Knee arthroscopy to repair a torn meniscus
Wednesday October 1, 2008 - 47.6097° N, 122.3331° W
Recently a few people have asked me if I really did undergo knee surgery a few days before going back to Russia in April 2008.
The answer is a resounding YES and let me explain the reason why.
Back in October 2007, while running the North Face 50 miles endurance run on steep trails (over 10,000 feet elevation climb and descent) in the Cascade range, I tore a ligament in my meniscus.
This was partly the result of having ran over the years multiple intense 100 miles and beyond non-stop running races, (see profile for more details).
The "wear and tear" eventually impacted my right knee beyond potential physical therapy repair.
Between October 2007 and March 2008, I followed an intense physical therapy process, hoping to heal my knee in a natural way, prior to returning and continuing my expedition in the Chukotkan tundra.
In vain, I realized in late March 2008 that knee arthroscopy was the best and only option to avoid further damages in my knee. I also learned at the time that if I did not take care of the problem, I could run the risk of having my leg locked in a specific position in the middle of the tundra which could have represented a serious obstacle for my solo expedition, as you can imagine….
So, I underwent surgery on March 30th and thanks to a fast recovery and modern medicine, was able to fly to Russia on April 8th, and started trekking on April 16th 08 , able to pull a 250 lbs sled !
As a result of the knee arthroscopy, I only suffered from a slight discomfort in my knee on the first few days of the expedition.
I believe that I have now fully recovered but understand that my ultra running days are over if I want to be able to complete this human powered globe circumnavigation.
As I used to say, "I only have x amount of ultra running miles in my body and I want to use them the most efficiently, partaking in the races that I love the most before my body runs out..."
Therefore, I am glad that I got to run some beautiful races and that hopefully I will still able to trek, hike and bike for decades to come!
Finally, I want to recognize that I have been blessed to be raised and continue to live in parts of the world where I can benefit from such medical advancements. For example, would I have been born as a Karen or a Chin in the Burmese jungle, I would most likely be now limping for the rest of my life with a torn meniscus and without any chance of recovery....