Conditions + Treatments
I'm a long distance runner. You know, I'm the one who, in her mid-twenties (after recovering from a hip injury that Dr. Emblom fixed), decided to run a half marathon...then a marathon...and kept on running. Training has never been easy for me. I battled injuries, particularly IT band syndrome, from the time I started training for my first half.
Being a physical therapist, I was able to manage most of my injuries on my own. 2015 was supposed to be my best year of running (until it turned into the year of 3 knee surgeries). I was training for the Boston Marathon, after all. I was in the best shape of my life, with 5 marathons and 15+ half marathons under my belt, and my times were getting faster. However, I started experiencing "new" knee pain late in 2014 that began to worry me.
I am an Alabama native living in WV and happened to go to Birmingham in December of 2014 as Dr. Emblom was performing surgery on my stepdad. So, while in town I saw Dr. E. for an injection as we both felt that once again, I was battling IT band syndrome. I struggled through training, spending most of my time on an elliptical, had a total of 3 injections in my knee, spent countless hours in PT, and still somehow managed to finish the 2015 Boston Marathon despite the injury.
Two weeks after the race, I ran an easy 6 miles, but afterward was in so much pain I could not walk. Knowing something was really wrong, I called Alexis and she got an order for an MRI. The day after the MRI, I was floored to find out that I had a vastus lateralis tendon tear in my right knee (or partial quadriceps tendon tear), not merely IT band syndrome. Surgery was scheduled for May 27, 2015. It went well, but unfortunately that same evening, I slipped and fell, re-injuring my surgical knee. We decided to see if I could rehab the injury. In the meantime, I underwent an IT band lengthening on my chronically ailing left knee on June 9, 2015 and had a spectacular, quick recovery. My right knee failed to improve and on September 14, 2015, Dr. Emblom performed a quad tendon repair on it.
I never could've imagined how hard recovery would be. This was my 5th orthopedic surgery, but by far the toughest to get over. Physically, I've never been through a greater challenge. I won't lie, recovering from this surgery was tough. Everything was hard. I struggled with losing my independence. I got angry when I had to use a scooter in the grocery store. It irritated me that I couldn't sleep well. I barely made it to and from work because driving would bring me to tears. Not to mention, therapy was hard, painful, and slow, giving me a new appreciation for what I put my own patients through. And because of these things (and 1,000 more), I refused to even consider running until it was an attainable goal. There were several times that I questioned Dr. Emblom on my ability to return to running. He constantly re-assured me that I would get there, but to be patient and continue working hard on strengthening my knee. In March of 2016, I began a running/walking program and was able to begin running more in July. I started training, but my focus was on becoming a stronger, better, healthier runner.
A year ago, my husband and I were at Virginia Beach two weeks before my last surgery while the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon was being held. I could not run, but I promised myself then that I would run that race in 2016. 502 long days stood between Boston and my comeback race. 502 days filled with ups and downs, hard work, stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give in to the struggle. I could not do it alone. God blessed me with a great surgeon, 3 wonderful PTs, and an army of friends and family who constantly encouraged me and prayed for me along the way. I can proudly say that on September 4, 2016, I made my comeback and finished the Rock 'N Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. It wasn't a PR and I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I'm back and my knee continues to feel better each week. My marathon goal is now tangible.
I can honestly say that without Dr. Emblom and his crew, namely Alexis, I would not have made it this far. I was willing to travel 600+ miles for surgery because he is the best of the best. As I tell people up here "he's just my guy" when it comes to orthopedic injuries. I know him from both the provider and the patient side, and I couldn't choose anyone else. I have complete confidence in Dr. Emblom, and I'm thankful for the confidence he's put in me to recover from this injury and return to the crazy running I love. Dr Emblom is compassionate, caring, and willing to listen to each patient's concerns. He is confident, knowledgeable, and does a fantastic job. Thanks once again, Dr Emblom, for getting me back on the road!