'Little Things' Make a Comeback [19.5 Wks Post-Op]

Somewhere along the way in my recovery I think I stopped celebrating the 'little things'. I kept a fresh perspective of what I could and couldn't do when it came to exercising or getting back range-of-motion, but the more I think about it, that's not what I'm excited to be doing again... And as gradually as they've come, there are lots of little things I'm happy to say I do without wondering "what will this do to my knee?"...

For instance, today I woke up, got out of bed and walked across the room. Ta-da! There once was a time when that was my biggest challenge! But now I'm back to my groggy "I don't wanna get up" mindset, instead of thinking step-ouch-step-ouch as I used to hobble away from my resting place. Then it's showering. And getting back upstairs to get dressed. And putting on high heels! And yes, even taking out the trash-- because before I was helpless, and while it's not a desirable task, I can.

Next, it's pivoting on my left (surgical) leg as I get into my car (which is quite low to the ground). No more backing up near my seat, having weight on both feet and gingerly lowering myself into the seat. Plant, pivot, sit and DRIVE-- one (mostly) fluid motion! At work it's lots of sitting, but there is still getting in and out of my chair, crossing my legs, or scooting around in my cube on my wheelie chair and not feeling any pain. Ah, the little things!

Today at work I had to cut a strip away from a very large piece of paper from the plotter. Given the size, I figured the floor was my best work space. So this meant squatting down (and getting back up!) and also some kneeling (*gasp*)! I am still cautious when kneeling and putting weight where they took my graft from, but it turned out to be a surprisingly normal feeling!

Regarding my PT-at-home: jumping is getting easier but still challenging. I can run on pavement w/o additional soreness. I even completed a yoga DVD (complete with child's pose!) on an 'off' day, and there were lots of movements I am proud to be able to do again, no matter how simple.

Monday (8/31) is another follow-up with Dr. Shapiro, and Wednesday (9/2) has a high potential of being my first soccer practice! [Despite being given the OK to 'practice' last time I saw Dr. S-- I've still been sticking to PT routines. I may be eager to get back out there, but I want to feel confident first...]

Have a wonderful weekend!


How I Broke Up With PT [4 Months Post-Op]

Tomorrow I will be 4 months post-op. If you're an avid reader (or, recap HERE) you'll know my Doctor gave me the impression I only had a 4 month recovery (or, perhaps he meant 4 months of PT?…). I was skeptical then, and now that I'm here, I still know I'm not at 100%, but I'm doing what I can to get there.

Over the weekend I got yet another medical bill, and while I am blessed to be insured, I'm also blessed with a mathematical mind. Is what I'm paying for in PT really worth it anymore? Before I used to tell myself that having someone guide me, albeit 1x per week, was worth any cost to know I'm on track. However, the last month or so was very hands-off for Drew, and even regarding equipment use- aside from the 1-leg press and a BOSU ball here and there, most everything I can do at home. So, I approached Drew yesterday as I came into PT, asking "Is it OK if this is my last visit?" Drew gave me a long look and asked, "Are you breaking up with me?!"

We did some L-to-R comparison of lunging, jumping, balancing on each leg individually, as well as measured circumference at my knee, lower and mid thigh. Here's how I see my progress as of today:
Strength ~ 90%: For instance, I can 1-leg press pre-surgical weight, but it's still a little shaky. Which brings us to...
Control ~55%: It is still difficult to absorb the impact when jumping and landing on my surgical leg. Controlling the motion of something like a 1-leg squat is very difficult and borderline painful to do as I work into deeper bending. I think toning the muscle around my knee as I get it back will help improve this.
Mass ~85%: I still have mass to regain in my L quad, but even the mass I do have is not as solid as my R leg. I know this will come in time, but as trainers have told me along the way, I have further to go than most people based on the large size of my non-surgical quad!
Endurance ~95%: I might be guessing high, but if my knee were miraculously healed tomorrow, I think my endurance would be pretty good. Although I might take that down to 90% or so when I think of playing the full duration of a soccer game with minimal subs, or the continuous sprints of ultimate frisbee.

Now that I'm PT-free I can consider my options (what unattached girl wouldn't?!). Buy some equipment for home exercise, like a BOSU ball? Or spring for a gym membership to have equipment at my disposal? Or go to some open swims at a local pool for some 'low impact' jumping to work on control? I know I can always call Drew for questions, pointers, or help… plus he provided me with a few pages of exercises to keep working on. Any way I work it, I'm pretty confident I can do this on my own now.

Sorry, PT… It's not you, it's me. ;)