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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

I’ve been back from New Zealand for a week now, but then I jetted off to exotic Iowa for a few days. That said, I have to apologize for the lack of blog activity. For the record, New Zealand is an amazing and inspiring place. (It was well worth pushing myself through extra PT for.) I could easily sit here and type about the shire-esque landscapes and mountains meeting the sea, but this is my knee blog, not my travel blog. So while my eyes relished the moments abroad, my knee got to see a lot, too. For starters, New Zealand is a very active place–a true haven for those seeking adventure sports especially.

While I was there, I could easily sit on an Air Zealand flight  for 12+ hours without complaining (just get up and walkabout a lot), hike through trails, climb on smaller mountains, climb into caves, do a TON of stairs, trampoline, swim and, of course, wine taste. So my trip wasn’t the adventure-filled one that most imagine, but that just leaves room to come back.

When I underwent my surgery, I had New Zealand in the back of my mind as my pure motivator to get through it all. When I finally got there and ventured through the North and South Islands, I found the active people and enticing activities inspiring me to keep at my PT so one day I could possibly return and go skiing, surfing, bungee jumping, skydiving and many other adventurous Kiwi hobbies. Although I’m reaching more positive points in my therapy, I know I still have more to do and a few more mountains to move. But what’s the fun of life if we aren’t constantly trying to better ourselves?

I hope your knee is getting better every day.

New Zealand

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In a few hours, I will finally be going on my New Zealand trip. What this really means is my declaration to getting back to living a normal life. Knee surgery takes it out of you. Confides you. Isolates you. Frustrates you. Confuses you. Puts weight on you. And changes you. While your knee may be snapped, it’s really how you choose to deal with it that makes or breaks you. When I was doing PT in Chicago, they had pictures of people–famous athletes, average Joes and kids–who signed their pics with inspirational messages for recovery. I’ll never forget this marathon runner who signed his with this message: “Bones may break, but nothing can shatter the human spirit.”  It might be a famous quote, but it’s so true. I gotta throw in one of my favorite baseball quotes, too. From the great Jack Buck, “Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.” 

Your recovery is entirely up to you. Somedays you can’t crawl out of bed–and somedays you don’t want to. Sometimes you skip excercises and stop after a few squats. And somedays you really feel hopeless, but it gets better. Your knee finally starts bending, your gait starts looking normal and people stop telling you they feel sorry for you. Keep your mind strong, your excercise schedule strict, and before you know it, your knee won’t even bother you. I’m three months, two weeks post-op and can go through the normal day just fine. No running or contact sports yet, but that’s just another goal to reach for. My first goal was getting back to normal life, and that officially starts today.

I wish the same for you–and in an even speedy manner. If you have stories of what, or who, got you through rehab, please share them! We can learn from each other and grow stronger for it! Brighter days are certainly ahead.

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My solution is simple:

“Make no little plans…” Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1864-1912)

1. Think about your passions/hobbies pre-ACL surgery.

2. Make a plans to return to one thing a few months out, when you are mostly recovered.

3. Start an envelope/savings jar and start stashing away the money you would be spending at restaurants, bars, clubs, sports or traveling. Since you are confined to the couch and a brace, think of it as a nice savings plan for your big “welcome back to civilation” celebration.

For me, I love to travel and play sports. So much so, that I tore my ACL five days before my ski trip to Whistler. (Ouch!) Since my tear and surgery, I haven’t been able to travel or play sports. But, no worries, mate. My ACL plan I made to help my mentally get through this process was to plan a trip to New Zealand. I get my travel fix and my adventure sports fix in whatever level I choose to participate, even if it is just watching an All Blacks game or my friends zorbing down hills. After this rehab process, I’ll certainly need some new adventures in my life–we all will. Sorry I encourage you to make plans. Back to my opening quote,  “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…”

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Pic from breakaway.co.nz I found this wonderful photgrapher, Kenny Muir, on Flikr. Maybe some of his travel photography can inspire you to make no little plans when your ACL is back and kicking. 

The rehab thing is definetly physical, but we all know it’s so much of mind game, too. As if being couped up on your couch for weeks isn’t enough, good luck trying to retrain your leg how to bend and walk again. Forget about that for now, go make your plans. I’ll be leaving for New Zealand in three weeks, almost three months after my surgery. I’m sure it’s worth the wait, that’s why you gotta plan big.

 

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It all started (or ended) with a fall, a twist and a “pop!”
I was playing on my co-ed rec. soccer team, an activity I did on a weekly basis. Just another game. Just another ball heading out-of-bounds that I chased. And another collision with another guy. I fell, skidded across scratchy turf, and hoped to come up with just a nasty strawberry bruise. Not the case.

On my graceful landing, my knee twisted in a way it hadn’t before, and I heard the sound that I hear when my chiropractor suddenly jerks my neck to one side–a symphony of snaps, crackles and pops that culminated into one loud snapcracklepop.

(more…)

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