aspects of beach.  Then they made me play in their league where every single AVP  Next player served me 100% of the time.  I was not allowed to bump set ever and I had to jump serve every single time.  I don't think I won a game and my partner yelled at me non-stop.  He was basically a pot-smoking, juiced up Bobby Knight.  It came crashing down one day when I told him to go get high and to f-off, but those 3-4 months had set in motion my love for the game.

I then went to law school at Duke.  In Durham, I discovered grass 2's volleyball.  I resisted the change from beach for a long time but finally got a good coed partner and started playing reverse coed.  That's where the guys must hit from behind the 10 foot line and it is played on a women's height net.  I began to love the format and how equal it made the playing field.  I don't consider myself that great of a player.  But I do consider myself an awesome volleyball partner.  Where most guys fail - setting and decent ball control the majority of the time, I worked on those aspects non-stop.  I am one of the few guys that can hand set and not get called 95% of the time.  I call myself for a double more than refs do.  I certainly don't think I am an all-star by any stretch - just a solid guy that was clearly taught by girls.  That being said, much to follow will sound like bragging but what you should really take out of it is this - don't be an f-ing dumbass like me.

My first grass tournament, however, was a complete disaster.  I was playing RevCo and doing fine and then went up to hit a ball and came down and was flat on my face.  I knew something was seriously wrong.  My back was in immense pain and I could barely jump anymore.  I finished the tournament (stupid, I know) and literally crawled back to my car and headed home.  I figured it was a pulled muscle and would ice and be fine in the morning.  Well, when I tried to stand up from my couch - I could have starred in one of those "help, I have fallen and can't get up" commercials because I literally couldn't get off my couch.  I was alone, still didn't have a ton of friends and in pain.  The next day I drove myself to the ER and waited 8 hours to be seen.  When they ask you at the ER what your pain is, the answer always is 50 out of 10.  I made the mistake of being honest and told them a 5/10 and that cost me about 7 hours of sitting around.

Long story short - ER told me I pulled a muscle.  I told ER they were idiots and I know what a pulled muscle felt like.  ER told me to take 3 months off.  I followed ER's directions.  Back didn't get better.  Went to see an Ortho  - MRI - L4-L5 and L5-S1 completely ruptured.  Insurance denies coverage - I wasn't having back surgery at 25 anyways and I spend a year rehabbing.  Today, no back problems.  This really is just to show - don't be an idiot and listen to your body and notice symptoms.

So, back to chicks and volleyball.  I started to play a lot more after I got my back into shape.  I got a great partner (who I still play with today and will play with in the future) and we had some success.  We won our first tournament we played together at the "A" level.  So, that summer we moved up to "AA" and got our asses kicked all summer.  However, when playing RevCo, I was getting served 100% of the time.  When this happens, you start to question if you suck or not.  But as that summer wore on, I got worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and soon wanted to never play RevCo again. I had decided it was the dumbest format ever.  Clearly, it wasn't because I sucked.

 It was at that point that I decided to reevaluate and figure out if I did just really suck at RevCo or if something else was making me decline.  I had had pain in my left knee for sometime and had assumed it was just jumper's knee, which there is no solution but taking months off.  That was not an option. So I just kept playing on it.  But by the end of the summer, I knew my skills in volleyball had improved but I had gotten worse.  My vertical was non-existent and I was having trouble with a first explosive step moving laterally.  So, I knew it was time to get it looked at.

After the summer season ended, I got a horrible case of turf toe as luck would have it.  Those pussies in the NFL should seriously have their man-cards revoked because I had a really bad case and I still played volleyball on it.  But, anyways, this led me to go get my sweet turf toe checked out and that's when I asked a Dr. about my knee.  He took a look at it and immediately called an Ortho down to look at it.  Next thing I know, I am having an MRI.  MRI reveals a complete lateral tear of my patellar tendon in my left knee.  Ortho tells me its the worst tear he has ever seen and he has no idea how in the hell I didn't rupture it, that makes two of us Dr. but only one of us is called Dr.  My options are shit or experiment.  Patellar reconstruction success is horrible.  However, I knew there were other option such as PRP (platelet rich plasma therapy) that had gained wild praise after some big-time NBA players went to Germany and said it revitalized their careers.  Well my Ortho was dabbling in it and was always looking for new people to track - so sign me the hell up.

Let me just tell you a little bit about PRP.  They draw blood, run it through a centrifuge, inject the plasma and red blood cells back into the tendon at the site of injury, in this case my patellar tendon with a needle.  Sounds like fun, right?  Yeah, it sucks.  The part they don't tell you is this: after they inject this massive needle through your tendon into the space behind it, they take another needle and start stabbing your tendon... a lot.  This is to make it bleed profusely because the whole process of PRP is to get red blood cells to repair the injury where there is little to no blood circulation.  So it literally feels like someone is stabbing you through the tendon.

The perk of my Ortho who did my PRP was that he really close to the training staff for the football team at Duke.  Yes, you might think to yourself: "Doesn't Duke football suck, like badly?"  For the most part, yes, however, their training staff is top notch.  I rehabbed with Douglas Andrews and he was simply amazing.  He is down in Savannah, Georgia now so if you need someone to rehab with in that area - he's simply the best.  I had to relearn how to squat, jump, run, land, etc. to ensure I had proper bio-mechanics so the injury didn't re-present itself. I returned to volleyball after 3 months and it was slow going.  Scar tissue is a big issue to get over but by mid-summer I was playing at my highest level yet and seeing good playing results.

That winter I discovered 4's indoor RevCo and started traveling more to play.  It was pretty much awesome but indoor takes a toll on the body.  I was playing a lot of volleyball and feeling really good about where I was.  It was the healthiest I had been in a long time so I continued to just play as much as my schedule would allow.

The following summer, my partner and I started out with a bang.  First tournament we played, it was the toughest field of "AA" - we weren't a seeded team and no one really thought much of us.  Per usual, everyone served me 100% of the time.  This time, that was a horrible idea.  My partner and I had played so much together she knew exactly how to set me and I was a lot more confident hitting from the 10 foot line. Plus, my left knee was working, finally.  We destroyed everyone on our net in pool play.  Breezed through the playoffs into the finals.  Won the first game handily and then the other team got smart.  They served my partner the rest of the way.  She literally had hit 10 balls all day - so she had no rhythm at all.  She was not the reason we lost - the other team came to life and played extremely well, but if the situation were reversed and my partner had been served all day and then I got served only for the finals - we would have lost 21-0 15-0 instead of only losing by a couple of points each game.

We lost the finals in 3, the third game by 2 points but it was clear - we were a team to be reckoned with.  I knew it was time to move up, so after a lot of discussion, my partner and I started signing up for "Open" the highest level you can play outside of professional.  We got our asses kicked, a lot.  We did beat some great teams, pushed others and made it off our net once.  Every tournament in Open we got better and that's what I loved.  We also traveled a lot that summer and won tournaments in other places and played against people who had never seen us play.  We were playing great until my partner hurt her back.  It's a lot for the woman in RevCo especially at the Open level.  The guys are rarely served because it was to your advantage to serve the women and have your woman partner block.  My partner got served probably 80-90% of the time and had to block 100% of the time.  She just got worn out and we played too much of a demanding schedule.

So after she shut it down for the season, I played in one last Men's tournament with a good friend.  He is smaller than me and we moved up to Open the day of the tournament which meant I would have to block 100% of the time.  Men's height always took much more of a toll on my body than RevCo and this day was no different.  The day started out fine but as we got to our second to last match - we were playing a coed team.  The girl literally served me off the court. It looked like I had no athletic ability.  My vertical dropped about 15 inches during the match and I knew something was wrong.  I had learned my lesson and told my friend I couldn't play anymore that something was terribly wrong.  He understood and I limped home.

This time it was my right knee. My so called "good" knee, the one I never had any problems with.   I had no explosive movement out of it at all.  It didn't really hurt but it did swell up.  I was scared to death.  I iced it, took all the appropriate measures but it still didn't feel right.  I had massive tightness and pain anytime I tried to really stretch my quad.  Then my leg started catching.  I literally couldn't straighten it out without it catching in the middle. So off to the Ortho we go!

And that is what landed me here.  The next post I will detail what the Ortho said and begin working towards the initial surgery, the rehab that followed that and what I did to prepare for the big one.

Questions or comments always welcomed but expect to be ridiculed if you ask stupid questions.  It is only fair, after all, I am a lawyer.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I hope to accomplish

If you are reading this, chances are you are considering ACI surgery and looking for information on what to expect and how painful it is going to be.  Answered: sucks and tons. You have stumbled upon the right blog.

I had no intention of writing a blog that covers my trials, tribulations, failures, pee adventures and fall from athletic grace and into the usefulness of a 6 month old baby.  In fact, I had surgery two weeks ago and just now decided to chronicle my experiences.

I read other people's blogs and was either annoyed as hell about their infantile writing style or frustrated that the information they had, while good, was dated.  It does not seem that anyone has made a blog covering all the surgical and recovery aspects recently - a lot can change in 2-3 years as far as medical advances and treatment.  In fact, my rehab protocol is likely to be vastly different than what most others will experience.

What I hope you will find from this blog is an informative blog about what to expect, how to plan for ACI and TTO surgery while maintaining a humorous and entertaining tone.  If you don't like the way I write, you are clearly illiterate and/or have no taste.  If you like the way I write, you are clearly illiterate and/or have no taste.

Let's chronicle this bitch and get the information out there that will make the months of being on your back all day (sounds fun and exciting, but remember you aren't getting paid or having sex) suck less and get you back to doing what you love to do faster.

If you have any questions along the way - reach out and I will answer them the best I can via email or phone.  So always feel free to email me at but make sure the title is something clever or I am likely to think you are some porn spam and delete your mail.

A lot of the posts that will follow will be post-dated.  I chronicled while it was  happening but that doesn't mean I posted it when it happened.  It was just easier for me to write and edit in word rather than on the blog itself.