30 By 30: My Knee.

Posted in 30 by 30, My Life by

This is probably common knowledge to you. Or maybe not.

My knee is a bit of a mess.

It’s been that way for a long time. After a dance injury, I’ve been dealing with pain and inflammation in my knee for over 17 years. The symptoms would come and go, depending on the weather and my work load, but there was always some kind of discomfort. My youngest brother calls me “Old Lady Melanie”.  I tell my students I sound like Rice Krispies (crepitus) whenever I plié or bend. You can tell when I’m coming by the creaks and pops.

Timing and other situations discouraged me from getting it checked out.  I kept on teaching and performing; I had to. My livelihood is based around me moving around. But it put a damper on everything. Being in constant pain made me rethink if I wanted to continue dancing or could continue.  After a lot of thinking and prayer and discussing with folks close to me, I realized it was time. In the last month, I’ve been on a fast track to finding solutions. One MRI and a visit to an orthopedic surgeon, I found out what’s wrong.

Here’s what happened: I dislocated my kneecap when I was 12 (the initial injury), and on top of that, the cartilage has thinned a bit. A lot of medical terms are involved.  So with those ingredients = not-so-happy Melanie.

I won’t lie, I was concerned. Concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep the career I have. There was a lot of fear behind my thinking. Not good, but it happened. But I’ve been staying positive and focused on what I need to do.

So thankful that my doctor specializes in Sports Medicine – perfect! We talked about options on the healing process. Now, I’m wearing a new brace (my sister thinks it looks like an action figure mask), started physical therapy again, and doing more to give my knee the boost it needs throughout the day.

It’s not easy. I get frustrated. I want to get better but there are some hurdles.  But I’m feeling more confident in my work. I can go the extra mile during those long teaching days. But still, making sure I take care of myself when I’m at home or on the weekends.

Good news: Right now, I don’t need surgery (thank God)! That was my ultimate hope.

This was one of my goals for this year – to make moves in regards to my health. And thankfully, I am!


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