Thursday, June 28, 2018

Crash and Burn ACL

Life has a funny way of telling you to slow down sometimes.

Shortly after my last blog post back in October, the winter season kicked off. I was already ramping up for winter fun and looking at buying a new set of skis. The set of skis I have been using for nearly the last 5 years of living up here were given to me by a friend. They were great considering I still was not 100% confident on skis to begin with.

3:00am Morning after Surgery
This year I decided, I deserve new skis! Also, I had purchased a pair of AT boots for back country skiing the winter prior- to then never use them due to lack of snow on the ground. The fall came and went and before I knew it we were getting dumped on with snow storm after snow storm. Everyone was out getting their first turns of the season in and I was anxious to do the same.

A few of my friends invited me out for New Years Eve night skiing for locals at Bretton Woods. Given it was one $12 for 2 people it was well worth the money spent. I met up with a friend Caitlin and carpooled to BW with her while the other 2 girls were running a little late and were going to meet us there.

We put our boots on and skis and hit the chair lift.

First run, I was being a bit cautious as I was trying to get a feel for my new boots and skis all at the same time. I started carving to hard and boom! Just like that my left ski popped off. I got my ski back on and continued down the ski trail.

Day 2 Post Op
We hit the chair lift for our second run of the night. I continue to tell Caitlyn how odd it was that my ski just popped off and maybe my bindings were set correctly. Then, I continued to tell her a story from the first time I ever strapped anything onto my feet when I was a kid. It was a snowboard and i went down and tore quite a few ligaments in my left knee.

We got off the lift, she went to the far left and I stayed on the ski trail. I decided to take it a bit slower this time around and really focus. My right ski boot was too tight and my left was feeling loose. Things weren't feeling good and before I knew it, I was on the ground.

Day 4 Post Op
Yelling every cuss word in the book. I had gone down, and this time injuring myself. A ski patroller coming up on the lift had seen me go down and skied down to me to see if I needed help. I explained to him it was my left knee and yes, I needed help. I was in severe pain.

He had me just lay there for 20 minutes, in the same position I went down in. The pain sharp and shooting directly up my leg and into my back. I just let tears roll down my eyes, remembering the time it happened to me as a child. The same feeling of pain, I knew I had done something pretty bad to my knee.

3 Days Post Op
Day 5 Post Op Bruising

Eventually, someone came with the ski litter, packaged me up and skied me down the mountain and back to first aid. Put a splint on my leg and sent me on my way.

After an ER visit, an appointment with an Orthopedic SHOULDER specialist, and finally and MRI almost a week later, I had made an appointment with the best ortho surgeons in NH and found out I had torn my ACL. A common injury that happens to a lot of skiers.

1 Week Post Op Stiches out
I was in a brace for a week, and on crutches. After visiting with someone who actually knew what they were talking about- I got back to doing everything as normal. I started running, biking, and hiking again. I wanted to push the surgery out for as long as I could, but it was not advised to do so.

On Thursday June 22, 2017 I had an ACL Autograft reconstruction and meniscal tear fixed. So far the recovery hasn't been all that bad. Minimal pain, and a little bit of swelling. So far the most discomfort I have been in has been the itchiness where my stitches are.

I have no doubt I will be back at it as soon as the doc gives the "Go Ahead".

I had my Surgery done at Littleton Regional Hospital by Dr. Kauffman from the Alpine Clinic in Franconia. I have to say, LRH by far was outstanding with how well I was treated and the unique care they have.

Photos of my ACL/Meniscus Repair
Six months later, I thought I was finally on the mend. I was given the "okay" to resume activities slowly. However, I just knew there was something wrong. I was having shooting pains down my entire lower half of my leg, loud cracking noises at random times, lots of stiffness when keeping my knee bent for long periods of times, and the worst of it all was the loss of my full extension I worked so hard to get back too.

6 Months Post Op working on Extension
I spent those six months seeing my doctor every 3-4 weeks. Finally in early December I asked to have a second MRI done just to verify there wasn't anything in there. 

Results came back fast and sure enough a giant ball of scar tissue had lodged its way in-between my bones. It was called a Cyclops lesion.

Definition: Localized anterior arthrofibrosis (cyclops lesion) is the second most common cause of extension loss after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

After much research on this, I found out this is very rare for patients to get. But it sure as shit happened to me. Nonetheless, my doctor scheduled me in for a second surgery, this time arthroscopic to remove that ugly one eyed monster that formed in my knee.

I was back on crutches for another week, and this time quickly healed.

Over one year later after my surgery, I am finally on the mend but not without pain and a little bit of scar tissue still lingering. I am please with the results and come to the realization that I just have crazy fast healing powers! hah.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Search and Rescue Promotion


In 2011 I was living in Boston and looking for something new. A change of pace, a different job, a new lifestyle. I really started to enjoy hiking and hiking solo. I was looking for some way out of the life I was currently living.

One day I was in Eastern Mountain Sports where I picked up the book Not Without Peril. I started to read it and enjoy every story, chapter by chapter. I was sucked into this life of a rescuer saving lives in the Mountains of New Hampshire. I suddenly realized, that is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help save the lives and lessen the suffering of those in the wilderness enjoying the same sort of adventures I was starting to enjoy.

I badly wanted to teach and educate others on how to be prepared for a worst case scenario. I applied to NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and I also applied for a job at the Mount Washington Observatory. I shortly heard back from the Observatory and I was hired the same day as my interview.

After working on the Summit of Mount Washington for about a month, I learned of the state park manager who gave me an application for the Adroscroggin Valley Search and Rescue Team. I filled it out emailed it back to him and he told me to just show up at the Annual Meeting in October.

I did exactly that. I made plans with 2 other new members to have my "Shake Down Hike". This was to be accepted onto the team as someone who would be capable of what they would need in a new team member. Working on a team of rescuers, it is not just about going on a hike. There is many more moving parts to being on a rescue, recovery, or hasty search.

My first call came in and was called in as a rescue. I checked in at the parking lot and was asked if I would be okay on a recovery. I responded with yes, having absolutely no idea what I was going to experience.

It's now been 4 years and I am going onto my 5th season volunteering for AVSAR. I have been on a variety of different carry-outs, recoveries, and hasty searches. I have participated in many trainings and have learned so much about myself as a volunteer and about others in how they respond to us as rescuers.

This past spring was one of the busiest springs in the 4 years Ive been volunteering and my schedule finally allowed me to participate quite a bit in rescues. October 20th was our Annual Meeting, that I was looking forward too. At our meeting there were 3 board members who had done their 3 year term and were ready to step down from their positions on the board. This meant there would be 3 NEW members to take on those roles and responsibilities. Myself and another who was on my shake down hike with me were elected and voted in to sit on the board for the next three years.

I was absolutely thrilled to hear this and look forward to my new duties ahead with AVSAR. I am now sitting on the Board as Secretary and couldn't be more proud of the hard work and dedication that my team shows to each other and the compassion we all have to help save lives everyday!

AVSAR is a private, non-profit, 501-c-3 organization. While centered in the Gorham-Randolph area, its members reside in all corners of the White Mountain region, and respond to authorities' requests for assistance throughout the area.
If interested in making an in-kind donation to help support the team click on DONATE NOW.