Tag Archives: Damaged ACL

ACL Recovery: Weeks 10, 11 and 12!

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ACL Update – Week 10
Sent, 08-May-2017
The story is thus:

What I do know: I have a sunburn, and my knee seems to be doing well.

What I do not know: Whether I need surgery or not.

Last week, I kept pushing the leg and doing more with it – walking, taking hills and stairs, and generally trying to live life a little more normally.  I’ve started getting more steps in (walking >2 miles per day), and I’ve been doing all the physical therapy I can stand.  And speaking of standing, I’ve been using my standing desk at work pretty regularly, stretching and practicing balancing while working.
On Monday, we had an appt. with Dr. O’Shea, which didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped.  I already wrote that whole email about it, but the short version is: He can’t say one way or the other.  The bone seemed healed, but the ACL was still stretched – 12mm, same as before.  But if it hasn’t given out yet…
I also had my PT appt, where I saw a new physical therapist because Ed is out hiking in Utah.  She’s a yogi, so a lot of my PT this week has been yoga-based… which was really positive.  Especially something she told me; she’s had injuries to both of her knees, and both show a displacement of 13mm… slightly more than mine.  And she plays soccer with them.
But the big news: This last weekend!
Sarah planned out and took us on adventures – We went camping, did some hiking, and then walked around on the beach today.  My leg’s been tired and kind of… loose?  Loose feeling?  I’m not sure how to describe it… but it hasn’t slipped or given out on me at all.  Instead, it’s held strong; strong against a ton of walking, elevation gain, ascending and descending the embankment between the car and the campsite, and wading through a fast-flowing stream.
I even took some hard data, using an awesome GPS watch that I got.  Back in Medway, when I was just starting to walk without crutches, I held 1.9mph average walking speed.  On Friday, I held 2.5mph.  On Saturday, 2.8mph.  I even jogged a tiny bit both days.
I’ve done a lot, worked my leg really hard, and it’s held true.  But it still feels kind of off… so tomorrow, I’ll call Dr. O’Shea, and let him know how it’s going.  On Tuesday, I’ll see Ed and see what he thinks.
Wish me luck.
– Ben
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ACL Update – Week 11
Sent, 14-May-2017

Another week, another hour of cardio at altitude! 12,000ft, this time. Mt. Hood!

This week has been tiring… But tiring in a good way! On Tuesday I had my PT appointment, and my new PT for this week can be summarized as “work out, then do some more work outs. Just leg day, though.  But like… Double leg day”. So I’ve been working it out a lot, steadily gaining strength and getting used to working the knee a bit harder.
I’ve been walking a lot too; as much or more than I did before the accident, honestly. It’s been tough to pull off while being at work, but the weather here has been nice, so I’m not complaining.  So far this week I’ve averaged 8,000+ steps a day, just under 4miles of walking.
In regard to surgery: I did talk to Dr. O’Shea, and he’s optimistic as well. He’s said that we should keep the scheduled surgery on the books until next week, but that I can cancel anytime. And that if nothing changes this weekend (fingers crossed!) We’ll cancel this surgery, and reschedule for next month (again, just in case).
Aside, it goes well. I’m moving around well and with confidence, have been driving the Mustang without any trouble, and have even started carrying some of the groceries (much to Sarah’s excitement!).
So, wish me luck in the gym! Roar! Protein shakes and hydration and bench pressing!
– Ben
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ACL Update – Week 12
Sent, 24-May-2017
Hi all!
So this has been a week full of walks, steps, and physical therapy.  We’ve gone hiking, I’ve started jumping rope, and my leg’s been sore basically 24/7.
That’s good, though.  It means that, on Tuesday, I was able to officially cancel my surgery, and could spend time with Bill & Greta when they came out to visit.  It means that, from Friday to Sunday, we were all able to go hiking together; from the beach to the gorge. I walked 5+ miles per day, without crutches or a cane or anything.  I was able to drive us all in the Mustang for a sightseeing tour on Sunday… I’m starting to live life again!
I still can’t climb, though.  I can’t run or bike, or join Sarah on her ascent of Mt. St. Helens tomorrow.  Soon, though.  Recovery is looking good, so maybe I’ll be up there again soon.
– Ben

Adventures without a leg

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Adventures without a leg

March & April, 2017

 

 

As the other posts may have mentioned, I broke my leg.

 

I didn’t tear my ACL… but I did break the bone around it, and stretched the ACL enough that it can’t support me anymore. We think, at least. The surgeons and physical therapists, all four of them, still aren’t sure. So I may need surgery, or I may not. We’re not sure.

What I am sure of, is that this is another learning experience.

I broke my arm and tore my tendon back at the very end of 2009. I wasn’t able to climb again until May of 2010, and I wasn’t back at reasonable strength until July or so. This time, it looks to be an even longer recovery; 7 months post-surgery is an optimistic outlook… and I still don’t even have a scheduled date for a surgery.

 

So I’m taking it slow; slowing myself and my expectations down to match my new reality.

Sarah’s doing the same; she’s slowing down her expectations for our coming year, and tempering her own goals now that her partner can’t support her through those goals (belaying through Smith and Vantage, climbing Hood and Reiner, learning to AT ski).

 

It’s been really hard, but I’m making progress and slowly bringing myself back up to my natural mental state. Finding the ways to do that has been a challenge, but it’s also reconnecting me with some of my old self.

I’ve picked up some old video games that I’ve been meaning to play, and I finally got the time to read that new Neil Gaiman novel that came out a while back. I’ve got a backlog for both too; a few games that I want to play or replay, and two other books that I’ve been meaning to read. It’s good to remember the other things that make me happy, aside from adventures and outdoor exploits.

 

But it’s still hard. Carrying things wasn’t really an option for a long time. I had to either ask for help, or use a wheelchair if I wanted to bring anything not in a container from one spot to another. It took cooking away from me, and it complicated even having coffee or tea at work, by requiring a special thermos that could seal well. If I forgot it at home… well, time to ask a coworker to carry my coffee the 15ft to my desk.

So. This isn’t supposed to be a doom and gloom post. Instead, it’s positive! Or… at least neutral. So how do we get back to positive? That’s been the challenge.

 

First; I’ve thrown myself into Physical Therapy. I do as much of it as I can, within bounds of what the PT recommends. I honestly could do more… and half the time I feel like I’m slacking off, but I’ve noticed a huge improvement. Sticking to the simple motions that I’m prescribed helps – I’m slowly building confidence, while making sure I don’t hurt myself more. I’m also focusing on working the muscles that I can work safely; upper body machines, arm bikes, really anything that doesn’t engage the legs.

Second; Sedentary activities. It sucks, and it’s kind of the antithesis to who I’ve been in the last year or two, but I’m enjoying video games and books. I used to love them; in Cambridge, I’d generally carve two days a week out to just relax, eat something fun, and game. Probably why I’m not in the excellent shape that my activity level would normally give… but it’s definitely why I’m sane. So, it’s a good trade.

Lastly; Forcing myself to keep doing things. I can’t do a lot, but what I can do… well, I do that as much as I can. Now that I can hobble with one crutch, I’m cooking a lot more – I’ve even started grilling again. I’m also doing dishes, and taking back some of the chore load that Sarah’s been shouldering. Normally, chores are just that – a chore. But when I haven’t been able to do them in two months… you know, they’re not the worst thing.

 

And as an extra, I’m focusing more on meditation. I’ve been reading happy poems, tying back to the meditation practices that I had before, and finding quiet places where I can. Having both of us tied to a single car has cut down on my alone time significantly (work does not even remotely count), so being able to unplug every once in a while has been a major source of relaxation for me.

 

Staying positive and staying active is the name of the game. We’ll see how it goes from here.