I’ve yakked a lot about my recovery from chronic knee pain.
But it’s been almost three years since Saving My Knees was published. What have my knees been like since then?
I’m prompted to write this because here’s how most people would address someone who “beat” knee pain:
“Glad to hear you’re doing better. Hope your knee pain doesn’t bother you too much anymore, and hope you keep improving!”
My knees feel fine. I cycle hard again. I ride as much as 70 miles in one day, on the weekends. I’m right there in the thick of the sprints, and plenty of times I win too. When I return from cycling, I don’t ice my knees. I don’t take a couple of aspirins for “the pain.”
There is no pain. Period.
My knees still crackle a little, but much less than before. If I drop into a deep squat and straighten up, there isn’t an awful ripping sound from my joints.
There’s no sound. Nothing.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Great, so the post-recovery period is totally smooth, no bumps, no problems.”
Nope. If that were so, I wouldn’t bother writing this post. The truth is, the post-recovery -- like the recovery itself -- is a process. I remember taking a bus from Boston to New York City for job interviews in the fall of 2009 -- a full year and a half after I quit my editing job in Hong Kong so that I could focus on healing my knees -- and my joints grumbled some on the four-hour bus ride. And they did as well after I rejoined Bloomberg and had to sit, once again, at a desk for 10 hours a day.
Around that time, there were also moments, now and then, when I felt instability in my knee joints. There were times when, descending an escalator to the subway platform at day's end, I could feel that my knees weren't 100 percent yet. Last year I had some occasional and mild burning in my knees while sitting at work (I had a little this year too, though less). I closely monitored the situation, and it never got worse. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was related to the intense cycling, because during the off-season, my knees went back to feeling 100 percent normal.
Anyway the point is simply that healing knees is a long, long process. I know no one likes to hear that, in an age of instant gratification. But I really believe it’s the right message, because it's true.