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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 32

Here we are at almost Tuesday, and I’ve failed, once again, to post a timely update.  That summer sun must be doing something to my brain!

So, let’s talk about last week and my continued recovery from my trimalleolar fracture and subsequent surgery.

Last week was a big milestone – 32 weeks (i.e. eight months)!  It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

When I last left you, I’d had a rough weekend, and my ankle was not looking its best.

I went to physical therapy on Monday and, after completing all of my exercises had a long chat with my therapist.  It was, after all, my last visit for a month (remember the insurance issues I mentioned a couple of weeks ago?).

First of all, he was shocked when I told him about my time for the Superhero 5k I’d walked the Saturday before.  He told me that he knew people who couldn’t run it that fast.  He’s a good cheerleader, let me tell you.

Then, I told him about my leg workout the next day and the exercise I did that I probably shouldn’t have done.  I expected to be properly chided, but he actually told me that it wasn’t the move that had done me in.  It was, most likely, the fact that I’d done a lot of yard work the previous Friday, walked the 5k at a brisk pace the next day, and then had worked my lower body out that Sunday.

He explained that I should have rearranged some of my activities.  For instance, I could have done an upper body workout on Sunday or gone much lighter on the weights for the leg routine.  He said that doing so many things that required a lot from my ankle in such a short span of time led to the swelling and pain.

I also told him that I’d had a lot of tightness in my right knee when I’d done the 5k.  I figured I’d walked too fast, but he told me that it was lack of strength in that leg, which is what my exercises and therapy will continue to improve.

Ultimately, he said that I still need to give myself time to heal.

There goes that word again.

This process has hammered into my head the fact that I am not a very patient person.

Those who know me best would probably agree.

Ahem.

I feel like Ariel, when she sings Part of Your World . . .

Flipping your fins, you don’t get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a – what’s that word called again?
Street.

Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world.

That’s me.  To a T.

As J and I talked, I got a little teary.  He reminded me of how far I’ve come since January 23 when I first walked into physical therapy.  I was on crutches still, unable to walk properly and in so much pain when I tried.

Now, I’m lifting weights, walking 5k’s, and mowing the grass without the aid of a self-propelled mechanism.

I want to be able to do these things and run again . . . without pain.

Time.

J and I talked about what I can be doing during my PT hiatus.  The Mr. has been very concerned that I’m doing too much.

Ya think.

<insert sarcastic look>

J told me that he wants me to walk as much as I can . . . every day even.  He wants me to be more cognizant of how I’m lining up my activities.  He wants me to stretch my calf muscle on that right leg every day.

He promised that when I get back in there, we will start working on my jogging.

He gave me hope.

Then, he worked on the back of my leg again and actually got two tools out to get the knot out of my tendon.

Some things do NOT change.

I felt sad as I left, but I knew that it was a temporary goodbye.  I’ve already got my next appointment set for July 24th, and I’ll pick up where I left off.

Meanwhile, I started PT at home, following the exercise regimen that he gave me.  I’m supposed to do them at least three days a week, incorporating them into my workouts when it’s convenient or doing them separately if it’s not.

Did I mention the stretching, my favorite (not) exercise?

The rest of the week went okay.  I continued to have good and bad days.

I walked a little over three miles on Thursday.  My pace was a lot slower than the 5k I did the weekend before, but that was okay with me.

I always feel accomplished when I’ve moved my body . . .

I spent time watching the rain . . .

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I thanked the Lord for sending the sun . . .

I had a little buddy on Friday . . .

And a different book  . . .

I literally sat in the water the entire time I was at the pool (thanks, Megan, for the suggestion a few weeks ago) and let my ankle do its non-gravity thing, which made it feel better.  Call it an excuse.  My physical therapist chuckled when I told him my game plan.

The sun cooperated on Saturday . . .

I even managed to sneak in an hour of pool time on Sunday before the rain paid another visit . . .

I probably won’t post weekly updates until I return to therapy next month.  We’ve got a lot going on in the next two weeks; it’s going to be all I can do to fit in my PT exercises, and I’m not sure if I’m going to see a drastic improvement in that time (fingers crossed that I magically become pain-free because we know that miracles can and do happen).

Please continue to pray for healing.  This journey is still frustrating.  I am beyond ready to be normal.  I’d love to be able to teach class, come August, without pain.  Maybe that’s a little unrealistic, but one can always dream, eh?

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.

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