Day 3-5 He Cares for You!

The days start to run together when all you do is sit, ice, elevate. I can’t complain about the past few days though! The only bummer is that I am getting tired of sitting here.

I had the intention of getting off of the pain pills as soon as possible so on day three, I ended up taking only one pain pill in the morning when I woke up. I was still a little nervous that I would be in pain but figured I would never know unless I gradually started to lower the dosage. The nurse told me to be diligent the first two days and set alarms to stay on top of the pain but also said to let my body tell me what to do for the third day on. I decided to just take that one and then when it started to hurt I would take another. That was the only one I took that day and I wasn’t in any amount of pain to take another.  My leg looked good, a little bruising was starting to show but I could cover up the stitches with a few bandaids and it looked good as new!

Leg Day 3

I noticed my knee starting to get more stiff as the day went on so I stuck to what I said and I gradually started moving it a little more throughout the day. I started with a walk around the house then I would sit on a chair with my legs dangling. I would move my injured leg with my good leg wrapped behind it leg to get more range of motion (this allowed me to get movement without using my injured leg’s muscles). After I did this 15-20 times, I would go sit with my knee at 90 degrees for a minute or two before getting back onto my mound of pillows on the recliner. It ended up being a great day and was very relaxing!

Day four ended up being the first day that I ventured out of the house. This was more work than I thought because I had to try and figure out how to get the brace to fit me again. I wore my big brace coming home from the surgery center but underneath it was a bunch of gauze and ace bandages. It took us awhile to figure out how to tighten it but eventually we figured it out. I am thankful my doctor didn’t instruct me to wear the brace at home. He allowed me to put full weight on it and walk around on it without the crutches as long as I didn’t have a limp. This brace was pretty uncomfortable putting it on but its better to be safe using it! I maneuvered my way into the car and we went out to lunch. It felt so good to be out of the house but it’s amazing how much pressure floods to the knee when it’s not elevated. It was nice to get out of the house but needless to say, I was ready to be home and ready to get out of the brace! As soon as I was home, I was back on the recliner with my leg elevated and ice packs on. It was so funny to see how much my leg morphed from the brace! I guess my leg was more swollen then I thought.

I was able to come home to my apartment last night so now it’s day five and I have a change of scenery. I got a good night’s rest and was able to sleep in a little too. My knee felt pretty good this morning and I took the ibuprofen for the purpose of the swelling but don’t really feel like I am in that much pain. There is a lot of bruising that is starting to show and it goes down my shin but overall everything looks quite healthy. Now that I am home, I realize how nice it was to have someone there to help me. I’m starting to think about how much of a process it is going to be to go to the grocery store, so it looks like I am going to use all of that perishable food that I have on hand. Shakeology saved the day for lunch! I am going to migrate over to my mom’s house for dinner tonight since we have family in town for Thanksgiving but I don’t plan on moving too much from her couch there.

I feel really blessed with how seamless this process has gone. I really am thankful that I have a God that cares for me. I was so worried about how all of this was going to work out and I don’t like being so unsure of the unknown! This reminds me of my emotional moment that I had a few days before surgery as I was driving to work. A song on the radio came on by Casting Crowns called “Just be Held”. During the song, I felt a sense of peace and I felt like this is a time in my life when I need to just be held. My injury wasn’t something that I wanted and I didn’t know how to plan everything around it. I kept fighting harder and harder and trying to do more and more to make things easier and better.   Ultimately it was just causing more stress and anxiety that I didn’t need. I needed to give it up to God because everything is in his hands and it isn’t what I do but what He does. He cares about me and about everything that is happening in my life, all the way down to a non-life threatening knee surgery. After that song ended, the radio host cited 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” God sure has perfect timing doesn’t he?

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Here is the link to the video in case you are curious!

Casting Crowns – Just be Held

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

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Week Before Surgery, Day 1 (surgery day) and Day 2

Yesterday was surgery day and it went much smoother than I thought! The days leading up to surgery were much more stressful than anticipated but I am happy (so far) with how everything is going.

The days leading up to surgery were filled with calls from the doctor’s office, surgery center, insurance and medical equipment. This is my first time dealing with anything major (health wise) so it has definitely been a learning experience. All of this talk about deductibles, co-pays and what insurance covered/didn’t cover was overwhelming and stressful to me because on top of all that nonsense, I was still going to be having surgery! I had a million emotions running through me and I just had to deal with each thing as it came.

One of the big decisions that came up was for the medical equipment for post-surgery. I had read a lot about the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine and some people were really for it and others were against it. Unfortunately, my insurance didn’t cover this machine or the Cold/Compression DVT Therapy that my doctor recommended. It was going to cost me over $600 to get these machines but I didn’t really want to pay for something that felt like a luxury. I learned that rehab was going to cost $40 a visit and I was thinking I would rather pay for this than a fancy ice machine and something that moved my leg for me. After going back and forth, I finally decided not to do it.

Sitting here the day after surgery, the cold therapy would have been really nice. It’s hard to keep ice on the knee and it is pretty difficult to keep restocking the ice when your ice machine isn’t working! Frozen peas and corn will do but it is probably not as efficient as something that is designed to keep your knee cold. It is what it is though and I am making do with what I’ve got!

I arrived to the surgery center at 5:30 for a 7:00 AM surgery time. I did not really sleep the night before and I think my knee knew what was coming because it was pretty achy up until I got to the surgery center. I checked in, verified all of my information and made the first payment. They only charged me for the 20% that my insurance didn’t cover assuming that the surgeon and the anesthesiologist would meet my deductible. I could have done financing for this and they offered many different ways to pay, but I figured it was one less bill that would come in the mail later.

They took me back to get changed and prepped for surgery. I made my way to bed and they started the IV. I was doing great up until this point. I’m not really sure why I was so emotional, but I kept trying to hold back tears and finally when the nurse pointed out that my hand was shaking, the tears started to fall. Of course, that was right when my surgeon walked up and I was totally embarrassed that I was crying right when he got there! I’m sure they see it all the time. My emotions tend to come out in tears but I think it finally hit me that it was happening now! The anesthesiologist came next and talked with me. He added an antibiotic to my IV and started something that made me very relaxed going back towards the operating room. I remembering thinking, “I kind of feel like I’m drunk!”. The nurses and the anesthesiologist started laughing then had me switch from the one bed to the other.  I was asked to lay down and next thing I knew I was waking up and the nurse was giving me crackers. I don’t remember them even putting a mask on me or anything but it’s pretty amazing how fast all of it actually happens.

ACL Surgery DayThe only pain I remember having waking up was my eyeball. It was hurting and itching and that was the first thing that I said when they asked how I was feeling. I kind of forgot that I had surgery. They brought me a washcloth to put on my eye but I’m surprised that they didn’t have any eye-drops or anything.   I’m pretty sensitive as it is and I think my outside of my eye was agitated by the tape they use, and something must have gotten into my eye and I may have rubbed it as I was waking up. Needless to say, this was the worst part Day 1. My eye was swollen, watery, and constantly felt like I had something in it. If anything, I guess it took my mind of off my knee. The only pain I felt was getting up to walk to the bathroom (assisted with crutches of course). It just felt like a lot of pressure and the front of my knee is what hurt, probably because that is where they took the tendon that they used for my new ACL.

I stayed on top of my pain medicine and had an alarm set for every 4 hours like the nurse instructed. I was given the strong stuff and felt pretty good for most of the day. When I would get dizzy I would eat something but for the most part I just nibbled all day. I didn’t sleep as much as I thought I would have but I wasn’t really tired. I made myself a comfortable little home on the recliner in the living room at my sister’s house. I built up pillows under my leg and reclined so that my knee was above my heart. I had ice on it all day but didn’t feel it through the gauze and ace bandages.

The first night was not bad at all either. I fell asleep in my little recliner bed, then eventually made my way to a normal bed. I kept my leg under a long, body pillow and didn’t move all night. My sister was amazing and set the alarm for every 4 hours to keep me up on my pain medicine.  I am so thankful for her!

Day 2 has pretty much been the same as Day 1 except my eye is much better (thank goodness!). I feel relaxed and dizzy every now and then from all the medicine I am taking, (antibiotics, prescription strength ibuprofen, Percocet) but closing my eyes and eating snacks help with that. I took a shower and got to take off all of the gauze from my knee. My knee looked much better than I thought but it was much more swollen than I thought it would be. I have 6 stitches where my tendon was taken and just one stitch on each side where they went in. I have continued icing all day and am staying up on my medicine. Overall, it is going much better than I thought.  In the meantime, its nice to get lots of snuggles with my sweet nieces!

day after kamiday after kaylee

We will see how tomorrow goes as I have heard Day 3 is the worst! Tomorrow I will start to move my knee a little more to imitate the CPM machine. My doctor game me some tips and tricks to help move it that will also keep the swelling down. Let’s hope that I continue to stay this positive!

Let’s start the “pre-hab”!

I have my surgery scheduled for the 20th of November. The doctor said that it isn’t be a rush for surgery but I want to schedule before the end of the year because I know I have paid days off through work and I want to limit as much PTO as possible! I also know that my sister has time off around this time and she will be around to help me as I will definitely need it.

It has definitely been a change going from working out and being active every single day to not being able to really do much at all. Up until this week, I haven’t wanted to do anything. I know that my leg is the only part of my body that doesn’t function as normal, but I think that I was bitter because my life changed so abruptly and I couldn’t do my normal workouts. I was thinking about how all of my hard work this past year was going to be for nothing. I had this picture in my head of me slowly gaining weight again and the thought scared me. I assume it was a part of the grieving process but I finally let my bitterness (and stubbornness) go. With the encouragement of many friends and family, this week was the first week going back into the weight room. Might as well work out what I can and not lose it all, right? My volleyball girls were doing their daily pre-practice workouts and I just did my own thing. It was still hard to accept and I was discouraged at first because I felt weak, but I continued to push through.

One of my players came up to me yesterday and told me how much she admired me for continuing to work hard even though my circumstances limited my abilities. She said it makes her want to work harder because if I can do it and I’m injured, than she can do it too. I believe that God knew I needed some encouragement and I don’t think she knows how much her kind words meant to me.

Since this injury happened I have been reading everyone’s stories and blogs about their experiences. One of the things I kept coming across was “pre-hab”. The point of pre-hab is to strengthen before surgery to help with the recovery. I asked my doctor about it and he said that was a good idea once the swelling was minimized. It has been about 2 and a half weeks since the injury and I have really been working on getting the swelling down. I sit with my leg propped up on a filing cabinet at work and ice on and off all day long. When I am home, I lay with my leg on the back of the couch to keep it elevated and above my heart. I also have an ACE bandage that I wrap for compression every now and then, and I think that really has been helping too.

My doctor recommended riding a stationary bike and starting with only about 10 minutes or so and I figured I could add this on to the exercises I have been trying to do for my upper-body and abs. I was so relieved to hear that I could do something for my legs but 10 minutes seems so little! Yesterday was my first day of doing a leg exercise and it felt so good. I still don’t think that 10 minutes seems like it would do anything but when you go from doing nothing on that leg to riding a bike, let me tell you my leg was tired. I didn’t want to push it too much and I started feeling it so I stopped around the 8 minute mark. It is crazy to think that my leg became tired so quickly. I wasn’t even trying to do anything to special! I was going so slowly and I don’t even think my heart rate really raised at all but I guess it is important to work on range of motion at first.

Today I have had a little more range of motion. I can straighten pretty much all the way now and when I bend it, it goes just a little past 90 degrees. The swelling at the top of my knee is still limiting the bend but I am happy with where I am at. I am going to continue to keep staying motivated to prepare for surgery because I want the recovery afterwards to go as smooth as possible!

How it happened.

I absolutely love volleyball. I love playing, I love coaching, I love watching, I love everything about it! I have found ways to stay active in the volleyball world and recently I was playing in a competitive Sunday women’s league in my city. We won all of our matches each week and on October 4th, it was time for the championship game. My warm-up went well and it was a great start to the game. There was a great pass, I was set the perfect set and I jumped up to hit the ball. I remember seeing the ball go over the block and I saw where it hit the court. Everything was slow motion. It was a great hit and man, I jumped so high!

My landing was not so perfect. When my foot hit the ground, the side of my left leg gave out. My leg felt so weak and when the side gave out, my knee rotated in a big circle. I felt three or four pops as it rotated around and I just fell to the floor. Laying on the floor, I knew that it wasn’t good. It wasn’t as painful as I would have thought and it didn’t even swell until I woke up the next morning. I was more frustrated about the fact that my life was going to change. I knew right then and there that it would be awhile until I would be on the court playing again. I started icing right away and I watched my team finish off the championship game.

I didn’t go to the ER because I didn’t want to pay the ER cost so I waited until the next day to make a normal appointment. When I got home, I was able to walk on it. It wasn’t too painful but I really could not move it forward or backwards. It pretty much just stayed at 45 degrees and didn’t really move from there without tightness or pulling that felt pretty uncomfortable. Sleeping was not my favorite because I woke up many times because I had tried to move my leg. I guess I am going to need to learn how to sleep with straight legs.

I made my first appointment with the CORE Institute. It was pretty much like an Urgent Care for Orthopedic injuries. I was able to get in same day and able to start the process of doctor’s visits. First they did an X-Ray first and then the Physician’s Assistant did the Lachman test and said there was way more movement than my other leg and she believed it was a torn ACL. An MRI was ordered to determine if my ACL really was torn and also to see if anything else was injured. I was able to get the MRI scheduled two days later and the results were given to my doctor that same day! I even asked for a digital copy which was pretty cool because I was able to see for myself what the inside of my knee looked like. I enjoyed watching the many YouTube videos on the basics of reading an MRI and I was just fascinated with everything. I should have become a nurse!

I had another appointment the next day with a specialist doctor (David Zeman) that was referred to me and he was able to give me the news that my MRI confirmed a torn ACL. Thankfully nothing else was injured so my surgery is not a rush. I was told that I would feel normal within a few weeks but my knee would not work like it was supposed to. It’s just the sooner I have the surgery, the sooner I can be back on the court. Next step… schedule the surgery!

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How I got to where I am today…

Let me just say that I live a pretty active lifestyle. I go to the gym 5 days a week and I am constantly doing something that is keeping me moving. I played volleyball all through high school and when I went to college I didn’t even gain that “Freshman 15”. I was constantly doing something and going somewhere and my job in retail had me on my feet all day long.

Once I graduated college, my life changed. I got a “Big Girl Job” at a local university and my once active lifestyle turned to a desk job. Along with my activity level dropping during the day, I was completely exhausted at night! I got home “late” and didn’t feel like doing anything. My everyday drive to work consisted a stop to Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee and blueberry donut. I bet you can imagine what happened after a year of this new lifestyle. I slowly, but surely, gained 20 pounds without having any idea. I must be lucky (or unlucky) because my weight spreads out evenly. I didn’t own a scale and to me I looked the same. Everything just got a little bit bigger and one day I was walking in the office and I noticed that my stomach was jiggling when I walked. I remember thinking, “Why in the world is my stomach bouncing?”.

That was when I decided to get a gym membership. At the most I have ever weighed, I was embarrassed to go to the gym. I give people a lot of credit because when you don’t feel good about yourself, it is really hard to put on those tight gym clothes and start running on the treadmill. My legs rubbed together when I walked so wearing shorts was not an option. I couldn’t believe I let myself get to that point!

At this point I noticed that no matter what I did at the gym, I wasn’t seeing progress as quickly as I wanted. This is when it clicked that what I am putting into my body is really what matters. One thing lead to another after seeing people’s weight loss results on Facebook, I noticed that a common factor was Shakeology. After continued efforts from Autum, my Beachbody coach, I decided to take the plunge and order that expensive bag of Shakeology. If it wasn’t for her testimony and support from all of her customers, I would have never done it! I started noticing a different right away. I felt better, I had more energy and I knew that I was starting every day off with a much better choice than Dunkin Donuts! I still got my chocolate fix in the mornings and I didn’t crave it as much throughout the day. Since I saw the value in it and the effects it was having, I decided to become a Beachbody coach myself.

This led me towards my first experience with the 21 Day Fix. I knew that I was making better choices but I still was eating (and spending!) too much unhealthy food. I didn’t enjoy vegetables because I didn’t know how to eat them. I thought that counting calories and eating less than 1200 calories a day would help me lose all that remaining weight. In my head I would think, “Oh sweet! Since I have X amount of calories left, I can eat this from Taco Bell or Wendy’s!”. That is definitely not the case. The 21 day fix showed me the importance of the types of food I was eating and how much of it I should have each day.

With continued efforts going to the gym and making better choices I slowly lost 15 of the 20 pounds that I had gained. It has been 10 months since I started this journey and I know that I am much healthier now, I have more muscle and I know how to eat better. I still drink my Shakeology every morning and I know that my instinct is to go to fresh food instead of frozen or processed food. Sometimes you just need a wake-up call in order to make changes in your life that will impact your life forever. I also know that the slower the weight comes on, the slower it will come off but continued efforts will always pay off!