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Posts Tagged ‘ACL recovery’

Hello ACL warriors!

I am days away from “celebrating” my 5th year anniversary of ACL surgery. 

I don’t even think about my knee anymore. It’s that healed and that much back to normal for me. There’s not much in my life that I modify or have to stay away from. But that’s not to say that life after ACL surgery is easy. I still have to work at it every day. I still have to be active, work my knee and be careful (as not to re-injure it) every day. The thing is that I just think about that stuff less and less because after doing them for five years, it’s just a second nature and a way of life for me. How about you?

In honor of Mothers’ Day coming up, I have a shameless plug for the woman who helped me recover immensely from my ACL surgery–my mother.

My mom battled chronic pain for 40+ years as a result of being born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia. She endured multiple knee and hip surgeries (even two total hip replacements and revisions) to rid the pain. She is now pain-free because she has employed many methods and modalities to do so. Seems like my family has kept some orthopedic surgeons in business over the years. So that said, my Mom recently wrote a book about her pain journey and recovery. If you or someone you know has endured pain and wants to move towards wellness, check her book out. And let me know what you think! 

The Kindle version & paperback are available on Amazon.

The Nook version is available on Barnes & Noble.

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More info on my mom? Check out her website. 

Happy Mothers’ Day and happier knee days ahead to all of you 🙂

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This whole time that I have been rehabbing, I’ve had my sights set on making my big sports comeback on the ski slopes. When I tore my ACL last Jan., I did it one week before a ski trip to Whistler. (Ouch!) I had to sit on the bench for the that one. I even booked my ski trip this year eight months post-op, hoping that would give me ample time to get fit. But sometimes, no matter how far in advance you plan and no matter how much prep work you do, your plans just fall through. Mine did.

I saw an orthropeadic surgeon a few weeks ago, and she told me I shouldn’t ski. What?! You mean to tell me that all my rehab and all my PT over the past months and all those times I unwillingly drug myself into the gym when I just wanted to collapse wasn’t good enough?!?!? Are you telling me that my knee is STILL in need attention and that I’m STILL not back to normal?! Ugh! FML!

Talk about disappointment in the midst of an already brutal, and sometimes seemingly elementary rehab process. Hearing that news sucked. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought, seeing as how I already heard that similar news about a year ago when I first tore my knee. If my knee isn’t getting stronger, at least my skin is getting tougher.

My first thought was, “What did I do wrong?” Then the guilt started creeping out. I should have gone to the gym more. I should have scheduled more PT sessions. I shoulda, coulda, woulda… This whole ordeal has taken enough of my time, stress and frustration. I had to give myself a break. After all, I have a life, and so do you. We can’t all make one singular ligament the sole focus of our crazy busy lives. We don’t all make a living playing professional sports, so sometimes the incentive to work the knee every day is non existent and just a hassle–at least it can be for me, your average former high-school athlete who wants to keep sports a part of her life for the rest of her life.

Before my doctor came to her conclusion about ruining my ski trip, she made me do the one-legged jump test. (You probably shouldn’t try this until you are ready to get back to sports.)

Stand with about 3-4 feet of clear space in front of you (hard surfaces work great)

Start with your non-surgery leg (I’m doing my best not to say “good/bad knee”)

Jump forward as far as you can. Stick the landing. Repeat with your surgically enhanced leg. It’s not that easy, huh? I didn’t do so hot. I didn’t jump very far and my landing was not stuck–I took an extra step like a nervous gymnast. The good thing was I had the confidence to attempt it–I did it without thinking twice. Just goes to show you how powerful confidence and attitude can be during rehab. That’s honestly what got me through this bit o’ bad news and allowed me to reset some goals and reevaluate my overall process and program. Now, instead of attempting the bunny hills next weekend like I would have, I plan on skiing in March at the level that I left off on; my therapist said she could even get me trained for jumping. We’ll see about that. I’m sure I’ll slowly immerse myself back onto the mountain, but this time I’ll certainly be stronger than expected. No use half-assing it. I’ve waited so long so, so hopefully I’ll be ready to conquer the mountain, as opposed to just bunny-hillin’ it.

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Today I realized that after sitting at my desk for long periods of time, I can comfortably get up and walk like it’s no problem.

Prior to now, every time I would get up, I would feel like my leg was “stuck” and I would have to walk it out before it would straight. Walking is fine, it’s been that way for a long time, but removing the “stuck leg” step in the process is a small step for my day, but a big step towards recovery.

Here’s a little motivation to get you through the week. This video is from slimthugga34’s youtubechannel

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A Quick Overview on Life These Days:

-Bending, Extenstion and ROM seem to be very up to par

-My knee only feels stiff when I am sitting at my desk for long periods of time

-Still no running, but I am avid on the bike, rowing machine, eliptical and others

-My knee doesn’t “pop” as much, apparently the knee cap is getting back into it’s groove

-My operated leg is still not as strong as the other leg (only 50 million more squats to go!)

-I am (cautiously) “jumping” on the BOSU ball and shuttle machine

-My scar is pretty much clear, no more purple/red to it

-My scar tissue has faded fast, sometimes I have to search hard to find the little bit of it

-I am actually looking forward to getting back to sports soon (sports, as in playing on a team) I’m also a huge advocate of being cautious with this bionic knee, so no set date yet, but I feel ready. I will be hitting the slopes in Tahoe this January.

 

I hope all is well with everyone! Where are you at post-op and what is your new knee life like these days?

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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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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…”

spaceball

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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For the past two months, all of my PT sessions have started out on the excercise bike. This has not only warmed up the muscles, but given me added confidence so when I’m outside of my PT’s watchful eye, I can actually complete these activities. The road to full-sports recovery may be long, but biking is just one of the many activities I first (and confidently) came back to. But as we all know, doing the same activity over and over again can get boring. So…just when I got bored with the bike, someone (one of my relative’s in laws) came up with the Conference Bike. Talk about a Continuios Passive Motion Machine!

Yeskneecan ride the Conference Bike with six other people! It’s the closest I came to “participating” in group sports in a long time. All riders pedal and one person steers. We worked up some speed and managed to go up some light hills. If you ever see one, I highly recommend checking it out! Or, if you are in the San Fran/Bay Area and want to rent it out for an event–or some productive group therapy, just let me know! My relative, Terry, is one of a few lucky owners of this bike, and he’d love to spread the fun around.

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