Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hopping Along

I am learning how to navigate the challenges of life after having ACL surgery. I won't share the pictures of the inside of my knee, but I know healing is hard work from the inside out. Here are the top ten things that I learned so far.

1.  Learning something new is exhausting work. Need I say more? 

2.  Being dependent on others isn't easy. I am lucky to have amazing help. My husband has time off from work. My aunt has come down to help and my nine year old steps up as well. It isn't easy, but it is necessary. I try to make sure I have everything I need in my spot, but it doesn't always happen. Right now, I am avoiding needing anything while they are still sleeping.

3.  Navigating your first curb is like overcoming a mountain. A good friend told me how to navigate stairs. His advice made sense at the time, but as the curb grew before me, I couldn't figure it out. I just looked at it for awhile.  I did go over it and have since endured stairs, a hill, and grass. I am still thankful that I am in a one story space and someone invented elevators.

4. Ice is my best friend. In less than 24 hours I weened myself off pain meds. Icing is the key. I am not muscling through the pain, I haven't had much. I know I was in more pain after having a c-section. Nothing like ice can soothe the dull ache that creeps in the joints as the swelling increases. Twenty minutes on ice cures that.

5. I enjoy being a sloth. People think I will go stir crazy, because I am so active. I have many indoor pursuits aside from the reading to engage in such as writing, scanning old family pictures and watching movies to occupy my time. These activities are ones that I don't normally sit still long enough for, but will now. In fact, the day flew by watching 13 episodes of Mako Mermaids with my daughter. 

6. It is good to have the help of family and friends. My mom sent a Barnes and Novel gift card, my sister, an Amazon package, Paula, Lee Ann, & Mary, meals. Others have shared the gift of their time allowing my husband a break. All of these are thoughtful gifts that make the days go by smoother and faster. Thank you! 

7. The directions from the doctor never tell you everything you need to know. I read directions. I follow directions. I have questions. As a T1, I know doctors can never tell me all I need to know. Could you have it written in the follow-up that you won't be in a walking brace until your leg fits in the brace?  Not the 10-14 days that the post-op directions say.  False expectations! Surprises. Yes, I want to heal well, but I need to craft a timeline to make this work.

8. A frozen bag of spinach will do in a pinch. Work-arounds! In this world we need them. You have to craft them. You have to help your students and children problem solve. No ice! No peas! What do you have? Spinach! No way to elevate your leg while sitting, invert your crutch. Problem solved.

9. Never underestimate the power of dehydration. The day after my surgery I struggled bringing my blood sugars down. I had eaten low carb. I checked. I treated. I checked again. Finally it dawned on me that I hadn't had much water in the past 24 hours due to fasting. I started drinking and the sugars came down. 

10. This work is a temporary part of the healing process. My good friend lost her leg five years ago. In a month I should be walking fine. In six months I will be back to ultimate frisbee. I will be preparing for my next half marathon. I will resume Camp Gladiator. For me, the changes and challenges are temporary. Her challenges are permanent. I am lucky.


  1. I was thinking about number ten this afternoon and realized it'd been five years. We are lucky and what a gift she has given us with her example: courage and persistence and grit and love.

  2. I am not surprised, but so happy to hear how far you've come in such a short time. And I'm with you on #5! It doesn't happen often, but I know I can be perfectly happy hanging out at home with movies and books.

  3. Think you forgot #11! A great attitude makes everything easier! Here's hoping for a quick recovery (and lots of great movies and books in the meantime!)


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