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. 

Facing Fears Is Harder As an Adult 


There are many of us that spend our time always wishing we could do the things our adventurous, outdoorsy friends seem to do so easily. There’s always that person in your circle of friends that’s traveling or jumping into some crazy new activity or artistic endeavor. There’s a secret to how they do that, and I’m going to share it with you.

Last year I bought a used set of cross country skis. There’s two styles classic skiing (where you typically see skiers slide forward by pushing their skies parallel to the snow) and skate skiing (they kind where you see biathletes push off to the sides to propel themselves, similar to how one would skate on ice – hence the term “skate skis”).

I wanted skate skis because long, long time ago I competed in biathlon, for one season, when I was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.


I’ve often thought back to those days, the first time we put on those skinny little skis we fell left and right trying to balance ourselves.  It took a few training sessions before we could even ski on them. I ended up competing in a short race somewhere in Edmonton and somehow placed high enough that I made it to the provincial competition.

We were the laughing stock of all the other competing squadrons. The little misfit squadron with second hand clothes and skis and none of us matching. I remember everyone else was wearing these spandex racing suits and here I was in my neon pink Sun Ice jacket with tights. 

Provincials were at the Canmore Nordic Centre and I threw up before the race. Nerves. I don’t remember much, except being passed a lot and having to take penalty laps because I couldn’t see through my glasses when shooting at the targets. 

I ended up getting mild hypothermia because apparently tights aren’t the same as racing spandex. 

We raced as individuals and as a team. It was called the Patrol race. Where the team comprised of three members that had to be within a certain distance apart at all times. It was a long time ago but all I remember is that Carie- Ann and I and the third girl came in third. It was definitely one of the most memorable times of my life. 

Then the individual places were announced… Cari-Anne came in 10th, I came in 13th and the other girl 15th in the entire province. Turns out little misfit 699 Jasper Place Squadron was holding out! 

Fast forward to now, I guess I’m hitting the mid life crisis kind of stage. Wanting to relive the old glory days. 

It’s been a year since I bought those skis and besides piddling around with them a couple times I really haven’t used them. 

It’s because I’ve been scared. Intimidated. There’s a huge part of me that knows my body is no longer conditioned for it and I’ll probably not be able to go very far.  
I guess I’ve felt like “what’s the point?” “Why would I drive 45min to a trail to only ski for 30min?”

Why? Because you have to. 

This is the hardest part of being an adult, we develop these insecurities about our abilities and we no longer can be swayed by others that we can do it. We’re set in our ways and afraid to fail. So why try? 

In children we promise them success and support when they try their hardest. We give them love and hugs and they trust us. Somewhere along the way of becoming an adult we often think it’s too much work to try and we tell ourselves that we’re happy staying where we are as we are. We no longer trust others when they say we can do it and often dismiss their encouragements as false promises.


That is why facing challenges and fears are so much harder as an adult. Ultimately you are responsible for motivating yourself to grow. 
Pining for things will never bring you joy. The outcome of your happiness is directly related to your effort. 

Take a page from my little experience today. There was no one there to pack my hot tea and lunch. No one there to drive my ass to the Nordic Centre.No one there to buy my trail pass and no one there to clip in my boots and says “let’s go.” 

There’s was only me. I know it’s not easy getting off our asses and doing things but we have to. If we want to become that person that inspires us to be better, stronger, healthier we have motivate ourselves and push ourselves. 

In the end I finally got myself onto the trail into my skis and though I was as graceful as a baby giraffe, I’m happy that I did it. 

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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