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Welcome to my BlogBelow in the archives you will find a lot of different stories and photographs from my experiences traveling and living in the UK. Feel free to browse and enjoy.
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Changed diet for my knee recovery and now my knee transplant is feeling stronger everyday. Turned 43 April 2014.
For anyone following my knee progress, I am approx 2 and 1/2 years post op, still in pain and still recovering, however I had some serious problems in my knee transplant about 6 months ago and I felt that I had worn through my articular cartilage and felt that I was experiencing bone on bone sensations and pain again. I had not had any trauma to my knee and the meniscus transplant still felt intact. However I was feeling a pain in my knee similar to a firework going off when i was compressing up the transition on my skateboard. This went on for a few months and I had a feeling that my transplant had reached its end and that the rough surfaces and arthritic bone ends that I once had now finally wore through the meniscus transplant.
So for three months I was considering flying back to the UK to see my surgeon Dr James Robinson in Southmead Orthopeadic centre. This alone is traumatic as I have nowhere to live and no job in the UK to return and going back for surgery will only cost time and money out of work so I was feeling pretty low at this point.
Well this is what happened, I had saved about 200o usd dollars for the flight back from Bali, then my Apple Mac Book Pro, decided to die on me after only two years of service due to the high humidity here in the wet season. Needing a laptop urgently, my trip to the UK was postponed and I bought a new one instead of a plane ticket. During this time I researched online if anybody had succesfully regenerated their articular cartilage through diet and supplementation as this was now my only option. I found a few articles written by some surgeons that had x-rayed their patients before and after 2 years of special exercises and diet supplementation. These exercise basically open and closed the joint to allow the fluids in the and around the knee to move into the affected areas and in theory nourish the affected articular cartilage with more healing cells (In theory). Also the supplementation to the diet was Glucosamine sulphate tablets. This is the standard recommendation for people experience cartilage and meniscus pain, however many surgeons especially Mr Robinson have expressed their limited faith in regenerating meniscus through diet.
Well it was then that it dawned on me, the first 6 months after my surgery I really felt that my knees healing was extremely fast and effective. During this time I was gulping back a triple daily dose of liquid Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin, in fact possibly 3000mg each gulp, which was double the daily dose recommended. I remembered during this time having absolutely no pain in my knee area where I had experienced arthritic pain and pain from bone on bone contact before the transplant surgery. In fact the only pain I was experiencing during this phase of my recovery was all the trauma from the surgery itself, the 6 inch cut, the staples, the scar tissue and the drilling and screwing from removing a 10mm bone wedge from my femur during the femoral osteotemy that I had recently undergone.
I also remembered that the 210 capsule bottle of high strength Glucosamine Sulphate and Choindroitin 1500mg capsules that i was daily taking for 18 months following surgery had actually ran out 3 months before. I remember trying to replace them in Bali and what was on sale here was a tiny dose of 500mg and was over a $120 dollars a small bottle of 60. So I researched which and where in different foods that Glucosamine sulphate was extracted from and nearly all the manufacturers stated that it was derived from shellfish and more accurately prawn shells. So whilst I was waiting for my next flight to Singapore to restock on Glucosamine Sulphate tablets, I decided that from that day on, I was going to aim to eat prawns and their shells whole, every day if possible for an evening meal,..Once I started, I also realised that my dog Travis always preferred eating the knuckles off the ends of chicken bones more than he did the meat, the same was true for my cat Yoda. So then I decided to follow them both as I have n’t seen a human as flexible as my cat and dog and if was going to work for them then maybe it would work for me.
So now for the last 5 months I have been eating the articular cartilage from the ends of chicken bones and eating as many prawns with their shells on as I can afford on a daily basis. Also 2 months ago I flew to Singapore and restocked on my high dose 1500mg Glucosamine Sulphate capsules that also contain Chondroitin 1200mg and MSM 500mg. However for the last two months I have been taking 4 tablets in the morning and 4 at night with water. This is four times the stated recommended daily dose. My reasoning is that I was told the body can only absorb about 20 percent of the supplement when in tablet form compared to 80 percent when administered as a liquid. Well who knows what actually gets absorbed?
BUT what I can tell you is the pain has disappeared and I am skateboarding at a high level of impact 3 hours a night almost 5 nights a week and my knee is feeling as though it is getting stronger and stronger again and surgery now feels only necessary to remove the screws and the steel plate that I have inside from the osteotemy. (because I can feel my muscles catching on the screw ends as they are a little too long)
So I can now state based on fact that my diet has been the single most important factor in the recovery of my knee meniscus transplant and the regeneration of my articular cartilage. I look forward to getting it arthroscoped one day soon to see what the surgeon says but until then I will keep pushing my skateboarding and surfing further and further and testing the limits of this transplant. My body is also feeling leaner and stronger than any other time before in my life. I turned 43 the other day and although I have been bald a long time I feel so blessed to be skateboarding, surfing and freediving almost every week of my life with at least one activity everyday and some days all three. Even now as I am getting grey hairs in my beard to be able to skateboard at the level I am and put my knees through way more than I did at 25 I can say the transplant that Mr Robinson did was a complete success, not 100% back to normal and still in pain 100%percent of the day but its a pain that reminds me how lucky I am and not one that says stop,..My knee has also climbed Mount Agung the highest volcano in Bali with no pain or swelling. So now, bald and grey at 43 because of my knee arthritis I have had to make sure that I am not bald and fat! because for sure that extra weight with all the jumping around I do will definitely put my knee under extra pressure so in so many ways this injury has been a real blessing.. Now all I need to do is fix my right elbow and lower back!!
Here is a shot from the Globe Bowl in Bali of me doing a frontside Smith. Photography and photo copyright by Andrew Trail Australia
Here is a video clip of my recent visit to the East Coast Extreme Skatepark in Singapore. It was great to get back on a full size bowl. Its been nearly 4 and a half years since I last skated vert properly because my knee was pretty much game over. However it is now 18 months since my Knee Meniscus transplant, I had a couple of goes here on my last visa run. However the meniscus transplant is doing good, have not got full flexion but have enough to skate and it is definitely good to get back on board again!
This is a little stray ginger kitten I found wandering the streets near our home. Possible two days from dying from starvation. Unfortunately there are many stray cats and dogs wandering around Bali, however this little one was very fragile and needed immediate help so we took him into our home amongst the kitten mayhem that was going on. At first Our cat rejected him but every time the other kittens were feeding I would slip him in amongst the rest and Bensin the mummy finally relaxed and started to let him feed. It took about a week for this process but now the little ginger kitten is licked and loved the same way Bensin our cat loved her other kittens. In fact little Yoda follows Bensin our cat around all day long pleased to have found a mother. As for the kittens they all play and jump and play some more, no judgement, prejudice or animosity just lots of fun. The photos below show how he looked after we washed all the paint from his fur. He was searching for his food on a building site nearby and was covered in white paint. Malnourished and with congunctivitis these photos taken two weeks apart show how he has actually pulled through and is now healthy and happy that he has been adopted by our cat Bensin as a surrogate mother, It is clear to see that the milk has been helping her a lot.
In Singapore for a week my 6 months in Indonesia have passed and it necessary for me to renew my visa in the Indonesian Embassy here. Just so happens to be one of Asia’s newest and largest skateparks in the city. East Coast Extreme Skatepark.It is floodlight until 10pm and is an absolutely amazing facility to skate free of charge, spotlessly clean and has every type of skateboard obstacle imaginable. Here is still of me skating from a few video clips I shot last night..
My knee Meniscus transplant is doing great and feels really good I am super happy about the level of impact I am again able to experience without pain.
Anyone who is considering a knee transplant or a meniscus from a dead donor bank. just to let you know. It has been one year now since my surgery and I am skateboarding concrete bowls every evening for 2-3hours and its getting stronger all the time.
A few pictures of me and my friend Johan Pontell who has just arrived back in Bali to escape the Swedish winter.
Have not updated my blog for a while as I have been skateboarding lots (the knee is painful but getting stronger everyday) , surfing and have been moving location around Bali so I have not had a very good internet connection for uploading photos. The next update will be big chunk and I am moving into a house for the next 6 months close to the Globe Skate bowl. So hopefully I will be more settled and skateboard more. My return flight back to the Uk was on September 20th however I could not face the prospect of returning at this stage so I decided to go skateboarding instead of flying back to the Uk, which means I am still here,,, for now.
However here are a few clips and a few photos of Gregor Rankin the person responsible for building the Globe Bowl in Bali..Gregor is in fact a Legendary skater from New Zealand, the top boy back in his day. He now lives as a family man skating and surfing in Bali.
However a point to note is; He also Invented one of the most complex tricks ever on vert that he named a “Harlem Fling” (not sure why, maybe it is a Scottish thing, I will ask him) As far as I am aware he has never been caught on film doing it that I am aware of. However after he started doing it, Mike McGill squated one out on the flat bottom in the famous skate film “the Search for Animal Chin.” Bucky Lasek has also been known to do one and maybe a few others that I do not know of since then. It is basically an egg plant 540 Flip. Go up the vert ramp backside fly out upside down in a flipping motion grabbing indy and then egg plant / fast plant off from your leading hand. The trick is so difficult it never became popular. I get to skate with Gregor at least 4 times a week now. He has great lines in the bowl and absolutely rock solid stable style.We have to refer to him as Leg-End as he is too humble to be labelled the Legend he is. While all the other pros of his era were fighting with losing their celebrity status in the 90′s Gregor held it down being normal and working like the rest of us. He is 48 now and rips. A real inspiration to me and what makes things even radder is he teaches his young daughter and his young Son to skate and they all skate as a family. Gregor has his life on lock down just like a Boss. I will probably make a short film about skateboarding in Bali over the next few months and hopefully we can get some more GR footage..
I have decided to spend a few nights at the Breezes Hotel in Seminyak again as it has a great gym, pool area and the food and service is 5 star.This time however, when I was presented with my towel’s folded as a hanging monkey and a turtle I asked the boys if they would show me how many creations they were able to come up with from a towel. So what you see below is the Noah’s Ark of the towel folding world..
Here are some shots from the reef at Padang Padang that I took as we walked around to find a location to take some photos of Luisa doing her yoga poses with the wave in the background. At approximately an hour before sunset time the wave which is on the west coast of Bali is heavily backlit by the sunset giving these wonderful green caves. It is an absolute exposure nightmare for photography. The bright light completely overexposes the sea and puts the surfer in the dark however the raw files on the Canon 5Dmk2 allow for enough colour correction and exposure compensation to be able to lift all the detail in post processing. This is due to the full frame sensor. These were taken hand held with a 70-200mm lens and a 2x extender. Not the best setup for land shots of surfing as the extender softens all the edges. These are also pretty cropped too but still capture the awe of Padang Padang’s hefty barrel over shallow sharp reef.
This is one of the most beautiful places to eat in Bali. Located in Seminyak overlooking the beach, the atmosphere is great and the food and drinks are wonderful. I was Invited by my good friend Alison to come and take some photos in exchange for some free food. whilst she was working doing a restaurant review. Absolutely wonderful.
Somehow I found myself spending the night with the Chilean Navy, The Chilean Embassy and some of the heads of Bali in one of Seminyak,s most prestigious restaurants Gado Gado. Their ship was docked for a few days in the nearby Benoa Harbour. It was a fun night out and I am had some great tasting food and drink with entertainment of Balinese dance and ceremony on the beach nearby. I had my camera equipment on me because I had been taking some photos during the day. In Bali the more open I am to new experiences the more seem to come my way
This photograph is dedicated to my my friend Handa, we were speaking about photography yesterday and I was explaining how with the correct understanding of light, reflection and perspective you can discover unlock and present the beauty of any given subject. This is a photograph of three Indonesian coins worth approximately 15 cents or 10 Uk pence. They literally have no monetary value except to pay to park a motorbike for an hour on the side of the road. However with the right combination of technique and appreciation for the detail and beauty that they do have, It is possible to present them in a way that looks as though they belong in a Jewellery catalog or the Royal Mint…