I’ve decided that as I go through my rehab with my knee, I’ll be writing weekly updates. This will help me mentally keep focus. I also think it might be helpful to other people if I’m open about what I’m going through. Maybe this will help someone who also is dealing with an injury or has trauma going on in their life. I just know when I’ve been researching like crazy online to find tips on this, there isn’t much out there, or at least not the type of info I’m looking for.
Firstly, my injury was a weird one. I can’t find anything on the combo of the injuries I had. My expectations and goals will be filtered through the surgery notes I received from my doctor and a combination of bits and pieces I’ve taken from whatever I can dig up and asking friends who are physical therapists and/or have been through long term injuries.
I also want to make sure I address the emotional and mental ups and downs. When you have a traumatic injury, it’s not just the physical pain you are dealing with. For me, the physical pain is the easy part. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I’ve been molded into a tough son-of-a-gun.
When it comes to an injury like this, it’s kind of a grieving process. No one has died thank goodness, but a dream is temporarily on hold and the season for me as an individual player on the field is dead. And just like when you grieve the loss of a loved one or the ending of a relationship, you go through stages and you hit snags. You break through them and then you face more.
It’s a process to heal. I believe it’s the process of healing that makes you stronger. When you lift weights, you are literally breaking down the muscles. It’s the rest that results in rebuilding them stronger. I’ve been lifting a long while and apparently it’s time for me to rest and rebuild stronger. I’m a Capricorn and I’m driven. I have no stop. Seriously, I get teased by my teammates wherever I play because the switch is on, it’s ON. I’m trying to view this as the universe telling me to sit down and regroup. I have more work to do and I’m going to need this time in order to do it.
This doesn’t mean it’s always easy. I love playing. I LOVE playing. It makes me happy. I don’t feel as free anywhere as I do on the field. Running around and playing football makes me feel like a kid on a swing. It’s truly me in my element on game day. When I went to my team’s film session last week and I saw film from last year where I was making tackles, it killed me to know I can’t do that this year. When I got home, I did break down and cry. My head knew I couldn’t play but my heart apparently hadn’t gotten the message yet.
This is that grief part I was referring to. In order to move forward, you have to accept the reality of the situation. I can’t play this year. I’ll be on crutches for a long while. I won’t be able even dance when I go out with my team. I LOVE dancing. Maybe, I’ll invent a 1 leg dancing style but it won’t be the same.
Daily tasks are challenging and will continue to be so for a while. Thankfully, I’m a creative and resourceful person so I think outside the box to get things done.
This week is the first week that I’ve been back at work. This is a good thing because I’m driven and sitting at home for weeks was killing me. You can only watch so much Netflix. I needed to get back to doing normal things as soon as possible.
This has presented it’s own challenges. I got released to drive after my appointment last week. It took me a minute to get down getting in and out of the car smoothly. I had figured out a technique when I previously tore my MCL but I had more range of motion on that one so this was a bit more tricky. I believe I have it down now.
I have a desk job. This is good because I’m not doing much physically other than typing. However, asking your injured leg to be comfortable when it can’t bend and is locked in a brace at 30 degrees can be difficult.
I have figured out a rotation where I keep it propped up for a little bit and then down for a little bit and switch throughout the day. 2-3 times a day, I get up and go outside and crutch around the building. This helps me physically so I don’t get so stiff and I also work on my endurance which took a major hit after surgery.
You see, after talking to friends who have had major injuries, they all warned me about gaining weight. I refuse to be the person who gains 20 pounds. That will slow my recovery. Plus I don’t need 20 more pounds. I’ve also taken to using hand weights and my medicine ball in my bed to do light upper body stuff. Although, my crutching around is getting my arms cut for sure.
This week I have also invested in some supplies. Firstly, I bought a cyro system so I can ice my knee wherever. Basically, it’s a cooler that you fill with water. It has a hose attached to it and an attachment with a knee sleeve. You put on the knee sleeve and hold the cooler above it. This makes the water fill up the knee sleeve so you can ice it. When you are finished, you just move the cooler below the knee sleeve and it drains back into the cooler. This will make it easier to ice at work.
I also ordered some supplements. Now, I am very particular about supplements. Not many people are aware that the FDA does not monitor them. These means people can pretty much say whatever they want about their product and not have them tested to see if the claims are true. I don’t take supplements lightly. I know that because I won’t be able to be as active for a while as I normally am, that I have to take care of my nutrition and supplement that.
I ordered some whey protein which I love (promotes muscle growth), some BCAA’s (amino acids that help with muscle recovery), Vitamin E, and a supplement for joints. I’m going to report on my progress on these products and let you know if they help.
Having injured my MCL previously, I also am open to Eastern medicine as well and at that time I got acupuncture. I’m not at the point yet that I can probably do that with my knee and feel comfortable but may do it later in the process. I had gone to an oriental medicine school in Portland a couple of times and it’s pretty cheap if you do it that way. I have found a similar school here in Seattle so may eventually check them out.
Another thing I found helpful with my previous injury i when I went to the school in Portland, I discovered what they call moxibustion. It’s basically this charcoal looking stick that you light made from mugwort. You wave it close to your injured area and it promotes healing and circulation. You don’t want to actually touch your skin with it because it would burn you, but I found it relaxing. Kind of like incense for your body. There are also patches you can put directly on an injury with lotion from the same sticks. I have ordered some of these as well.
For me, I don’t care where it comes for as long as it helps, it’s healthy, and legal. No HGH for me. My sense of integrity would never allow that. I want to know when I’m producing on the field it’s actually me and not drugs. Team natural all the way. Just say no kids.
My progress this week has been minimal but at the same time noticeable. I have mastered getting in and out of my car. I am back to work. I am slightly more stable and I can feel it getting stronger. My crutching exercising is helping with endurance. I have been able to shave that leg again, thank goodness.
The light range of motion I’m currently permitted in doing is slow but I can feel it getting slightly better. I checked my incisions yesterday. The butterfly bandages are still going strong. I don’t believe they are quite ready to start falling off yet but maybe in the coming week. I think once they do, and I don’t have to worry about them as much, it will help range of motion.
I find the afternoons at work are the hardest when my leg and mind get more tired. The crutch walks help break that up.
Sleeping is still challenging as I normally like to turn on my sides to sleep but can’t do that with the brace so I’m trying to get used to remaining on my back.
This Saturday is my team’s first game. I will be at all the games and as many practices as I can. I’ve tried to ease myself back into things because I feel like my overwhelm fuse is shorter than normal. Also, I forgot how much I do in my life. It’s a lot.
But I will be there for my team. They are my family. I need to be there for them to encourage them. Injuries happen in football. It’s part of the game. People are stepping up which is great and I want to be there to support them.
I will be writing after to the game with a recap. We play the Everett Reign. I have a lot of friends on that team and respect for them. It will be fun. I will probably be the crazy crutch person on the sideline cheering like mad.