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Weeks 22 and 23

Oh goodness, but two weeks just flew by, didn’t it?!

I wanted to write last Sunday, but I was so tired that I couldn’t even make myself pull out my laptop.

So, I didn’t.

I want to update you on how my ankle is progressing.

During Week 22, I had to help administer the FSA (Florida’s state reading assessment).  Proctoring duties were staggered, so I didn’t have test duty that Monday and Tuesday.  Instead, I had long planning periods and didn’t see students until 1pm.  It was heavenly!  I got a lot done!

Wednesday and Thursday, I proctored two test sessions each day, which made for a LOT of standing.  There were two other teachers testing with me, and they were great about getting me to sit down as much as I could to rest my ankle.  Still, I had to walk some because just sitting makes my ankle freeze up.

Wednesday afternoon, my ankle was shot, and I struggled in physical therapy.

Strangely enough, I started back, in earnest, with my Piyo workouts.  My surgeon had advised me to work hard on the stretching so I can get back my full range of motion.  So, I started getting up at the crack of dawn to fit in my workouts.

I’m doing modifications where I need to…hence the chair.  I can’t quite do the Warrior 3 position on my right foot.  My ankle isn’t strong enough yet.

We had Good Friday off, so I got out and walked.  I had signed up for another Hogwarts Running Club race, the Unmasked 10-Mile Run For Your Life.  I knew I’d have to break the race into bite-sized portions.

That Friday, I completed the second of what would turn out to be four segments, 2.5 miles each, of walking that race.  I finished it on Easter Sunday before church.

Each day I walked that weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), I improved my pace.

I did have some ankle pain while I walked and made mental notes of where I was hurting so I could keep my physical therapist apprised.

Meanwhile, I was still following my Piyo calendar.

Y’all…that Warrior position…I feel so strong when I do it.

So Week 22 ended, and I kind of felt like I was turning another corner.

And then…

Week 23.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

It was the week of hell for my ankle.

By the time I got to physical therapy on Monday, my ankle was extremely swollen.  Even the gal who wraps it in ice after each session noticed.

The pain didn’t hit full-force until Tuesday.  I could hardly walk into school that morning without a lot of pain…bone pain.

Tuesday was probably the worst day I’d had since February.  I felt like I’d literally taken huge steps backward in my recovery process.

By Wednesday, the pain had eased off a little, but it was still present, and it made me slow down even more.  It was a day that called for a stop at Chick-fil-A on my way to physical therapy…because waffle fries make everything a little better (even at 500 calories).

My physical therapist was a bit at a loss as to why I was hurting so badly.  We discussed what I had been doing, and honestly, it didn’t seem as though I’d done much.

The best I can think of is that my weekend of walking and pushing my pace lower each day had probably put a lot of pressure on my ankle.

As the Mr. reminded me, I’m only five and a half months out from breaking it.

Because of the bad week, which just didn’t seem to get a lot better overall, I decided to take it super easy on Saturday.  I’d planned on going to the pool, but in the end, I stayed inside, sitting on my recliner, catching up on shows I’d recorded.

I had a mini-meltdown at the end of the day, much to the hubby’s chagrin.

I felt useless.

I felt like it was November all over again, when my only course of action was sitting.

It was incredibly frustrating, so I let myself have a pity party.

For a minute or two.

The Mr. told me that most people would not have gone back to work two weeks after breaking their ankle, nor would they be doing half of what I was currently trying to do.

Ahem.

He told me that I was pushing myself too hard and expecting too much too soon.

He’s right.

So, I extended a bit of grace to myself, dried my tears, and kept watching TV.

This morning, I woke up feeling a lot better, got a workout in (no walking though), and took turns sitting in my chair and getting up and cooking for short amounts of time.

Bone pain has to be one of the worst pains there is, and I do not want to make myself have more of it by making poor choices for myself.

This journey of recovery continues to teach me so much.

I have to stop feeling guilty for taking care of myself.

I have to be okay with resting.

I have to continue to be patient during this process.

I might have mentioned, a time or two, that I am a slow learner sometimes.

Ahem.

21 Weeks

Today marks five months and one week since I broke my ankle and just about twenty weeks since I had surgery.  Last week, I finished week eleven of physical therapy.  It was a BIG week for me, but more on that later!

You might recall that the previous week, my physical therapist added a new exercise…the Star Excursion Balance Test.

Well, on Monday, he added another, new-for-me, mat exercise…

For this exercise, I had to balance on my bad foot…the right one, while reaching with my left hand to touch the cone on the furthest right.  Then, I had to stand up straight, bend over again, and reach with my left hand to touch the second cone on the right.  Next, I had to stand up straight, bend over, and reach down with my right hand to touch the middle left cone.  I had to repeat the process, with the right hand, and touch the last cone on the left.

Then, I got to do this nine more times.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

First of all, I felt so awkward.  My PT is young and coordinated, so when he demonstrated, it looked easy.

Not so for me.

I am most definitely not young and 1,000% not coordinated (which is how I got into this whole mess to begin with).

This exercise was incredibly difficult.

It was also painful when I reached with my right hand across my body to touch those left cones.  The burden of balancing myself fell to the outside of my ankle, and that’s currently where I have the least amount of strength.  It’s also the side of my leg that houses the most hardware…the plate and nine pins.

I am always telling my therapists to push me, though…a promise they made me during my first visit.

But still…did I mention that it was HARD???

Another big thing was that I got to change the color of the band I use for my various flexion exercises.

Yep.  I went from blue to black.  The black band is much tighter and tougher to work with.  It only took me a couple of months, but hey, who’s counting (except for me)??  Progress is progress!

I didn’t have therapy on Tuesday, so I ran to Sam’s and Publix.  Although I had not been sore at school, by the time I hit Sam’s, my ankle was starting to hate life.  I got an associate to push my buggy to my car and load it with the heavy bag of dog food and cases of water I’d purchased.

Publix was a mini-nightmare for me.  My ankle was completely shot by then; the mere act of walking back and forth across the store was a form of torture.

I was able to get most of the groceries put away at home, but then I had to rest.  The Mr. kindly took us out to eat that night, because there was no way I was cooking.  Not only was my ankle sore, but it was pretty swollen.  I figured it was the effect of the new exercises.

In all honestly, I think it might have been the looming bad weather that we were getting.  The forecast was so bad that my district canceled school the next day.

I think I might have had enough energy to do the happy dance.  Just sayin’.

Because the weather wasn’t going to be coming in until the next afternoon, I went ahead and got up early Wednesday morning, called my PT’s office, and asked if I could go first thing rather than my normal time, which would be when the worst of the storms would be passing through.  They gave me the green light, and away I went.

That’s when I asked my therapists about my ankle pain.  We all agreed that it was probably a combination of the new exercises and the weather.

I did get to warm up on the treadmill that day…at a whopping speed of 2.0 mph.  Y’all better start training for your races, cause I’m coming for you!  Ha!

Wednesday was a repeat of Monday, and then I went on my merry way.

Thursday, though, was a BIG day for me.

After teaching my first two classes, I greeted my substitute.  She would be filling in for the rest of the day.  Then, I got on the road…a bit of a drive ahead of me.  At least the weather was gorgeous!

I listened to a podcast that Rebecca told me about…

My destination?

Well, first if was Shoe Station…

Ok, first let’s be clear.  This was NOT why I’d gotten a sub.  It just so happened that I had enough time before I needed to be where I was going to stop in.

Funny how things like that work out, eh?

I found a pair of sandals that I instantly fell in love with.  I waited to get them until after I was done with my original reason for my travel because I had to find a discount code (the cashier upgraded it from 15% to 20%).

Aren’t they just adorable?  Yes, they are Vionic.  I’d been missing “regular” looking sandals.  These fit the bill.

Ok…back to the point of this part of my post!

So, I went to Bigger City, USA, for more than shoe shopping.  I actually had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who had fixed my ankle way back in November.  Yes, the actual surgeon…no PA this time.

I love this practice.  So much.  They are timely and professional.  They are, quite simply, exactly what you’d expect a doctor’s office to be…and then some.

I had to get an x-ray.  This didn’t surprise me because I’ve had to get one every time I’ve gone.  I took a picture of it when the nurse put it on the screen in my room…

See…I wasn’t lying about the hardware.

I was so happy when the doctor came in.  The last time I’d seen him, I was about to go under the knife, and he was drawing a smiley face on the big toe of my right foot.  I never saw him afterward since I was in recovery.

He seemed pleased with my progress and noted that everything was going according to the normal time table.

He checked the flexibility in my right foot, comparing it to my left.  I told him that the physical therapist had told me that I probably wouldn’t get back all of my range of motion because of the hardware.  He surprised me by telling me that the hardware would not impede me at all.

Wow.

What he told me to do was get even more aggressive with my physical therapy.  He showed me the exercise that I need to do more often…stretching my calf…the exercise I absolutely loathe because it hurts so much.

He also reminded me how important it is to continue therapy at home on the days I’m not in the PT’s office.

Honestly, I’d been slacking a bit in this area because I’d been allowing my ankle to rest on those days.  After being on my feet all day teaching, my ankle is usually shot.

I guess this is a classic example of “no pain, no gain.”  I am still a little confused, though.  My therapists keep telling me that I could regress if I push myself too hard.

Sigh.

I asked the doctor about possibly having some of the pins removed at a later date.  The ones that protrude the most on the inside and outside of my ankle bones hurt a lot when I rub something against them.  He told me to wait until my one year mark, and then we could revisit that.  He also told me that my brittle bones will not impact the removal of the pins.

Yay!  I am praying that scar tissue forms over the pins, thus acting as a cushion, so I won’t need to go through another surgery.  We’ll see.

I also asked about pain I’m having on the inside of my ankle around the scar.  He began to rub the scar quite hard and cross-ways and told me that this is what I needed to do…that there was scar tissue underneath that needed to be rubbed out.  Ouch!

One other question I asked was about the amount of bone pain I’m still having and how long I could expect to continue having it.  It’s not that it’s terrible.  It’s just always present at varying levels depending on the day.  He said to expect it to level off around the one-year mark.  That’s exactly what one of my physical therapists had told me.

He told me that unless I have any further issues with my ankle, he didn’t see the need for me to return.

That was another wonderful moment!  I’d been back and forth to this office a total of six times in the past five months.  I would have gone as long as I needed to, but not having to drive five hours every few weeks certainly was something to cheer about!

I drove home tired but happy.

And so I sit here at 21 weeks.  The things I couldn’t do last week are still an issue…no going down stairs without great discomfort…my knee bending is still an issue (I forgot to ask my surgeon about this)…etc.  So, a week didn’t necessarily make a difference.

But…I did go walking two days this weekend.

On Saturday, I walked the last two miles of my 10k and S.P.E.W. Hogwarts Running Club race.

I also started on the next race’s distance, a ten miler, by walking 2.5 miles today.

Yes, there was pain both days, but there was also progress.  I increased my pace both days!

I also did a Piyo workout each day this weekend.  The lower body was tough when it came to doing Warrior 3 on my right leg.  I couldn’t do it without holding onto a chair.

As always, I cannot keep my mind parked on the things I cannot do.  Instead, I try to focus more on what I can do.  My doctor commented, after asking me how I was doing, that I was much better than a month ago.

That was definitely an understatement!

I am still so amazed every time I walk across the house barefoot.  I remember when I couldn’t do that…when it hurt to put weight on my foot…when my heel hurt so badly that I cried…when my foot got so swollen that I could hardly distinguish one toe from another.

I am still so grateful for God’s healing touch and for the love and prayers of family, friends, and complete strangers.

20 Weeks

Oh my goodness, but can you believe that tonight marks FIVE months since I broke my ankle?

Truth be told, I can believe it.

In some ways, it feels like it happened a long time ago.  Other times, it feels like it was just yesterday…the memories are that fresh.

Monday marked the start of my tenth week of physical therapy.  It was also my first day back to school after Spring Break.  I don’t remember that we did anything new that day.  The therapist was going to talk to my main therapist after he returned from his honeymoon.  He’d be back when I returned on Thursday for my next appointment.

Meanwhile, I plodded through the week.

I wore my regular shoes three or four days last week; my slippers and sneakers were in my teacher bag just in case my ankle started hurting too badly.

On Wednesday, I got a text from a former student who now works at my therapist’s office.  There was a problem with my insurance, and she wanted me to call.

My heart fell, y’all.  It turned out that I’d been through the 21 allotted visits per six month period.  I wouldn’t be eligible for coverage again until June 23rd.  She told me I could go in and talk to my main therapist…that he had options to discuss with me.

The Mr. had gone back to Jacksonville to meet with his doctors.  I wound up not being able to go because our dog sitter had to work some crazy hours, so I didn’t have a car.  I’d gotten a ride to school from one friend, and my other other friend had agreed to pick me up.  She did one better and took me to my PT’s office that afternoon.

My heart was in my throat, y’all.  I’d spent part of the day in tears.  I did not want to stop therapy.  I was afraid it would be too expensive to continue.  My ankle wasn’t ready.  It won’t be ready for a long time still.  I’d even made a list of the things I’d noticed that I still couldn’t do.  I didn’t want to be pushed out the door.

Fortunately, I have an AMAZING PT office.  My therapist told me I could do exercises at home and consult with him over the phone once a week, or that I could do a special payment plan and continue as I was as a patient in the office.

I ran the numbers and discovered that this was do-able because I’d only have to spend $20 more that what I’d been paying with my co-payments.  I will continue to use this payment option until my insurance kicks back in.  My therapist agreed that I needed to stay in the office to work on my ankle…that I wasn’t nearly ready to be released.  Boy, was I glad that we were on the same page!  We discussed small goals and my BIG goal…to run again.  These will happen, in time.

The most important thing was that God had provided, just as He had been doing ever since I broke my ankle.  I don’t know why in the world I ever doubted.

With that load off of my shoulders, I left…or should I say floated…to the parking lot and my waiting friend.  She had gone and bought me a bottle of wine because I’d been so stressed.

She’s solid, let me tell you.

I returned to therapy for a regular appointment on Thursday, and my therapist had a couple of new exercises for me.

But first…the stretch.  This board is pure evil to me, but I need it so much.  I’ve considered buying one for home, but they are expensive!  I need to use it regularly to stretch my calf and work on flexibility.

Then, the fun began.

Yep.  It’s the leg press machine!

I have not used one of these in a longgggg time!  I started out with twenty pounds, but it was too easy, so we bumped it up to 40.  I had to do 30 reps.  By the time I hit seventeen, my legs were crying.

Ugh.

I am so weak right now.

I pushed through happily, though.

Then, J, my therapist, showed me a new exercise.  It’s based on the Star Excursion Balance Test, which is used to test the stability of ankles after injuries.

Even though my therapist modeled how to do it, boy, was I awkward.  I didn’t know where to put my hands (I watched a video after, so now I know to put them on my hips), and I didn’t know if I should bend my knee.  My therapist said no, but I’m not so sure.

It was sooooo hard…especially the move where I put my left foot behind and to the side of my right (my bum) ankle.

I think I did three of them before I had to rest.

It was also painful, which either indicates muscle weakness or healing that still needs to occur.

I’m tough, though, and did as much as I could.  Then, I proceeded with my regular exercises.

I really, really love my therapy.  I feel like I am making progress when I’m there, and the therapists are so encouraging.

On Saturday, I pushed myself a bit and first did a Piyo workout.  I’d decided that because I’m lacking in strength and flexibility, I could probably do a round of this program.  It was the first Beach Body program I completed a year and a half ago.  I did the upper body workout.

I want to keep my arms defined.  I worked too hard to lose that muscle too!  I’ve already lost so much in my legs.

I also noticed that I still cannot put my right knee on the floor when I cross my legs.  This is not good.  I’ve always been flexible, but that knee hurts something terrible if I try to bend it too far.  I suspect this is happened because I was restricted for nine solid weeks and then had to learn how to walk again.  Talk about frustrating!

After I finished, I went for a walk.  I’d signed up for the 10k and S.P.E.W. Challenge, a virtual race hosted by the Hogwarts Running Club.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do six miles at a pop.  I aimed for three but completed four by the time I’d finished my route.

I was so pleased!  The walking wasn’t nearly as difficult as the last time I’d attempted it…back on February 11th.  I increased my pace about six minutes per mile!

I did have some ankle pain that radiated from the inside of my ankle around the back to my other side.  My heel also hurt a little.  I think that’s a sign of my Achilles tendon or calf muscle being a little tight.  I’m going to have to mention that to my PT on Monday.

I spent the rest of the day pampering myself at the pool.

That’s when I was reminded, again, that I still have a ways to go with my ankle.  It froze up on me while I was laying out, and I limped to the steps to the pool.  I had to grab tightly to the rail and ease myself down the steps.  I still cannot walk down steps without pain.

Note to self…remind the therapists about this.

Sigh.

Today (Sunday), I’d planned to finish the last two miles of my 10k, but as we were leaving a restaurant after church, I had some pain in my ankle, and I noticed that it was more swollen than usual.

Sigh.

No walking for me.  I decided to rest up by the pool.

Darn.

Looking at that picture, I think my right leg is smaller than my left…probably the result of my injury.

Oh well.

Every week comes with its own set of lessons for me.  This week, it was about trust.  First, I had to trust God to provide, even when I didn’t see a way.  Second, it was about reaching out for help, which I did…twice…when I needed rides to school, to physical therapy, and back home.  Third, it was about recognizing my limits and not pushing myself too hard.  That third lesson is one that I’m not learning very well, I’m afraid.  I am trying, though.

As always, I am so grateful for a God who loves me and sees me in the midst of every need.

I am thankful for family and friends who pray…who fill in the gap when I feel like I’m stepping into an abyss.

There is so much #joyinthejourney, even when the path is rocky (boy, this week sure was) and the way is sprinkled with pitfalls.

 

Must Have All the Shoes

Footwear has been a slight passion of mine for a number of years now.  Y’all have seen my pictures of new sandals and other fun shoes.

Breaking my ankle was a huge reality check though.  My foot still doesn’t feel great in regular shoes, and the thought of balancing on heels gives me the heebie jeebies.

Thus it is that I’ve been on the lookout for new shoes. I discovered Vionic shoes a few weeks ago, but they are pricey!  I guess you get what you pay for…lots of extra support, which I need for my pronated, non-arched right foot.

I’d already purchased one pair, but they didn’t match everything.

When we went to the Mayo Clinic last week, I convinced the Mr. to stop at a Shoe Station.  I’d already looked online and had seen that this store had a vast assortment of these shoes.  I had also found a 20% coupon.

When I got to the store, I saw an entire section of Vionic shoes…

That picture doesn’t do the section justice.

Despite the number of shoes, I had a hard time finding some that fit.  I already knew that there were some sandals I couldn’t wear because my feet are very thin.  I also did not want old lady shoes.

I did find this pair…

They weren’t the pair I’d gone in after, but they fit and were comfortable, and I’d been wanting a black pair of flip flops.

I had also seen this pair at Dillard’s and had fallen in love with them, but they weren’t available in my size at Shoe Station.

Fortunately, the gal at the register ordered the size I needed, and she even allowed me to use the 20% coupon off of them!  I only had to pay a $2 shipping charge!  They were waiting for me at home when I got back from the Mayo Clinic.

When I was in Jacksonville with the hubby, I’d done some shopping during our down time.  I ran into a Dillard’s at the mall and found this pair of shoes that I instantly fell in love with…

They also come in a grey, but I opted for black because I figured that dirt wouldn’t show up as much.  I really, really like them because they remind me of the Keds I wore as a teenager.

I am still on the lookout for the Vionic slippers…and boots…and other shoes.

For now, I’m happy.  I feel like I have some options, even if I do need to wear my sneakers most of the time still.  At least when I want to play a little, I can dress the part.

19 Weeks

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means…I’m officially another week into my recovery process!  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever stop counting.  I figure I might once I hit the two-year mark since so much of what I read says that a patient who has a trimalleolar fracture requires that long to get back to “normal.”  So, the countdown will continue.

So Week 19 was Spring Break for me.  I figured that it would be a good time to keep my leg up and not do much.

I was wrong.

I went to physical therapy early Monday morning.  I really, really like doing my therapy in the morning.  There’s something about starting off the day working out my ankle…carefully watched over by the people who are helping me get better.

The Mr. and I went to Jacksonville late Monday, and I did a lot of walking while I was there.  Between the large Mayo Clinic campus and the extra shopping I did, my ankle definitely didn’t get much rest.

Our first hotel room was located at the end of the hallway, near the stairs, so we opted for walking downstairs instead of taking the elevator.

Yeah…it was pretty ugly for me.  I think that even the Mr. was surprised at how much of a hard time I had.

On Wednesday, I wound up putting almost three miles on my feet, and boy did my ankle hurt for it.

I had to drive us back home on Thursday since the Mr. had been under sedation earlier that morning, but I was pleased when my ankle didn’t freeze up on me.  Of course, we did stop a number of times to stretch, so that helped.

I had a PT appointment early on Friday since they close early that day each week.  I asked one of the therapists when I would be able to start walking down stairs again, so she had me step up on a small, wooden box used for exercises and then try stepping down onto my left foot (the good one) while holding onto a pole for balance.

Y’all…the pain that stretched from my right hip to my knee…and the pain on the inside of my ankle going around to the back…it was REAL, let me tell you.  It was as though my knee was frozen and could hardly bend.

Sigh.

The PT is going to ask my main therapist about it when he gets back from his honeymoon this week.  She’s not sure if the issues I’m having are lack of strength in my hips and knees, lack of flexibility in my Achilles tendon and calf, or if my ankle just isn’t healed enough yet.

I’m not going to lie.  When I was in the recliner getting iced down, I shed a few silent tears.

This journey is just so hard sometimes.

Just when I think I’m doing really good, like when I thought my walking was improving, I discover that I still have so many limitations…things I cannot do like I did before.

Sigh.

After Friday’s physical therapy, I went home, changed, and drove out to the beach.

After a quick stop at Ulta, I decided to park near the pier (thank you, Lord, for letting me find the PERFECT, close parking spot so I didn’t have to walk far).

Although I was by myself…empty nester and all…I treated myself to lunch at my favorite beach-side eatery…

When I finished, I carefully made my way to the sand and took a walk down in the surf.

The going was easy at first; the cold, salty water a balm to my bum ankle.

I took my time as I walked and stopped when the water covered my ankles completely so I wouldn’t lose my balance when the tide reversed itself.

I don’t know how far I walked in one direction, but I finally turned around and walked back toward the pier…and then past it.

It wasn’t too crowded.  I spied a few birds…

My ankle got sore, though, and I had to cut my walk much shorter than I’d have liked.  I found a lounge chair that hadn’t been rented and sat for a spell, digging my toes into the cool sand.

I was wishing that I’d had the foresight to put on my bikini and pack a towel and sunscreen.  The sounds of the beach…the wind, birds, and laughter around me…soothed my soul.

I was on the dog-friendly side of the pier and was drawn to the cutest puppy sitting in front of me with its owner.

This was the happiest little thing ever!  It got under the beach chair and dug like crazy!

Watching that little fur baby reminded me that I had three of my own waiting for me at home, and feeling a little guilty about leaving them alone after being gone most of the week, I headed back to my car…carefully picking my way through the dips in the sand.

My ankle was D-O-N-E for the day…for the weekend.  I’d walked almost three miles…much too far for an ankle that was only four and a half months out from injury.

So, what did this week teach me?

Well, it taught me that I’m still going to have good and bad days.  In fact, I’m still going to have good and bad moments in each day.

I was reminded, when my ankle bones randomly ached and pulsed, that although I am up and about, walking without a cast or a boot, I am not anywhere near healed yet.

Just as my ankle isn’t ready to resume regular activities yet, my heart is still tender as well.  I broke down in tears two or three times this week…a weakness I thought I was past once I started walking, unaided.

And so, when I have my mini pity parties, I try to pick myself up quickly and remind myself of what I can do…like go to the pool…sans “footwear” such as a cast or a boot…

When I do that, I am able to continue #findingjoyinthejourney, praising God for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do.

18 Weeks

Today marks eighteen weeks since I broke my ankle.  I say this every week, but it bears repeating…I am in awe of God and His healing grace.

First things first.  Remember when I posted last week and said that I had not done anything that Saturday…as directed by my physical therapists?

Well, let me tell you that I noticed a HUGE difference in my ankle this week…all because I took it easy last weekend.

Normally, Mondays are hell on my ankle.  Please pardon my directness there, but that’s the only word that fits.

I seriously cannot function well and hobble into PT on Monday afternoons.  The swelling in my ankle is usually pretty bad too.

Not last week!  I’ll admit that slowing down is not how I like to do things, but I can’t argue with the results.

It’s frustrating because this means that I am still further away from a full recovery than I’d like to be.  On the other hand, I’m closer than I was four and a half months ago.

During Monday’s PT session, they measured my foot to note my range of motion / flexibility.

I’d had this done during my first visit, but I was so overwhelmed with everything that I had not bothered to ask about the numbers.  All I knew was that I couldn’t move my ankle much.

When they measure, they’re looking at the way I can move my ankle four different ways…

During my first visit, my Dorsiflexion was at -5.  I couldn’t even get to neutral (90 degrees), y’all!  Now remember, this was only a week after I’d gotten out of my boot, and I was still relying heavily on my crutches.  On Monday, I was at 20 degrees!  Granted, that was with the PT pushing on my foot.  Ahem.  But the fact that it could move toward me that far was excellent!  Get this…the normal range is 20!!!  Woo hoo!

My Plantarflexion started off at 16 degrees during my first visit.  On Monday, it was up to 30!!  The normal range for this movement is 50, so I have a ways to go.  Nearly doubling in number though was GREAT progress!

My Inversion range started at 12 degrees; on Monday, it measured at 33!  The normal range is 35, so I’m just about there!

Now, the Eversion was not great.  During my first visit, I measured at 4 degrees.  Y’all, turning my foot outward is so stinking hard!  On Monday, I was at 7 degrees.  The normal range is 15.  This was discouraging, but I have to remember that most of my hardware is on the outside of my leg.  That’s where my plate and nine pins are holding things together.  I may never get full range back, but like the Mr. said, the only people who really need this motion are those who are making moves by cutting outward.  Still, being the overachiever that I am, I’d like to be able to get back as much of it as I can.

The most important of the above are my Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion movements.  They are what I need to take simple steps…to walk up and down stairs…to step down off of curbs…to walk uphill and downhill.  That’s why I’m required to stretch on an elevated board every time I go to therapy.  I’m giving serious consideration to purchasing one for my house, because I’ve read on message boards where people continue to struggle with the Achilles tendon getting tight long after “recovery” is over.  The price is hefty, though, so we’ll see.

Overall, I was thrilled with my measurements.  Last week was my eighth since I started physical therapy.  The progress is slowwwwww, but it’s there, nonetheless.

I didn’t get any new exercises added to my regimen.  The only thing we did was to tweak one movement.  Up to last week, I’d been sitting on a bench while using my wobble board to work on all four of the movements listed above.  On Monday, my therapist had me start standing while holding onto a pole and doing the exercises.  Monday was easy, so on Wednesday, she had me stand on my tiptoes on my left foot to put more weight on my right ankle while standing and doing the exercises.  This was decidedly harder.

I’m doing better on the Bosu ball.  The balancing is getting a little easier, although I’m super happy when each minute is over.  My hips still aren’t strong…yet another source of frustration but part of the process.

My gait is continuing to improve.  I recorded myself walking across the house.

I’ve watched it numerous times and am beginning to notice a few things.  My right leg is still stiff, and I seem to still be walking with a heavier step on that side.  It also looks like I’m walking with that foot further out.

I also noticed that my right knee seems to turn in when I walk.  I’m going to ask my physical therapist about it when he gets back from his honeymoon.  He was an athlete in high school and college and knows a lot about this stuff.

Hey, though, my walking is FASTER than it was even a couple of weeks ago!  I still go slow, because I want to focus on my form.  I also go slow because my foot still hurts when I walk.  My big toe is still feeling some pain when I push off of it, and the top part of my foot closest to my ankle is sore almost all the time.  It cracks and pops a lot when I walk, which feels wonderful but can’t be exactly normal since my left foot doesn’t do this.

The word “normal” is such a subjective word, isn’t it?

My new normal looks like this…

In addition to the Juice Plus I’ve been taking for years, I’ve now added bone health supplements…D3, B12, and a magnesium blend.  I’m also taking a turmeric blend for inflammation.

My new normal also includes a lot of days ending like this…

Under the ice is my TENS unit, emitting soothing waves of electric stimulation.

#bliss

17 Weeks

Four months and one week…that’s how much time has passed since November 13th when I broke my ankle.

Each week brings me closer to a full recovery, but I am still a long ways out.

This past week, I learned some painful, yet powerful lessons.

Last weekend, I thought I’d be all that and did three very tough weight lifting routines.

I’d wanted to start Body Beast ever since I’d been sidelined in November.  I had done chest and triceps the previous Friday, legs that Saturday, and biceps and back that Sunday.

To make matters worse, I spent about seven hours on my feet on Sunday…cooking four different recipes.

Boy, was I hurting when Monday rolled around.  I always say that it’s not the day after a workout that you’re most sore but the second day after.

This was me on Tuesday…standing like a gorilla because I couldn’t straighten my arms from Sunday’s bicep workout…

My ankle was a hot mess from Saturday’s workout, let me tell you.  It was so bad that the outside of my ankle…the side where I have my plate, was hurting.  This side rarely gives me problems.

When I got to physical therapy on Monday afternoon, I was doing some serious hobbling.

My physical therapists were not happy, and because I’d done too much, they weren’t able to add new exercises to my regimen.

The ice and stem therapy when I finished that day were much needed.

I struggled all week with my ankle…all because I’d tried to be my former, overachieving self.

Here’s what’s hard for me…remembering that, although my ankle might feel okay while I’m doing something, the effects of being on my feet or doing whatever it is I’m doing don’t hit until later.

I have to start thinking about the after-effects, which is so hard for me because I feel as though I’m missing out on stuff.

Sigh.

So, last week was frustrating, and I might have had a pity party or two when nobody was looking (and even when someone was).

The Mr. got a bit upset with me and fussed…in a loving way (ahem).  He reminded me that I am only four months out from breaking my ankle.

Yes, I can walk.

Yes, my limp is getting better.

Yes, I can drive and do some things.

The key is the word “some.”  That doesn’t mean all, and it doesn’t even mean that those “some” things are going to be to the full extreme that I’ve done them in the past.

YET.

One day, I’ll be able to.

Just not yet.

Just like I can’t wear pretty shoes for very long, so it’s tennis shoes and dresses, on the days when I feel like looking uber-professional.

Don’t be jelly of my fashion style.

Before I left my PT session on Wednesday, I was instructed to take it easy over the weekend…to not do any more than a mile without checking to see how I felt (it had been my intention to get started on my S.P.E.W. virtual race…six miles…broken up for me, of course).

I took their words to heart and went home on Friday determined to be a better patient.  On my way in the house, I stopped to smell the roses…literally.

It had been a tough couple of days with work stuff, and I listened to my body and crashed in the recliner.

Then, I did NOTHING on Saturday.  I stayed in my pajamas and read my new Neal Shusterman book, Scythe.  I had started it Friday night after the Man in the Brown Truck delivered it and finished it early Saturday evening.  It was FANTASTIC!

There were a few twists I didn’t expect, which made this a real page turner.

I took a bit of time out on Saturday to watch the movie If I Stay, which is based on Gayle Forman’s book.  I read it last summer and enjoyed it.  It was a heart-wrenching book.  The movie didn’t disappoint except in a couple of places where things strayed from the book a bit.

Gambit chose to interrupt my “me” time periodically throughout the day.  Being in the recliner puts me at the perfect level to give him a good scratch or two.

All of the resting made a huge difference for my ankle, as evidenced by the fact that you can see most of the bones in my foot.  They’re usually slightly obscured by the swelling that seems to be a constant part of my world right now.

As I type this, it’s Sunday afternoon.  The Mr. is grocery shopping, and I’d like to try to make a couple of things.  We found some recipes that don’t look like they’ll require a lot of standing-up time.  My fingers are crossed.

This journey is reminding me of the importance of rest.  So often, I, along with most of America, use the weekends to try to catch up on tasks that aren’t able to be done during the week.

My body, however, tells on me.  I need the kind of rest that requires purposely sitting down and not doing a whole lot of much, whether it’s thinking or finishing chores.  Everything gets done eventually…it just doesn’t have to be done now.

Speaking of now…the Mr. just pulled into the garage which means for now, I’ll be starting work on those recipes and then hunkering down in my recliner to watch a little NASCAR and, perhaps, enjoy a quick nap.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I press on in my recovery. ❤

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