Inside my Tommy John surgery
First of all, I want to apologize for the length in between blog entries. But with all of the things going on with my arm, including rehab starts, the set-back in Omaha and flying around the country for doctors appointments, there’s been a lot going on. So that’s the main reason I haven’t been in touch, not to mention the All-Star Break didn’t help much either.
It began when Dr. Timothy Kremchek was going to perform exploratory surgery on my left elbow and see what the problem was in there. It was quite obvious to me, knowing my body, that there was something going on in my elbow that was not allowing me to pitch effectively and finish my pitches, not too mention it had been hurting for a long time.
Dr. Kremchek told me before hand, “When I go in, I’m going to fix the problem. That could range from ‘not too bad’ to Tommy John procedure.” He said “I just want you to know that if I get in there and find something wrong with that ligament, I’m going to replace it.”
My whole thinking on it, was this injury has been a lot like situations in life. Whether it’s a relationship or a pitching elbow – when something hurts long enough, you don’t care what it takes to get it fixed. You just want it fixed. I said, “Whatever, just fix it. I can’t take it anymore.”
When I came out of surgery, Doc came in and explained to me and that the damage to my elbow was extensive. However, on the good side he was able to get it all cleaned up. In fact it was not only as good as new, but actually better than new.
I had a tear in my flexor tendon that he was able to repair. I had two bone chips that were so big that he had to use a tool to break them up while they were still in my elbow. After that, they pulled out the bones piece by piece. He said, “I do these surgeries all the time and I don’t ever see bone chips these big.” So those were a bit unexpected.
Then of course he found a tear in the ligament and pulled a tendon out of my left wrist and drilled a couple of my holes in the bone in my elbow and weaved that tendon in and out of there. He said the tendon was very healthy and very strong, so he was able to wrap that through there six times, which is the maximum you can get. Dr. Kremchek said that the procedure went very well and that my elbow is now stronger today than it’s ever been.
So there were a lot of good things that came out of it. Just knowing that the situation is fixed, I can look forward to rehabbing and getting strong again. It’s encouraging when the doctor says there is no doubt that I have a lot of innings ahead.
The only downside, is not being able to pitch now and not being able to help Kansas City. I think the one thing that does bother me, and it’s obviously out of my control, but it’s knowing that I wasn’t able to fulfill the length of my contract and remain healthy.
When the surgery was over, Dr. Kremchek told me he had absolutely no idea how I was able to pitch the last year and a half. He said “After going into your elbow and seeing the damage, I have no idea how you were able to pitch. No idea at all.”
Every athlete wants to perform well, especially when you’re rewarded with a free agent contract and I wasn’t able to do that. I’m just kind of hoping you can make that up to the Royals some day.
It’s unfortunate, but that’s part of the game, Now I’m going to try and be an encouragement to my teammates and help out in any way that I can help on the field, all the while, making sure I’m going to be ready to pitch in the Major Leagues for whoever will have me. Maybe that can be Kansas City and I can make right for these past two years. I don’t think I would be too expensive of a player, and hopefully I can put up some good numbers and have some good years.
On a different note, I want to congratulate Mike and Shara Sweeney on the birth of their new daughter. Having been through that in February, I know that “Daddy’s Little Girl” syndrome is going to kick in right away. So I want to wish them all the best.
Despite my surgery, I’ll still be checking in to give some rehab updates and my thoughts on the team.