Week 8: Feb 5 – 11
Strong PT session: lunches, single leg balances RDL
I started off my week strong with a pretty intense physical therapy session. We added in a lot of proprioceptively challenging movements that challenged my balance and forced me to recruit lots of little muscles to stabilize myself. I did single leg balances on the BOSU ball, more RDLs (this time weighted), split stance lunges with the front foot on a dyna-disk and worked on step ups (about 10 inches tall). YOW, I was going to be sore. But that *almost* breaking a sweat feeling made me feel accomplished and ready to hit the gym with my mom once she got off work.
FULL ROTATION!!!! (backwards)
Remember when I said that my physical therapist had recommended that I try hip hiking to get that full rotation around? Well today was the day. My mom and I went to the gym at the start of the week and I was determined to get it all the way around, no matter how long it took. I started off on the treadmill to warm up. At this point, I’ve been taking my brace off when I do this. I find that it’s easier to move and as long as I’m hanging on to the siderails, it doesn’t stress me out too much. I’m really going for form/speed at this point. Kind of reteaching myself to walk over here, not trying to train for a marathon.
After I was done on the treadmill, I got myself set up on the bike and hoped for the best. My goal was to get at least a backwards rotation, since they told me that would be the easiest to get around that way first. Even still. I knew it was going to take quite a push, so my mom helped me support myself the first few tries. Once we figured out to turn up the resistance fairly high so it didn’t just flop around, it got a bit smoother. It took about 1 minute to get *nearly* around the first time. I was focusing so hard on keeping my form correct, I was about to break a sweat and mentally blocking myself from getting around. This is when I heard my PTs voice in my head telling me to hike my hip. I gave it a shot. I got around further than I had the last time, but hit a sticking spot at the very top. I had hiked my hip just about as high as I could without falling off the bike and I was out of cheats to get around.
And then the next thing I knew, my foot hit the bottom again…I HAD GONE ALL THE WAY AROUND!!! When I let my mind wander a bit, my body found new way to cheat. Point my right toe to get around. The issue had been the amount of tension and degree of bend my knee is at when I keep my foot flexed. Since I’m still working to get much past a 90 degree bend, that liiiitle extra flexion when I keep my foot flexed really sends me over the edge. But, for some reason, when I point my toe around that tension pretty much goes away. Sweet deal!! This was a huge check off my list of boxes I had hoped to accomplish in February. I didn’t just go around once, but ya girl made it around TEN TIMES before tapping out and moving to arms.
The next day, my mom asked me to be her plus one to a work event she had. I was pumped. I rarely pass up a chance to get a little dressed up and out of the house anymore. Plus it was a free dinner and 2 free drink tickets. Although I had been experimenting with no-bracin’ it, I decided to wear my brace to the dinner. It’s more of a security blanket for me. Kind of a signal saying HEY WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING!!! As we pulled in, I started to feel a little bit anxious. I knew I was going to get asked a million questions and have to repeat the same thing that over and over…that EVERYONE would be asking me if I’ll ever dance again and that I would basically have to say “that’s the goal” or “I hope so!” Or my favorite line… “small progress is still progress!!!” All positive things, but sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming to continuously talk about it. As if I don’t spend enough hours of my day thinking about it already.
Once I got into the flow of things, I had a great time. It was fun to see my mom in her element with her coworkers and so so nice to be out and about. While it wasn’t like any event I have been invited to in LA, it was just what I needed. I told my mom it helped me forced myself to become ‘socialized’ again. Because I am not kidding when I say I will need training on how to be in public and interact with people when I go back to LA. Especially if they are men.
The next day at PT I was excited to show everyone my backwards rotation on the bike. I had put in a lottt of work and although it wasn’t smooth, it was a HUGE step in the right direction. I hopped on the bike and using the tricks that I had developed, I began to show off my full rotations- I even hiked my hip way less!! I got to talking to one of my physical therapists while I was slowly cycling and all of the sudden I heard another one from across the room say “Are you doing full forward rotations???” Taken back, I was like nooo way I’m going backwards. But when I looked down (painfully confused as you can see in the video hahaha) I was, in fact, going all the way around forwards!!! I didn’t even know it or mean to, but I had just met another huge milestone in my recovery. Wow. If that ain’t proof that magic happens once ya get out of your god damn head, I don’t know what is.
Hehe did I get ur attention? On weekends, my family and I have pretty much made it ritual to find cute little restaurants near(ish) by to check out. We literally live in the middle of no where so “nearby restaurants” isn’t really a thing. Which, by the way, if you have any we should check out, let a sista know! On Saturday, we decided to check out this cute little place called Verve in Waterloo. They brew their own kombucha and serve their ceviche with plantain chips and I’m pretty sure that’s the closest thing I’ll be able to get to a Los Angeles restaurant. Count me in!!!
We started off the adventure at TJ Maxx and I had decided not to wear my brace. I don’t have a problem with stability anymore, which is a fantastic thing to say. Like I mentioned previously, having a ‘naked leg’ freaks me out more than it hurts or causes discomfort. As much as I hate drawing attention to my leg, at least people know to be a little mindful of where they are walking. This has been a consistent complaint of mine throughout this process. People just don’t pay attention. I’m sure I am guilty of it as well at times, but I definitely have had my eyes opened at bit. Braceless Saturday went great, overall. But by the time I got in the car after a few more shopping stops and dinner, I was exhausted and in quite a bit of discomfort. No slips, falls or trips though so that’s a positive- but I definitely was ready for a chill day in on Sunday.
Besides the family workout we did with the equipment in the basement, our Sunday was spent cooking and watching the Oscars. I made blueberry almond flour pancakes and a caramel date cold brew courtesy of one of my favorite bloggers WhatRobinEats. To die for. My parents are lucky to have an in-house chef these last few months. Also it was national pizza day so obviously we partook, this time we bought premade cauliflower crust pizzas because we were wayyyy too lazy.
I can’t help falling….
I ended my eighth week of recovery at the gym with my mom. It’s been so fun getting active with her and today I decided to challenge myself on the treadmill. Since going out and about without my brace on Saturday went so well, I decided to leave my brace at home when I went to the gym. Once I got there, I admittedly felt a little bit dumb. I’m sure other gym goers looking at me from the outside are confused why I’m walking so slow on the treadmill, or stand up a little funny from the weight machines- at least with my brace on they know I’m injured. However, I’ve found that walking slow on the treadmill without my brace is much more beneficial because it’s easier to maintain correct form without a clunky brace in the way. As I continued to walk next to my mom on the treadmill, I kept changing my goal and extending my time. First my goal was 5 minutes, then 10, then half a mile…until finally, I set my sights on one mile. Mission accomplished. I felt so good after I got off and told my mom that I wanted to do that more frequently. I haven’t walked that far since before surgery. Big strides were taken this week. I was feeling like if I keep this up, I’m going to be in GREAT shape to return in one short month.
When I got home from the, I was pretty exhausted. We always watch the bachelor on Mondays (this recovery has literally turned me into an old woman whose day to day schedule is dependent on what’s on television)… so that was next on the agenda. About halfway into the show, I went into the kitchen to check on something in the oven. What I didn’t know, is that my mom had gotten a step stool out earlier in the evening to reach something in one of the top cabinets above the stove. It was still set up, and unbeknownst to me, it happened to be right behind me. I stepped backwards and tripped on the stool, causing me to fall right on my ass in the kitchen. Yowch. This one hurt.
Thankfully, I was able to grab onto the counter tops surrounding me and gracefully fall, but my leg still bent more than it was ready to and even made a little popping noise. I was freaked out. The last time I had slipped, I didn’t go all the way down but there was a little noise from the swelling pockets. I was hopeful that’s what was going on this time also, but I pretty much live in a constant fear of messing something up and prolonging my recovery process.
I woke up the next day with an extremely swollen knee. Maybe it was from the big mile that I walked, maybe from falling…but I planned to rest the whole day and talk to my physical therapists about it tomorrow. I am not kidding when I say my good recovery days are always followed by a bad one.