ACL Recovery: Weeks 8 and 9, and 9 addendum

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ACL recovery, week 8 (24-Apr-2017)
Hi all!  I’m feeling good!  I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m actually feeling kind of good!
This last week has been remarkable progress; Since Ed (my physical therapist) told me to stop using my brace and start weaning myself off the crutches, I’ve gained a lot of strength and stability in my knee.  It still locks out on me every once in a while (from weakness, not from ACL damage), but I’m able to walk and move around significantly better than any time since the accident.  I still limp a bit… but it’s a lot less noticeable now.  And I need to spend less mental energy focusing on how to walk, which is really awesome.
With that strength and stability, I’ve started doing walks during lunch!  After the accident my phone was tracking between 600 and 1500 steps per day, max… Yesterday, I tracked over 8500 steps.  I’m going to keep taking it semi-easy, but continuing to ramp up the walking and mobility is the name of the game for now, at least until next Monday when I get the next round of X-rays and Lockman testing.
Aside from all that… life’s moving on.  My and Sarah’s moods and outlook are steadily getting better now that I can actually move around, help take care of the house and just take care of myself.  I can’t drive the Mustang yet… though I’ve been cleared by the Physical Therapist to drive it.  The problem isn’t safety now; it’s strength.  Mustang’s have a very heavy clutch, and I’m just not physically strong enough to depress it safely yet.  So – more workouts.  More squats.
And being able to help Sarah around the house more has been really helpful to my mood as well; Everything’s a bit more positive around the house, even with all the rain we’ve been getting here in the gorge.
ACL Recovery, week 9 (30-Apr-2017)

A new Sunday, a new elevation. 16,400 ft this week… They’re really cranking it up this time. But it’s a fun challenge… Even if I can’t do more than 10min at a time on the arm bike.

But I’m working on it, and actually working my leg this time , which is a pretty huge change. Ed, my Physical Therapist, has me doing strengthening exercises now, though they’re being a bit hampered by this one small section of extension that’s being really annoyingly painful. It’s not a bit range, but it’s right in the range that I need to go up and down stairs, which makes it imperative that I work through it.
Aside from that, no real news. I still (knock on wood) haven’t had it give out on me, so we’re still tracking pretty well. Tonorrow we’ll see Dr. O’Shea, so there will be some more definitive information, in terms of X-Rays and new displacement tests. Here’s hoping that it’s good news!
And with that, I’ll sign off. I’ll send an update tomorrow after the appointment!
Love to all,
-Ben
ACL Recovery, week 9 addendum (sent 01-May-2017)

Well, that appointment wasn’t super helpful.

I mean, it was, to a point.  We learned that the bones are knitting back together pretty well, and the swelling is going down.  But the displacement test showed that my ACL is still stretched… and it may have even gotten a little bit worse since the first time O’Shea tested it.
But I haven’t had it buckle on me.  And it’s feeling better as time goes on, becoming more stable and more capable of what I need it to do.  Dr O’Shea even mentioned that, as my quads get stronger, the muscles actually unload the stress from the joints… meaning that the stronger I get, the less painful things will be and the more stable the knee becomes.
So we’re still in a holding pattern.  None of the doctors are recommending surgery right now, but none of them are ruling it out, either.
So we wait, and keep testing it.  Right now, the plan calls for Sarah and I to go camping next weekend, try out some light hiking.  Push me a bit, and see how I can handle uneven and tiring terrain.  And I’ll keep hitting the gym throughout the week, working to bring my strength back up.
Past that… we’ll see what we see.
– Ben

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