Week 9 (Feb 12 – 18)
At this point, I’ve been home for three full months. A fourth of a year. Damn. In some aspects, it really has flown by. But sometimes there are days that feel like they are about a week long. Since I spend so much time at home, I pretty much jump on any chance to get out of the house, even if it’s just to the grocery store. So when my mom proposed a midweek mini getaway, I practically had my bags packed before she even finished her sentence.
She had to be in Des Moines early the following morning so we took off Wednesday night and scored a cute little hotel room in Ankeny for free.99 with our hotel rewards points. I had been CRAVING sushi (this literally always happens when I’m in middle America ???) and our hotel just so happened to be in the same complex as Waterfront Sushi. SCORE. Being that it was Valentine’s weekend, and I was destined to spend ANOTHER Valentines day alone, my mom and I spent the evening watching corny rom-coms, doing face masks and drinking a few vodka tonics in our cute pajamas. So. Needed.
The following morning, we headed down to the fitness center to get a little morning burn in before breakfast. There wasn’t much to choose from equipment wise, but the facility had a treadmill, elliptical and rack of dumbbells with an incline bench. As I looked at my options, I decided to get brave and test out the elliptical. The motion is similar to that of stationary bike so I figured I could manage. At this point, I’m rarely wearing my brace so I’m thinking if anything, the elliptical should help me continue to perfect my walking technique. I was so nervous, but once I turned up the resistance a bit and got going, it felt so good. I could feel a bit of pressure on my knee every so often, but nothing that was not tolerable. After about 15 minutes, I felt a minuscule little sweat drop drip down from my forehead. That was seriously the first time I had broken a sweat since surgery, and boy was I excited. This meant that in these weeks ahead, I was going to be able to really push myself before I take off for Los Angeles. Things were looking up.
I was a little sore the next morning going to PT, but ready to continue the flow. We added in several new exercises- one that was was particularly excited about, weighted leg presses. Since surgery, I’ve seen a LOT of muscular atrophy of my right quad. I have always been extremely quad dominant and have literally had legs that look like chicken drumsticks since I was like four years old. Admittedly, I have always been critical of the way I look so that has been a whole other obstacle to overcome in all of this. Looking in the mirror and seeing my legs be two different sizes has been a bit of a hard one to swallow, especially up until a few weeks ago I haven’t been able to be extremely active. It’s been hard to isolate just my surgical leg for strengthening exercises to help with that atrophy because I have needed both legs to stabilize myself. However, now that my bend is a bit deeper and I’m doing extremely well with some of the balance exercises, I can now do single leg weighted leg presses to begin to rebuild some of that muscle and catch my right leg up with the other. I left PT feeling both accomplished and exhausted.
Valentine’s day was officially here and my mom and I made chocolate covered strawberries and had caught wind that our favorite Mexican restaurant was going to have music and dancing in the evening! We called our friends and met them for some Valentines Day Margaritas. Yes, I 5th wheeled. Which I normally don’t mind at all, but when they all decided to get up and dance and I had to remain at the table by myself that was a bit of a different story. I left my brace at home because I really don’t depend on it at all, but I ended up wishing I had it. My mom was on the dance floor with her friends so I had my dad walk me over to her. Surely I can manage some sort of side to side sway-sway-is motion or something that resembles dancing…but I was wrong. I ended up sitting down about 30 seconds after standing up. It was too overwhelming. I didn’t trust my footing and I didn’t trust the other people around me. Especially without my brace signifying that I’m handicapped.
That was a rough one for me to take, especially being a dancer. The holiday sucks anyway so I’m already feeling a little sorry for my self even without the injury. I was glad my parents were able to have fun, but I left feeling a little discouraged and overwhelmed. I couldn’t help but think about how difficult it will be to navigate a nightlife scene whether it be a bar or even just busy restaurant in LA.
R + R
As you can probably guess, I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty worn out. We spent the majority of the weekend kind of recouping and setting a plan in motion to keep this momentum going the following week. I created a meal and workout plan for myself fo the week and finished off the week with a nice little gym session. I was excited to use the elliptical again, and this time I upped my time from 15 minutes to 20 minutes followed by a 10 minute ride on the spin bike. By this point, I’m not quite up to normal speed but I am definitely making improvements on how quickly I am able to rotate the pedals around.
Now that I’m able to bend my legs enough, I have also started to add in the abductor/adductor machine into my routine and well as some split stance lunges. Time to wake up those muscles!!! While it felt great to be able to break a sweat again, it kind of made me nervous that I will struggle to find the balance in my training regimen. Since this point, I have had to constantly remind myself that I am, in fact still healing regardless of how normal it may feel sometimes. I have come so far, but I still have almost double that to go.
Now the concern is finding that perfect balance between pushing myself and overdoing it.
Here’s week 10.