Christine Joy is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, and Certified Yoga Alliance Teacher. She tore her ACL from an unfortunate fall, and is currently 2 weeks post op. She looks forward to getting back to training her clients and supporting her health and wellness goals, and can't wait to get back to teaching yoga, her passion.
1) Can you share your ACL story?
I have been playing Tennis since the age of 7, and was a cheeleader and powerlifter since the age of 15. Being involved in sports has always been part of my lifestyle. Never in a million years did I ever think I would sustain an injury! I relied on staying healthy, and building strong muscles to avoid any injury. I had always prided myself in having healthy knees and joints and never breaking a bone! As I got older, I noticed that my knees seemed to always be more unstable as compared to my younger years. Doing deep squats or plyometric jumps began to feel more strenuous and there were many times that I felt my knee buckling. But, I ignored the “different” feeling in my knees... specifically my right knee.
About 3 months ago, I was napping and awoke to use the bathroom. It didn’t register in my brain that my right leg fell asleep. As I took a step, my right knee buckled and hyperextended and I landed on the floor. As I stood up, I noticed weakness but nothing else. I drove to the Yoga studio and when I arrived, I noticed swelling and lack of stability in my knee, so I decided to go home to RICE my knee.
2 weeks later, I decided to see the doctor, who initially assessed that I may have torn my MCL. So, he ordered an MRI to go to if I didn’t see improvement in 2 more weeks. Well, those 2 weeks came an went with no improvement. So, I went for the MRI. After my primary doc got the results, he recommended I go to see an Orthopedic Surgeon. I waited 3 more weeks for an appointment. Upon his assessment and evaluation, he recommended ACL reconstruction. He gave me some time to think about it and make the decision. At that point in the game, I was tired of not feeling “whole”. My knee had always been strong and served me well and I didn’t want to continue without surgery. It was difficult to do personal training and to provide my clients without the best of me. Teaching Yoga became more difficult. I thought about it and decided the surgery would be best. My orthopaedic surgeon gave me the choice of allograft vs. autograft. So I decided on using my own tendons for the procedure. 3 weeks later, I was scheduled for surgery. Results from surgery showed a torn ACL. The OS attempted to pull the ACL to test for strength and he was able to pull it back very easily as it was hanging on by a thread
2) What was the hardest part of the experience?
The hardest part of this experience, even to this day, is the mental battle - I fought and still fight. I’m a very independent person and it's hard to watch my husband and kids take care of me. The pain was equally hard. I attempted 3 days with no Percocet as I weighed the pros and cons. Eventually, I decided that the pain was so fatiguing I needed rest. I really wanted to avoid the pain medication but am glad I was able to use it as a tool to help me in my first week post-op.
3) How did you stay motivated throughout the process?
Staying motivated has always been easy for me... but it hasn’t always come easy after surgery. Every day I move 1 step closer to progress. Listening to others who shared their experiences helped greatly. I saw that I wasn’t alone and found strength in others. Knowing that everyday, the likelihood of moving forward helped me to push and to continue to push through. To never give up. My motivation also lies in getting back to training clients and teaching yoga and helping make a positive impact in their lives. I want to get back to seeing their progress and motivating them to reach their goals...encouraging other Yogi’s to continue to dig deep in finding their authentic self through Yoga.
4) What advice would you give to other athletes on the road to recovery?
Tips? Stay positive! The pain after surgery is normal and after climbing that mountain, you’ll see it was worth the climb! Stay healthy through the process. Eat nutritious food, drink lots of water, but most importantly LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Rest when it needs rest! Follow the Dr.’s orders and be patient! (this is still hard for me to do at times)
5) Do you think this experience changed you as a person?
All I know to embrace is change! It’s the only constant I know. I never thought that this experience would change me... but it has! I’m grateful that now I can put pain and overcoming difficult physical challenges in perspective. I haven’t lost a limb, and I’m thankfully not fighting for life battling cancer. But this for sure, I am diagnosed as a high functioning Bipolar. My mental illness has never stopped me from reaching goals and milestones. I am determined to not let this physical ailment get in my way either!!