I’m Having Knee Surgery…For the Second Time


Lizzie’s X-ray

Lizzie Schmidt, Editor

Surgery is a scary topic. For those that don’t know me, I had severe knee surgery during my freshman year of college. I was a flyer on my cheer team and was dropped from a stunt.  I tore my ACL, MCL, and both meniscuses. I have had knee pain ever since.

Having knee pain is something I have just had to live with. I can’t walk or stand for too long, I can’t sit in certain positions, and I can’t do specific exercises. However, I was getting better and back to my usual self thanks to physical therapy.

All of my progress came crumbling down at cheer practice one day. I came down from a stunt in a very odd way and heard a pop. I began crying and went to sit down.

I was told and convinced by my coach and teammates that nothing was injured. “My knees pop all the time; it probably just scared you,” my coach said. While I knew something was wrong, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Therefore, I agreed that it was probably nothing and went back to cheering.

I never told my teammates or my coach that I had something wrong. Certain teammates of mine said that I was making it up. Meanwhile, I was scheduling doctors’ appointments, MRIs, and physical therapy assignments behind the scenes. I finally got an MRI done that showed I had torn my lateral meniscus and had a cartilage defect in my left knee.

I am having knee surgery again.

I didn’t know how to react. My mom is my rock and advised me to quit my cheer team.

My mom said, “It isn’t worth continuing to stunt on it and further damage your knee.” I decided to leave. I originally wanted to stick it out until my senior day, as it was my senior season. However, I didn’t have the will within me to do this. My time had come to leave.

It was a hard decision, but I know it was for the better. My physical and mental health need time to heal, and being away from cheerleading is the only thing that will do that for me. Also, with cheerleading being gone from my life, I now have time to do things I enjoy, such as working and hanging out with friends.

The question remains: “How do you feel about having knee surgery for a second time?” To be honest, I am terrified. Having surgery on a part of my body that I need to use every day is something I can’t seem to wrap my head around. I know that the surgery will take less time to heal this time, but it doesn’t make it any less scary.

My hope in writing this article is for those who may be having surgery soon or are recovering from one; you are not alone. Surgery is hard, but you can do hard things. This is just a stepping stone to being the best version of yourself. You will heal.

I take my advice to heart. However, I know that surgery is temporary and will help me in the long run. As for the readers of this piece, I will update you on my journey once the surgery is over, and I am on the road to recovery.