Here's to being straightforward about my time in Korea, beginning with my health. I've been struggling with a torn ACL since late June, but I haven't notified all of my friends and family back home in the States. Tending to my knee injury has consumed much of my energy during the short time I've already spent in Korea, and it will probably continue to do so until I can receive complete treatment. I'm working diligently to receive permission from my elementary school and my program to return to Los Angeles for a full two months during winter break for ACL reconstruction surgery and initial physical therapy. The first two weeks I would spend bedridden with an ice machine and range-of-machine machine. Within 3 months, I'll be able to run. Overall, I'd need 6-8 months of PT following surgery for 95% recovery.
This is ACL tear #2, so I already have a surgeon and physical therapist lined up. My surgeon is Dr. Tibone from USC, and he treats the Trojan football team. I'm wearing the same athletic knee brace that the linebackers wear on the field. Kinda cool, no?
If this news is new to you, I'll start from the top. I fell off of my skateboard riding downhill late at night three weeks ago before coming to Korea. I was trying to blow off some steam about lost pictures on my external hard drive. I was with my younger brother, Kevin, and we were just coastin' down Descanso Drive with my headlamp and longboard. Come hill #2 and I felt uneasy as I gained speed and a parked car came into view. In anticipation of running into the car, I stuck out my left leg to halt myself and my ACL tore in response to the impact. I continued to fall off of my board and soar until I landed with a thud on the ground. I've got a mad scar on my hip to prove it.
Surprisingly, I've had more difficulty emotionally dealing with all of this. Physically, I can operate at 75% of my health, which is enough to get by for a year. But I can't run or play sports. There's a volleyball league in Cheong-ju and my principal was so excited to hear that I played, but I won't be able to take part in any of that. At least until I get a new ACL, and that could be months. It's hard to fully accept my physical capacities, especially since my desire to stay active hasn't subsided one bit. I have to be patient with myself all the time and stop myself from taking on more than I can handle, and it's difficult to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin. Probably more so because I take, or rather took, so much pride in my health and strength. Luckily, I have the support of my family back home, my host family, and the other ETAs in Korea who are my emotional backbone lately.
More to come, I promise.