Injury Timeline

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2 Year Update

Hi Everyone!

Long time, no blog updates.  So, I thought I'd check in now that it's been about 2 years since my lisfranc ORIF surgery,

I think things are just about as normal as they ever are going to be for me, which I am totally fine with, by the way.  What have I been up to since the new year?  Nothing much out of the ordinary!

I've been doing a lot of getting back to just my normal routines.  I am hitting the gym regularly again, about 3-4 times a week.  There's not a whole lot that I find myself unable to do, unless it comes to a lot of jumping or high impact exercises.  I do a lot of weight training, spinning, yoga, and bootcamp classes.  I haven't gone back to the treadmill - I never really liked that anyway! - but I when do the cardio machines I spend a lot of time on the Stairmaster, since I think it helps continue to build strength in my legs and foot in general.  I also love doing the rowing machine, and there is a new rope trainer at my gym that I've been really excited about.  Think a never-ending rope climb, and a total upper body burn!  I have found so many things to do that I really don't think about what I can't do anymore.  If I'm in a class at the gym and we are doing an exercise that hurts to do or I'm not comfortable with - I just modify it, plain and simple.  There's no shame in it.  I haven't run very much since Ragnar; not that I don't want to, or can't, but a lot of that has to do with winters sucking in Utah and I don't dare run outside.  And, as mentioned above, I dread the treadmill and haven't really figured out how to effectively use it since my injury; I find it hard to get the right pace.  Now that summer is here, its regularly getting over a hundred degrees everyday.  I am a zombie in the morning and hate working out first thing, and that's really the only time I could run if I was going to do it.  I'm anxiously awaiting Fall so I can enjoy being outside again, and get in a few runs in the cool air.

I can now successfully do multiple single leg calf raises on my right foot.  Weighted, even! I focus a lot of my strength and weight training on my legs.  It is of course great exercise but also functional, since my lower body is where I really need to build the most muscle, strength and stability.  I've gradually gotten back in to practicing my box jumps, and even took a little video of jumping onto the Bosu balancer at the gym a few weeks ago.  It took almost two years to do that with confidence and without pain, but I eventually did get there.  Which is pretty much the motto for this injury.  You're going to get there, I promise.

I'm also right back to hiking every weekend, working every Sunday to log more and more miles during the hike.  I feel like my left foot/leg is still the dominant one, so I've been trying to focus on building up the right one more, but it doesn't come naturally.  I can actually come up on, and push off my toes when climbing a steep hill.  That was something that I wasn't able to do last year so it's definitely an improvement!  I used to feel super competitive about hiking, focusing on how fast I could do it and compare it to my previous time, and how fast I could fly up and down the mountain.  Now I just go at whatever pace feels good, not caring how long it is taking.  Going uphill, I take in the sights, and stop for breaks when I need them.  I'm still a little slow on the downhill and have to really concentrate on my footing so I don't slip on rocks.  As long as I pay attention to every step I take, I am fine.  But I get so distracted by the beauty of the mountains, the natural scenery and wildlife, that I need a little slip to remind me to stay focused! (OOO SHINIES)  I frequently stop and take pictures on the way down.    I at least try to set a goal of going faster on the downhill than the up, which usually works out!  I feel a lot more trust in my footing this year, and a lot more confidence.  But, I still get anxious when it comes to the steep downhill parts of hikes.   I am not joking in the slightest though when I say I have to pay attention to every step; I literally look right in front of my feet the whole time!  If I do slip, I'm not so great on the reflexes and catching myself.  I take it slow and do what is comfortable.  I try not to think about, or worry about, what anyone else is thinking of me, even if I'm going slow and I have to let others pass me on the trail.   Hiking is one of the things that makes me the happiest in my life, and I look forward to it every week, so I am going to do it my way!

My foot is still sore for pretty much the rest of the day after hiking though.  That hasn't changed.  The same with a lot of activity or a long walk or run; my foot gets tired and angry.  At times, painful.  It is what it is though; it isn't enough to stop me from doing what I'm doing or deter me from doing what I want.

I did "run" the Dirty Dash in June, about a month ago. It was just a 5k, and a lot of slogging through the mud.  I only skipped two obstacles, but pushed myself to at least attempt them!  It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I did it!  The race was held in Soldier Hollow which was the first time I've done a race there since my injury.  A lot of feelings came back, but only for a moment.  I've moved on.  There are times when I re-live it, and think "what if I didn't fall that day?".  A lot of things would be different.  But this injury has changed my perspective on things in so many ways, taught me a lot about life, myself, and about others, that I'm not sure I'd want to change that.  I hate that I had this stupid injury, but grateful for all of the experiences and people that I've met, and been able to help along the way!

I think about my foot everyday.  Mostly in the morning in those first few steps getting out of bed.  Or when I encounter some stairs - which I'm about 200% better at - but I still have to think about it.  When a storm is coming, the metal in my foot swells and I feel the pressure change.  I feel like an old lady trying to get up off the floor or in and out of the bathtub at times.   I won't lie, I have pain in some fashion every single day.  Honestly though, it's such a part of my life now.  I'm not bothered by it.  When I read blogs of people saying they still felt pain 2 years later,  5 years later, I was crushed.  Here I am though, 2 years later, and so proud of where I've come, and all I've done to get here.  When I started this blog, I thought full on that I would be the miraculous recovery story and just back to my old self and exactly how I was before.  I'm not.  But to tell you the truth, I don't even remember what my foot felt like before my injury!  It really is all about perspective and living in the now.

What's next for me?  Keep setting goals, blasting through ceilings and breaking down barriers.  I will lace up for Spartan in 2018.  I will finish the race.  I may do it at my own pace and skip some obstacles, but I'm not competing with anyone here.  I'm not even competing with myself.  I'll be out there to face my fears and my demons.  I'm done thinking about what could have been, and embracing the health, and life, that I have now, no matter what the challenges are.

Thank you for reading, friends!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year Check-in!

Hello Everyone!  Thank you for riding this healing journey along with me.  I do appreciate all of my readers and people I've found on social media who have found my blog.  Hopefully I have helped you or given you hope in some way.

When I first injured myself, I did what many of you do and sought out the blog world for support.  One of the many common themes was to always see a "new years" post, and I think that's the perfect time to give an update!

2016 was very much a healing year for me.  I didn't feel like myself for quite some time. I started off the year barely out of the boot and still kind of weaning out of it.  I found myself needing it still after a couple of months after being "boot free" because of the pain of walking around.  Finally around the start of spring, I started doing what I loved most, getting back into my gym routine and going hiking!  I for sure had to take it easy, but it was a relief to know I could still do those things I enjoyed.  It was painful at first, and slow progress, but I got myself there week after week.  And as I look back I am pleased of each and every step of progress that I've made this year.

I saw the doctor for a yearly checkup in July and got some great news that my foot was healing awesomely, and that I should still be able to occasionally run short distances again.  It was like the seas parted and my world opened up again!  He said my foot improvements usually peak at a year post op, then level off.  If I'm lucky, at the 18-24 months mark I might start to see improvement again, although not nearly as much as I saw in the first year.  Something to hope for and look forward to at least.

There were still those moments though where I was sooo frustrated with the things I still couldn't do.  I was at a bootcamp/circuit training type class that I attend regularly and could still do most things.  But, this particular class ended with me in tears.  We were doing a "sled push" type exercise where we basically pushed a 35lb plate across the floor from kind of a pike position.  It put so much pressure on my lisfranc joint and was so painful that I had to drop to my knees to complete the exercise and scoot along the floor feeling completely defeated.  To top it off, our circuit stations were on a rotation, and the plate push was the pace setter for the entire class.  So, I felt awful because I couldn't even do the exercise right, and I was holding the entire class up while I was performing the exercise.  Most of my friends at class are aware of my injury and a lot of my limitations, but there was a new girl there, who obviously thought I was just some out of shape slug and was yelling at me to just push harder.  To go harder.  Oh, how I wanted to.  How I tried to.  But I couldn't.  And it brought back familiar feelings of failure and tears, thinking about no matter what the progress I've made, I'm still not my old self.  But those moments are few and far between now.  I recognized that that exercise was difficult for me to do, so I started to slowly work on it on my own, not in a class setting, but in my basement.  Today, I pushed TWO 25lb plates across the floor.  Several times.  So suck it.  I'm a stubborn bitch and don't like failing.

And then, the last thing that I couldn't do..... the single leg calf raise on my injured foot.  Oh how I worked on it.  All year.  But it wouldn't budge.  The muscles wouldn't engage.  I tried nearly every week to progress, and nada.  Every time I tried it was like trying to lift a million pounds in the air.   So I just kind of stopped trying, for weeks.  But, today, TODAY I accomplished a single leg calf raise on my right foot!  Without holding on to anything for balance or assistance with my body weight.  It was an amazing feeling.  I literally jumped for joy!  I guess I really am starting to make progress like the doctor said!  Maybe...just maybe...I'll make more progress in the coming 6 months up to my 2 year post op anniversary.  My foot no longer dictates my life.  I don't hardly think about it anymore unless it's something that I find myself not being able to do.  I still find it frustrating when people ask me, "But like, when will you be healed though?"  Because I still get that.  It's hard response because this could be as good as it gets.  Which I am OK with, but other people seem not to be... hmrph.  I still limp occasionally, and its mostly depending upon what shoes I'm wearing and how active and on my feet I've been throughout the day.  And I still want to punch people in the face when they tell me I need to correct or fix my limp.  I've got a completely different foot now.  A new structure, a plate and 3 screws still.  I'm going to limp sometimes.  It may take a year to go away.  It may take 5 years to go away.  It may never go away.  I have accepted that, it's not an issue for me, and I am sick of explaining that to people.  There isn't a day that goes by however, that I don't have some sort of pain, or at least awareness that my right foot is different from my left foot.  Not in a bad way.  Just that it's there and everyday is a step in the right direction and progress in some sort of way.

And let's not forget that I did Ragnar!  People thought that I was absolutely nuts for even attempting it.  By far, it's my most cherished accomplishment this year.  It meant so much for me to finish that race, no matter how long it took and no matter the physical pain.  I wanted it so much. More than anything for a time.  So, I'm very grateful for my team and my support structure that helped me get through that in November.

So, I'm starting 2017 off right this year.  I feel really close to my old self and pretty much loving my new normal.  My job got really stressful around August when a co-worker of mine left and I absorbed a lot of his work.  It became really busy and I let affect my life a little too much, and I let my health and well being slip a little too much.  More than I'd like anyway.  I am not really a person who does new years resolutions, but I think the new year is just a great way to reset priorities in your life, and maybe change some things that were bad decisions and unhealthy habits.  I sunk into a funk and fell down a spiral leading to a dark place if I didn't fix it.   I am kicking all of that to the curb and refocusing on my health this year, and making sure I carve out time each day for myself and my health no matter how busy my job becomes.  As a very active person prior to this injury, working out was a way to relieve the stresses of the day and the stresses of life.  Without that, I fall into a depression that is hard to climb out of.   I made excuses to myself sometimes, that my foot was a little sore, so I shouldn't go workout, or that I was tired, or this or that, when I should have made more of an effort because I feel so much better doing it.   So, I'm refocusing this year on all of the things that made me happy prior to my injury and doing my best to pretend that my accident never happened!  And of course, spending time with the person nearest and dearest to my heart, my best friend, my rock, the person who has held me in his arms as I cried tears of pain, tears of sadness, tears of frustration, and tears of joy and has shared all the for betters and for worst with me.... my Nate.

Progress is progress.   It may take days, weeks, months, years.  But have hope and you'll get there.   Just take it one day at a time.

As someone recently reminded me, you can't reach heaven until you leave hell behind.

Much love....