Saying thank you for what’s over that hopeful horizon

happy new year my leg hurts

I run. That’s what I do. It’s how I start my day, and it’s what I think about — preparing mentally (how far, how fast?) as well as practically (what will I wear?) — before I go to bed.

I run until I can’t. Which is where I am now. For the last year (and to be honest, for off an on a couple of years before) my the back part of my left knee has been giving me trouble. I had an MRI last August, but by the time I returned home from Colorado and had a follow-up appointment, I felt fine.

“Great!” my orthopedist said, adding that he had planned to call in his colleague, who is a surgeon. “We just want to see you if you’re hurting.”

I ran the Turkey Trot and the half portion of the BMW Dallas Marathon. Both races went well; I felt wonderful and happy.  

But the twinges I’d had a week before the half developed into more. Two weeks later, I was really hurting, so went back to the orthopedist. This time, I talked to the surgeon, psyching myself up to hear his pronouncement. He examined me after a physical therapist had done so, and their conclusion was the same: My hips are out of alignment, which is causing all that ruckus behind my knee. True, I have a torn meniscus, but if that were the problem, they said, I’d never have been able to run those races.

They recommended lots of physical therapy, which I’ll start on Tuesday. Surgery wasn’t even mentioned, which made me all but burst with relief and delight, right there on the examining table.

“You can’t even imagine,” I started to say to the surgeon before catching myself. “No wait; I bet you can imagine how excited this makes me.”

He laughed and nodded. “I’ve worked with a lot of runners,” he said.

My leg still hurts; I’m not sure why I expected it to be pain-free just because surgery wasn’t mentioned. But I am ever so thankful as I hold onto the reassurance I heard twofold during that appointment that I will indeed run again.

So for good news, for hope, for a leg that hurts but one day will again carry me far…The Grateful Runner says thank you.

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