"You're getting stronger," the physiotherapist said as he had me use the leg he was holding up to push against the arm with which he was holding it. I can't argue; since I started physiotherapy, I've dutifully done the prescribed exercises. I've stretched my calves, quads, hamstrings, thighs and hip flexors repeatedly, every day. I use a set of ankle weights and a foam roller on alternating days. I already felt like I was getting stronger; it was nice to have a professional affirm that.
I decided early on in this process that I wasn't going to develop unrealistic expectations that might not come to pass. I initially sought a second opinion mostly to abate other people's questions and prove to myself that I'd done all I could. I wasn't expecting the specialists who poked around my knee and leg to conclude that the first diagnosis was wrong. I certainly wasn't expecting the discomfort to steadily decrease after a few weeks of exercising and a few rounds of ultrasound therapy.
I was absolutely not expecting the question, at least not this early, but it came yesterday.
"Are there any sports you'd like to get back into?" he asked.
Yes. I couldn't lie to the man, he'd asked me point blank. I asked about running, bracing for laughter or "Oh God, not a chance," and he told me that the next time I came, we'd see how my knee responded to some elliptical exercise and some more drills intended to improve strength. If my knee doesn't have a nervous breakdown, we can see how I do on a treadmill. If that goes well, I should be in the clear. I know people who've gone back after much worse.
Those are a lot of ifs, but less than a year ago there were no ifs, just a massive "don't." It may not pan out, but it's worth trying. And right now, it's a lovely thing.