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Week 31

It’s been a few days since I visited this here blog, but it’s Monday, and seeing as I had not written my weekly ankle update, I figured that I’d better.

So, last week marked 31 weeks since I broke my ankle on November 13th.

What a busy week I had!

I’ll admit that I was feeling some angst since I knew I only had three visits left until I’d be taking a short break from physical therapy (remember my post about my insurance).

Last Monday, I went up to the seven and a half-pound ankle weight to do my leg lifts . . .

That is one honking big weight, let me tell you.  My ankles are like my wrists . . . small (except for the ever-swollen right ankle, that is), so it’s hard to get these weights strapped on good, but I did, and oy vey, but that extra two and a half pounds was h-a-r-d to do (thirty reps on each leg).

I tried to be a beast, though, so I pushed through.  I think I probably limped out of there afterward.  Ha!

Now, I’m not going to lie . . . I wasn’t so good about doing my PT at home last week.  I think that knowing that I was going back on Wednesday and then the following Monday made me brush it off a little.  Plus, I work out each day with my Body Beach videos, so it’s not like I wasn’t doing anything at all.

Ahem.

Before I went to physical therapy on Wednesday, I worked in one of my flower beds. This was after I’d done my Body Beast workout (because I’m a glutton for punishment).

I had lots more weeds to pull, and my air conditioner guy was coming the next day to do regular maintenance, so I didn’t want him to have to deal with a mess.

The “before” picture

Here’s what it looked like when I finished . . .

All Photos-491

I made a shake to take with me to physical therapy . . .

Do you see the fudge in there???

My therapist didn’t add anything new to my routine after I got there, and I left feeling pretty good.

I scared myself Wednesday night.  There’s a recliner in the den that I sit in all the time.  It’s my chair.  Well, the UPS truck came to the house, and the dogs started barking, and rather than put the recliner down, I got off on the side.  In the process, my right foot (i.e. the one with my BAD ankle) hit the corner of the couch that is beside the recliner.  My little toe went one way, and the rest of my foot wanted to go the other way but couldn’t, so it was pulled back into itself.

The pain I felt on the right side (outer side) of that foot was really bad.  I just about broke my toe, I think.

I felt pain down the side of my ankle where my plate is.

I limped to the door, picked up my package, and limped back, shaking.  I was a little scared that I’d twisted my foot . . . not a good thing when recovering from a broken ankle.

I babied the heck out of it that night.  I applied essential oils to it before I went to bed.  It felt bruised the next morning, but I tried not to panic. I wound up showing it to my physical therapist on Monday, but by then, it was feeling better.

Note to Self:  Slow down.

Sheesh.

On Thursday, I cooked Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, a recipe in the Oh She Glows cookbook I bought a while ago . . .

This dish takes a LONG time to prepare, so I was on my feet quite a while . . .

The rain outside made Molly stick close by me . . .

On Friday, I woke up to the sun shining.  What a rare sight!  It’s our rainy season, so I had to take advantage of the good weather.  I got on up, worked out, and went outside to mow.  Our front yard was starting to look a little ratty . . .

I worked like a fiend.  Our riding lawn mower isn’t working right now, and the self-propelled part of our push mower is also kaput, but the mower itself works, so I had to use a LOT of leg muscle action to get the job done.

I edged afterward and swept up the debris.  The yard looked great; I was worn slap out.

I knew I needed to rest my ankle, so I spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool . . .

On Saturday, I got on up and did a 5k.  I won’t write more about that today, though.  I’d prefer to save the details for a separate post.  I did spend the rest of that day at the pool though; this time I had a different book in my hands . . .

The Mr. got called in to work Saturday night.  I found some baking mojo and whipped up a batch of Vegan Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies.

They paired nicely with the wine and book.  😀

They made for a delicious recipe Sunday morning (sans the wine) . . .

Before I ate that cookie, I had gotten up and done my leg workout.  It was a tough one, and I did a move where I stepped up onto the bench and then went back down into a lunge.

Three sets of these.

With weights.

I knew it was hard, but I thought I was okay . . .

Until the Mr. and I ran errands after church, and I looked down and noticed my ankle . . .

Oh.

My.

Goodness.

It was ugly.

It was painful too.

It had not been that swollen in weeks.

I was not doing well.

I hooked up my TENS unit and iced it for awhile.

I stayed sore the rest of the day and knew I’d totally overdone things.

Sigh.

At nearly eight months in, the recovery process continues to be filled with highs and lows.  Just when I think I’m getting ahead, my body rudely reminds me that I’m not done healing.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever feel 100% normal again . . . pain free, I mean.

Still, I try not to dwell too much on the negatives.  I am still in awe of the fact that I can do things like mow the yard, work out, and clean the house.  Simply being able to walk across a room is something I am so appreciative of because I remember when I’d forgotten how to move one foot in front of another.

And so it is that I’m another week closer to whatever percentage of normal my body is going to decide to land on . . . another seven days of hard work toward being 100% functional again.

I am grateful for God’s healing touch, His perfect timing, and His grace in even the most minute details of my life.

Weeks 27 and 28

Well, I never got around to writing a Week 27 update on my ankle recovery. Truth be told, I’d been sick that week and spent Sunday trying to recoup. Updating two weeks’ worth of progress should be interesting.

Let’s start with Week 27.

That Monday’s physical therapy started pretty much the same as always . . . a warmup on the bike followed by stretching on the slanted board . . .

I’ll probably say it every time, but this is my least favorite exercise.  Stretching out my Achilles’ tendon is still incredibly painful.  I never would have thought that being bound up for nine weeks would require so much time to recover.

I’d been experiencing more discomfort than usual with that tendon, so my therapist decided he needed to work on it.  He found more knots that had to be worked out . . . knots that would continue to plague me if we didn’t do something, so I prepared myself . . .

I know for a fact that this is the one part of his job that my therapist doesn’t like . . . inflicting pain on his patients.  I think it hurts him about as much as it does us, but it’s necessary for recovery, so endure it we must.  I did . . . without tears . . . but with a lot of grunting and gasping.

Surprisingly, I had a good Tuesday.  I’m usually plagued with pain after getting my leg worked on, but it was one of my better days.

Wednesday was bad, though.  I didn’t take pictures of my therapy the rest of that week, but I remember that I hurt . . . a lot.  Such is my life right now.

I still worked out, even sporting a fun pair of shorts that the Mr. bought me after I fell in love with the Wonder Woman movie preview we saw at the theater the weekend before.

I don’t think I’d be as far along in my recovery without my Beach Body Piyo workouts.  They make me feel strong, and I am getting my flexibility and balance back (along with my abs).

Week 28

So, today, May 28th, marks the 28th week since I broke my ankle.

That’s seven months, y’all.

Crazy, eh?

I was back on the board on Monday . . .

Yes, those are my Wonder Woman shorts.  I’d washed them, I promise.  I like to dress in fun workout clothes; they inspire me.

That’s the back room, where I do my plyometric work, sans jumping, which I still cannot do.

For my mat work, I asked the therapist if I could go up in weight.  I upped the ankle weight to five pounds.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

The jump from four to five pounds was brutal.  I have to do single leg raises with them . . . 30 raises on each leg.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t walking normally after I finished.  Ha!

I try to push myself when I go to physical therapy.  My goal is to get stronger without setting myself back.  It’s often a tough call, which is what my therapists are so important for . . . helping me learn to understand my body’s cues and putting the brakes on stuff I cannot do yet.

On Tuesday, during my Piyo workout, I decided to try the burpees instead of doing the modifications.

Although I didn’t experience pain during the movement (I made sure not to jump down too hard), I paid the price the rest of the day.  My foot hurt in the front, where the ankle and foot connect and bend.  It made for a hard day on my feet.

I told my PT about it the next day, and he chuckled.  He knows that I’m hell-bent on being an overachiever.  He knows I won’t do anything that will cause me to injure myself, but he continues to caution me about pushing too hard too soon.

The best part of therapy, besides seeing the baby steps I’m making, is the electric STEM therapy and ice at the end.  The young lady who applies the nodes has the special touch, let me tell you.  On Wednesday, she got them on just the right spots, and we’ve worked hard to figure out the best settings.  I was in absolute heaven . . . the reward for working so hard and staying diligent in this recovery process.

My therapist and I had talked more about how important it is to stretch my calf and Achilles’ tendon.  I wound up ordering, from Amazon, the following board . . .

I really like this board.  It was a lot less expensive than the wood ones I’d seen before, and it’s very sturdy.  It’s also adjustable, so you can increase or decrease the angle for an easier or tougher stretch.

I’m going to be using this on the days I don’t have physical therapy.  The more I can stretch my muscles, the more complete my recovery will be (and the less pain I’ll be in).

So y’all, do you want to know how stupid / stubborn I am?

On Thursday, during my Piyo workout, I did more burpees.

Sigh.

I am a glutton for punishment.  I limped into school (I work out in the wee hours of the morning before work).  It was ugly, let me tell you.  I had to put my TENS unit on during my planning period and keep my foot up most of the day.

Yeah.  I’m not too bright sometimes.

I should have really known better given that my school’s graduation was the next day, and I’d be on my feet for a very large number of hours.

What a wonderful night celebrating some pretty inspiring kiddos.

By Saturday, my foot was feeling better, so I got up, did a tough 48-minute workout, and then walked the first leg of the newest Hogwarts Running Club race, the Sirius Half Marathon.

This race benefits Mission K9 Rescue, which provides much-needed rehabilitation and rehoming to service dogs.

Oh goodness, y’all, but this hits my heart in so many ways.  With my Rooster serving in the Air Force, my love for fur babies, and my admiration for the HRC, a selfless group of runners/walkers, I didn’t waste any time in registering.

I knew the distance wasn’t something my ankle could handle at one go, so I’m breaking it up into bite-sized pieces.  I haven’t been able to walk further than three miles since I broke my ankle, so Saturday was a big day for me.  It helped that Super Sis called right at the beginning of my walk, and we talked the entire time!  Thank heavens for my wireless ear buds!

I even dressed in honor of Memorial Day . . .

If my Airman (Rooster) was at the finish line, I’d probably make a miraculous recovery and actually RUN to him.  Nothing slows down a mama when it comes to wrapping her arms around her children . . . especially children who live all the way across the country who she can’t see very often.

I managed to burn a LOT of calories during my walk.  Who would have thought it took so much effort to talk and walk at the same time??

My pace sucked, but I had promised the Mr. that I wouldn’t go too fast.  I’d had a rough week on my ankle, and he had seen me in a lot of pain each day.  He didn’t even want me to go, but I have a hard time listening to advice sometimes.

Ha!

And so it is that I’ll begin Week 29.  I kind of feel like I’ve hit a place where I’m not progressing very quickly.  At the beginning, I saw big improvements.  Now, the steps forward are smaller, and that frustrates me.  It’s like going in to get a haircut and walking out and nobody noticing because your hairdresser only trimmed a half an inch.

I guess that’s what these posts are for, though.  When I look back in a few weeks, I’ll see big improvements across larger amounts of time.

I am still grateful, and I am still in awe of God’s healing power and perfect timing.  He knows what is best, and He’s still working, even if I don’t see big changes.  I continue to trust Him and #findjoyinthejourney.

Week 24

In about five hours, I will hit the 24-week . . . aka 6 months . . . mark after breaking my ankle on November 13th.

There’s just something very wild about being able to say that.

Six.  Months.

If you’ve been following my journey, did you just take in your breath sharply and think, “Has it been that long already?”

Yeah.  Some days, I cannot believe it either.

Last Friday, after my last class of the day had finished its work, I allowed them to relax a little, and they began asking me questions about how I actually broke it.  When I went back to work a couple of weeks after my injury, we were so focused on getting back into a routine, that I didn’t allow them time to ask too much.  Plus, recounting the experience was extremely difficult because of the pain I was still going through.

It still seems so surreal that one moment I was walking through my house, happy as could be . . . preparing for a new week ahead of me, and then in the blink of an eye, I was laying on the floor, unable to move my foot, certain that something very bad had happened.

Sheesh, but I am tearing up just typing that.

That last class of mine has been such a challenge all year, and empathy has not been their strong suit; however, on Friday, one young man sincerely said, “I don’t know how you did it.  You must have been in the worst pain ever.”  He was kind when he said it too.

Yeah, I was.

That drive to the ER was horrendous; I’d never cried like I did that night.  I felt every bump in the road, every instance the Mr. hit the brakes, and, I think, about every breath that came out of my lungs.

That’s why, when I think about the months that have passed since then, I am completely in awe of how far God has brought me.

This past week was a good one for me.  I am grateful for that after the bad week I’d had before it.

I had taken it easy last weekend and was rewarded by my now-normal amount of pain, which is bearable, to say the least.

I am still not pain-free.  Sometimes the bones ache; other times it’s the scar on the inside of my ankle.  My ankle freezes up on me if I sit too long, so I limp when I get up.

Still, I am happy.

Monday, I dressed up.  It’s amazing how easy it is to look nice when the pain is at a minimum.

I had physical therapy after school.

I have been balancing on a Bosu ball for a month or two, and after my first one-minute round, I knew I needed to change things up, so I asked my therapist if he could make it more challenging.

He put a little gel disk on the floor and told me to balance on that.

I laughed.  I figured I’d nail it easily.

Y’all . . . I could not even let go of the bars.

I had tears in my eyes from frustration.

I did not cry though.

One of the other therapists told me that my first goal was to stop white-knuckling the bars.  She said to hold on but not so tight.  She suggested that the next visit, we could work on me holding on by my fingertips.

My other therapist just chuckled.  He said, “You told me to make it harder.”  Yep.  I did.  It took me back to our first conversation my very first visit.  I had told him that I would work hard and that I wanted him to push me.  He has kept his promise to do just that.

I’m finding myself able to do my cone work at physical therapy a little bit easier.  It’s still the toughest exercise I’m doing there because of the balancing I have to do; my ankle is usually pretty sore afterward.

Thank heavens for the icing down and electric therapy at the end of each session.

Last week, I continued with my Piyo workouts.

Oh my golly, but Buns was a tough day.  It was good for my legs but oy vey!

I did a tough routine on Sunday . . . Strength Intervals.  I had to do a lot of the modifications because I cannot move laterally yet, per my physical therapist’s instructions.  I also cannot jump or jog, so I walked with my knees up at those sections.  I did one-handed burpees, more like lunges with one hand on the floor with absolutely no jumping at all.  It was a good workout for me, though, because I worked on a lot of lower body strength, which is what we are focusing on in physical therapy.

I am thankful that I can work out again.  One of the things that frustrated me so much when I was laid up was feeling like all of the hard work I’d done to get back in shape was going by the wayside.  I am deriving much satisfaction in burning calories again and gaining flexibility.

On Saturday, I decided to try to go for another walk.  I figured that I had given myself last weekend off, so maybe I would be okay.

The Mr. said, as I was leaving, “Are you sure about this?”  Yeah.  I was.

I walked a total of 3.28 miles, finally completing my Run Now Gobble Later 5k, a Gone for a Run virtual race I’d originally planned on running the week of Thanksgiving with my friend, Rebecca.  Of course, that’s when I had my little “mishap,” so I wasn’t able to do it.

I slowed my pace down a lot from the last time I’d walked in an attempt to prevent residual pain.  I did start hurting when I hit the 1.5 mile mark.  I’m going to ask my PT where the malleolar bone is.  I think it’s the back one .  . . one of the three I broke.  That’s where I hurt a lot when I walk.  I’m wondering if it’s just going to take longer to fully heal.

Still, I pushed through, iced down when I got home, and binged on Netflix the rest of the day.

Waking up this morning . . . knowing that I’d hit this big milestone . . . was especially poignant.  I still keenly remember googling “Trimalleolar Fracture” back in the ER that fateful night and reading that it would take between 18-24 months to recover.  That’s one bitter pill to swallow.

And now I’m between 1/4 and 1/3 of the way through.

Amazing.

This morning, when I walked into church, one of the guys the Mr. and I have become friends with commented, “You’re not limping!”

I wasn’t?

I hadn’t noticed.

I was having a good morning.

Perspective . . . time . . . God’s healing . . . there’s just something incredible about this journey, wouldn’t you say?

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