It’s a little hard for me to believe that ten weeks have gone by since I underwent ACL Reconstruction surgery! Thankfully, time has flown by pretty quickly, thanks to my intent to stay really busy. I’m definitely happy to wrap up July and see what new “abilities” August will bring. I haven’t seen my surgeon in a really long time and am excited about going in for my 11-week check-up next week. Hopefully he’ll be pleased with my progress and tell me I’m on the right track.
Just like I did for my last post, I’m doing a little breakdown of how things have been going during over the last few weeks:
Pain Level: I very rarely feel pain in my actual knee- more in the muscles surrounding it. Although the scar in my large incision is definitely starting to look better, I still feel some pressure and soreness there from time to time. My quads have been sore a few times (after a lot of activity) and I’ve pulled a muscle in my left hamstring twice (which sucks!). There’s definitely still quite a bit of stiffness around my knee in general, which is a constant reminder that I am still very much on the mend. I still can’t kneel on the ground because it causes great pain to my operative knee (and the large incision)- and can not wait until I’m able to. It’s amazing what I took for granted before this whole injury thing happened.
Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:
And to compare, here’s a shot from week 6:
And week four:
It’s still not huge difference to me, but you can see a bit of a progression. My left quad is actually 2 cm smaller than my right, so I’ll be working hard to grow that muscle back. The swelling around my knee is almost completely gone now, but to me my left knee just looks weird and bumpy (and very different from my right). I’m going to ask my doctor about it next week- I’m not sure that my knees will ever look nearly identical to each other again. (FYI- Greg’s had three knee surgeries on the same knee and his knees look nothing alike.)
Physical Therapy & Activity: I continued going to physical therapy twice a week through last week, and now I just go every Wednesday. I’ll keep this up through the month of August and then have the doctor figure out if I need to continue. We progressed into much more challenging exercises- many requiring a lot of balance. I still do my exercises twice a day (which takes up a lot of time!) but one of those sessions is often replaced with an activity like a hike or bike ride.
I was cleared to go back to teaching Bodypump & Spinning at week 9 and taught my first Bodypump class since May 15th last week. It was awesome! The only thing I really have trouble with are lunges, so I definitely modified those and didn’t go as deep. I also lightened up my weight for squats since I’m not ready to put so much pressure on my knees just yet. I dropped my cycling classes that I was teaching before surgery since they conflicted with my work schedule anyway, but am looking into teaching at some smaller fitness studios. I have an audition tomorrow at which I have to teach an hour of cycling starting at 5:30 am (yikes!). I’m a little nervous about that, but hopefully my legs will carry me through.
I’ve been hiking quite a bit lately and even did a 3+ hour hike the weekend before last. I have to be super careful that I don’t trip (which is pretty common for me) but it’s nice to know that my stamina is coming back. My knee felt totally fine after, which is a great sign. I’ve also been riding on dirt trails with my mountain bike for over 45 minutes at a time and hoping to get back to regular mountain biking in another month. I’m supposedly cleared to start light jogging in two more weeks…. we’ll see about that.
Mood: I’ve still had a few tough days over the last few weeks (and a meltdown or two) but my overall mood is much better than it was during the first six weeks after surgery. Being able to get out and actually go out and do things reallllllly helps my level of happiness- it was a huge bummer to just sit by and watch everyone else having a fun, active summer! I hate the fact that I’m slower than I was a few months ago and have a bit of a tough time assessing my abilities when it comes to doing different activities. But, things just keep getting a little bit easier and I feel a little bit stronger each day. I know that I mentioned it in my last post, but teaching Bodypump again has elevated my mood more than just about anything since surgery. I’m SO happy to have it back in my life!
A group of friends from Maryland are coming to visit later this week and staying with us for five nights- and I can not wait to see them! Most have never been to Colorado before, so I’m going to have a fantastic time playing tour guide and showing them around to my favorite spots.
One highlight from this past month was celebrating my third wedding anniversary. Greg and I have hiked a 14er on our last two anniversaries, but I wasn’t really in shape to do that this year. To keep the tradition alive, Greg suggested that we drive up Mt. Evans and climb the last 1/4 mile to the summit. That’s exactly what we did!
We also enjoyed a fantastic meal from my favorite chef that night, which has also sort of become an anniversary tradition. This was the third dinner Greg and I have had prepared by Chef Hosea- he never disappoints! I can not wait for his market to open in September.
That’s about all for now- hopefully by my next update I’ll be able to do fun things like jog and kneel on the ground!
One more thing for anyone that’s interested in this kind of stuff- here’s a video showing 3-D (animation) ACL reconstruction. It’s pretty amazing!
Have a great day!