In 2016, I left the UAE and walked away from the only exciting part of my life in the Middle East – actively playing for Etihad Airways.
To speed up my grieving process, as soon as I came home to the Philippines, I immersed myself in the daily games of the Nueva Vizcaya Football Club, our province’s official soccer team.
In 2017, during one of our afternoon games, I crossed the ball from the wing side and my right foot landed on a hole in the ground. I heard a snap and felt a shooting pain on my right knee.
I rested my leg for a few days and was up and running that same week. But every time I tried to strike a goal, the pain came back, making my kicks powerless.
I visited a doctor who said I had Synovitis Bilateral Knee and that I should stop playing for a while. A month later, I moved to New Zealand. I followed my doctor’s advise. Apart from a few lonely minutes of kicking by myself, I stopped playing for a whole year. I gained 10 kilos after this. Scary!
In 2018, I came back to the Philippines and entered the world of Paragliding. My instructor knew I had leg problems so we were extra careful with my knees.
Later that year, I was in Sabah, Malaysia for a flight training when I had the opportunity to play in a friendly football game. It has been over a year of no serious kicking so I was confident my knee should be ok.
On the field that day, I did a side-step just after the whistle blew to signal the start of the game. An agonizing electric-like pain from my knee threw me on the ground. I landed on my knees and rolled myself out of that field like a panda bear. The game was just starting! It was so embarrassing! Haha.
I was brought to the hospital and the doctor put me in a wheelchair, then a crutch. I stayed in bed for 1 month and gained another 10 kilos after that. Sad.
In 2019, someone lended me the resources for an over-all health checkup which included an MRI for my knees. I was finally diagnosed with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear and Complex Medial Meniscus Tear on my right knee.
After 3 years of erratic pain, we figured out what was wrong with me. It was so obvious, can’t believe I missed it. If only MRIs are not so expensive, I could have known earlier.
By this time, my left knee was also becoming unstable, because of my massive weight gain. I had to put my paragliding training on hold for one year and was forced to work in the sidelines for everybody, while watching them fly.
I consulted 2 doctors and they both recommended surgical reconstruction for me. The overall cost for surgery, rehabilitation, screws and medicine range from 150,000 to 300,000 PHP. This depends on the severity of injury and your choice of doctor, hospital care and quality of screws.
My procedures were quoted to cost more than 250,000 PHP. But what scared me more was the 9 months of downtime for recuperation. Being inactive for that long will definitely trigger my depression.
It took me months of thinking and researching before I ended up choosing a non-surgical alternative – a regenerative treatment option that costs cheaper and has shorter healing time than surgery.
More about that on my next post!