Returning to Skiing [After ACL Surgery]

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Hello!

Before I get onto the topic of skiing- I just wanted to put a reminder out there that tickets for this year’s Blend Retreat are currently on sale! We currently have quite a few tickets left, but that might not last for long. We are very limited in our overall capacity this year due to a smaller amount of lodging available (unlike the last two years). So, if you’re thinking of coming- go get your ticket now!

I am really excited about this year’s retreat because we have some fantastic sponsors lined up- and many of them are based in Colorado! We only have a few announced on the website so far (we are waiting for several contracts to come back), but you can take a peek at who has signed on so far here.

Blend

If you have wanted to visit Colorado or are just looking for a great girls’ weekend, Blend is a great opportunity for that! The tickets and lodging are extremely reasonable in price and you get a lot in return. And if you have any questions- feel free to ask me!

Moving on to skiing… This is going to be long and ramble-y at times, but I need to put these thoughts into writing. My hope is that I can look back on this in a few months and laugh. :)

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 5 Months [or 22 Weeks] Post-Op (!!)

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It’s October 20th- which means that it’s been exactly five months since I had ACL Reconstruction Surgery (and tomorrow will mark exactly 22 weeks). Honestly, that’s pretty hard for me to wrap my head around! I know that I say this in every post, but time has FLOWN! When I look back on that horrible day (of surgery) five months ago, I get chills. Man, it sucked… and I hope that none of you ever have to go through it! But- if you do- just have faith that time will pass quickly and you will get better.

While I still stand by the fact that I want a re-do of summer and am not at all ready for winter to come, the weather has (thankfully) been awesome here and perfect for playing outside (including lots of hiking with this guy!).

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One of the ski resorts out here has already opened and others will start following soon. I have still have very mixed feelings about skiing. On one hand, the thought of skiing again makes me terrified and furious. The other part of me wants to take what I learned from recovery and face my fears and be a badass on the slopes… within reason. I think that I will just wait until I’m ready, take it slow and play it safe all season. My surgeon advised me to wait until the end of December, always wear my knee brace, to stay away from crappy snow (ice) and to take it easy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Now for the formal progress update:

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ACL Reconstruction: 15 Weeks Post-Op

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Happy (belated) Labor Day!

I am so not ready to see the summer end! On one hand, I’m glad that it went by quickly because I was not in the best of shape for most of it. But, I also feel totally ripped off! Now that I’m a lot more mobile, I want a re-do of summer! At least there’s still fall (which is the best for hiking, cycling, running and a lot of other outdoor activities!).

This Thursday will mark 5 months since I had my skiing accident. Time flies! Today is the 15 week anniversary of my ACL reconstruction surgery, and so much has changed over that period of time. In many ways, I’m pretty close to “normal” and can do just about anything that I could do before tearing my ACL. I’m also constantly reminded that I am still pretty far from normal and have a long way yet to go. I do everything a little bit slower, with less intensity. I’ve back been to teaching my group exercises classes for over a month now, but still can’t lift quite as heavy, crank as much tension on the flywheel or pedal as fast (I know that this will improve with time!).

Here’s the formal update on my progress…

Pain Level:

No pain (and very little swelling)! There is still quite a bit of tightness in my left knee, but it’s improved a great deal. I have just a tiny bit of pain and sensitivity in the area around my large incision, but nowhere near where it was even a few weeks ago. I can kneel down on the ground now, do a standing quad stretch and kind of get into child’s pose. All three of those were a very big deal and I celebrated each accomplishment! I often have numbness around my knee (mostly below the knee cap), which I’ve heard is very normal. It’s still very weird.

I’ve actually been having more pain in my right (non-operative) leg than my left, because I tend to bear more weight on it- especially when I’m running. All in all, the level of pain in pretty much non-existent and a million times better than it was during the first few weeks after surgery.

Here’s a photo of my knees today (directly after a run!):

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I wish my scars would start to fade a bit more (some people’s scars fade right away!), but it will take some time. My left quad muscle is definitely growing back and my calves are pretty much the same size now. My left leg is definitely still weaker than my right, but at least it’s starting to look similar in size.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Week 10

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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:

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And to compare, here’s a shot from week 6:

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Currently: July

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Hello! Dang… I am in a good mood today and just feel this sense of happiness that I haven’t had in months. I taught my first Bodypump class (at 6:00am!) this morning since surgery! The last class that I taught was May 15th… that’s a long break! I was excited (and a little nervous) to go back, but I had no idea just how much I missed teaching until today. It was great to see everyone and be welcomed back and I’m happy to say that I survived the entire hour of teaching. I had just about forgotten about the feeling I get from teaching a class until this morning. It’s just one of the best feelings in the world- a combination of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment- I’m so glad to have it back in my life.

Okay, enough gushing about Bodypump. (Except one more thing- the latest release, Bodypump 90, ROCKS.) Here’s what’s going on in my world, currently:

Currently: July

Current books: I’m about to pick up a copy of my friend Kelly’s second novel, which was just released this past Tuesday!

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She’s had two books published in less than a year (here’s the first)- I’m so proud!! If you’re into Young Adult Fiction, check this book out!

Current music: Bodypump 90 ALL THE TIME. I was cramming to learn the choreography this past week!

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Weeks 5&6

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Hello! Summer is definitely in full swing here and the last few days have been hot. Luckily, the humidity is still relatively low so it’s not unbearable (and it’s cooled down a lot today!). Isn’t talking about the weather fun?

Time for another knee update! Today marks six weeks since ACL Reconstruction surgery. I remember just wanting so bad to get to this point, because I heard that you really start to feel “normal” again around six weeks. I don’t know if I necessary feel normal right now, but I definitely feel better (physically) than I have since the day of surgery. Here’s a little breakdown of how things have been going during weeks 5 & 6 post-surgery.

Pain Level: My pain level over the last two weeks has been pretty minimal. I still have some swelling around and behind my knee, which makes everything feel pretty stiff. I have some soreness around the large incision, but the pain level is very minimal. I went for my 5-week check-up last Tuesday, and the doctor was very pleased with my progress. He did the “ACL test” on my leg (to make sure the ACL was really in there!) and it kind of freaked me out. That night, I randomly had shooting pains in my hamstring on my operative leg, which really sucked. The pain lasted midway through the next day, and suddenly went away in the afternoon. Since then, I’ve had a bit more swelling around my knee (but no more pain in my hamstring).

Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:

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And just to compare, here’s a photo from two weeks ago:

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A Knee Update [4 Weeks Post-Op]

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Well, I pretty much failed at writing an update on my ACL reconstruction surgery each week. I really wish I had so that I could look back at where I was each week and track my progress easily… but life/work/Blend got in the way. So, I’m going to do my best to remember what happened during the first few weeks after surgery and go from there! This is probably going to be a bit all over the place- but hopefully it will make some sense. :)

Looking back at what the first week post-op was like, I can happily say that things got much better after that. I was a little nervous going in for my first post-op appointment. Even though I had done everything I was supposed to (which was basically nothing) I was nervous that my progress wouldn’t be where my doctor wanted. I was definitely relieved when he told me that my progress looked great (and right on track)! I had four out of five sets of stitches removed (all but the large incision) and was told I could decrease my CPM time to 8 hours a day (which is a lot better than 12-14!).

I also started driving again that week and was able to walk around (slowly, with a limp) with my leg brace on.

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Later that week, I started physical therapy. In that first session, the therapist measured the degree to which I could bend (which wasn’t far beyond 90˚) and straighten my leg (I was a few degrees off). She had me do all kinds of different “straight leg lift” exercises to engage my quads, hip flexors and glutes. I also had to work on quad sets, which is just flexing your quad. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to flex my quad- it was as if my brain stopped communicating with my muscles! The combination of the trauma and the swelling can make it extremely difficult to flex your quad (like you normally would) and I was told to just keep doing it over and over again to help keep the muscle strong.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Week 1

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Today marks exactly one week since I had ACL reconstruction surgery. In some ways it seems like it’s gone by fast, and in others… it’s been the longest week of my life! If you don’t care to read about knee surgery and all of the glamor that goes along with it, feel free to skip over this post today. I want to document my recovery in order for me to be able to look back at the process and to help anyone else that may be undergoing the same surgery.

In case you missed it, I (completely) tore my ACL while skiing in Vail April 4th of this year. When I initially had my ski accident, my knee hurt like crazy but I definitely didn’t imagine that I had torn anything. At worst, I thought I had a nasty sprain. After weeks of doctor’s visits and an MRI, I was diagnosed with a fully torn ACL. My doctor advised that I have surgery as soon as possible so that I could recover and get back to my active lifestyle. I was a little scared at the idea (and frankly, a little angry) but knew what I had to do.

My surgery was scheduled for 6:00 am last Tuesday, May 20th at the surgery center in the same complex as my orthopedist. I couldn’t shave my legs (in case I would cut my leg and get an infection) or take any vitamins three days before the surgery. I couldn’t eat anything after midnight the night before (no problem- I was sleeping!) or having anything to drink- even water- within four hours of surgery. I was also prescribed a CPM machine to use for a minimum of 12 hours a day for ten days. Having to be in the machine all day sucks, but it speeds up recovery because it keeps your leg continuously moving.

I woke up that morning a little anxious, super thirsty and took my dogs on one last walk around the neighborhood. I knew it would be a while before I was able to walk them again. I also had Greg take a photo of my legs, so that I could compare what they looked like pre-surgery.

pre surgery legs

You can see in that picture that my left knee was still a bit swollen from the accident!

When I arrived to the surgery center, I was taken back by a nurse to my little “room” where my vitals were taken and I was given a gown to change into. She talked to me a bit about the process, asked me several times which leg I was having surgery on and put in the IV. Surprisingly, I barely felt the IV go in. She wrote different markings on my left leg and covered the leg with iodine.

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Life Lately

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Good morning!

It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured that it was time for a little “life update.” The last few months have been pretty chaotic (in both good and bad ways) and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the summer has to offer. Greg and I closed on our new home a few weeks ago and moved in a little over a week ago. We are loving it so far! This is the first new construction home that either of us have lived in, and it’s definitely been… different. :)

It’s pretty cool having a complete “blank canvas” for a house – but it’s also a lot of work! When we moved in, we didn’t have about half of the appliances we needed (like a fridge, stove and washer/dryer), ceiling fans/lights in the master bedroom and living room, any window coverings (and there’s lots of windows!) or a fence. We also didn’t have any sod laid in the back yard!

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We’ve been busy installing blinds, ceiling fans, garage door openers, etc. for the last few weeks and still have a long way to go. We did get all of our appliances installed right before moving in, which was a huge relief. Out of all of the rooms in the house, my favorite is the kitchen. :)

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