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Weeks 45 and 46

Here we go again . . . a lapse in posting ankle updates last Sunday has led to the need to catch up this week.

Hello fatigue.  It sure didn’t take long for us to get reacquainted this school year.

Let’s talk!

*Disclaimer #1 – This is a LONG post.  I’m sorry!  Bear with me though?  I’ve got some interesting news down toward the end.*

**Disclaimer #2 – I apologize for any grammar mistakes.  I got lazy by the end of this longgggggggg post and didn’t feel like going back to proofread.  If you find something amiss, will you comment or email me so I can fix it?  Thanks!!**

Week 45

I started the week off as I usually do . . . with an early-morning workout . . .

I had physical therapy that afternoon.

I was pleasantly surprised when my therapist gave me this . . .

She’d gone to visit a friend in California during her “escape” from Hurricane Irma.  While there, she went to an antique store and found that stone you see there.  She had me on her mind and brought it to me, along with instructions to keep it in the freezer and use it to roll under the arch of my foot when it hurts (which is nearly daily).  It’s the perfect size and very helpful for working out the kinks that I still get with my tendinosis.

My therapist worked me pretty hard by increasing the number of reps I had to do for each exercise.  I burned a crazy amount of calories . . .

For the record, I don’t recommend breaking your ankle and then doing PT as a formal type of exercise program.

Just sayin’.

Tuesday evening, my ankle was shot, and I found myself trying to make my ankle pop late into the night . . .

Of course, I had gone to the grocery store after work to pick up ingredients for a Creamy Pasta Marinara recipe I’d seen on this site.  The picture does not do it justice.  It was absolutely divine!  The homemade cashew cream made all the difference in the world!

I didn’t let my sore ankle stop me from working out on Wednesday morning (not much stops me, truth be told) . . .

I discovered an issue later that morning (or maybe it was that afternoon) when I went to grab something from my pantry, leaned forward with my right leg bent behind me, and experienced a sharp pain that stopped me in my tracks . . .

See the way I’m leaning forward into that right knee?  My tendon is so tight that it balks, loudly, when I hit an invisible wall and can’t go any further.  It doesn’t happen with my left ankle.

I showed this picture to my therapist the next day, and she imitated the move to understand what I was talking about.  She told me that I needed to train myself to lean down the way she’s been teaching me during my sessions . . . going down fully on my knee rather than angling myself awkwardly like this.

I’m completely awkward though.  It’s hard to retrain a 47 year old on how NOT to be awkward.  I mean, this is probably one HUGE reason why I broke my ankle to begin with.

Sigh.

During Thursday’s PT session, I got to do my step ups with a new variation – raising my knee up when I stepped up . . .

It might not sound like much of a challenge; however, it really was.  Every time we make things more difficult, my balance is affected.  This variation also works on my core, which I need to be strong as well to help me overall.  I absolutely love that I’m making progress, one raised knee at a time.

PT that day was pretty good, but I was sore as crap from the week.

That didn’t stop me from walking four (yes, I said FOUR) miles on Saturday . . .

It was such a beautiful day, as you can see in the picture.  My ankle was sore from the get-go.  I had shin pain on the inside of my ankle, and it never got better, but I pushed on and managed a decent pace (for me) of 15:30.

I was pleased as punch and felt quite accomplished when I finished.

My ankle began hating life immediately, however.  I had to give it a good stretch when I went inside.

Y’all, I really MUST learn to listen to my ankle.  One would think I’d have sat down after starting off my day like that, but NOOOOOOOO, I decided that I needed to make all the things . . .

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There was Roasted Red Pepper Hummus to be prepared.  It was divine, by the way.

There were Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes to bake (a recipe I’d had my eye on for a week or two) . . .

I didn’t let any batter go to waste – hence the baby cupcake . . .

I bought the cupcake pans here.  I am in LOVE with them!  Look how easy it was to get these babies out . . .

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These are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made!  The texture was spot-on.  They are moist and chock-full of flavor!  I’d never heard of beet puree before, and the recipe did suggest applesauce as an alternative; however, I wanted to challenge myself to try something new and attribute the consistency of the cupcakes to the puree.  I took a few cupcakes to school to share with a couple of teacher friends.  A couple of students were also gifted cupcakes.  Everyone LOVED them and couldn’t believe they were vegan.

I also made the Mr. his donuts so he could have something fun to eat over the weekend.

My ankle was so angry when I finished and finally sat down to watch football on TV.  I spent the rest of the day in a lot of pain.

Y’all, it’s so hard for me to sit still sometimes.  This ankle injury has kept me down for so long that I get extremely frustrated and rebellious.

Like the next day when I decided to bake AGAIN because I had puree that I didn’t want to go to waste.

I had at least three more recipes planned out.  I made another batch of cupcakes . . .

I also made Vegan Chocolate Lava Cakes . . .

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I had donuts on my mind as well . . . 30-Minute Chocolate Vegan Donuts . . .

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As a side note, the donuts wound up not being my favorite.  I don’t know if it’s because I cooked them a little too long or what, but they were dry.  Everyone who tried them said the same thing.  I doubt I’ll make these again.

One thing I did learn from the weekend of cooking was that Aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) is AMAZING!  Quite a few recipes have started asking for it as an egg substitute.  It’s so much better than flax or chia eggs!  I loved working with it!

While things were baking in the oven, I had Broccoli Detox Soup going on the stove . . .

After all of that baking, I was in desperate need of these . . .

That combination works wonders on the swelling and pain in my ankle when I’ve overdone myself.

Week 46

So, it’s not surprising that I started off last week behind the eight ball.  After being on my feet all weekend plus walking those four miles, I was done for.  This was going to be one heck of a week, let me tell you.

That didn’t stop me from working out in the wee hours of Monday morning . . .

Monday, I had to administer the FSA Writing Retakes to fifty juniors and seniors . . . all kiddos who are trying to pass this state assessment to graduate.  I was on my feet ALL DAY.

I had physical therapy after school, and boy did I get a workout!  Look how fast my heart was beating after I finished doing three sets of monster walks / squats combinations . . .

I also got to do FULL lunges!!!!!

Do you know how happy I was to be doing something close to what I’d been doing BEFORE I broke my ankle nearly a year ago?

Do be sure, they were tough, tough, tough.  I am constantly surprised by how weak I still am despite months of working out.  The injury really set me back, and each new exercise (or variation) makes me realize how much farther I need to go.  However, I’m also amazed at how far God has brought me.

One funny moment about the picture you see above:  A fellow patient who’s there the same days I am commented that it looked like I was ready to play Twister (the colored mat).  I had a good laugh at that.  You’ve got to find humor in the little things, eh?

One fun thing I got to do was bounce on a mini trampoline . . .

I’d asked my therapist when I will be able to jump again.  She pulled out the trampoline and had me bounce without jumping in the air.  That felt okay.  This was something I couldn’t do a few months ago, so I was excited.  Then, she had me go from side to side, without jumping, to see how that felt.  It too felt fine.  Next, she let me put a tiny bit of air between each foot and the trampoline as I moved from side to side.

Y’all, it almost felt as through I was jogging.  It felt incredible.  I told her that I wish I could have a moving trampoline that traveled down the sidewalk as I jogged to soften my landing.  She chuckled.

Oh, and to make Monday harder, after my physical therapy appointment, I went back to my school for Open House!  I was absolutely exhausted when I got home around 7:30 after being gone from the house for over twelve hours.  It had been a very, very long day!

Despite the hard workout Monday afternoon, I still got up on Tuesday and did my physical therapy exercises.  I make it a point to do them on the days I’m “resting” or only doing abs from my Body Beast program . . .

I used my fireplace hearth to do my step ups.  See how clever I am?!

That afternoon, I made up a batch of One Pot Vegan Minestrone Soup and Easy Vegan Gluten-Free Biscuits (thus putting more pressure on my ankle).  The soup turned out so well!  I ate on it all week for lunch.

Oh my yum!  My ankle may have been dying, but my stomach was quite the happy camper.  Can you say comfort food?

I went to physical therapy on Wednesday because I had a doctor appointment on Thursday.

One of the last exercises I do every PT session is balancing.  On Wednesday, I got moved up to the blue disc.  It’s extremely difficult to stand on one leg and balance for 45 seconds.  I had gotten to where I could do it fairly well by June, but when I had my bad month of July, I regressed.  That’s why we’ve been working so slowly to get me back up to par.  My therapist always puts this balancing exercise at the end of my workouts specifically because it’s more difficult after I’ve exhausted my muscles during the other strengthening moves.

I spent all of this past week sore, sore, sore.  My therapist and I had discussed the “why” of it all, and she explained that I’m going through a building process right now.  Any time we change up the routine by either adding more reps or going up in a move with a harder variation of it, I’m in a transitional phase.  She said that this is when the tearing and rebuilding of muscle occurs, and it can take a week or two for my body to adjust.  Hence, the extra pain.  It’s necessary, though, to get better.

I’m cool with that.

Needless to say, I was mighty glad for the ice and STEM that followed . . .

On Thursday, I drove two hours to visit my ankle surgeon . . .

I was so tired from the week, and I was feeling a cold coming on, but I wasn’t about to let those things deter me.

My doctor’s office is always so gracious about scheduling late appointments to accommodate my work schedule and the time needed to get there.  I arrived early and waited . . .

Someone from the office had called me that morning to ask if I could go in early – that they’d had some cancellations.  I got there at 5:30 but still had to wait a bit.  I didn’t mind though.  This doctor is amazing at what he does.

I did sit back on the examination table and doze off though, but only after I snapped a photo of the x-ray I’d had done in June . . .

A quick explanation.  The right side of the x-ray, with the three long pins, is actually the inside of my ankle.  The side with nine pins and the plate is the outside.  The inside of my ankle is what slammed directly onto the floor when I fell last November.  The plate on the outside was placed there because I broke that side pretty high up my leg.  I also broke a third part of my ankle, but it didn’t require pins.

Crazy stuff.

I’m not sure that the doctor was aware why I was there since I’d been corresponding with his nurse through email.  She wasn’t there that day (ironically, she’d had surgery and was out for a week).

I think that he assumed it was a regular visit.

He asked about my tendonosis.  I told him that it was getting better but wasn’t 100% yet, and that I had to “pop” my ankle frequently when pressure built up.  I told him about my new therapist who’s a miracle worker but had to reset me back in July because of the problems I’d been experiencing.

I told him about the pins that had been bothering me, which was the reason for my visit.

He manipulated my foot around, made me push against his hand and hold it sturdy while he pushed and pulled on it.

At first, he sounded like he wanted to wait to do the surgery I was inquiring about (the removal of three pins on the very edges of both sides of my ankle).  However, once we began talking at length, and when he took a closer look at my ankle, he changed his mind.

He told me, “You’re an unusual case.”

Ha.  I think that’s the understatement of the year.

He said that they aren’t used to seeing people of my stature (i.e., so petite).  Basically, because I’m so small, I can feel every bit of hardware he put in there to stabilize my ankle.  Because of that, I’m in a lot of pain.

He also commented on the swelling in my ankle.

Thank heavens!  I seem to be the only person who’s been concerned about it for months.  He attributed it to the hardware.  Later, when the Mr. and I were discussing this and we looked at my x-ray again, we could see that the long pins on the inside of my ankle are located exactly where the swelling is.  It finally made sense!  It’s no wonder that I’m in a lot of pain and still have limitations.  I literally cannot move fully because I have pins holding me back.

Duh!

My doctor was so nice though.  He said, “I’m going to take ALL of the hardware out.”

My jaw dropped.

I told him, “I’m not trying to be greedy.  I actually like having the other stuff there.  It makes me feel more secure.”

Nope, he said.  If he’s going in there, he’s taking it all out.  He said that this will make the swelling on my ankle go away once everything is healed.

Yay!

I’ll have to wear a boot for four weeks after the surgery, but I’ll be weight-bearing immediately.  I was shocked.  I said, “So, I’ll be walking out after surgery?”

He laughed and said, “Not exactly.  You’ll be woozy from the surgery.”

“So, I’ll be holding onto my husband as I wobble out?” was my response.  He laughed.

He told the PA who was with him to schedule surgery.  That’s when I told him that his nurse had already tentatively put me on the schedule for December 21.  He seemed surprised.  Y’all, I like to have all of my ducks in a row!  Plus, I had been afraid that he’d get booked up, so I went ahead and had the nurse take care of this for me.

Ha!

We have a half day at school on December 20th, which will give me time to mentally prepare for surgery the next day.  By doing it during the break, I’ll have two weeks to get stronger before school resumes in January.

The doctor assured me that recovery will be much easier this time around.  Of that, I’m positive.  I don’t know that anything will ever compare to breaking an ankle and the pain involved with that.  Everything else pales in comparison.

So that was big news . . . a bit surprising and a teensy bit unnerving.  As I said, I actually like having some of the hardware, although going through metal detectors at airports will be a lot easier now!

I then began the drive home, exhausted but satisfied.

Of course, I thought of a number of questions after I got home . . .

I’ll run through these when my doctor visits me before he performs surgery.  He’s always incredibly patient when answering questions.

Y’all, the week wasn’t over though!  I still had Friday to get through!  Oh my!  This past week was Homecoming, so things were even crazier at school with kids getting ready for the dance, themed dress-up days, presentations of candidates and a parade, and the game on Friday.  Plus, I’d been coming down with a cold, so there was that.  Still, I was determined not to let those things stop me from attending the game . . .

It was a humid evening; I’m so glad I didn’t bother to straighten my hair!

The Homecoming queen wound up being a young lady I taught two years ago.  She was dressed up so fancy that I didn’t even recognize her!  I wanted to hug her after the game but couldn’t find her.  I’ll catch her at school.  I’m so happy for her!

We lost the game in a nail-biter than came down to a final field goal by the other team with five seconds left in the game.  Our boys were crying after it was over.  I tried my best to cheer them up as I hugged them and gave them high fives afterward.  I love them so.

Saturday, I got up early and walked three miles.

My ankle felt a lot better than it had the week before.  I know the shorter distance helped a lot.

I did feel pretty yucky from the cold, which had led me to sleep poorly Friday night.  I pulled out my essential oils and kept them going all day . . .

I did some baking, which I think I’ll talk about in a different post since this one could be a book on its own.

Then, I watched college football the rest of the day.

I wound up staying home from church today (Sunday).  I’m still not 100%; the severity of the cold is a bit muted, but it’s still annoying as all get out.

That’s basically it for these past two weeks.

Though I’m progressing, I continue to learn more about myself while making stupid mistakes (like walking too far or cooking for too many hours in a row).

If you would begin praying for the surgery I’ll be having in a scant 81 days, I’d sure appreciate it.  While I don’t relish the idea of having both sides of my ankle cut into again, I am looking forward to hitting the next phase of recovery so that, at some point, I can finally put this part of my life behind me.

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