Raymond Choy - Knee Injury

Elmhurst, NY

I’m not sure what drives me to do it. I suppose I just can’t help myself. I’m a “streaker”. I’m one of 113 people who have been awarded this title from the New York Road Runners by having an active streak of 15 or more consecutive NYC marathons. I presently have 17. I compete as a member of the Achilles Track Club, which is an organization whose goal is to create opportunities for disabled and able bodied athletes to participate together in main stream events such as the NYC Marathon. Due to a worksite accident in 1993 that crushed my left leg, I compete under the category of ambulatory disabled.

My recovery from this injury consisted of a hospital stay of 57 days and 7 surgeries. Some of the procedures that I received were a bone graft (bone harvested from iliac crest of pelvis), skin graft (donor site upper leg) and a muscle flap (repositioning of calf muscle for increased circulation to injury area). My leg was shortened and misshapen, but with the Achilles Track Club’s encouragement and guidance, I ran my first NYC Marathon in 1997.

Fast forward to 2007. I started to feel pain in my uninjured knee. MRI imaging revealed many problems, which included multiple tears in my meniscus. I completed the 2007 NYC Marathon (my 11th one), then I sought out HSS and Dr. David J. Mayman to evaluate my pain. I made my decision because HSS is ranked highly in US orthopedic hospitals. Dr. Mayman appealed to me specifically because of a bold statement on his website that declared his typical patient was “40 to 60 years old who wants to get back to previous activities, not just walk around the block.” I was 56 years old at the time and, for me, my previous activities entailed running around many many blocks. I decided he was the doctor for me.

Dr. Mayman understands the importance of quality of life for his patients’ lives and, although I wasn’t the ideal candidate for marathon running events due to my age and disability, he promised to do his best to enable me to maintain my activities. I underwent arthroscopic surgery with Dr. Mayman in 2008 and continued my streak.

This year, due to some difficulty going up and down stairs, Dr. Mayman and I decided to, as he put it, “clean up some debris” from my knee and subsequently underwent my second arthroscopic surgery on April 3rd, 2015.

One approach to healthy living is to preserve your body by avoiding unnecessary use. I believe that engaging my body in physical activity improves my quality of life both mentally and emotionally. Dr. Mayman and I think alike in this regard and he has enabled me to “get back in the game.” I am registered for this year’s NYC Marathon. I hope to resume my training which consists of swimming, bicycling and running immediately after my follow-up appointment with Dr. Mayman on April 14th so I can extend my streak to 18 as well as compete in the NYC Triathlon in July which I have already completed twice. I started my NYC Marathon streak at age 46 and although I will be 64 at the running of the 2015 event, I anticipate, if needed, Dr. Mayman and HSS will keep me streaking for years to come.