A couple of weeks ago info came out about the team usa tryouts being the end of January. This made me face some anxiety as January was my initial timeline to return. It certainly didn’t leave a lot of room for error. I spent time analyzing my options. I talked to people I know who have been through tough injuries. I made the decision that I was going to stick to the schedule and do as much as I can and see what happens.
I believe part of this anxiety to have been caused by the fact that I hadn’t had an orthopedic appointment in a couple of months and hadn’t been to PT in about a month and a half . When you are going through rehab this long, and you haven’t had someone tell you where you are, it can be nerve wrecking when trying to plan one’s future.
Last post I spoke of the risks and rewards of going after something this large when trying to overcome huge obstacles. I stand by that still but I am writing this post with encouraging news. I truly believe in positive thinking and even when doubt creeps in, I look to stay positive. It seems to be paying off.
The reason it had been a minute for my physical therapy is that firstly, my insurance had curbed my PT appointments at a certain point and we had originally decided to try to space them out to save them. Then I got a new job. This meant, I had to wait until I got on my new insurance.
Then I had no idea how it would work as I have never had an injury this long that I’ve had to switch insurances. I went into physical therapy last week not sure how many appointments I would get. They took me aside at the front desk and let me know that my insurance is amazing and I have up to 30 physical therapy sessions this calendar year or through December and I get 30 more for next year. I also get 6 massage therapy sessions until December and 6 the following year.
I basically hit the physical therapy lottery. It was 4th and goal from the 25 and we hit Jerry Rice in the back corner. I felt great and I hadn’t even seen the physical therapist yet.
During the time frame I was PT-less, I basically had been my own therapist. I kept up a steady diet of weights, pool therapy, and walking stairs as discussed in my previous posts. I tried to also implement stretching.
When I got to my physical therapist and her associates, they said that I’ve gained a lot of strength back in my leg and that it was time to start jogging. They gave me a walk to jog program to follow for the next several weeks. Basically the goal is to be able to jog for 30 minutes. So for example, I start out walking for 4 minutes and jogging for 2 for 5 cycles. And then increase the amount I jog each week.
They tested me out right there in the session and I got on the treadmill and started to jog. It was awesome! There was no pain. I could tell that I will need to work on my endurance however as I could feel my leg get tired and my other one kick in to compensate. I think that should correct itself as I work with the program. They said for my first time jogging I looked good.
They stated that I should still be on track but they were interested in what the orthopedic doctor had to say. I also had to explain to them that since I now work in Tacoma, and they are located closer to where I used to work, that I would need to transfer to a clinic closer to Tacoma to make it easier to manage with work. They transferred me to another physical therapist that works at a clinic closer to me that happens to specialize in returning athletes back to sport! How perfect is that.
When I got home, I created a new workout plan for myself that includes the walk to jog program. I have been following it for a week now and I think it has a good balance. I can feel that my jogging, even though it’s not very long yet, is improving the more I do it. I am now up to 245 pounds on the leg press which is amazing progress in a short time.
I went to the new physical therapist this Tuesday. It’s a brand new location for them. When I arrived I met my new therapist and her associates. I actually had 3 people working with me. I felt kind of special.
They started by baseline testing of my strength. While I have made huge strides, I still have unsymmetrical strength, meaning my right side is still a bit stronger than my left in some areas, and bunch stronger in others.
The killer was one leg get ups from sitting in a chair. I could do it with my right leg all day. Left leg struggggled. I will have to rectify that for sure. I could tell that the type of exercises they are going to have me do are more athletic which makes me happy.
I’ve decided my favorite one so far is where I lay down with my head at the base of a pulley. They attach my left ankle to the end of it and as I extend my leg up and down, I get to lift but it also stretches my hamstring in an awesome way. I need to get that for home somewhere.
I went to my orthopedic appointment yesterday. I got xrayed for the 12 thousand time in 6 months. The xrays came back great. When you look at the pictures below you can see that in the top left you are looking straight on at my left knee and see the screws that hold in the graft of my LCL.
The top right is a closer view. You can see if you look carefully at the lower one, a small faint oval that looks like an UFO. That is a small bone fragment that has thankfully stayed in place for 6 months.
Bottom left is the top of my knee cap which looks smooth which is good. Bottom right is side view.
He then tested the ligaments and said that the LCL felt solid. He said the PCL actually feels tighter which means it is healing more on its own which is great. He said that I am right on track.
I asked him what I can’t do yet and and he said that we are going to hold off on lateral movements until November but for now I can work on jogging and jumping if it’s up and down and not side to side. He also said that at that time we would size for a brace but the PCL is healing so well I might not end up needing one.
I told him about the updated dates for the tryouts and he smiled and said I’m right on track and that I’m a success story. I’m pretty sure I wanted to run around in a circle right then but I smiled and instead headed directly for the gym to workout.
After 6 months, I have come a long way. I still have 4 more to go and I definitely have work to do. If it’s anything that this experience has taught me it’s to celebrate the small victories. Every inch you take ends up eventually being a mile. Even your mistakes can propel you towards the victory if you are willing to humble yourself enough to learn from them.
I have been listening to the podcasts by Eric Thomas’ crew called Secret to Success. It’s really great stuff. I enjoy them because they are real. When I say real I mean, they aren’t hokey. You know when you read or listen to motivational videos or speakers and it’s a bunch of fluff and you feel great but 2 hours later you realize you took nothing from it? That is not this. I enjoy them because I take little fruits of knowledge. It’s tangible. And no, I am not sponsored by them although that would be awesome.
I want to articulate something that I have learned early in life, once you figure out what you want to go, find someone who has been there and pick their brain. Find out what they did. Learn from it. Then apply to your own life. Far too often now we think we know everything. Be humble. Be teachable. Ask. I still ask people all the time for advice on how to get better at things.
In this weeks, podcast, they were discussing the differences between winning and losing cultures. How the Detroit Lions have been stuck in a losing culture for years and the New England Patriots just won with their 3rd string quarterback and banged up team
My team’s first tryout is October 15th. I should be able to participate in small things which is great. I’m excited to be at least on the field with everyone. Here is a great promotional video we put together.
At my work, Fridays are casual and we get to wear jerseys. This week, I was so excited about my progress that I wore my All-American jersey and apparently get to be in the newsletter. Progress comes an inch at a time but every once in a while you realize how many miles you have been.