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Week 41

Week 41 of my recovery journey after breaking my ankle has come and gone.  Let’s check on my progress, shall we?

I went to physical therapy on Monday.  I did my regular stretches for my hamstrings and Achilles tendon.

I was actually feeling pretty good for a Monday (the first full week back at school too).

J, my trainer, had me try a new balancing exercise.  She put me on two disks that I had to stand on for two rounds of three minutes.  It was a little harder than I’d expected.  I was a little surprised though because back when I was doing my PT during the spring, I was balancing on a disk on one foot and had gotten pretty good at it.

By the end of therapy, things started going south.  I don’t know what happened, but one of the exercises pushed my ankle too far, and I suddenly experienced a lot of pain.  Despite having the STEM and ice therapy when I finished, I limped out of there.

I was pretty sore for the next few days, but when I went back in for my second weekly round of therapy on Thursday, I was feeling pretty good again.

My trainer has been extremely pleased with my progress, so she decided to up the ante a bit . . . in the form of a thicker towel for my stretches.

Go ahead and laugh, if you want, but sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

We have been taking BABY steps in my rehab this go-round to allow my body to slowly adapt itself to new moves – moves non-injured people take for granted.

J also added in some new exercises on Thursday.  One of them was monster walks.  I had to put a band around my knees, slightly bend myself into a squat position, and take small steps in one direction with my legs spread out hip-width.  As I stepped, I had to push my knee over my ankle sideways.

I moved to the left first, all the way to a pole that’s in the back room.  The, I repeated the walk but to the right.

My butt and thighs were BURNING, and I actually worked up a sweat.  I did another round.  The push to my right was the hardest on my ankle.  That’s the side that I have the plate, and it’s also the side that had the longest break.  It’s not nearly as flexible as it used to be.

Another exercise I did that day was a semi-lunge, which I’d been forbidden from doing during my home workouts.  J put me in a lunge position, with my right foot on the floor, knee bent, and my left leg bent with my knee on the floor.  Then, I had to push into my right heel to raise myself, straightening both legs in the process.  I repeated this ten times, going up and down in the process.

It was pretty tough.  My heel has a lot of pain still because of the tendon issues, but it felt so wonderful to be doing a “normal” exercise.

I repeated this on the other side, and it was hard for different reasons.  With my right foot behind me, I had to push with those toes, which required more strength from that foot (along with balance).  I was very hesitant.  My confidence has been shot over the last few months; my balance is definitely not what it was before I got hurt.  I did another set of ten.

Then, I did one more round.

Yay me!

One other exercise that I got to do for the first time was bridges with a twist.  With my hips raised, I had to alternate lifting one leg and then the other, knee bent each time.  This made me put more pressure on each foot and worked on my core.  I liked this move.

I went through my other exercises and ended my session with ice and STEM, the very best things ever!

I’ve had a pretty good weekend with my ankle.  Taking it a little easier on the days I’m not at work has become especially important in my recovery . . . a lesson I’m finally learning.  I can really feel it when I push too hard, like when I walk through Sam’s Club or Walmart.  My ankle yells at me pretty loudly.

So that’s it for this week.

Joy was so easy to find this week; the pain much more manageable despite doing a LOT of walking while I taught five straight days.

God continues to amaze me with His gracious provision and healing touch.

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Weeks 39 and 40

Y’all, it’s Week 40!

That makes it sound like it should be ten months; however, I counted on my fingers, and it’s only been nine months (November 13th to today).  I’m not a math person, so I’ll leave you to figure out how 40 divided by 4 (a typical month) equals ten, but it’s only been nine full months since the break.  Whatever.

Crazy stuff (both my inability to do math and the fact that time is flying by)!

Shall we move on?

Ahem.

Well, I never got around to blogging about Week 39 because of a little something called work (and the fatigue that quickly ensued).

Let’s see if I can combine both weeks.

I actually did start writing about Week 39 (I found the post, already started, when I came back to blog).  Ha!  So, here goes.

Week 39

I was a little nervous going into physical therapy on Monday because that was my first day back to work.  Even though I’d been sitting in meetings for most of the day, I figured that my ankle would be all frozen up and difficult to work with.

I had, however, worked out my back and biceps that morning, so there was that.

Not bad for a 5am workout, eh?

So, back to the PT thing.  I warmed up, and my ankle felt pretty good.

Then, I did my not-so-favorite exercises . . . calf stretches . . . six minutes of pain.

My trainer walked me through some of the same moves as last week, but then she added a few new ones.

I’ve already described using my heel to pull back an exercise ball while my trainer holds a resistance band.  Well, on Monday, she stood at my feet and held that same band.  I had to flex my foot and pull the ball toward me with my heel (the same move as before), but I had to pull against the resistance band.  The purpose was to stretch the front of my lower leg.

Yeah, I felt it.  It was, by far, the most difficult thing I’ve done so far.  My hamstrings were on fire when I finished.

She also had me do some bridge lifts (feet flat on the mat while lifting my pelvis in the air).  I had to do this move with my right foot in three different positions – turned in, neutral (straight), and turned outward.  She was gauging my tolerance.  I had no pain whatsoever, which she thought was good.

The final exercise I did involved me standing with my right foot up on a platform.  I had to position my left leg behind me, kind of in a lunge stance.  Then, she put a resistance band around my right leg and held it tight from my left side.  I had to lean forward into a bit of a bend while pushing my knee to the right in the opposite direction from the band.  I held the stretch for three seconds before leaning back into the neutral position.  This was a bit painful.  We analyzed when and where I was feeling discomfort.  She tailors my regimen according to such details.  I just adore her, if you couldn’t tell that already.

After that, it was time for ice and STEM treatment, and I felt pretty good when I left.

I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of that week toting items back to my classroom before my all-day meetings started.

I sat in training Tuesday afternoon, answered a question and earned a ticket for a drawing, but didn’t win anything in the end.

I did some eating out . . . two days in a row . . . at my favorite Thai place . . .

By Wednesday of that week, I felt like I needed the following to help me find my way to the surface.  I felt like I was drowning in new information . . .

Thursday morning, I was singing a new tune though, attitude well in hand, after going to bed at 9pm the night before . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I did on Thursday, besides sit in more meetings.  I did have physical therapy that afternoon.  It must have gone well because I was still smiling afterward . . .

Or maybe I was smiling because I didn’t have to work the next day.  My district has four-day work weeks during the summer, and that week of planning was the final one with the special schedule.  I could totally do short weeks!

I got up Friday and mowed the back yard.  It hadn’t been cared for in over a month because the mower had been in the shop getting a major overhaul.

Before

After

Pele approved . . . of the yard and the fact that I was home . . .

I managed to get my workouts in each day.  One thing I’ve been more cognizant about is taking it easier on my rest days.  No, I don’t fully rest, but I do slow down and make sure I’m going through some of my physical therapy exercises.  I manage to burn some calories, thus satisfying that need inside of me, while stretching out my tendon and hamstrings.

That weekend, Freeform hosted another Harry Potter Marathon.  I was pretty much glued to my TV on Saturday and Sunday . . .

Why do I always turn it on at the saddest parts?? Oh my!

Week 40

Last Monday started Week 40.  I headed back to school for three days of room prep (with the exception of one department meeting).

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t get much accomplished.  I did manage to get my new cell phone pocket holder hung up, along with my cell phone procedures and an informative graphic . . .

It was hot as the place down under (and I’m not talking about Australia) as I went back and forth between buildings . . .

I had physical therapy that afternoon . . .

I was hurting pretty good that day.  This time, it was the underside of my heel, which only got worse the longer I was working out.  J, my trainer, told me she would work on my foot, but before she did, I got to go upstairs (cue the angels singing) to the big girl section, and play with some battle ropes . . .

She and my other physical therapist were actually impressed with how strong my upper body was.  Heck, I told them, since I’ve been forbidden from doing lower body workouts, I’ve got no other parts to exercise at home!  Ha!

J also showed me how to use a foam roller.  I’d been reading about how good they are for working out kinks, of which I have a lot.

Then, I went back down for my foot “massage.”  Ahem.

After whipping up a pot of 8-Minute Pantry Dal, a recipe by Angela Liddons, I watched some TV.

I went to bed super early.  Getting ready for a new school year while rehabbing an ankle is tiring business!

Tuesday morning found me up before the birds, doing my regular workout . . .

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Yeah, that getting up early thing . . . not my favorite and not something I’ll miss when I get to retire in the next century.  Ahem.

Tuesday was all about working in my room, discovering supplies I needed to buy to get organized, shopping, and going back and working some more.

All the while trying my best not to overdo things on my ankle.

Each class has its own color . . . because I’m an overachiever like that.

I added pencils to my cell phone organizer so that no kiddo can tell me that he/she doesn’t have something to write with.  Did you know that sharpening three dozen pencils takes FOREVER, even with an electric sharpener??

I went home at 3 but spent the better part of the evening working on lesson plans, mindful of keeping my foot up . . .

Wednesday was crunch time.  I started out with a good stretch of my muscles . . .

I knew that it was going to be a LONG day on my feet.

I sported wild hair to match my anxiety level . . .

Don’t ask me specifics about that day.  All I can say is that the Lord is good, and He made it all come together by the end of the day.

I went home exhausted and hit the bed early because THURSDAY was my first day with kids.

I’ll share the details of that for another post, but I did have physical therapy after school . . . on my first day.  I wasn’t supposed to go in until Friday, thank you insurance for messing up my routine, but the PT office called me as I pulled INTO SCHOOL, thank heavens, and asked if I could go in that afternoon, so I parked in a spot that wouldn’t have me locked in to the parking lot (allowing for a faster exit later that day).  The Mr. kindly took my PT clothes and sneakers to the school because I wasn’t going to have time to run home and get them.

I am not going to lie.  By the time I walked in to PT that afternoon, my foot was a hot mess.  The bike warmup was not fun.

As I did my stretching, my tendon and hamstrings were as tight as they’d been when I started going back to therapy.

My ankle was pretty swollen by the end of my session.

I was still pretty stiff on Friday.  You can see this in the picture below.  I could barely bend my right knee for one of my stretches (see how far I can bend the left one?).

People who aren’t in education (i.e. parents) often complain because we start school on Thursdays each year, but honestly, I don’t think the students or teachers could handle more than two days at first.  My ankle was mighty happy when I got home Friday afternoon after having me limp on it all day.

Overall, I’m feeling okay.

I did have more pain these last two weeks, but I expected that because of the start of school.

I am even more grateful that God put me with the trainer I’m currently working with.  The fact that she’s pulled back on the intensity of my exercises has helped so much.

I haven’t gone on a walk in over two weeks, and I think that’s helped reduce some of the intense pain I’d been feeling before.  I’ve also been taking it a little easier on my “rest” or “leg” days, so that’s helped give me regular breaks.

I’m realizing that my gung-ho attitude, while good in some ways, has probably hampered my progress to this point.  There’s such a fine line between pushing myself and pushing past an acceptable limit.

So, that’s my two weeks, in a huge nutshell.  Ha!

I know that this week will probably be tough since it will be my first FULL week with kids (i.e. little to no breaks during the day).  I hope my ankle holds up okay.

As always, I’m #findingjoyinthejourney and so grateful for each step forward that God allows me to make.

Week 38 – Reset

Today marks 38 weeks since I broke my ankle.  It also marks my second week back at physical therapy since my month-long hiatus (forced upon me by insurance).

You might recall that my previous post was one big pity party.  I couldn’t help it – I’d had a horrible week beset with a lot of pain.

Well, this week was so much better!  Although I wasn’t pain-free, the level I experienced was down a lot.  I suspect a big reason for that was the REST day I actually allowed myself on Sunday . . .

It was supposed to be a leg day, but I’d been asked not to work this part of my body at home, so I actually complied.  I had thought that I would go for a walk, but I wound up sleeping in a little, and then the Mr. and I kept pretty busy after church.  By the time the evening rolled around (when I thought I might still sneak in a walk), I was too tired.

So, my ankle was fairly well rested.

I arrived at physical therapy on Monday raring to go.

As always, I warmed up on the bike . . .

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The athletic trainer I’m working with had been doing her homework, so she was ready for me.  I’d sent her a link for the Body Beast workout sheets that detailed the exercises I’d been doing.  She had made her own list . . . of things she didn’t want me to do right now . . .

Y’all, I just about died.

That’s a crap ton of moves . . . that I can’t do!

She explained that we are doing a “Reset.”  Like I mentioned in my previous post, we are going back to basics and will work our way up from there.

She wants me to get back to being able to do easy moves with no pain and then proceed, slowly, to harder moves.

Slowly is not a word I use very often, unless I’m talking about my running speed.  Ha!

So, I started out by doing stretching moves to help me get my hamstrings flexible again . . .

Two moves involve me putting my feet on this board while keeping a rolled towel between my thighs, raising my hands over my head, and sliding them down, very close to my body all the way down to my toes.  After holding them by my toes for three seconds, I have to slide them up again and start over.  After thirty reps, I moved so that my heels were on the board with my toes on the floor and repeated the movement thirty times.

This might not sound difficult, but this girl was really feeling the burn in my hammies.

The next move involved me standing in a band of sorts, walking forward until it was stretched tight, and then sliding my arms up and down, reaching for my toes, thirty times.

I also had to do the move from last week where I held onto the stick at the front of my right foot and leaned my foot forward with my knee moving to the outside of the stick, thirty times, to stretch my Achilles tendon.  I did this exercise with my right leg bent on the floor, stretched by a smaller band, while leaning forward to stretch.

I felt a bit like Gumby.

I did some other work in the main room on a mat using a band to do windshield wipers to help with my range of motion.  I also had to do some pulling and pushing band exercises.  Then, she had me do some work with an exercise ball (I’ll show you a picture in a sec).

After all of that, it was “Tool Time” because my tendon was knotted up . . .

This has to be one of the most painful things I have to endure at therapy; my bruises stick around for a week or two every time I get the “tool.”

My ankle was a bit swollen after all of the hard work I’d done that day . . .

I was rewarded with a heating pad and ice, with STEM treatment underneath . . .

I’m pretty sure that I spent a few hours at the pool after therapy, but I didn’t take a picture!

On Tuesday, I got up and walked four miles . . .

It was not an easy walk; I was sore most of the way, but I pushed through.  This was the day when I had the most pain.  I even considered sending the following picture to my surgeon’s nurse to ask if I needed to go in . . .

That’s the area where I’m experiencing the most pain, and it’s different from the pain I’ve had before.  It’s a very confusing thing.

I am not one to be held back for long, though, and I really wanted to work in my classroom, so I headed out after my walk, with a stop at Chick fil A first.  They gave me two extra boxes of hash browns, y’all, because they said that they had extra.  I wound up eating only two of them but still!

I tried not to overdo; my main goal was arranging the furniture.  Here’s how my room looked after a couple of hours of work . . .

After that, I figured I’d earned a trip to the pool . . .

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What a great way to relax!

Wednesday was supposed to be a cardio day, but my PT had, in essence, removed almost all of the exercises I could do, so I worked out my abs instead and then headed back to school.

I cleaned every single table, counter top, and bookshelf and put more of my room together . . .

I repurposed our old DVD shelving units by loading them up with books . . .

I grouped some of my favorite authors’ books together . . .

I was a little shocked when I got a shout-out by one of my favorite ladies on Twitter.  I totally fan girled, y’all.

See, Allison van Diepen and I have been friends on Twitter for a few years now – ever since I sent her an email about how much one of my students had loved a book she’d written.  She’s such a nice gal!  ❤

I’m going to be organizing my students’ work a little differently this year, so that will leave my back counter free for books to be displayed . . .

After all of that work, I needed some water therapy . . .

The forecast was calling for a lot of rain the next few days, so I figured this would be my last chance to read in the pool for awhile.  I accidentally got part of my book wet.  I guess I misjudged where my elbows were.  Ha!

Because I’d taken it a little easier, Thursday’s trip to physical therapy was a lot easier.  I repeated the same exercises with a slight twist on the ball one . . .

The trainer thinks I’m going to be coordinated enough to roll the ball back with both legs at once.  Ha!  We didn’t actually do this one yet (she was actually prepping me to work on my left leg to make sure both leg muscles stay balanced), but she promised that we would be doing this next week.  I told her that she must really need a laugh.  😀

I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday afternoon so I could finally get a prescription to get a bone density scan.

I’ll be talking more about that in a different post once I get the results of that and the twelve vials of blood I had drawn the next day (the rainiest summer day thus far) . . .

It’s a good thing that Friday was my real “rest” day.  I doubt I would have had much energy after fasting for the blood work and having to wait for over an hour for the bone scan.  I think that having two rest days each week is going to be another key to my ankle healing fully.  I might tend to overdo things . . . just a bit.  Ahem.

Saturday had me back to the routine and working out my chest and triceps . . .

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Overall, I am feeling a lot better, aside from stomach woes that are the result of the stress I put myself under with my doctor’s appointment (I do not do doctors very well).

My ankle is almost back to its normal level of pain, which is a good thing because I have to report back to work tomorrow.  We don’t get our kids back until the 17th.  I fully expect my ankle to be a hot mess the first couple of weeks with me being on my feet six straight class periods before my planning time, but that’s really no surprise given the severity of my injury.

Thank you for your prayers and your indulgence last week while I cried.  Some weeks just require tears, while other allow for shouts of joy.  I’m somewhere in the middle this week, which is a good thing.

#findingjoyinthejourney was a bit easier, and for that, I’m grateful.

Week 37

It’s been five weeks since I posted an update about my ankle.  You might remember that I had to take a break from physical therapy because I had to wait for my insurance visits to kick in again (I am on a six-month rolling program).  Ultimately, it’s been 37 weeks since I broke my ankle.  Crazy, eh?

Monday, the 24th, was my first day back.  I was excited because I had missed the routine of it.

I was a little dismayed when the office staff told me that the physical therapist I’d been working with had been relocated to the the beach office.  Ugh.  I wish I’d been told sooner because there’s a distinct possibility that I would have asked for my visits to take place there, which would have been a little inconvenient but would have helped with consistency.  However, I know that all of the PTs at this place are excellent, so I decided not to say anything.  The girl I’d been assigned to is very athletic, and she is a DPT, meaning that she’s a doctor of physical therapy, like my other guy.

My Monday visit wound up only being an eval so she could get the lowdown on my case since she had not worked with me before (we had chatted, but she had not been in charge of me).  She also measured my range of mobility and pulled and pushed on my foot.  A lot.  I discussed my concerns, which I’d made a list of on my phone, and we discussed some of the issues I’m still having.  She wasn’t going to be there for my Thursday appointment but said that another PT would work with me.

Rather than having me do any exercises that day, she iced me down and hooked me up to the TENS unit.

That evening, I began experiencing a high level of pain.  It was so bad that I may have shed a tear or two.  The Mr. and I weren’t sure why my ankle was throbbing so badly.  We thought that the manipulation of my ankle had been the culprit.  I was pretty desperate to get the pain to ease off and found myself running a bath at 11:35pm.

Despite the pain, I did my cardio and ab workouts the next day.

On Thursday, I had my second appointment, and as soon as I got on the bike to warm up, I knew things were going to be tough.  My legs felt like lead; they just did not want to pedal.

I then did my regular calf stretching exercises while the physical therapy assistants tried to figure out what I was supposed to do because my new therapist had not left anything in the computer for me.

Ugh.  That was frustrating because my surgeon’s PT script had been written for six weeks, and I didn’t want to waste any time.

This office has a program called MVP that helps athletes transition from physical therapy to more intense athletic training to get back into their sports.  My Chicky girl had gone through several rounds of the program, which we credit for getting her in the best shape of her life after she tore her ACL.  A couple of months ago, a new athletic trainer was hired for this program, and she wound up working with me on Thursday.

I loved her!  I was already in a lot of pain.  In fact, I’d been in more pain than usual last week, which I couldn’t understand.  We discussed the Beach Body program I’ve been doing for the last three months – specifically the leg workout.  I had done this workout on Sunday and had upped my weights.  Prior to that day, I’d walked four miles two consecutive days, so I’d pretty much set myself up for the pain.

I pulled up a list of the exercises for her to look at, and she was dismayed.  She explained that the moves were too big for what I was ready for, which was why I was having so much pain.  She’s got a plan to break down each move into their fundamentals, help me master them where I’m pain-free, and then help me transition to the bigger moves – slowly.  She also told me not to do my lower body workouts at home – to do them when I was in physical therapy.

Hearing her tell me that I will be pain free made me cry.

Y’all, the week was just awful.  I cannot even tell you.  I had to take Aleve two days, which I never, ever do.  The pain was probably at a 9 – bone pain that I hadn’t felt in months and months.  I’ve figured that I’m going to always be in some kind of pain for the unforeseeable future.  The Mr. constantly tells me that I’m doing too much, but I just cannot live my life sitting in my recliner.  My body NEEDS to be active; I NEED to burn calories.

So yeah, I had a little cry session right there in the PT’s office.

Bless J’s (the trainer) heart.  She was so sweet.  She understands my angst because she messed up her knee during a very important track meet that would have allowed her to go to State when she was in high school.  As she told me the story, her voice cracked, so my fear was something she could personally identify with.

I got myself together quickly, apologized for my weak moment, and we proceeded.  I wound up doing a couple of new moves.  One involved putting a tight band around my ankle, with me kneeling on the floor.  The band also went around a heavy piece of workout equipment, so it wouldn’t move.  Then, I had to, with one foot planted on the floor and my left knee on the floor, lean forward on my right ankle to stretch it, hold it for three seconds, and then return back to neutral.

You might remember that my surgeon diagnosed me with Achilles tendinosis, which is characterized by extreme tightness in that tendon (because of the lack of use while I was in a cast and boot).  We have to break it down to allow it to rebuild stronger.

It’s so freaking painful.

The second exercise she had me do involved me in a similar position on the floor, right foot planted and left knee bent on the floor.  I had a pole that I had to place at the top of my right foot, toward the right side of my toes.  As I held onto the pole with my left hand, I had to lean forward, hold the stretch for three seconds, and then return to neutral.

This was VERY painful; I felt the pain in the muscle on the inside of my ankle behind the ankle bone.  It was the PERFECT move that targeted my area of trouble precisely.  I’m sure I’ll be doing this move a lot.  In fact, during one of my reps, I felt a pop, which was a good thing because that muscle/tendon had been soooooo tight.

Then, I got iced down while I was hooked to the ever-wonderful TENS unit.

I spent the rest of the day extremely sore.

That didn’t stop me from completing the Hogwarts Running Club Eternal Glory 4-Miler virtual race the next day (it was a rest day from my Beach Body program).

Y’all, this was a hard walk for me.  I was in pain from the moment I left my house – pain that I had not felt in months.  I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to do the entire four miles.  I purposely walked slower, thinking maybe all I needed to do was stretch out my ankle.

Nope.  It stayed sore nearly the entire walk, but I did complete the whole distance in one try, so the feeling of accomplishment was HUGE.

I rewarded myself by spending the afternoon at the pool and got to chat with my friend, Megan, who was there as well.

On Saturday, the Mr. and I headed out to see a movie, but we had some time to kill beforehand, so we hopped into a store and did a bit of shopping.  The walking around was still tough.  Ugh.  I felt like I did back in March with my foot hurting every time I took a step.

I’m considering calling the surgeon’s office to schedule an appointment; however, I may give myself a few more PT sessions before I do that.  I remember him telling me that the new protocol would be very painful.

Check.

He had told me that I needed to ask myself if I felt any better than I did the month before.

Well, I had . . . until Monday evening.

Ahem.

I’ve pretty much decided that I’m definitely going to schedule another surgery to have a few pins removed.  One in particular is, I suspect, the culprit for 80% of my pain.  Crazy, eh?  I’m aiming to have the surgery the week of Thanksgiving but am trusting in God’s timing.  All I know is that I’m going to have it before the end of the year.  We’ve had a lot of medical expenses this year and have met all of our deductibles, so it would be more cost effective.  Plus, I don’t know how much longer I can go with this pain.  Some days, it’s almost unbearable, and I’m a tough cookie, so to say that is saying something.

So that’s where my progress stands at this point.  I feel like I’ve taken a few steps backward, and I’m frustrated.  I’ve had a few pity parties this week as I’ve tried to find reasons for the extra challenges I’ve gone through the last few days.  Ultimately, I know that my progress depends on 1) God, 2) consistent physical therapy, and 3) TIME.

I’ve been reminded that I am not a very patient person.  I want my old ankle back, and that’s just not going to happen.

I’m not going to lie – #findingjoyinthejourney was a bit difficult this week.  Pain is a thief of joy, y’all.  I feel overwhelmed sometimes, and that hurts my heart.  So much.

I am so grateful that God loves me when I lack faith – when I can’t see the finish line.  I’ve had glimpses, only to turn corners and discover hills that weren’t on the original plan.

If you would continue to pray for me, I’d surely appreciate it.  This is one hard, long road that I’m still trudging through, a bit unwillingly and very much resentfully at the moment.  That’s just me being as real as always.

Thanks all!

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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