Sunday, July 16, 2017

Goodbye to the Gimp!


The gimp is gone!

Did you hear that? After nearly a month of walking with an awkward gimp (both pre-surgery and post-op), I feel like a caged bird set free. It's been so long since I've been able to bend my knee (like, since a few days after Grandma's Marathon, June 17th), that the "Frankenstein gate" had become my norm.


That all changed this week....here's the nitty gritty:

Not much to report from Monday, but I did return to work. I was discharged from the hospital four days prior (hospitalization details HERE), and had a chance to adjust to life back home (without an army of nurses and hospital personnel catering to my every need). Some of my co-workers gave me a beautiful coffee mug (which will be my main go-to for my daily chai latte's). Talk about feeling appreciated, supported, and loved.

Tuesday I headed back to Des Moines for a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. He was very impressed with how much the swelling and fluid retention had decreased! The stitches were removed (imagine a 2-inch root on each and every eye brow you've ever plucked...does that give you a visual?) and he told me I could gently work on bending my knee. Obviously, there will not be any deep knee bends, squats, or lunges in my immediate future, but he was optimistic that I probably will NOT need physical therapy. Happy dance!!
The last pic of Voldemort's stitches
Although I'm banned from running (probably at least until September), there are other things I can do to keep my legs in working order. I've been doing daily leg lifts (in various directions), but on Wednesday I had a light-bulb moment....I started doing the leg lifts (and added some single-leg balance holds) during my IV infusions (three times each day). The infusions take between 3-5 minutes (which seems like forever when they're happening), but doing various sets of 25 leg lifts and balance holds make those 3-5 minutes go much faster. I can get 100 leg lifts and 2-balance holds (of 15-20 seconds each) knocked out during those three infusions each day. I have not yet applied for the patent on that genius revelation, so it's anybody's game (if you're feeling lucky).

By Thursday, I could see even more substantially reduced swelling and diminishing fluid retention (which is s.l.o.w.l.y being reabsorbed by my body...or so I'm told). It's nice to finally see that my right knee is almost back to being the same size as my left!
Looky there! The two knees are almost the same size!
On Friday, someone at work made the comment that it didn't look like I was limping anymore when I walked. I had noticed that I was limping less, but hadn't realized that (after the first 50 steps or so) I was walking pretty normal again (Can I get an Amen?). Of course, I'm not walking super fast, but the range of motion is slowly returning to my knee and I'm over-the-moon excited to be feeling less like a displaced runner.

Saturday was a warm day, but with the most action I've seen in several weeks. I took Max out for a 1-mile walk in the early morning hours, and wound up walking two additional miles by the day's end. Even though I can walk pretty normal, and my "speed" isn't bad, I still have to use caution...I can't get too sweaty (if at all) with the suture site (still healing) and the PICC line (still in place). Also, since my circulation is a bit temporarily jacked up in my right leg, I do notice a bit of swelling around my ankle if I have been on my feet a lot. That's another "recovery" issue that is becoming less of a concern, though.

Holy Sweaty Sunshine, Batman, Sunday was a hot one! I did my morning leg lifts and took Max out for a 1-mile walk but dropped him off back at the house after the first half mile. It was around 6:30 a.m. and already 86-degrees and approaching the high 90's with the heat index. I continued on, though, and finished my mile. I've started tracking my walking miles (since there won't be any running miles LOL). Besides, it feels weird to walk by my calendar and not have any stats to chart.


My total number of miles this week is debatable. I didn't walk much early in the week, since my leg was pretty heavily bandaged with an Ace wrap (making it difficult to walk without a very pronounced gimp). I'm gonna go with a generous approximation of  8 total miles (most of which were in 1/4 or 1/2 mile increments). Stay tuned...I'll have a more accurate mileage count for you next week (and more miles!).

Road to Recovery update:
***IV at-home infusions via my PICC line (whom I have named Linus) are a reality. Thus far, I have administered 30 at-home infusions. That number is crazy! I have a follow-up with my Infectious Disease doc this week, to assess whether I need to continue with the IV antibiotics longer or if I can switch to an oral medication. Thankfully, the infusions really are not much of a production. As mentioned, the leg lifts and single-leg balance holds are a great distraction during the process. I do the leg lifts at a moderately slow "speed" so I can feel the burn pretty good. The balance holds are not only strengthening both legs at once (trust me, BOTH legs are getting a burn, regardless of which leg is being held up), but they're good for overall balance work.

***Mobility is dramatically improving everyday! I'm able to walk up the stairway in a somewhat normal manner now instead of stepping up with just my left leg (and dragging the right leg up behind). Going downstairs is still a little tricky. I can do it, but it's a bit freaky not knowing if my right knee will bend enough to allow the left leg to "step down" without gravity forcing a faceplant and subsequent downward roll. No doubt, I'm being cautious.  

***Range of motion feels so much better! I can bend the knee almost 45-degrees right now, and that makes simple, day-to-day things like walking or climbing into (and out of) a car much easier. Since I spent the past 3+ weeks with my leg mostly in a straight position, it feels liberating to have the ability to bend it.

***The suture site (which now also has a name, Voldemort) appears to be healing well. There is a tiny spot that is still draining slightly, so I have to be careful to not do any activities that will make me perspire much...remember, we're trying to heal the wound and keep it as clean as possible. Perspiration is a no-no.

In the other news:

The planking is back in action and feels like I never stopped (I had a 7-day "time-out" while in the hospital). The daily 2:30 morning planks are part of my routine again, and I couldn't be happier. 
Planking with a PICC line...it can be done!

I had some pretty serious FOMO happening this weekend. Not only was I missing out on the Rock'n'Roll Chicago (with Marcia and Wendy, none the less), it also was the 2-year anniversary of becoming an Ultra-Marathoner at the Christmas in July races. I had originally hoped to stop by the site and see my friends who were running it this year, but my Chicago travel plans kicked the bucket, thanks to the recent surgery. One of the gals sent me this pic of Santa, though, and he still has the Go Hawks tattoo on his bicep that I gave him back in 2015. That totally made my day!
Santa is an Iowa Hawkeye fan, too!
And, my #FridayFashionFlair post was well-received on my Instagram page. I'm wearing quite a bit of white these days (you know, to coordinate with the knee compression sleeve and PICC line cover). White is a color, after all, and it looks great if you pair it with a brightly colored piece (and the matching lipstick is always a must LOL). Feel free to play along...post a pic of your Friday outfit, tag me (@RunningOnTheFly), and use the hashtag #FridayFashionFlair . I'd LOVE to see what YOU'RE wearing!

In case you missed them, here are last week's posts:

How was your week? Hot weather? Any races? Ever been sidelined for an extended period, if so...how did you cope?

I'm linking up with Janelle (on behalf of Holly and Tricia) for the Weekly Wrap. Please join us!



42 comments:

  1. It seems like you had a great week of healing! That's awesome that you have more mobility and range of motion - I know you must be thrilled!!

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    1. The range of motion is the big one...it was very difficult getting in/out of a car when I couldn't bend my knee #longlegs

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  2. Yay so glad that Voldemort is healing well! Perhaps you will be left with some sort of super powers :)

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    1. Ha! I can only hope....I have longed for a magic wand a few times...

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  3. Love this milestone on your road to recovery! I know there will be many more to come. Leave it to you to come up with fitness multitasking during your IV infusions. :-)

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    1. Well....I figured I might as well utilize that "down time" (and it ensures I actually remember to DO the leg lifts LOL)

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  4. I'm glad to see things are moving forward! Your own personal rehab is great. I sure missed you at RnR this weekend--the whole KSwizz thing and all...

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    1. I certainly missed you as well....KSwizz is an amazing gal! I'd LOVED to have gotten my medal from her

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  5. I'm still stunned by how quickly that knee blew up into something awful. So very glad things are on the upswing. You are a total trooper!

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    1. Thanks, Marcia ;-) I've had an awesome team of cheerleaders

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  6. You are healing so quickly! Such great news! Hope this week's another good one for you.

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  7. Your knee is looking so much better! I'm so glad you are out of the hospital and on the road to recovery!

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  8. This makes me so happy! I know you've got a ways to go to be back running, but your recovery is really coming along. Your attitude and perseverance are incredible. :)

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    1. Thanks!! My attitude is doing alright ;-)

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  9. So glad you are seeing improvements! All things considered it sounds like your recovery is going really well. Hope things continue to improve for you!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa ;-) Looking forward to continued progress

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  10. Has it already been a month? Wow! The knee does look so much better. September will be here soon and you'll be running again.

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    1. It's been a month since the marathon, and the roller coaster ride started a few days after that...

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  11. WooHoo! Look at you walking 2 plus miles!
    I agree with Zenaida, September will be here before you know it. Enjoy this down time while you can.

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    1. Although I'm not happy to be sidelined, it's has given me a new perspective on being grateful for EVERYTHING

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  12. I'm glad to hear that your recovery has been going well and that you won't need physical therapy! Love the leg lift/balancing idea and hopefully you continue to enjoy your walks!

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    1. These leg lifts/balances are tougher than they sound, but since I'm not running for now they're a great "toning up" routine

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  13. I'm so glad to hear that you're healing well and you're able to walk normally again! How exciting! When should we plan our next race…? ;)

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    1. Well, probably not in 2017, but we should brainstorm a a potential 2018 venue ;-)

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  14. Wow! You are making great progress girl! Your knee does look very close to normal ...well, except for that pic with the double line of stitches. Ouch!! I'm glad you are keeping busy with the planks, push ups and leg mobility movements ...it will be setting the stage for your running comeback in September :)

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    1. My legs are getting worked over LOL and it feels good ;-)

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  15. I love, love, love your attitude through all of this! You have remained so positive and you're teaching us all a lesson. I'm glad to hear that you're getting better!

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    1. Thank you ;-) This journey has been a real eye-opener, and it's only just begun...

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  16. Yay for progress!! Loving your names for everything :-)

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    1. Hay, I gotta keep my sense of humor LOL

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  17. Glad to see you are continuing to progress, and hope you will be back to the grind in September!

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    1. I'm looking forward to September, too ;-)

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  18. ah Kim, I'm so happy for you! recovery is going super well!!!

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    1. Knock on wood, so far all is going well

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  19. Glad the healing seems to be coming along nicely! I love that you named your suture site Voldemort lol.

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    1. A friend suggest the name Voldemort...and it was just TOO perfect ;-)

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  20. I am so glad you are healing up well. I'm super impressed that through all of this you have stayed so positive and focused too! Great Job :-)

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  21. Congrats on all of the progress that you've made! It sounds like you're well on your way with your recovery. I have no doubt that with your persistence and determination that you'll be back out there running sooner than later.

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  22. Sounds like great progress. It's so nice to walk without limping. My ITBS could really have me limping after a workout. I know FOMO hurts, but September will be here soon.

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  23. great report! I am glad the gimp is gone- that is serious improvement! Kudos to you!

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