I haven’t written a blog in a while and it’s probably due to the fact that I haven’t wanted to talk about what happened to me at the end of my season. As many of you will already know, I tore my ACL whilst forerunning a boys race in Courchevel on the 5th April. My journey back to me skis is well under way and although it hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far, things are starting to look up.
It took about 2 weeks for the swelling to go down in my knee after the crash and to start feeling normal again. I’ve been lucky because my knee has been pretty stable and hasn’t caused me much pain. I had to wait for three days to get an MRI to confirm the damage after my crash. I was then told that I would likely have the operation in about a week’s time and there was no need to rush. A week later I flew to London to see a surgeon who told me I would have to wait 6 weeks for surgery due to the risk of scarring. I was devastated, in my mind I was about to waste 6 weeks and delay my return to skis for no reason. In France, where I had my crash, they overlook the risk of scarring and operate after a week. In Austria they try and operate on the same day. In the UK they wait 6 weeks. As frustrating as waiting is, the point is that I want a knee to last for the rest of my life, not just the next 10 years.
However, I still wanted to find a quick fix for my knee and I flew to Scotland to meet Dr Mackay who has a new “internal brace” technique for fixing ACLs. He could do the operation immediately and I could potentially be back on skis 4 weeks faster. My hopes were crushed again when Dr Mackay told me that because I had also stretched my MCL, my knee was too unstable for his operation to work.
So I flew back to the London to reorganise to see the surgeon to find out if I should be having my ACL repaired with a graft from my patella tendon or my hamstring. I had heard good and bad things about both operations but the doctor decided that, as a skier, a hamstring graft would suit me best.
The operation date was eventually confirmed for the 17th May, which is tomorrow. I can’t wait! It should mean that I am finally on my way to recovery and with nothing else standing in my way. Anything can happen but I can finally let myself believe that everything could take a turn for the better. It feels like the world has been against me for the past 6 weeks. When I first found out I had done my knee I didn’t wanted to give up skiing. I had watched friends work through months of rehab and I didn’t want to go through with it, I didn’t think I could. It didn’t take very long before my cravings to be back on skis took over and I knew I would do whatever it took to get back.
My prehab has been going really well and my legs are now stronger than they were at the end of the season. I know I will lose a lot of my work from the past month after the operation but in the long term recovery it will pay off!
I now really believe that this injury could be the best thing that ever happened to me. I still know that there are a lot of bad days to come before good ones but I have already learnt so much about determination and my own strength and my journey back to the slopes is only just beginning.