2 Weeks Post Op

2 Weeks Post Op

Well it’s officially been 2 weeks post op. I’m happy to say that I have gone down to using only 1 crutch and had my first post op doctor appointment. My doctor said I am way ahead of where I should be and my quads are strong enough that I could drive. I am not going to drive until I feel comfortable bending my knee, but this news was beyond reassuring.

Physical Therapy:

I started my post op PT immediately after my post op doctor appointment and we started by taking measurements of my extension and flexion. My extension was around 2-0 degrees which is exactly where my range of motion should be. My flexion started at 78 degrees which is short of my goal of 90 degrees. After doing a few heel slides on the wall I was at 90 degrees and then passing 90 degrees towards the end of my exercises. My goal for the start of PT was 0 degrees and 90 degrees. The exercises we started on this week include:

  • Heel slides down the wall, 30 Reps
  • Single Leg Raises- Laying on Back, Right Side, Stomach and Left Side. 30 Reps- Each Side
  • Ankle Pumps w/ Resistance Band, All directions- 30 Reps- Each Direction
  • Quad Sets w/ Stretching Strap for boost in height- 30 Reps
  • Calf Raises- on good leg- 30 Reps.
  • Hamstring/Calf stretching- 1.5 minutes total
  • Stationary Bicycling to help gain back range of motion- 10 minutes, zero resistance
  • Clam Shells w/ Resistance Band around top of knees- 30 reps
  • Ice.

All of these exercises are things I am incorporating into my at home workouts. I am still doing the exercises I talked about in 1 Week Post Op . I am even trying to use the stationary bike w/ no resistance, but at this point I am unable to get a full rotation . This rotation has become one of my new goals.

Goals Currently Include:

  • Increase Range of Motion (ROM). Get flexion past 92 degrees.
  • Stop using crutch!
  • Full rotation on bike  I was able to make a full rotation halfway through the week!
  • Work towards week 4 which should involve elliptical, stationary bike w/ resistance and more strength work…and NO MORE BRACE!!!!

All of these goals will be incorporated into my 3 PT sessions per week and my at home exercises as well.

I am able to out and about for a while which after spending 10 days in our condo… is incredible. After spending an hour or so on my feet I am exhausted. This past Saturday Chris and I went to brunch in Wicker Park with friends and then walked 2.5 blocks to our car, went to the suburbs to buy a new refrigerator and that is where I needed a break for my knee. I ended up spending half of our fridge trip sitting on a couch and resting. My ice machine is still utilized daily for relief and after time on my feet, the ice machine is a life saver. I returned to work on Monday and am working to adjust my work lifestyle to accommodate my large brace and need for elevating. Everyone is very helpful, so things have not been an issue. It’s nice to get back to a routine again. The past two weeks have been tough but have flown by. Hopefully the next two weeks go by just as fast.

Namaste.


1 Week Post Op

1 Week Post Op

As exciting as the past week has been, I wanted to give a recap of my first week with my new ACL. You can read about how the first few days post op went for me at Days 1-3 Post Op , but for more general information here is my recap of 1 Week Post Op .

Pain: Pain varied due to the pain medicine I was on. The first day is wasn’t bad but then day 2 the pain got much worse, due to local numbing medicine wearing off, and then with a lot of sleep the pain depreciated. Sleeping is still slightly uncomfortable and painful, but that is to be expected when being forced to sleep with a brace and ice machine on.

Exercises: I am doing daily exercises 3 times per day. I use the CamoPed machine which is a manual machine that moves my legs and helps to bend my knee. I use this machine 4 times per day for about 10 minutes per session. It isn’t really painful but is a large and heavy machine, so the process of getting out of bed and over to the machine is the biggest pain I have with this.

  • PT exercises:
    • Heel/Calf Pumps. 15 reps, but I do these often throughout the day to keep blood flowing in my lower leg and avoid a blood clot
    • Quad Sets . 15 reps and a hold of 2 seconds for each rep. I showed an example in my PreHab article. Involves engaging your quad to press the back of your knee to the ground.
    • Leg Raises. 15 reps. Single leg raises into the air while laying down on your back/
    • Heel Slides. 15. These are the bane of my existence. I loathe these because they’re difficult and very uncomfortable. See photo below.

Day to Day: I am in bed for most of the day, working, napping, and enjoying all that Netflix and Bravo have to offer. I have been getting up and on my crutches to use the restroom, and at night when my husband gets home to spend a few hours in the living room. I needed a change of scenery, so I love my few hours in the living room in the evenings. I even made a quick dinner last night because I’ve missed cooking so much. Crutches are still necessary, but I am able to bear weight on my repaired leg. This makes me feel slightly more in control of my current situation.

For anyone needing advice of how to survive your first week. Here is a list of necessities that I recommend:

  • Small snacks next to your bed. I needed to eat with my pain medication, so a stack of saltines has been a life saver.
  • Books, Magazines, Kindle etc. You will need to stop staring at your phone/iPad and these will be very helpful.
  • Small garbage bag/basket.
  • Set up your bed/couch/sleeping area before you go into surgery. When you get home you will be in no state to be searching for pillows to prop up your leg.
  • Shower seat. Necessary. 100%.

This upcoming week I am going to the doctor to remove my stitches and then immediately after that I am going to Physical Therapy. These two appointments will dictate how the rest of my week will be spent. I will be starting PT 3 times per week for a few weeks to work on the basics. From what my PT has told me, the first few weeks will be difficult and boring. After spending 10 days in bed, I’m not sure it could get much more boring than this.

It’s crazy to believe that I’m already 1 week down. My doctor is aiming for me to be running at week 12, so knowing that I’m 1 week closer to that is encouraging. I look forward to another week of getting better, stronger and closer to my next goals.

Namaste.

 


Days 1-3 Post Op

Days 1-3 Post Op

I’ve made it through surgery and now have the daunting task of recovery and rehabilitation. I went into surgery on Wednesday March 22nd around lunchtime. I wasn’t too terribly hungry before but I did have to stop eating and drinking at midnight the night before surgery. This article: Days 1-3 Post Op , will break down surgery day, coming home and what the first few days entailed. If you’ve got ACL surgery ahead for you then please use this as a means to relate and to rest assured knowing that so many other people have done this before. We can do this.

 

Surgery Day:

Chris and I arrived at the hospital (we luckily live 10 minutes away, so the commute wasn’t something we had to worry about), and checked in with the front desk. Within 10 minutes I was back at my patient bay getting my IV and answering a the same round of questions for my nurse, and several other doctors, PAs and nurses. This time went by slowly, but within an hour and a half they were wheeling my back to my OR. I don’t remember much after the anesthesia kicked in and in what seemed like no time I was back awake. I devoured two packets of Teddy Bears and two Apple Juices. The pain was kicking in and I started my pain meds. I was able to change back into normal clothes and didn’t have to mess with this insanely large brace or ice machine under it. After an hour or so, Chris was able to take me home.

Days 1-3 Post Op:

Day 1 post op was a bit of a blur. Lots of pain meds, Food Network (I love napping to any show on the Food Network) and sleeping while running my ice machine 24/7. Chris made pasta from Blue Apron for dinner, but I barley had an appetite to eat much at all. Then I fell asleep at 8pm. What a day.

Day 2 was filled with much more pain. I took my pain meds to the full amount allowed.  In the middle of the night, my body would wake me up an hour before my pills were due because of the pain. It wasn’t fun. If you’re currently on this day then please know that I feel for you and send you my condolences. It sucks. No way to sugarcoat it. Lots of sleeping otherwise. 3 rounds of PT exercises at home when I was able to muster through the pain and exhaustion. PT exercises were: 10-15 reps of quad sets, heel slides, ankle/heel pumps, and leg lifts. 3x per day. My quad is firing pretty well, but with my leg locked in extension in a brace 24/7 I am having a hard time bending my knee (flexion).

Day 3 brought much less pain.  I still slept a lot, but I was also able to stay awake enough to watch full episodes of TV shows and have conversations.I was able to shower today and to reduced my pain meds. I even had a friend over. We watched mindless TV which was perfect. I love Bravo. More rounds of PT exercises, constantly utilizing my ice machine and also adding in the CPM manual machine. I’m a fairly boring person these days.

The most important thing to note is that the pain does get better. I felt like there was a balloon inflating inside of my knee on either night 1 or 2 (they blur together at this point), but sleep does help. Sleep has been the biggest aid of all. My body clearly needed to sleep A LOT the first few days and I allowed my body to do so. Yes I fell asleep a few times while trying to watch a TV show with my husband, but giving your mind and body permission to fall asleep is the biggest favor you can do yourself. I also set alarms throughout the night to take my medicine. I read about many people falling behind on their pills and then waking up in intense pain, so I wanted to stay ahead of the game and avoid this.

If you’re just starting the ACL reconstruction journey then welcome. I just went through what I expected to be the scariest part of the journey and came through just fine. It’s not going to be easy from here, but it will get better. My positivity will help make sure of that.

Namaste.


Prehab Before Surgery

Prehab Before Surgery

The article ACL Road to Recovery touched on the subject of my torn ACL and my now ongoing journey to repair and rehab my knee. This article focuses on Prehab Before Surgery. Once most people find out I tore my ACL the questions start of:

  • How are you moving without crutches?
  • Does it hurt?
  • How can you still do yoga/spin class/pilates/anything?
  • Why are you in PT now??

The prescription of physical therapy prior to surgery was not a question from my doctor. He explained (in more complex terminology) that once you tear your ACL that the hamstring and quad freak out and lose strength. Essentially all of the chair poses/squats in sculpt I was doing were washed away. I had to retrain my right quad and hammy- hence PT. Prehab has been tough both mentally and physically.

  • The first week we focused on firing up my quad and learning how to walk normally. Walking normally had a direct correlation with my ability to fully straighten my leg. My knee needed to reach full extension again. After this was reached we worked on flexion (bending) of my knee.
  • The second week of PT we worked on balance, step ups on a block similar to a large stair and firing up my glutes.
  • This week we are working on more squats, balancing while reaching out for an object, weighted extensions and more glute/hammy engagement. PT is hard but it’s worth it.

The exercise we work on most is called a Quad Set. It’s essentially sitting with both legs in front of you, and engaging your quad to press the back of your knee down towards the ground. Once your knee presses down your heel lifts up off the ground. The first week my PT had me doing this with a towel under my knee to feel my knee press into something. Since the first week she has slowly taken the height of the object under my knee down. I can now fire my quad to press my knee down without anything underneath it. This was a huge accomplishment for me.

Source: Fairview.org

Outside of PT I am utilizing my fancy new spin bike at home while watching YouTube spin classes. I also have taken a few spin classes at FlyWheel and SoulCycle. Both are super difficult and a great workout. I also feel fantastic while in the class and after. I always take necessary modifications and don’t push myself past my limit. At the last FlyWheel class I took I knew that I needed to stop standing in the saddle at a certain point because my knee was starting to ache. Instead of standing with the rest of the class I did those sets while seated on my saddle. No big deal at all.

Mentally I have revised my ego in workout classes. I am not ashamed of taking modifications during classes and am proud that I am able to even workout in the classes with my knee in the state it is currently in. I have taken several Hot Power Fusion classes at my favorite yoga studio, Core Power Yoga.  I have taken this set sequence so many times that I knew that I was able to participate in almost all of the class with a torn ACL. I also knew that the last 10 minutes of class are spent stretching the knee and doing postures while standing on the knees. I never do these postures and am 100% content to sit on a block in a seated meditation. It’s my version of the poses and I am proud.

This has been my “prehab”. A lot of PT, spin classes, yoga and a few pilates classes. I am able to move, workout and strengthen myself physically and mentally. I am able to know my limits and take my body where it needs to be and no further. Yes all of the work I am doing is going to help, and in less than a week I will be back at square one. After this surgery I will be starting over, but by going into surgery strong as I can be, my road to recovery will hopefully be a little bit easier.

Namaste.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Happy Friday everyone. This week’s Friday Faves articles are about fitness, food and fun. Read some of these articles while you’re sitting on the couch watching March Maddness, laying in bed or just out and about. Have an amazing weekend!

  1. STOP all negative thoughts while at the gym. 10 Toxic Thoughts We’ve All Had at the Gym.
  2. A healthy version of Shamrock Shake? Yes please.
  3. Fact: Yoga is for everyone. Men explain how they got hooked on yoga. 
  4. Because this movie combines my two favorite characters of all time: Bell + Hermione. I personally saw this movie last night and LOVED it. Go see it now.
  5. Just in time for St. Patty’s day. Thrillist lists the best Irish Pubs in America. 

Have an amazing weekend!


ACL Road to Recovery

ACL Road to Recovery

Friends, Followers, Fellow Injur-ees looking for inspiration and community,

I would like to share my new journey to share with you all. An extremely unexpected life event happened almost two weeks ago. I tore my ACL while skiing out in Utah. The dreaded “pop” sound/feeling every athlete dreads happened to me. It wasn’t painful, but it was devestating. I am up and walking around very well and do not require crutches. My ego is bruised but otherwise I am pretty healthy. Just lacking a fully functioning ACL.

In a week and a half, I am slated to go into surgery. The past two weeks I have worked my butt off in a way I didn’t know was possible just to prepare for this surgery. As soon as I felt that dreaded “pop”, I was forced to immediately give up running, fast flowing vinyasa yoga, bootcamp/sculpt classes, and my new found love of boxing classes. I went through about an hour long crying/sobbing uncontrollably about how awful this was and how terrible my life will be. My husband sat patiently next to me holding my hand and once I started to calm down he reminded me that I am a tough woman and a torn ACL will not hold me back. I will be as psychotically active as I can be and that rehab will be my new passion for a few months. The most important thing he reminded me of is that I can do this. Yes my life will change but I am fully capable to getting through this.

Here I am. 2 weeks post injury. In physical therapy or as I like to call it “prehab” twice per week and doing at home PT exercises 2 times per day every day. My current goals include: strengthening my quad, being able to balance on my right leg for over 30 seconds, and gain my full range of motion back. I’ve bought a spin bike and instead of running 4-5 times per week I am spinning and have taken on YouTube spin classes.After 45 minutes I am fully dripping with sweat and pushing myself to get stronger. I am motivated.

I recently read a quote on Pinterest which motivated me to share this journey with you all:

“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their story” Iyanla Vazant.

This is my story. My ACL road to recovery. I will get further into how I tore my ACL. How I am putting my health and new fitness level first, and how I will get back to where I want to be and then pass that level and get to a level I never knew I could be at.

Telling this story is just as much for me as it is for you. Being able to journal/blog my experiences is my way of coping with this injury. This is my recovery diary. I hope you all enjoy and learn from this. For those of you that are seeking solace from a fellow ACL tear patient- I know how devastated you feel. This will get better. We can do this. Never doubt yourself.

Namaste.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

After a week long hiatus Friday Faves is back! This week’s articles are centered around being kind to your mind and body. If you’ve read my article about my recent ACL Tear then you’ll understand why I chose this theme. Have an amazing weekend and enjoy this week’s Friday Faves.

  1. 30 Minutes for some Back Pain Relief Pilates. Yes please!
  2. Be good to your body. 22 Delicious Ways to Eat Veggies Without Even Trying.
  3. Looking forward to summer? Same. Here’s a Summer Bucket List to start your planning. 
  4. Eat healthier while at the airport. Because those calories should be saved for your actual vacation.
  5. Stressed or overwhelmed? Treat anxiety naturally. 

Namaste.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Friday Faves this week is centered around wellness and preparing ourselves for spring! Take a few minutes to enjoy these articles over the weekend. Enjoy!

  1. Gas station + food usually doesn’t equal healthy. Mind + Body Green has your list of healthy gas station options for your next road trip. 
  2. Only have 10 minutes in the morning to work out? You’re in luck. Well and Good has a tough 7 minute workout to fuel your morning. 
  3. If your lungs feel like they could explode while you’re running then take this tip from PopSugar Fitness and learn how to breath correctly during your next run. 
  4. Ever wonder how to actually read and understand nutrition labels? Rodale’s Organic Life has your guide. 
  5. In the spirit of spring, check out PopSugar’s tips to spring clean your health. 

Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! This week’s Friday Faves are centered around articles themed around being good to yourself and treating your body & mind right.

  1. Yoga Journal covers the burning question: Why are so many people hurting themselves in yoga?
  2. Ever wanted to try a Pilates class but you aren’t sure what to wear or do/not do? Check out PopSugar Fitness’s article for all of your common pilates mistakes. 
  3. Lactose Intolerant friends rejoice. I feel your pain. I am lactose intolerant but LOVE ice cream. We now can finally enjoy Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Ice Cream with less guilt and stomach pain. 
  4. Buzzfeed has an article dedicated to photos of dogs meeting their forever families for the first time ever. I’m not crying. You’re crying.
  5. As a new cauliflower lover -convert I wanted to share this delicious recipe from New York Times. Whole roasted cauliflower romesco. Hello Meatless Monday.

Treat yourself right this weekend. Enjoy!

 


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

This Friday Faves focuses on treating your body right and treating you and a loved one or friend to a Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day) at home. Chris and I will be celebrating our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, and per our usual tradition we will be making dinner at home. I love to make recipes that are outside of my comfort zone and challenging. A few years ago we made sushi which you can check out here. Enjoy this week’s Friday Faves.

  1. Racing season is right around the corner so Mind + Body Green has a list of what you should eat for faster and stronger runs.
  2. Have you ever wondered what your yoga instructor is talking about when they ask you to set your intention for your class? Here is your guide.
  3. The Kitchn PSA: You do not need to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. Overpriced pre fixed meal? No thank you.
  4. Need a Valentine’s Day dinner idea? The Kitchn has a tutorial for making your own marinara sauce. Want to make homemade noodles? Check out my recipe. 
  5. For your dessert for two, Food 52 has you covered. 

 

I officially graduate Core Power’s Extensions program on Monday, so be on the lookout for an article detailing my experience over the past 5 weeks. I’ll also have more time to dedicate to bringing you all more yoga + healthy living articles!

Have an amazing weekend!