When Life Pops Your Knee… Make Lemonade.


I’ve never been good with remembering idioms but as long as you’re picking up what I’m putting down then it doesn’t really matter.

Three weeks ago my knee went “pop” when I landed a tiny jump from setting a volleyball. I remember contacting the ball, hearing the pop, thinking “omg my knee is dislocated,” and then curling into a fetal position clutching my right knee trying to force myself to breath but not being able to. 

I remember hearing voices far away “are you okay?” “What happened?” “Can you move?” It seemed liked an enternity before my head stopped spinning and for me to realize I was holding my breath. 

My team mate Mel assessed my knee and being experienced in orthopedics she quickly informed me it wasn’t looking good. 


I booked an appointment the next day to the Acute Knee Injury Clinic and then went straight to my family physician to prescribe me radiographs and an ultrasound.  Initially it seemed it may have been a minor tear and my heart was happy.

A week later at my Acute Knee assessment I was informed that it was confirmed as a full anterior cruciate ligament tear. 

“What?” 

I don’t think I heard her correctly. She said the MCL and LCL looked great and then she said something about something. 

“How do you know? Do I need an MRI?” 

“No you don’t need an MRI because we knows it’s fully severed.”

I don’t know why but I’m pretty sure my eyes started tearing up. All the hopes and dreams of the summer … climbing…. paddling … surfing, seemed to collapse around my little heart and squeeze.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my jaw and tried to absorb this new intel. 

I asked what was next. What the expected healing process was and how long. 

Apparently many people including athletes can continue life without an ACL as long as they wear a brace whenever they are engaging in sports. Some people choose to have the surgery and it could take 3-9months for surgery and up to year to fully heal. 

You can imagine what was going on in my brain. Math. I was mathing out the next 2 years of my life.  3 months to heal from this initial tear. Then surgery. Then  healing all over again. 

Over the years I’ve trained myself to better deal with obstacles thrown in my face. I give myself time to absorb and process the information, grieve and then onwards and upwards.


The first week and a half I spent elevating, icingy knee and taking anti inflammatories. I ordered a K2 Comfortlite custom knee brace immediately, which arrived a few days later.


The second week I began to increase mobility with the assistance of a hiking pole and resumed playing discgolf. I went back to work. No word of a lie I think disc golf helped expedite the rehabilitation of my knee. Low impact activities to promote mobility. It’s easy to want to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself but the stiffness that follows is what is truly debilatating.

Now in the third week, I’ve begun to climb easy routes, hike short easy to moderate terrain and continue disc golfing. My followup appointment to see my progress and initiate a consultation for surgery will be happening in the next couple days. 


I’m more motivated now to actively develop my leg muscles and push hard to strengthen my legs before my upcoming surgery, and also so I can climb and paddle this year. If all goes well I’ll have surgery booked for the late fall of 2017 and I’ll spend all my off time making chalk bags and painting

All in all for those going through the same thing, I want you to know yes, it sucks but if you want it bad enough you can get back to where you were before and maybe even become stronger than ever. 32 is going to be the most epic ACLrecovery year ever. 

Follow me on Instagram @Melba_Seto and Facebook @MelbasToast.com to see what someone without an ACL can accomplish. 

The Road to 12a – Part 1.

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Villia Maria, Colombia

The last couple years I’ve been saying “This is it. This is the year I start climbing 12a.”

Yet one thing after another kept getting in the way of my climbing goals. Work, time, travel, excuses and excuses. It really mainly came down to not being able to balance work, life and finances to allow for enough climbing time.

2015 was a completed write off due to the Woods Canada Dream Job gig. Which was amazing of course, but I spent maybe 15 days total, climbing that year.

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How to Farm Awesome. 

Lately I’ve been incredibly elated knowing that my circle of people are so amazing. I have the best people in my life. People that give it their all and constantly challenge themselves to grow.

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Be Like Mike. 

 

mike bannerEveryone wants to be like Mike. The world is full of “I wish I could, ” “I want to do that,” and “if only,” kind of people. I am here to tell you, that you can, you will and you are. It’s up to you to say “Yes. ” Read my post about The Importance of Yes Friends.

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Adventures with AdamsMom: Episode 2 “Lake Louise jest bardzo piękny!”

A Week In Calgary with A Polish Mom.


The same day we hiked Johnston Canyon and Pilot Pond, we decided to also check out Lake Louise. Since AdamsMom only had one week to visit us, we obviously wanted to take her out on as many epic adventures as possible.

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Clip it, Clip it Good. 


It feels like forever since I’ve climbed. Since Potrero Chico in January. As I scroll through my photos and read all these climbing posts and like all these epic Instagram climbing photos I think “I can’t wait to clip it.”
  
For me that’s the ultimate moment in climbing. The clip. Your left leg is flagging while your right foot is balanced most precariously on a tiny crystal. Your left hand crimping hard on a microcrimp and then you realize you should have grabbed the microcrimp with your right hand and now you’re screwed so you try to cross clip with the right hand all the while trying not to pop off the wall. 

  
This is the moment. You slowly start to pull up the rope. It’s short. You yell “clipping!” The timing is off and your belayer is trying to feed the rope, while you’re pulling and it’s snagging. You’re starting to pump out.  “CLIPPING!” Don’t think about how far that last bolt is. 

“Slack!” 

“I’m sorry!!!!!! ” 

“Slackkkkk!!!!!” 

“I’m trying!!!” 

Clip.

  
You take a deep breath, your whole body relaxes. The pump is going away and you pull through to the next “jug.”

Sigh. This is my favourite. This push. To hold on when everything seems to be going against your favor. There’s a 95% chance you’re going to fall, and somehow you manage to mentally and physically push yourself through extraordinary means to stay on that wall. 

  
And then on top of that you somehow manage to send your project. Exhilarating .

There is no other passion of mine that gives me greater fulfillment than climbing. Yes, I love to paddle, do pottery, paint, act and play in the bush, but only climbing pushes my limits mentally and physically. 

  
Through sport climbing I have been able to experience such great failures and overcome the same failures. It’s incredible. It’s indescribable. That feeling to work on something over and over again and fall. Sometimes falling many times. Sometimes in the same spot. 

Then that one time you get a little bit of a better hold or get half an inch closer to the next bolt, it suddenly becomes all worth it. 

To clip that last clip. Even to clip just the next clip. It’s the greatest release of endorphins ever. 

This season I’m going to clip it. Clip it good. 

Happy Birthday. Father.

When I was a kid, even now, people around us thought my dad was not as present as he should be, or that he was too hard on us, or that he should do better in this and do better in that. Everyone always has something to say. Under our particular circumstances I think he did a remarkable job. I just wanted to say thank you.

My dad was visibly a single dad for 3 years. From when I was born until he met my stepmom. And even then – he was a single dad. Just, a “married” single dad.

He worked 5 days a week, 8 hours to 10 hours a day. After which he would either come home and cook or bring home Chinese takeout. When my brother and I were older, we began to cook. Then he would placate my stepmother for hours until she would let him sleep and then repeat.

On the weekends my dad would tend to the garden, run errands, buy groceries and cook the legendary meals I know him so well for.  He did pretty much everything.  He did pretty much everything with more patience and endurance than any other human could, in the situation we were in.

Thank you Dad, for providing for us.

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From my dad, I learned the foundation of being an epic human being. He is huge part of why I have a passion for communicating with my fellow human. He taught me the value of patience and how practice makes perfect.  When I was growing up my dad would play ping pong with me in the basement and teach me that repetition and perseverance is how we become better at something.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10 000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick, 10 000 time. ” Bruce Lee.

This is where I get my dedication from. People always regard me as someone who’s very active and seems to be involved in a lot of things. However, those who know me well, know that I don’t just randomly dabble in things. They know that when I am faced with a new challenge I tend to face it again and again and again until I get it. Or at least until I progress. Then I might take a step back and try again later.

Thank you Dad, for teaching me dedication.

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One of my favourite things that my Dad would do for me (and still does on occasion), was that he would bring home a Readers Digest magazine whenever he received the latest subscription.  I never really thought much about it until about high school, when I realized that while everyone else around me was reading Fashion and entertainment magazines I was always drawn to community stories and real life inspiring stories. I really believe that because of this little tradition of exposing me  to Reader’s Digest magazines, I became a better human. A human that thought more about others and learned compassion and to this day draw from lessons that some of those stories taught me.

For instance some of you may even be familiar with the story about  about Major James Nesmeth. He was a man that spent seven years in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. For seven years he lived in solitary confinement inside a prison cell that was not high enough for him to even crouch and barely long enough or him to lay down. To keep from losing his mind and hope, he began to find ways to occupy his mind. He started to play 18 holes of golf in his mind, everyday.  He imagined each stroke, every smell and every possible detail. He visualized his technique and swing every day.  After seven years, he was released from prison and returned home. He played his first game of golf in over seven years and scored a perfect game.

The story has been told many times and the score and detail vary slightly, but the takeaway was ingrained in me from a very young age. I still think about that story and I have been using it in pretty much every thing I do. From sports, to pottery to manifesting my successes.

Thank you Dad for feeding my brain and for giving me the opportunity to learn through Reader’s Digest.

 

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Lastly I wanted to thank my D ad for this. Thank you for always pushing yourself to be better, stronger, wiser, and kinder. You heal with patience and laughter, and you treat those around you with compassion.  From your example Pablo and I challenge ourselves to do the same.

Thank you Dad, for challenging us.

Thank you  Dad, for growing.

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Thank you to Russell Thomas for inspiring me to paint in the style of Wild Colour Portraiture.

Cats and Climbing.

 

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I have learned that those who love cats. LOVE cats. Every time I’ve travelled to third world or second world countries I have never seen a cat.  They just don’t seem to survive in the places where more people and animals need to fend for themselves to eat and  live another day. Cats are kind of a rich people sort of luxury.

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Morning Mountains

Potrero Chico Day 2 – 26 Dec 2015

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Due to the fatigues of traveling the day before I ended up sleeping in until 09:00hrs. Like a child on Christmas morning I couldn’t wait to open up the tent and soak in my surroundings. I had only seen photos of the limestone Spires of Potrero Chico and there’s nothing more magical that waking up in a totally foreign geographical location. Continue reading

Adventure Begins Upon Arrival

Potrero Chico Day 1: 25 Dec 2015

Christmas Day in Mexico!

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Arriving at interpret airport we were already pretty exhausted but with the anticipation of entering a whole new place a childlike excitement began to stir in our hearts.

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