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Week 47 (Plus One Day)

Are you tired of reading these update posts?  I hope not!  Even if you are, I hope you’ll stick with me through this one.

Spoiler Alert:  Naw . . . either read so you won’t spoil the ending or scroll on down.  Ha!

Let’s talk about Week 47 in my recovery from the trimalleolar fracture I suffered from on November 13 of last year.

I knew, going into last week, that it was going to be a tough one.  My students were about to take the second part of their FSA Reading Retakes, and I would be proctoring both days . . . full days . . . standing on my feet in a computer lab.

I went to physical therapy on Tuesday and made this little video of the back room . . .

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I remember the first few months of my therapy.  I’d see people go to the back room and wondered what kind of work they were doing back there.  It seemed way beyond what I was doing out in the main room.

By July, I had advanced far enough that this room became my primary training spot.  It’s where I completed the monster walks, toe touches, step ups, and lunges (and other exercises) that my therapist added to my routine.

I don’t remember exactly what we did last Tuesday; all I know is that J, my therapist, probably increased something in difficulty.  I’d been progressing pretty rapidly, so she liked to challenge me a little more each time I was at therapy.

I was more than ready for my ice down at the end.  Between proctoring and my PT, my ankle was screaming for relief.

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Wednesday, I drove across town to the Chick fil A that was open (the one closest to my school has been closed since a water main broke).  I needed sweet tea to get me through Day 2 of testing . . .

By Thursday, I was physically and mentally done.  I went in with plans to show my students a SAT prep video because most of them were taking it on Saturday.

The teaching gods laughed at me.  This Snapchat filter captured my mood perfectly at the end of day . . .

I went from school to physical therapy.  Thursday was a BIG day for me.  I got to do walking lunges for the first time since I broke my ankle!

We’d been slowly working on lunges.  That’s the neat thing about my therapist.  She’s amazing at building up to big moves by having patients master itsy bitsy pieces of the moves until they all come together for the big moves she ultimately wants patients to be able to do.

So, walking lunges were huge for me.

I also got to practice walking up and down a step.  She taught me to lean forward when I’m stepping down to help with my balance.  I still have trouble going down steps, so this was important.

I also got to do calf stretches on the stairs for the first time since June.

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This is a move that I was doing before my setback in July when we had to reset me back to the basics.

My ankle was, as usual, done for by the end.

In case you’re wondering how my ankles compare after all of this time, take a look at this . . .

So much of that swelling on my right ankle is from the hardware . . . those three extra long pins.  I am so eager for my December surgery, when my surgeon will remove them.

Friday morning, I was back at it . . .

Even though I had taken the day off, I wanted to get my workout done.

I don’t want to spoil my next post, but I will say that the Mr. and I went out of town.  My ankle didn’t fare so well Friday afternoon, but it did okay the rest of the weekend.

I did get some PT work in though . . .

Sunday technically ended Week 47, but I really want to talk about today, Monday, the first day of Week 48.

Because it was Columbus Day, I didn’t have to work.  My district gives us this day off every year, and I was so glad for it!

I made an early physical therapy appointment.

It was a special one.

So y’all, it was my LAST physical therapy appointment!

To thank the therapists for everything they’d done for me, I brought them some baked goods . . .

Those are called Perfect Vegan Snickerdoodles, and they really are perfect.  One of the gals ate one immediately and RAVED over it.

Technically, I’ve used all of the visits that my insurance allows in a six-month period.

Am I 100% better yet?  Nope.  I’m probably around 75% there.  The problems are two-fold:  the hardware in my ankle that is limiting my movement and causing pain and time that is needed for more healing.

When I signed in this morning, the gal at the desk said, “Happy Graduation!”

Y’all, I got a lump in my throat!

What a bittersweet morning!

I had to fill out a questionnaire about my ability to perform various activities like getting out of the tub, running (I’m not doing this yet), etc.

Then, I walked back to the PT room and sat at the bicycle to warm up.

My therapist walked over with a smile on her face and told me that I was glowing today.

Y’all, the tears came, unbidden, then.  She didn’t see them right away, but when she returned, she asked if I was okay.

Dang, but I was a little embarrassed.

I told her that I was emotional, but for good reasons.  This group of caregivers had become like family over the past seven and a half months.

I know about their children; I know how they spend their weekends.  There’s a lot of bonding that happens as you move from one exercise to another . . . a lot of time to chat while you’re putting bands on your legs or trying to balance on one leg.

These people had celebrated every single milestone, from my being able to set aside my crutches to the day I was no longer limping.

They dried my tears the day I couldn’t stand on one foot; and they prayed for me when the hubby was so sick that I didn’t know if he was going to be okay.

ALL of those memories and the emotions that went along with them were running through my head as my therapist and I chatted.

She even noticed the wad of Kleenex I’d stuck in the pocket of my sweater.  They were actually for the runny nose I was still suffering from – remnants of the cold I got a week and a half ago.

Ha!

Once I got that initial burst of tears out, I was good to go . . .

I moved through my round of exercises, with J adding a few new ones in.

She checked my form when I was doing walking lunges and made a small correction.

I’ll forever hear her voice every time I work out (“make sure the knee is over the ankle” and “sit into the squat . . . don’t lean over it”).

She had me walk up and down the flight of stairs that’s in the main workout room . . . numerous times to get my form right.  Who knew that you needed to push your knees out to help with balance?  I felt so awkward, but as always, she was the patient teacher.

She created a home exercise plan for me to follow with progressive exercises to challenge me when the old exercises get too easy.  She knows that I’ll push myself too far too quickly if I’m not careful.

We went over the plan, and she worked with me on form.

I got to practice jumping (I’m soooooo scared of this) and an exercise that will eventually lead up to running.  I practiced what wound up being a warrior stretch (hello Piyo . . . thanks for prepping me for this).

It was her way of sending me off armed with what I’d need even when she’s not there, coaching me through each movement.

I’d burned a LOT of calories during my workout . . .

Then, I sat and iced down one last time . .

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Sorry, but I love Snapchat.  This animation fit perfectly.  I felt as though I’d been given the key that would unlock the door to the rest of my recovery.

Then, it was time to go.

I gave a tight hug to J and told her that she was a miracle worker.  She really was.  I had such a rough July and couldn’t envision myself being out of the pain that I was in that month.  Plus, my main PT had changed offices, and the new one I’d been assigned quit working less than two weeks after I started back.  I had felt a little abandoned.  J took incredible care of me and managed my recovery process perfectly.  To be as young as she is (the same age as Chicky), her expertise is top-notch.

I hugged the other two gals that I’d been with from Day 1 as well.  They are special ladies.  They’d seen me when I crutched in that first day.  They’d watched the entire process and knew just how far I’d come.  I mean, heck, I couldn’t even rotate my foot – at all – when I started.

They have the amazing privilege of watching people get their functionality back, and I’ve just been in awe of that.  Plus, they do so with great tenderness and positivity.

I hollered out a final goodbye, thanked the insurance gal in the office, and walked out . . .

I may be back in January if I wind up needing more physical therapy after my December surgery.

For now, I’m taking many lessons with me.

I’ve learned how to pace myself regarding my recovery.

I’ve accepted that it’s okay to take things slowly.

I’ve grown to recognize the voice in my head (aka God’s prompting) when my body has had enough.

I’ve discovered that it’s okay to not be an overachiever in everything I do . . . meaning that I don’t have to do all the things to be what I consider “accomplished.”

I’ve learned how to roll with the punches.  Having things changed up on me has always been difficult; however, this entire process has been a series of things changing, whether it’s the therapist I’m working with, new moves being added to the mix (or old ones being taken out), or new days of the week to attend therapy.  I am not getting bent out of shape with unexpected changes to my routine, and that is a very good thing.

So, while I still have a ways to go in my recovery, and I know I’ll have a small setback in December when I have my surgery, I continue to trust that God will get me through each phase and that, in His time, I’ll recover.

One thing I’m slowly coming to terms with is that my ankle may never be the same as it was (or as good as the left ankle), and that’s hard for me.  Still, I choose to trust, and I continue my mantra of #findingjoyinthejourney no matter how easy or how hard things are.

What a blessing this injury has been.

Oh, sure, I’d rather that it had not happened; however, it did, and I can’t change that.  All I can do is look for God’s hand in allowing this.  I thank Him for getting me through each week . . . or rather each day of each week.

I won’t be posting regular updates from this point forward.  I think my updates will just come incidentally as part of my regular posts.  I’ll probably do a big One Year Anniversary post.

I hope that these posts have been encouraging to anyone going through something similar.  I pray that one day, I can read back through them without crying.  For now, I’m still living through the experience, so I can’t go there yet, despite my first PT’s suggestion that I do.

Please continue praying as the healing continues.  Thank you so much for being here for me each step of the way!

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2 Responses

  1. I love you have such a close connection with your PT.. I can imagine. All the time & struggle you’ve been though together.
    Question… when you have your surgery to remove the hardware, will you have to go back again?

  2. … I mean to therapy – will you have to start therapy over again?

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