Tag Archives: surgery

Running Envy

I miss lacing these guys up for fun reasons.

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You know that feeling of excitement and anticipation and a little bit of dread (I even miss that part)  before a run? Because you know it’s going to take you at least a mile to get into it but that once you’re in the middle of mile two you’re going to feel amazing and by mile three, you’re going to feel like a superhero.

Or, at least, that’s how I feel when I run.

Well, ran.

I love that feeling — the sense of a strong body and power and the feeling that I can do anything if I can run six miles and still feel like I could keep going at the end of it.

Of course, it’s now been over a year since I’ve run six miles, and it’s been almost a year since I ran at all. December 11, to be exact.

(Which, yes, DOES mean my birthday is coming up, thankyouverymuch for noticing…)

Anyway, it’s been almost a year, so I’ve obviously had running envy for a while now. I’ve mentioned it. However, I’ve noticed my jealousy even more than usual lately. I think it’s the whole “mobilly-challenged” thing.

(Side note: mobilly challenged? Is that right? I just asked the entire office at work how to spell that and nobody knew. I swear I’m smart. Sometimes.)

Anyway. Running Envy. It doesn’t take much.

Honestly, all I need to do is look down at a sidewalk and I get a little sad.

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However, I’ve done this before — I get a little too wrapped up in what I can’t  do that I end up not even doing the things I can do.

Stupid.

I’m so predictable, too. Because, for the past few weeks, I’ve been sort of slacking off on my PT exercises (predictable) and haven’t picked up my weights once (also predictable).

There’s nothing wrong with my arms, friends. Nothing.

Anyway, I decided to get my act together today and change that. So, this morning, I woke up at 6:30, went to the gym, did my 15 minutes on the bike, came home, did my leg PT exercises once (I’m supposed to do them four times a day), lifted weights for 30 minutes (woohoo!), and then did my leg PT exercises again.

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It’s ridiculous how much better I already feel. And it’s not like this is a new lesson, or anything. This is a lesson I’ve learned before.

Anyway, I think I’ll easily slip back into this routine, so I’m not worried about this whole feeling-sorry-for-myself-and-not-doing-anything-to-help-myself thing continuing. I think the trick is waking up early to do these things, just as I used to do for my workouts. I have to think of this as my new workout because otherwise I get lazy about it.  I never (well, very rarely) get lazy about working out, so it’s just going to be a matter of a little mind trick.

That makes sense, right?

I do, however, want to mix up my arms & abs  routine a bit, since I’ll clearly be focusing on them. So — What are your favorite arms & abs exercises?

 

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Progress and the Reverse

So. I know I’ve been talking a lot about my Vegan Experiment lately, but yes, I did get surgery just three weeks ago. I haven’t forgotten! It simltaneously feels like forever ago and like it was just yesterday. Funny how that happens.

Let’s see…  how am I doing? Well, mostly, I’m doing pretty well. I’m totally off crutches and painkillers (crutches since Halloween and painkillers since two days before that) and as of two days ago, I was NEARLY walking normally.

I say “nearly” because every time I sit down, my knee stiffens and then I have to work the stiffness out again. I’ve noticed at work that I seem to be doing better with the jobs that keep me somewhat on my feet and walking than with the ones that have me constantly sitting down and getting up. At least when I’m standing, I don’t have to work out the stiffness over and over again. My feet get tired, but that’s just because they’re not really used to working so much. I’m just lucky that everyone I work with has been really great about making sure I’m not over-working myself. The other day, my boss found a chair and left it for me (even raised to the right level!) where she knew I’d need it. It was very sweet.

Anyway, I’ve been doing well enough that, at PT the other day, we had two big new goals in mind:

Goal #1: Walking without any limp at all, since we came to the conclusion that I mostly was limping at that point for psychological reasons. So, Leigh (my PT) taped up my knee for the purpose of support.

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This taping didn’t really work for me, though. Within hours, it looked like this:

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So I just took that piece off. However, I think I prefer no tape to tape for support.

Goal #2: Stairs. As in, walking up them one leg at a time rather than only using my right leg and pulling the left leg up afterward, which is what I’ve been doing.

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I’ll be honest. I still find stairs somewhat daunting.

Anyway, I’ve also had a few missteps. Or, really, I had one big misstep, yesterday. This step:

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Freaking curbs.

I should really watch out when I’m walking. Because I’ve started to feel better, I’ve stopped paying as much attention. I paid the price yesterday when I tripped up the curb and then landed really hard on my left foot – AKA the one connected with the knee that was operated on.

It was not a nice feeling. It was actually a really crappy feeling. It’s also been inflamed ever since. I’m not happy about it.

However, I have since talked to my doctor’s assistant and seen my PT, and all-around, the general opinion is that I didn’t do anything damaging, but simply inflamed an already very sensitive area.

Anyway, thankfully, during PT this morning, we just went about things the way we normally do; we just also had to deal with some swelling from my little mini-accident yesterday.

PT so far has mostly consisted of massaging out swelling, doing ultrasounds for swelling, Leigh putting me in lots of pain by massaging the knee and pushing the kneecap around (I swear, sometimes I think she does it for fun), Leigh watching my gait before and after these things, and exercise.

When I say exercise, I mainly mean biking:

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And Pilates Reformer exercises:

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I know that machine looks like it’s smiling, but that’s only because it’s almost as sadistic as Leigh is. 🙂

Anyway, at the end of today’s appointment, I was taped for swelling instead, instead of support.

I also had an meeting this morning and had brought professional clothes to PT to change into after. I hadn’t really planned on being taped (whoops!) so I’d brought sheer pantyhose and a skirt. Sooooo I looked like this:

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Oh well. I worked it. 😉

Anyway, it’s all been a matter of progress and a few missteps. They happen, I suppose, but I don’t want another one; I don’t want to deal with anything else that gets in the way of healing as quickly as possible!

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HAPPY November!

I’m not going to lie to you.

October was not my favorite month.

First, I was sick.

Being sick meant I had to postpone my surgery.

I’m pretty sure I got sick in the first place because I was so anxious about the surgery, so I guess I had it coming.

Then, I actually got surgery.

It went pretty well, but I think we can all agree that I found it, at times, both painful …

…and frustrating.

Granted, I kept powering through (and still am!), but recovering from an injury is nothing I’d consider in any way easy.

And don’t think it escaped me that I’m just about a year out from when all of this business started (I’m pretty sure I can now pinpoint that day — in November, though — as the day I tore my meniscus).

And then, when you take into account that I took a few emotional hits on the personal end of things (no need to get into that business on here), I think you can understand that I just kind of feel that October… well, October just kind of sucked the big one.

Sorry, Grandma. Language, language.  

Anyway.

That’s why the title of this post is called HAPPY November! Because I need November to be happy — and I will make SURE that is is!

It shouldn’t be hard. I love November.

It’s the month before December, which is my favorite month of the year.  That makes November my second-favorite month of the year.

It’s the month of the beginning of Christmas season, which means Christmas music (happiness!).

And, being the month before December, November is OBVIOUSLY the month of Christmas decorating (double happiness!).

…Probably in like a week, if I’m being honest.

It’s also the month of Thanksgiving!

WOOHOO!

Thanksgiving is going to be SUPER fun this year because Mark and I are hosting something called an Orphan Thanksgiving (similar to the one we attended elsewhere last year).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for me, it’s going to be a big month of healing. I’m supposed to fully healed by mid-December, which means I’m planning on making some great strides this month.

And THAT means it’s going to be a HAPPY November.

What are you most looking forward to this month?

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Continuing to Improve

Percocet has such a funny effect on me as I start to get more used to it.

It definitely eases the ache in my entire body — which, if you’ve been paying attention, has gotten pretty bad. In terms of my energy, it peps me up bigtime for the first hour and a half — I have tons of energy and get super talkative (just ask Mark or my friends at work). But then, after that — at least, at night– it totally knocks me out and my eyes start to close on their own. It’s so weird! It’s kind of like having a really intense sugar high and crash.

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Fortunately, it’s stopped making me itch too much. There’s still a little bit of a side effect, but I’ve stopped noticing it for the most part. I’m just happy to have something relieve the pain.

I had my post-op with the surgeon this morning. All this time, I’ve been saying that I never saw the surgeon after my surgery. This morning, he told me that he and I had an entire conversation once I awoke from the anesthesia in which he told me all about how the surgery went.  He also told me that he wasn’t at all surprised that I didn’t remember it. Isn’t that insane? I had a whole conversation about which I remember NOTHING! That is so weird to me.

Anyway, he told me (again, I guess!) today me that my surgery went really well and that I’m doing really well now. My surgery was a lateral menisectomy in which they shaved off part of my meniscus and re-sculpted what was left. Basically, I had something called a discois meniscus, which looked like an O. A normal meniscus is supposed to look like a C. In the surgery, the doctor re-shaped my meniscus to make it look like a C, so I now have a normal meniscus. Or, anyway, I’ll have one when everything heals.

Speaking of healing, I should be fully recovered in about eight weeks. That’s a bit longer than I had been hoping for, but it is what it is.

On the bright side, though, I got to rid myself of that heavy brace today, once and for all! Hooray!

Look, Ma, no brace!

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It is such an amazing feeling. I can’t even put it into words.

Furthermore, I should be able to walk with just one crutch in a couple of days and NO crutches in about a week! I can’t wait!

Meanwhile, I’m already able to put a little bit of weight on the leg. Check it:

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Of course, I can only go crutch-free like that when I’m standing still. When I’m walking, I’m focusing on going really slowly and putting weight on the weak leg while supporting myself with the crutches.

I’m very grateful to see the phasing out of the crutches because my arms, shoulders, chest and back are still killing me.

In case you’re interested in how teensy-tiny the incisions were, I took a picture for you. I blurred it slightly so that you won’t see my hairy knee in case you get squeamish.

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Anyway, I’ve been keeping myself busy, healing and consistently improving by continuing to ice, do my PT exercises (four times a day!), bandaging, elevating and attempting to rest.

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(Those are two ice packs — one underneath my knee and one on top.)

It’s just wonderful to see that I keep getting better each day. And, since I decided “not to be a hero” (my mom’s words) today, I’m doing a lot better tonight. I made sure to only get up and walk on the crutches when I actually needed to. I asked for a wheelchair at the doctor’s office (the path from the lobby to the office is SO LONG and exhausts me on crutches), which hurt my pride but conserved a ton of my energy. I also let my friends/ co-workers help me at work, rather than trying to be brave and do everything myself. It made SO MUCH of a difference in my energy at the end of the day! All of this is also saving my muscles and allowing the bruise on my side to avoid irritation.

Have you ever walked on crutches before? Any tips?

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Oy.

There are no words to discuss how exhausted I am right now. I am writing this at the end of my first day back at work (Monday) and my body absolutely HATES me at the moment.

Anyway, let me back up so I can explain how I got here.

This weekend saw a a lot of wonderful strides toward improvement and healing from the surgery. The theme of the weekend, for sure, was progress.

First of all, I was allowed to take my first shower. Sort of. I had to bring a chair from my kitchen into my shower (well, Mark did that). I now shower while seated.

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It’s… interesting. And don’t worry… if you’re one of my local friends, I promise to deeply scrub and disinfect the chair before returning it downstairs. Not that you’ll ever be able to think of anything else when you see my kitchen chairs from now on.

Awkward.

Anyway, seated showering is tougher than I thought it would be, and I’m constantly focused on not hurting myself (or slipping, which seems far too likely for my liking), but I am just so happy to be independently showering now. Mark washing my hair was so kind of him, but I was oh-so over the sponge baths.

I had kind of a tough morning on Saturday. It was my first stretch of time without Mark and, though I had been able to get down the stairs by myself while he was home, I had a little trouble when circumstances forced me to go up and down those stairs three times within an hour on my own.

Eventually, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. This lead me to soothe myself with an “I’m feeling sorry for myself” lollipop.

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Thankfully, the day looked up immensely from there.

First, my friend Emily came over to keep me company and watch “American Horror Story” (so good!!) with me and Mark. She had come over the day before with our friends Ben and Ben, too, so she visited me two days in a row! Love that girl. (That’s the same Emily from the LA Galaxy game, by the way.)

Then, Leigh, my savior (AKA my physical therapist, whom you met the other day on the blog), came over again. While she was here, she taught me some exercises (and forced me through them), massaged the swelling down again, and taped me. Look how pretty it was!

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Later, Mark decorated each of the “heads” of these pieces of tape because they reminded us both of octopuses.

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The guy on the left is named “Giggly,” the guy in the middle is named “Cokehead,” and the guy on the right is my favorite, “Perky” — short for “Percocet.” Note that he’s drooling.

Anyway, after Leigh did all of that pretty tape, she wrapped me up in three Ace bandages.

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I was mummified! I spent the rest of the day in the four pieces of tape, three Ace bandages, and my brace (well, no brace when I was doing my exercises).

That night, I felt well enough to try going out of the house for a little bit. I cannot tell you how nice it felt to put on real clothes and makeup. Honestly, it’s the little things.

First, I took Leigh and Mark out for dinner at an Indian restaurant. I wanted to do something to thank both of them for everything they’ve been doing for me. Also, the food was SO good. I got vegetable coconut curry, which I enjoyed with the rice and onion naan we all shared.

After that, we all made an appearance at my friend Chris’s birthday party, which had a Mad Men theme. Everyone looked so beautiful! I didn’t (and couldn’t) move around much, so I managed to take a bunch of pictures from the spots in which I rested throughout the evening. Here’s a taste of how everyone looked:

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20111024-200726.jpg(Don’t you love my sexy crutches?)

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Didn’t everyone just look absolutely stunning? I bet the 60’s were a nice time during which to live. It seems to me that everyone took so much care in terms of appearance.

On Sunday, Mark continued to outdo himself in terms of absolute awesomeness when he realized I was feeling self-conscious about the state of my feet (all of these people keep having to see them!!) and volunteered to give me a pedicure.

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Love that kid so much. And FYI, add that to his list of talents. He’s good at everything. It’s ridiculous.

I also had a nice Sunday because Lauren stopped by to keep me company for a little bit.

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Isn’t she stunning?

She also brought me lunch in the form of homemade tortillas and pulled pork, which were both so ridiculously melt-in-your-mouth AMAZING that I have convinced her that she MUST guest post with the recipes. I’m drooling just thinking about them again. That lunch was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, period. Ditto to dinner tonight, since it was the rest of what she brought me.

I am not exaggerating. So. Freaking. Good.

Anyway, on Sunday afternoon, Mark and I went for a test drive (as in, I drove my car so we could see how I could handle it) and ran two errands. It absolutely exhausted me. When I got home, I collapsed on the couch and fell asleep as Mark made me dinner.

Still, I felt as though I’d be well enough to go to work on Monday.

I did go to work on Monday, and I was pretty good for the first half of the day, but exhaustion and aching starting hitting me hard in the afternoon (which I think was in part because my Percocet wore off). I hope it looks up from here, but I want to make sure I treat myself well. I need to make sure I heal and don’t push myself too hard.

My arms, shoulders, and back are starting to really react to the crutches. Lately, I can only go on them for a few feet before my arms start to shake! This is new. I think my body is just surprised at the new heavy use of these muscles. I also have a huge bruise forming on my ribs on the right side because I seem to lean heavily on the crutches right there. Walking on crutches is no joke. Seriously, it’s exhausting. It makes me sweaty and so out of breath! And it certainly doesn’t help that my right foot is completely exhausted from taking all of the brunt of walking and standing.

Finally, and this is such a silly complaint, but it’s just one more thing to think about: my hand and wrist really hurt from the bruise from the IV! It’s dumb, but it’s a constant nuisance.

So, all around, I’m just achy and sore and tired. It’s just getting a little hard.

Check out the swelling! I don’t know if you can really tell in my leg (I can, but knowing my leg and seeing it in person both help a lot). You can , however, definitely see it in my left ankle when you compare it to the right one.

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Alright, it’s bedtime. I’m writing this on Monday night, but it’s going up on Tuesday morning while I’m at my Post-Op with the surgeon. I’m hoping I hear lots of good news. I’ll be back tomorrow (as in, Wednesday) with an update!

P.S. — Please vote for my friend and fellow blogger Eva‘s cupcakes! They’re the chocolate pumpkin ones. 🙂

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Post-Surgery Update

So, as I’m sure you know by now, I got surgery on Wednesday. My first Post-Op is later this morning (and by “later this morning” I mean at 8:45… and I can say “later” because I’ve been up since 5:00…). At the Post-Op, I’ll (hopefully) learn a lot more about what happened during the surgery, but all I know for now is that it went well.

I don’t remember much in the hours after my surgery, so it’s very fortunate that Mark was there with me to hear everything that the nurses had to pass on. I thought I was completely with it (I remember making jokes and everything!), but Mark has recounted numerous things that were discussed, of which I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever.

I couldn’t feel much, either. My entire left leg was numb from a nerve block, so I had no feeling in that leg at all.

Just a couple of hours after my surgery was over, Mark and I arrived home and I attempted my first venture on crutches — while still pretty heavily drugged, with a numb leg, and on a bumpy concrete hill. Within three steps, I fell. I went straight backwards. I’m pretty sure I took at least a year off of Mark’s life in that moment. Fortunately, I fell in the best possible way — on my butt on the right (AKA non-surgical) side. I feel so lucky that I fell neither on my head nor my just-operated-upon leg.

I’ve been in bed since I got home on Wednesday, other than getting up to go to the bathroom. I’ve been keeping my leg in the brace (as I have to) and elevated.

On Wednesday, I wasn’t in much pain at all because the nerve block was still in place. I took the painkillers (Percocet) they gave my preemptively (as they’d told me to do), though. They made me drowsy, nauseated, and SO ITCHY! Being itchy from the meds kept me up for hours.

I woke up on Thursday and found that I wasn’t in much pain at all. I was also under the impression that the nerve block had worn entirely off. I let myself have a lot of false confidence that I was going to be this pain-free for the duration of the healing process and decided that I’d go without painkillers from there on out.

Wrooooong! As the day went on and the nerve block actually disappeared, I found out just how much pain I was in: a lot. Unfortunately, it’s only gotten worse from there.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried Norco (a version of Vicoden), a new painkiller my doctor gave me when I called and explained how itchy the Percocet made me. I found, however, that it didn’t do much of anything for me. I’ve decided that the itch resulting from the Percocent is worth dealing with since it relieves so much pain, so I’ve been on that ever since. Happily, the side effects have lessened with more use.

I’ve also been icing regularly, which relieves a lot of the pain.

I’ve also been watching tons of TV — mostly, so far, The O.C. (I get to focus on other peoples’ drama instead of my pain) and The Big Bang Theory (laughter is the best medicine!).

But you know what’s been the most effective in making me feel better? The amazing people in my life.

I’ve gotten so many emails, text messages, facebook posts and phone calls from friends, family and blog readers, which has made me feel so loved.  Thank you so much to every single one of you!

My Mom and Dad sent me these beautiful flowers:

And my Grandma and Grandpa sent me these beautiful flowers:

I love that the colors of the flowers match. I guess orange, coral and yellow are “get well” colors? Either way, I love how bright and gorgeous they are. They make me feel cheery.

My physical therapist and friend, Leigh, went absolutely above and beyond. She came over last night to check in on me, chat, massage my leg, reduce my swelling, and calm my nerves.

As you can probably tell from the pictures, it hurt like a bitch (though I am not actually crying in that picture — I’m fake pouting). I could not, however, have been more grateful. Seriously, she is the best friend and physical therapist, ever. She did that during her free time and out of the goodness of her heart. I am very lucky.

Speaking of lucky, I need to send the world’s biggest shout-out to Mark right now. He has taken the BEST care of me and I can honestly say that I don’t even think I’d be alive without him. He has waited on me hand and foot and has been so kind and giving that I haven’t been able to stop thanking him.

I mean, first of all, he’s been there to help me physically. You can see him here massaging my leg on my first day home to help me avoid blood clots (apparently one of those things that the nurses told us after my surgery, which I don’t remember at all).

He has also hovered over me as I’ve hobbled on my crutches.

But it goes beyond that. He washed my hair for me yesterday, he has fetched me every single meal and drink and random request, he has picked up my medicine, he has communicated with my family, he has soothed me when I’ve cried, and he has even made me ridiculously delicious homemade meals… like  blueberry muffins:

and French Onion soup:


I am the luckiest girl in the world. I don’t know how I landed this guy as a best friend and roommate.

THANK YOU, MARK!!!!!!

Seriously, guys, do I have the best friends ever, or what?

So, who’s had surgery before? Who wants to share their stories? I need something to entertain me as I lie here in bed!

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Surgery Today

Well, folks, the day is here. In fact, this post is scheduled to go up the moment I’m scheduled for surgery: 8:30 AM on Wednesday, October 19.

I’m writing this post the night before surgery, hoping that writing things out a bit will calm my nerves. Truth be told, I’m a huge ball of anxiety at the moment. I feel like I’m going a mile a minute on pure adrenaline, now that the surgery is truly upon me. I’m actually surprised that I managed to sit down and start writing this post.

Ironically, since, I wrote that last line, I got up to do something else that I remembered I had to do, did roughly fifteen other things, and am now sitting down to write again 45 minutes later. God, I’m predictable.

Anyway, there are about a thousand reasons that I’m scared and nervous and unsure, but as I was cleaning out my wallet (obviously something that desperately needed to be taken care of the night before my surgery — so telling), I found this:

I think I needed the reminder.

Because, well, the really optimistic thought is this: Getting this surgery just may bring me back to my favorite version of myself.

You know, this girl:

Wish me luck, guys. I need all the good vibes I can get. I need all of your optimism, too.

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