Monthly Archives: December 2018

Knee Surgery Waiver (USAF)

I’ve noticed many searches leading to my blog for Knee surgery waivers. This mainly comes from those who are looking into joining the Uniformed Services i.e. Army, Marines, Airforce, Navy, Coast Guard.

I had knee surgery in Kenya in 2010 and I didn’t think one day that decision would help me in the process of joining the US Air Force.

I was cycling when I felt something give way in my knee. I didn’t think much about it. I thought it was a pulled ligament that would heal. I tried cycling a few days later and my knee locked up. Walking became a problem.

I went to the ER to have it looked and the doctor I saw thought it might be something more serious. He called an Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Kagoda Byakika for a second opinion.

I saw him and he requested MRIs. After examining them he told I had torn my right knee Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). I had two options, undergo physical therapy for life with a possibility of early arthritis or undergo surgery to repair the ligament. Luckily I had medical insurance courtesy of my job then.

I chose surgery. Checked myself into Nairobi Hospital a week later, the surgery went well. I chose the epidural so I was half awake to see and hear Dr. Byakika and his team working on my clamped knee. He even allowed me to see inside my knee to see the damage on a screen as he worked with a small camera through a hole in the knee.

I was in hospital for a few days as I started my long physiotherapy journey which would come into play years later. That went on for months until I was able to regain full use of my knee. I went back to cycling and that was that.

I got a chance to emigrate to the US in 2014 and started the process of joining the US Air Force as soon as I got here.

Then came the big hindrance, if I’d ever had surgery I needed all the paper work to submit all the paperwork to show I regained full motion on my knee.

It wasn’t easy getting all the paperwork in Kenya but I did it and submitted it to my recruiter down in Houston. He submitted the waiver to the Surgeon General of the Air Force and it was approved.

The rest as they say is history. If I could do it as a newcomer to this country you can too.

I’m glad I did the ACL surgery as I don’t do too bad on my Physical Test (PT) even as an old 35 yr+ cat. My 1.5 mile run time is decent enough. 2 Sub 10s and a 10:20 in BMT has been my slowest. It’s doable. It takes time, is a pain and takes a minute to go through but be patient. If this foreign guy did it so can you.

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