11.17.2008

135. Rejoice With Me!

I am very happily trying to remember how to walk normally.

In the early nineties, when we lived in Ft. Worth, TX, I injured my knee. I was going to run and I was stretching my right quad with my right foot tucked under my rear as I was seated on the floor. I leaned back to stretch the quad and I heard a loud POP from my knee. I felt it too. Not pain surprisingly, but I certainly felt it.

You may not believe me when I tell you that I went ahead and ran, but I did. There was not the pain which you would have expected if I had really torn something up. Later, however, there was swelling and stiffness and the joint did not feel stable. In fact, it hasn't felt stable since then and any over-exertion would make it stiff and achy.

We didn't have insurance at the time, I was just a poor seminary student. I have often thought I would have to have surgery eventually to fix it. I like to run and I like to hike and a balky, unstable knee which is prone to stiffness and pain puts a real damper on those activities. Someday, I thought, I'll get it scoped or whatever.

Recently, a friend and I were talking and I discovered he had hiked a week's worth of the Appalachian Trail. The AT, if you do not know, is the Holy Grail of hiking here in the states. The trail extends unbroken from northern Georgia to central Maine. It's been something I wanted to do since I heard of it, though my responsibilities would prevent me from taking the six months out of my life to do it all at once. I thought it would remain only a dream.

My friend, also with a desire to hike the AT, had hit on the idea of doing it a week at a time and eventually covering the whole thing. And he asked if I wanted to go the next time. Of course I did. We talked about training and the demands the trail puts on a person. Like, periodically walking uphill for half a day.

Enthused, I began exercising the next day. I got up early and went to run. And as I ran, my unstable knee began to complain. Loudly. And I began to think. If I couldn't trust my knee, I wouldn't be able to commit to a week of 12-15 hours a day on a very demanding trail. Well, I thought, maybe now's the time for surgery. But then I thought, what about the recovery time? Could I be ready?

I prayed. I don't remember what I said exactly, but I asked God to help me with my knee in light of the opportunity of the hike and the possibility of failure. I finished the run and my knee was hurting. I went to work that day, came home that evening and was going about my routine. I was seated at the table and turned to speak to my wife. My knee went POP.

I didn't think too much of it at the time because it has popped every now and then since Ft. Worth. But the next day my knee did not hurt. Not only did it not hurt, it felt NORMAL. I stretched my leg very tight like when you have "growing pains", which would typically be slightly painful. No pain. It felt stable. I began to try to move without favoring it, which I have unconsciously done for over 10 or 12 years. No pain. Stable.

It has been a week now and my knee still feels fine, and not a day has passed without my giving thanks to God. I believe He heard me and answered me about my knee. I did not ever know the severity of my injury and so I don't know what was involved to fix it. All I know is, I used to have a bad knee and I asked God to help me and it's fine now. At least as good as a 50 year old knee is supposed to be, anyway.

Rejoice with me, for this knee I had lost has been found!

2 comments:

Kathy said...

I am rejoicing with you! Press
on, my Dear!

Bob Wingate said...

Praise the Lord, Mike! I seem to recall you mentioning a knee injury, but I hadn't realized it was to that extent. Anyway, your healing is certainly a cause to rejoice!

As for the Appalacian Trail, I was acquainted with a guy (at a place I used to work), who took time off to walk the AT. As I recall, he started in Georgia and ended the walk in Maine. He brought back some beautiful photos and had quite a lot of stories to tell.

The walk one week at a time plan is interesting. Chris suggests you consider walking the toughest stretch the first week.

I sure want to hear more about this as you make your plans...and especially after you walk your first week.

I'm sure you'll find out what hiking / backpacking / camping equipment you'll need to have. You might also want to have a camera and a pad of paper and some pencils, in case you're inspired to sketch or write.