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Superhero 5k

This past Saturday, while the Mr. was still sleeping, I got up bright and early with a mission in mind.

A couple of months ago, I’d signed up for a 5k . . . a Superhero 5k!

First, I ate a small but healthy breakfast (overnight oats).

Then, I carefully donned the clothes I’d laid out the night before and posed for selfies by propping up my phone on my mailbox.

Yep . . . I’d chosen Wonder Woman attire after seeing previews for and later watching the actual movie.

That lady can kick some butt and really speaks to how I try to face the challenges in my life.

Those are capes on the back of my socks.  I got them here.

This race was a pretty big deal for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I am not a person who likes crowds, especially when I’m going into them by myself.  Cue up my introverted, somewhat socially-anxious self.  I worry so much about getting lost, messing up, and looking plain old dumb.

Sigh.

Second of all, this was going to be my second ever in-real-life race.  It’s a lot different doing virtual races where it’s you versus your mind by your lonesome self.

This event was benefiting our local Guardian Ad Litem agency, which is such a worthwhile organization that provides much-needed services to local children.

I arrived at the race location at 6:30am, just as they were setting up.  I wanted to make sure I got my goody bag and t-shirt.

Then, I sat on a bench as I waited for others to arrive.  There was a gal sitting on the other end of the bench, and we got to talking.  It turned out that she’s the data clerk at the high school right beside my neighborhood.  We spent time chatting all about school stuff.  I learned that she had been in the military and currently has children serving.  My heart thumped a little bit harder at that.

She eventually got up to find her friends, so I began wandering.

I saw a gal I’m slowly getting to know from church.  As I’ve said many times, I am not gifted with the ability to engage in small talk.  It was comforting to see a familiar face, though.

I watched as a group of guys hammed it up with participants.  I borrowed this picture from Facebook, courtesy of the organization that hosted the race . . .

They were the BEST sports!  They posed with anyone who wanted a picture in between helping organizers set up stuff for the race.  They kept me smiling as I bided my time.

I saw a couple of other people I knew and spoke with them as well.  One of them asked me if I’d be running.

To my chagrin, I had to say no, that I was only walking.  I still cannot run; impact exercises do a number on my right heel, so running is still out.

I found a place to stretch my calf and foot shortly before the race.  My physical therapist would have been very proud of me . . .

Now, I’ve got to tell you one thing that bothered me a bit.

Shortly before the race began, a lady got on a microphone and asked for people who had signed up as walkers to go up to her so she could mark the bibs accordingly.

Y’all, NOBODY walked up there.

Nobody.

I’d signed up as a walker, but I didn’t really want anyone knowing this.

Why didn’t they note it on my bib when I picked it up earlier?  They already had my name on it.

I was mortified.

One of my friends had told me earlier that I looked like a runner, so I was very uncomfortable as I went up and got my “W” written on the bottom of my bib.

I wanted to have a sign on my back that said, “Trimalleolar Fracture Recovery Mode – Please Excuse this Walker.”

Sigh.

The race organizers could have done this differently.

Just sayin’.

Anyhoo, then it was time for us to line up.

Before we got to take off, the lady with the microphone made a big point of telling us that if we were walkers, we could not run.  We couldn’t even run ONE SINGLE STEP.

Yes, she said this.

Sigh.

So, the race started, and y’all, I got a little emotional.  I’m so glad that I was wearing sunglasses.

Oh, it wasn’t the fact that my two friends who were there patted my shoulder as they ran past me.

Ahem.

No, I was emotional because I was doing a REAL race, with REAL people, on a REAL course.

When I broke my ankle in November and read about the two-year recovery, I could not envision this day.

I indulged myself for a few moments before earnestly digging my feet in and pushing myself forward.

I love that the first song that popped up on my playlist was this . . .

I had a couple of goals for this race.

First, I wanted to break a 16-minute mile.  That’s slow, I know, but for me, sixteen minutes is actually fast to be walking given my recovery.

My second goal was to not be in last place, thus it was that I set my first sight on an older lady who was jog/walking the race just ahead of me.

Every time I would start to catch up with her, she would take off jogging.

Seriously, though, how in the heck was I supposed to compete with that?

I can be a bit competitive sometimes, even with unsuspecting 70-something year old people.

Ahem.

I did eventually pass her.

I was using my wireless Under Armour ear buds . . . the ones the Mr. got me for Christmas.  They tell me my heart rate, my pace, and the distance.  I got updates every half mile.

Y’all, I’ve got to tell you that my first pace time was between fourteen and fifteen minutes.

What the heck?  I wondered if I’d heard it correctly.

I kept going.

Although it was early, it was humid.  We were supposed to get rain later in the morning, so the air was heavy with moisture.

There were arrows painted on the streets, but I was still worried that I’d get lost, so I kept my eyes on the people way out in front.

There was a point where we had to cross a local bridge.  As I neared it, I had to hold myself back from running.

Y’all, I just wanted to take off.  I told my physical therapist about it this past Monday, and he compared it to a horse being let out of a gate.

Yep, that was me.  Holding myself back was so very hard, especially when I could see others running across the bridge.

Sigh.

There was a water station right before the bridge, but I didn’t get any at that point.  I wasn’t overly hot.  Yet.

The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic; people like to fish off of it.  The view was awe-inspiring.

The bridge increased in elevation; and the sun beat down on my face.

It.

Was.

Hot.

Sweat poured down my face, but I kept walking fast.  I did not want to slow down.

I saw my friends coming down in the opposite direction.  They waved as they passed me by.  This actually encouraged me, because it didn’t feel as though I was that far behind them.

After coming off of the bridge, we had to do a u-turn and run back in the opposite direction.

They really, really needed a water station here.  I was dying.

The good thing was that the sun was at my back on the return trip over the bridge, and there was a lovely breeze that cut through the heat.

I was steadily passing people even at the halfway mark.  There was the cutest little boy running with his dad.  It was pretty impressive!

After I came off of the bridge, I grabbed my cup of water and sloshed it down my neck like a pro.  Ha!  I didn’t even slow down as I threw it in the garbage can.

I was all about the pace at that point.

I had to chuckle when I went to turn the first corner.  Those guys dressed up in their law enforcement uniforms were cheering, “Go Wonder Woman!”  I was a little embarrassed.  I would have preferred to have been running instead of looking like a professional speed walker.

Ahem.

It wasn’t too long before I turned the final corner and headed down the homestretch.  The song that came on was appropriate . . .

I love it when I see God’s hand in the smallest details, don’t you?

My life of late has been quite the journey.

One of my friends had finished his race and was walking back in my direction . . . cooling off, I suspect.  He gave me a high five as he passed by me.

Then, I saw this . . .

People were yelling for me as I got closer.

I know my face turned red.  I really, really wanted to be running.

I almost missed the finish “chute” because of inexperience.  I didn’t realize there was a little tunnel you had to run through.  They had to direct me a bit.

I made it through, though, and someone ripped off the bottom part of my bib to scan it for the time because yes, this was a timed race.

I stopped the time on my Under Armour Record app.

I couldn’t believe it.  I’d completed the race in just over 43 minutes with a pace of 13:49!

I felt every single one of those seconds too, let me tell you!

I got a slice of orange and a bottle of water and cooled off.  Then, I sat on the bleachers (this was held at a park) and waited with people.  Why I waited, I have no idea, but I did.  My inexperience with races speaks volumes here.

Meanwhile, a gal in her early 30’s approached me and said, “I want to tell you that your outfit is the cutest I’ve seen today.”

Say what?

Did she really just say that to me?

Wow!

She made my morning!

She sat down, and we began talking.  It turned out that she’s in the Air Force.  Queue in the love.  We chit chatted, and it turned out that she was waiting for the awards ceremony.

Yep.  I’d had no clue.

Then, this gal invited me to join her team when they do the Color Vibe this fall.  She gave me her name and number too!  Take that, social awkwardness!

Then, they started calling out names of walkers and their times.  It turned out that they were giving medals to the top three finishers.  The first time I heard called out was 48 minutes.

I was confused because I knew I’d finished faster than that, but I never heard my name called out.  The girl beside me encouraged me to ask someone about it, but I was too uncomfortable about doing that.

Runners were handled differently.  They were separated by age groups.  I saw one of my friends win first place in his age group; his daughter, who is Rooster’s age, won for her age group.  My new little friend beside me won her age group, and a lady I’d met before the race won hers!  She had really inspired me.  She had told me about having a couple of surgeries and that she’d run several half and full marathons.  Y’all, I will not let this ankle injury prevent me from accomplishing a big goal I have.

Before I knew it, the event was over, and I headed home.

Still, the time/medal thing bothered me, but I really had to let it go.

Until the next morning.  After church, we went out to eat with friends, and one of the girls who was there was the young lady I mentioned earlier . . . the one I’m starting to get to know.

She sat beside me and pulled up the official times on Facebook.  Y’all, being a novice at this meant that I’d had not clue that the times had been posted.

Well, my name was at the top of the list for walkers.

I felt a little superficial, but y’all, I kind of wanted my medal.  My friend told me that she thought she’d heard them call my name too.

Sigh.

So, I sent a message to the organization that hosted the race and explained that I had seen my name at the top of the list but apparently had not heard my name called out.  I also told them that the race had been especially meaningful given my recovery process.

I was surprised to get a response back immediately.  The young lady told me that I could pick up my medal the next day from her office downtown.

I left my house an extra hour early since I had physical therapy at 9 and got my prize.

I told my physical therapist about the race as we chatted about a few other things.  He was pretty impressed, and I won’t lie – I got emotional.  This journey, as you well know because I keep on repeating myself, has been so hard sometimes.

I knew that it wouldn’t be easy.  I just had no idea.

I am grateful for the work ethic that God instilled in me.  Nothing has ever been handed to me.  It seems like I often get to do life the hard way.

As I told my physical therapist, I am thankful.  I have a story.  Stories are boring if they don’t have highs and lows.

My injury is a big part of my story right now, and this 5k is just one of the many high points.

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.

Week 30

Wow!  The first week of summer vacation was so busy, and that extended even into my recovery from the trimalleolar fracture I suffered way back in November.

I changed up my schedule and went to physical therapy in the mornings instead of the afternoons.

During Monday’s visit, my ankle wasn’t nearly as sore as it had been the previous week.  Then, I went home and completed a slew of chores, which I posted about here.

On Tuesday, I got up pretty early and worked out.

Leg Day

My physical therapist had advised me to go lightly with the weights when doing lower body work.  I still managed to burn a ton of calories!

Then, I hopped in the car and headed over to Bigger City, Florida, where my surgeon is located, for the appointment I’d scheduled the week before.

Y’all, it rained ALL THE WAY there . . . from the moment I left my garage.  I was so nervous as semis passed me on the interstate and flooded my windshield with extra water.

I grabbed a sandwich from an eatery that we don’t have in Podunk, FL, and then drove to the doctor’s large office center.  There are a bajillion doctors in this practice; they are quite popular with people like me driving there from hours away to get treated by their wonderful staff.

First up was an x-ray . . .

It still boggles my mind to see all of the hardware that is surrounding my ankle.

The doctor came in and began pushing and pulling on my ankle while he listened to me describe the symptoms that had led me there.  You see, we had both thought that I was done visiting him for this injury.

He asked a few questions, squeezed a few places up and down my ankle, and then explained that I have Achilles’ Tendonosis.

Yeah, you read that right.  It’s not tendonitis.  I later googled to be able to adequately understand the difference . . .

Here’s what’s going on.  When I injured my ankle, I was bound up for nine total weeks.  During that time, I wasn’t able to use that tendon.  Once I began using it again, it had to recover from the trauma.  It’s very weak and becomes irritated very easily because it’s not flexible either.

Then, the doctor told me about the treatment . . . “heavy eccentric loading.”  This is a different physical therapy protocol from what I’ve been doing up to this point.  Whereas, we’ve focused on flexibility, mobility, and strength, now my exercises will center around working the tendon to the point of tearing it down.  I already have microfiber damage as it is.  When it repairs itself, it will be stronger.  It’s akin to what your muscles do when you work out with weights and are sore for the next few days.  They are rebuilding themselves.

Did you just cringe?

I wish I could have taken a picture of my face when the doctor described it to me.

“Sounds painful,” I told him.

He smiled and nodded.

Perspective kicked in immediately, though, and I told him that considering what I’ve already been through, I could take it.  Nothing beats the pain of breaking three bones, having your ankle immobilized in a temporary cast with no room for swelling, and not getting strong enough pain medicine those first two days.  Thank heavens for THIS doctor, who quickly remedied my early woes.

He went on to explain that my new exercises would stress the negative movements . . . i.e. the going down motion when doing calf raises or seated leg presses.

I asked him to explain how I would know if I was getting better, and he told me to ask myself the question, “Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

But, I told him, I can only focus on a week (and sometimes a day) at a time.

He repeated the question, “Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

But, but, but . . .

“Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

Yes, he actually said it three times.

I am slow that way.

He told me that I have an 80% chance of making a full recovery from the tendonosis if I follow the protocol.  I should be able to tell a difference in six to eight weeks.

I walked out of there with a new PT prescription and a mandate to call his nurse if I needed anything.

On Wednesday, I went back to physical therapy with the RX in hand along with the notes I’d typed into my phone.  My therapist and I had a chat; he had basically started the new protocol that Monday when he’d added a standing calf raise and an extra set of stretches to my list of exercises.  On Wednesday, he added a couple more.

That right there is me going down a step . . . over and over again.

I have had a LOT of trouble going down sets of steps.  I haven’t been doing impact things with the ankle, but it’s time.  My therapist wants to help me become fully functional; this is part of that process.

It felt wonderful, although I need to, upon reflection, practice stepping down more than one step.  As it is, I can only step down one at a time (putting my left foot down on the same step before going to the next one).  I need to learn how to walk down multiple steps in a more fluid motion.  That will come.

Now, I need to take a second to talk about that new RX.

My insurance plan allows me to have a certain number of visits every six months.  Once I use them up, they don’t cover.  I’d mentioned this a couple of months ago when I ran out.  Fortunately, my PT’s office has a special program that they allowed me to use that didn’t break the bank.  I’m on my third session of it; however, they won’t allow me to sign up for another one.  I will finish on June 19th with the session I’ve already paid for.

On Wednesday, I learned that my insurance company won’t start doling out my new visits until the end of July . . . six months after the first time I went to physical therapy (January 23).

So, there will a gap in my physical therapy.

My physical therapist went ahead and printed out home exercises, even though I still had three more visits.  He wants me to start working on them from home.

Just the front page . . . the packet is at least three pages long. Be jealous.

My home now looks like a physical therapy site . . .

All Photos-549

I was not a happy camper that day; having all of my ducks on a row is important to me, and having a fluid treatment program is integral to my healing.

BUT . . . I prayed that God would work it out, and I believe that He has.

Honestly, the break in therapy is probably a good thing.  The Mr. will be having a big surgery the end of this month, and I was going to miss a week of therapy anyway.  I’ll also need to be home with the Mr. at least a week after we get him home from the hospital; we just don’t know how he’s going to do with it being such a major surgery.

I’m going to plan on starting therapy again on July 24th, which is only about a month from when I will have stopped.  I’ll do my exercises from home, and then I’ll finish up the last six weeks at my PT’s office with my ultimate goal set at being able to jog/run again.

I had to email the nurse to find out if the doctor would write me a new script for the therapy because I’d heard that scripts are only good for thirty days.  She quickly replied to my email and assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, so we’re good there.  I also called my insurance company to verify when my new visits would be dropped back into my account, and it looks like I’ll be ahead by one visit after that first week since I went to therapy three times the first week I started in January and I’ll only need to go twice a week once I start back.  So, I’m good there.

God took care of the details.

I guess you can see why my week was so nuts!  It was emotionally draining.

All I want to do is make a full recovery; kinks in my progress frustrate me as much as not being able to physically do the things I was doing before I broke my ankle.

I still trust God and praise Him for the way He is taking care of me.

There is still so much #joyinthejourney.  I am grateful for the people I am meeting, the things I am learning about how the body works, and the inner strength that God is cultivating inside of my heart as He heals the physical brokenness of my ankle.

Week 29

Ok, so that’s not my foot, but isn’t that tattoo awesome?  I found this image when I was searching for a “Finding Joy in the Journey” graphic.  I need this tattoo in my life.  Seriously, though.

So, can you believe that today marks 29 weeks (seven months and one week) since I broke my ankle?

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs along the way; this week wasn’t much different.

Monday was a holiday, so I switched up my PT days a bit by going in on Tuesday and Thursday instead.

I’d been in some pain last weekend.  I suspect that this was due to working out and going on two four-mile walks.  The Mr. keeps trying to get me to slow down, but I insist on living my life.

When I went in on Tuesday, I gradually began experiencing more discomfort as I went through my exercises.  It became almost unbearable, so I mentioned it to my physical therapist.

He felt my Achilles’ tendon and was immediately surprised at the knot that I had.  I knew it was going to be a “tool” day.

He also mentioned that I should get in touch with my surgeon . . . that I might need a shot of cortisone since the tendon keeps getting inflamed.

In between the time I finished my exercises and got on the table to be worked on, I googled “cortisone” and “Achilles’ tendon.”  The results did not look promising; some sites mentioned that getting such shots was often discouraged because they could lead to ruptured tendons.

Whoa!

Meanwhile, my therapist got to work, even calling over a student who works at the office to feel my tendon.

I knew it wasn’t good.

He got her to compare my left tendon, which was “loosy goosy” with the right one, which was tight and unyielding.

Then, he got out the “tool” and began the process of rubbing out the knot.

The pain, y’all.  It was a real thing.

Meanwhile, he talked and told me that this would be something I’d probably be dealing with for awhile . . . a side effect of my injury.

I maintained my sense of humor by joking that I already had scars to remind me of the trauma . . . I didn’t need extra pain to boot.

He chuckled.

When he got done, he gave me the terminology to use when contacting my surgeon.  Apparently, I have “myofascial restrictions” and a thickening of my tendon.  I found some interesting information here.

My PT suggested that I walk after my session, which I did because I had to go to Walmart anyhow.  He wanted me to move so that blood flow would increase to my ankle and tendon.  I was also told to ice it after I got home.  The ice, STEM therapy, and the “Prison Break” finale combination set me up for a comfortable evening.

Later that night, I sent an email, with the above notes, to my surgeon’s nurse.  She had been a gem when I had follow-up questions after my surgery and had always responded quickly to my messages.

She answered early the next day, suggesting that I might have Achilles’ tendinitis and that it would more than likely require a specific physical therapy protocol.  She also said that she’d be talking to my doctor the next day since he was in surgery all of Wednesday.  When she got back to me Thursday night, she said that the doctor wanted to see me for a re-evaluation before he prescribed further treatment.  I’m going in on Tuesday for that.

Meanwhile, Wednesday proved to be a very painful day for me.  That’s usually the case after I’ve had my ankle worked on.

By Thursday afternoon, the pain had subsided a lot, and physical therapy wasn’t nearly as painful.

Yes, I’m aware that I mixed Under Armour and Nike. Don’t judge.

Friday wasn’t as bad either.

To be sure, I am still having nearly constant pain . . . usually in my heel and the back of my ankle and tendon, but since the heel and tendon are directly linked, it’s not a surprise.

The Mr. keeps reminding me that I am only a quarter of the way through my recovery and to be patient, but it’s hard, y’all.  I sound like a broken record each week, but it’s the truth.

I am praying that my doctor doesn’t tell me to stop working out.  I just don’t know if I’d take that well.

Ok, I know I wouldn’t and would still find a way to exercise.  I am hoping that being on summer break and doing different exercises at physical therapy will be “just what the doctor ordered.”

I sure would appreciate it if you would continue to lift me up in prayer.  I desperately want to be pain free.  Chronic pain is for the birds.  I also want to regain full use of my ankle.  I am sooooooo not there yet, and it sometimes stresses me and always frustrates me.

Sigh.

Meanwhile, I am still #findingjoyinthejourney despite the challenges that continue to plague me.

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 26

Let’s catch up with Week 26 of my recovery from my trimalleolar fracture.  I was going to write yesterday, but I had a busy Mother’s Day and was pretty tired by the end, so, um, yeah.

So, last Monday, when I got to physical therapy, my therapist decided to have me try something new.

Yeah, that’s me . . . on a mini-trampoline.

My task was to bounce on my toes, without letting my feet leave the trampoline.  I had to land on my heels and pop back up on my toes.  He told me to do this three times for thirty seconds.

I lasted two times through and just about died twenty seconds in.

The pain was so bad that I had to get off.

I immediately talked to him about what I was feeling to see if it was normal, and after figuring out exactly where the pain was coming from, he decided that I wasn’t ready for the impact yet.

So, the exercise had to be shelved.

For the time being.

It was one of those frustrating moments of this process, but I’m working hard, so it’s not a “me” factor but a time factor.

Part of my recovery process has involved building up my bones.  I’ve been drinking smoothies on a regular basis.

I ran out of the Juice Plus brand I’d been using, so I tried the one in the canister instead.

All I can say is NO.  It was tasteless and pretty gross, even with the homemade vegan fudge I put in it.

I’ve got more of the Juice Plus on the way.

On Tuesday, I was pretty sore from my trampoline adventure the day before, so I took it easy.

On Wednesday, I had to go to a classroom upstairs.  Going down two flights of stairs was not fun; stairs still give me problems.

I held onto the rail when I went down, I promise.

My right knee still won’t bend well when I step down, and my hip does a weird misalignment thing too.  Strength on that side is not up to par quite yet, but I’m working on it.

That afternoon, I had therapy.  My therapist and I talked about getting inserts for my shoes.  He’s been pretty concerned about my pronated foot and the lack of an arch, so to speak.  He did some research on the computer while I did my exercises, sans the trampoline.

This is what I wound up buying on Saturday . . .

Icing down was wonderful.  While I was sitting there, I talked to another patient.  He and I have been at therapy for many weeks together.  Our therapist jokingly told us that we are now “lifers.”

Say what?

He explained that we’ll have other injuries that will have us returning to them for rehab.  My jaw dropped.  I insisted that I have no plans on getting injured again, but my therapist told me that the odds are ever in my favor that I will have some other body part go out on me.

So the skeleton below, in full view of my chair, was apropos.

Overall, my week was actually a good one for my ankle.  I’d had a rough start, but I was determined not to overdo things.

I did a virtual 5k on Saturday, but I want to save the details about that for a separate post.  The good thing was that I did not feel tremendous pain, so it was, pun intended, a step forward.

I also hit the beach on Sunday, again – another post for a separate day, and I even pulled my beach wagon from the car to through the sand and back at the end of the day.  My ankle hurt some, but it wasn’t too bad.  More steps forward.

It’s so strange how I can have horrible weeks of pain and then, randomly, have a good week.

It’s as though the good week I’ll have here and there is a rainbow of hope I need to see that God hasn’t forgotten me . . . that the rain will stop one day . . . that beauty is being woven from the many trials I’m going through.

I saw the following posted recently on Instagram, and boy, did it hit me hard . . .

Writing these posts is part of the telling of my story; however, I’m not at the part where I can do it without crying.  I still have so much healing to do, literally and figuratively.  I hope that one day, I’ll be able to go back and read these posts without getting emotional.  For now, I continue to document my highs and lows, remembering always God’s grace, provisions, and blessings throughout the journey.

Week 25

I’m a day late in posting this, but Sunday just got away from me!

I’m continuing with my week-by-week recaps on my progress after sustaining a trimalleolar fracture in November.  Week 25 got off to a pretty good start.

I got up early, as usual, on Monday and did the Sweat Piyo video.

You better believe that it lived up to its name.

While getting ready for work, I listened to another episode of what is quickly becoming a favorite podcast, Glorious in the Mundane, by Christy Nockels.

I listen to one episode nearly every weekday morning.  I found myself teary-eyed as she talked about writing your story.  My new Hogwarts Running Club t-shirt, which I’d already planned on wearing, matched up perfectly.

I don’t think that I’m writing my story, per se.  I feel as though I’m living the story that God has already written for me.

I hope that by choosing joy in my journey, especially during these past 25 weeks, others are being encouraged as they go through their own challenges.

Yeah, I got a little in my feelings Monday morning, that’s for sure.

I had physical therapy after work, and although I’d been feeling good all day, my ankle started hurting pretty good during my exercises.

Calf stretches will always suck no matter how many weeks go by.

I asked my therapist about the pain I’d felt in the inside-back of my ankle the previous Saturday during my walk.  I figured it was residual pain from one of my fractures.

After pressing around on the inside of my ankle, he determined that one of the tendons beside my tibia (I think) was to blame.  I can’t remember exactly what he said about it . . . maybe that it had thickened?  The thing I heard loud and clear was that he was going to have to “work” on it.

More of that in a minute.

Before he got to “work,” I had to finish my other exercises.

I had asked about going up to a harder color on my band, and let me tell you . . . going from green to blue was akin to moving from jumping off the edge of the pool to jumping from the high dive.

The ankle raises and clams (when the band is around my knees) were brutal.  I knew I’d be feeling them for days on end.

After finishing everything else, I eased myself onto a different table and waited for my therapist to finish up with another patient.  My ankle was definitely in the mood to swell.  Sigh.  The struggle is so very real . . . every day, y’all.

To make me more comfortable, we put a wedge under my leg.

I could have used this after I broke it.  That’s how comfortable it is.

Then, it was time for the tool.

Oy vey.

My therapist apologized.  A lot.  I assured him that I knew that it was part of my journey.  Besides that, I’d already been through so much with my ankle, that a span of temporary discomfort wouldn’t matter much.

But the pain, y’all.

I’ve never had a massage before, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.  All I know is that the feeling alternates between burning and extreme pressure.

“Relax your foot, ” he said, and then chuckled because he knew that as tense as I was, relaxing was the last thing I could do.

When he finished, he told me that I’d be bruised and sore for a few days.

I remembered the first time he’d ever used the tool, during my first visit.  I couldn’t even sit in the tub without pain, and the bruises lasted for a couple of weeks, at least.

I got pampered afterward, though, so the pain was worth it.

I was STEM therapy along with a heating pad.

I’ve only gotten the heating pad one other time . . . after a different session with the tool.

My therapist told me that the heat would increase the blood flow, which is what he wanted to help my tendon loosen up.

Here’s what my leg looked like when I got home . . . the bruise full-on in the making . . .

So y’all, that was just Monday!

Tuesday, I was a little sore, but the day wasn’t too bad.

Then, there was Wednesday.

Um, yeah.  I knew it was going to be bad when I felt pain before I even got out of bed that morning.  I took my TENS unit to school and hooked it up during my planning period.

Take a moment to notice how high I had it dialed up. When you have an injury like mine, it takes a lot of electric stuff to get through.

It was destined to be a weird day.  When I got to physical therapy that afternoon and started to change, my deodorant exploded all over the restroom.

I tried to clean it up, but it hardened as soon as it hit the wall and floor, and all I managed to do was smear it, so I sheepishly made my way to the front desk to tell them that I’d made a mess of things.

Sigh.

Everything I did at physical therapy hurt . . . a lot.

The ice pack was a welcome relief when I finished.

One of the gals in the office, a former student of mine who graduated a couple of years ago, gave me a ride home because the Mr. had needed our car so he could go to an appointment at the Mayo Clinic.

Ms. M ran me home to feed the dogs, and then I treated her to Olive Garden.  Then, she drove me to Walmart to buy more deodorant.  Ha!

God has put this sweet girl back into my life at just the right time.  She’s been a huge blessing to me since I started my physical therapy in January.

I didn’t let the pain slow me down too much the next morning.  I was determined to get my workout in before school.

Then, I got a ride to school from my friend, Megan.  The rain made it a dreary day!  I had to carefully make my way inside so I wouldn’t trip on the slippery sidewalk and the wet floors inside.

My friend, K, picked me up from school (because it took a village to get this teacher around last week), and I immediately changed into my pajamas and put my foot up.

Friday was a “rest” day in my Piyo program, but I just could not do nothing, so I popped in the Hammer and Chisel ab videos.

One of the things that’s made this recovery process so hard for me is not being able to work out like I used to.  There are still so many things I either have to modify or can’t do yet.  The ab workouts allowed me a taste of what I had before.

School was lovely.  My district was observing Teacher Appreciation Week, and my school did a fantastic job doting on us.

This was the catered luncheon we got to enjoy on Friday.

The Mr. was able to pick me up from work that afternoon, and later that evening, we headed out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Being in so much pain all week had stressed me out.  It was nice to be able to let my hair down a little and relax.  I went to bed at 8:30 that night and slept over ten hours.

My long sleep allowed me to wake up refreshed, and my ankle was feeling pretty good.  After another Piyo workout, I went outside for a fairly leisurely three-mile walk.

My ankle felt good until about mile 2.  That’s when my tendon started hurting.  It eased off a little before the pain returned toward the end.

On Sunday, I took it fairly easy, indulged in a little pool time, and then prepped my food for the week.

I can’t say that I feel like I made any progress last week.  I tend to gauge this through the barometer of pain.  I don’t know if that’s fair, but it’s the only thing I know to do.  Just when I think I’m doing something better, I get hit with stabs of pain when I don’t expect them.

It’s a frustratingly slow process, but once again, I have to stop and remind myself that I am doing good.  The pain is unnerving but not a sign of anything bad.  It just is what it is.

And so I continue to praise God for what He’s doing that I may not be seeing . . . for continuing to knit my bones back together and strengthening the muscles and tendons connected to these bones.

Would you continue to pray for my healing and pain management.  I’m a pretty tough cookie, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I was in tears a few times last week because of the pain.  I hate being a baby, but heck, I did break a few bones, so I guess I’m entitled a little.

Thanks, sweet friends.

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