Tag Archives: Healing

ACL recovery emails! Weeks 13, and 15! I skipped 14.

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Continuing on the theme of compiling and writing out my emailed ACL recovery updates…
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ACL Update – Week 13
Sent, 30-May-2017
I can jog!
Last week, I got cleared to not only jog, but start doing short jumps (forward, backward, and side to side.  No bouldering or jumping off buildings just yet).  So, on Saturday, Sarah and I went out into town and bought me my first ever pair of running shoes.  Then, on Sunday and Monday, we did jogging adventures!
Recovery is going really well, now.  My knee still hurts, and I definitely jog with a noticeable limp, but it’s getting better very quickly.  My legs are, unsurprisingly, almost constantly sore / tired… but that’s good.  The knee hasn’t slipped or been painful throughout the process, which is really what matters in the end.
Tomorrow I’ve got an appointment with Dr. Burgoyne here in Hood River… it’ll probably be more of the same, but we’ll see what he tells me.  I’m hoping it’ll be positive, and more of a “patching up loose ends” situation.
Happy Memorial Day to everyone!
– Ben
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ACL Update – Week 15
Sent, 11-June-2017

Hi all!  I am tired!  Sarah is tired, and Ollie is (somehow) tired as well.  Why, you may ask?

Well, because Physical Therapy has kicked up another two notches.  The important two, even: rock climbing and hiking!
Yesterday was momentus, my first adventure to the climbing gym post-injury!  Sarah and I went late morning, while the gym was as empty as it could be.  The goal was to stretch out, remember what climbing is like, and make sure that I felt confident enough to keep trying it.  No pushing myself, just enough to warm up the climbing muscles.
And they got warmed up!  I only climbed routes rated 5.6, the lowest that the gym has.  And I had some trouble with them… but nothing that wasn’t expected.  Just remembering the movements, and reminding myself (or, more often, Sarah reminding me) to use both legs to climb, and to not favor my left leg.  After a few routes I was feeling good… but definitely tired.  My legs just aren’t really used to that much stepping up.  They’ll have to remember, though, because I’m not planning on slowing down much 🙂
Today was another major milestone; doing a hike called Dog Mountain.  It’s about 8 miles round trip… pretty good, on its own.  But that’s not including the elevation gain – nearly 3,000 ft over the entire hike.  But the reward up top (at this time of the year) is worth it: massive fields of wildflowers, as far as the eye can see.
The hike up was good; It was tiring, but not actually that bad, truth be told.  The challenge came up on the descent… we made it, but my knee was definitely tired.  Not much joint pain, though, which makes me pretty happy and confident.  It was mostly muscle pain, which just means that I need to hike more!  Woo hiking more!
So, long story short – recovery is going well.  Really well.  It’s a lot of work, and a lot of time spent jogging and jumping rope (ew, I hate jumprope) and doing silly crab walks with a resistant band up and down the deck.  But, it’s paying off.
Now, We’re off to bed.  Tomorrow is my rest day… two days on, one day off.  And I’m looking forward to doing nearly nothing, playing video games, and sitting at my computer at work.

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

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