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Week 30

Wow!  The first week of summer vacation was so busy, and that extended even into my recovery from the trimalleolar fracture I suffered way back in November.

I changed up my schedule and went to physical therapy in the mornings instead of the afternoons.

During Monday’s visit, my ankle wasn’t nearly as sore as it had been the previous week.  Then, I went home and completed a slew of chores, which I posted about here.

On Tuesday, I got up pretty early and worked out.

Leg Day

My physical therapist had advised me to go lightly with the weights when doing lower body work.  I still managed to burn a ton of calories!

Then, I hopped in the car and headed over to Bigger City, Florida, where my surgeon is located, for the appointment I’d scheduled the week before.

Y’all, it rained ALL THE WAY there . . . from the moment I left my garage.  I was so nervous as semis passed me on the interstate and flooded my windshield with extra water.

I grabbed a sandwich from an eatery that we don’t have in Podunk, FL, and then drove to the doctor’s large office center.  There are a bajillion doctors in this practice; they are quite popular with people like me driving there from hours away to get treated by their wonderful staff.

First up was an x-ray . . .

It still boggles my mind to see all of the hardware that is surrounding my ankle.

The doctor came in and began pushing and pulling on my ankle while he listened to me describe the symptoms that had led me there.  You see, we had both thought that I was done visiting him for this injury.

He asked a few questions, squeezed a few places up and down my ankle, and then explained that I have Achilles’ Tendonosis.

Yeah, you read that right.  It’s not tendonitis.  I later googled to be able to adequately understand the difference . . .

Here’s what’s going on.  When I injured my ankle, I was bound up for nine total weeks.  During that time, I wasn’t able to use that tendon.  Once I began using it again, it had to recover from the trauma.  It’s very weak and becomes irritated very easily because it’s not flexible either.

Then, the doctor told me about the treatment . . . “heavy eccentric loading.”  This is a different physical therapy protocol from what I’ve been doing up to this point.  Whereas, we’ve focused on flexibility, mobility, and strength, now my exercises will center around working the tendon to the point of tearing it down.  I already have microfiber damage as it is.  When it repairs itself, it will be stronger.  It’s akin to what your muscles do when you work out with weights and are sore for the next few days.  They are rebuilding themselves.

Did you just cringe?

I wish I could have taken a picture of my face when the doctor described it to me.

“Sounds painful,” I told him.

He smiled and nodded.

Perspective kicked in immediately, though, and I told him that considering what I’ve already been through, I could take it.  Nothing beats the pain of breaking three bones, having your ankle immobilized in a temporary cast with no room for swelling, and not getting strong enough pain medicine those first two days.  Thank heavens for THIS doctor, who quickly remedied my early woes.

He went on to explain that my new exercises would stress the negative movements . . . i.e. the going down motion when doing calf raises or seated leg presses.

I asked him to explain how I would know if I was getting better, and he told me to ask myself the question, “Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

But, I told him, I can only focus on a week (and sometimes a day) at a time.

He repeated the question, “Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

But, but, but . . .

“Do I feel better today than I did a month ago?”

Yes, he actually said it three times.

I am slow that way.

He told me that I have an 80% chance of making a full recovery from the tendonosis if I follow the protocol.  I should be able to tell a difference in six to eight weeks.

I walked out of there with a new PT prescription and a mandate to call his nurse if I needed anything.

On Wednesday, I went back to physical therapy with the RX in hand along with the notes I’d typed into my phone.  My therapist and I had a chat; he had basically started the new protocol that Monday when he’d added a standing calf raise and an extra set of stretches to my list of exercises.  On Wednesday, he added a couple more.

That right there is me going down a step . . . over and over again.

I have had a LOT of trouble going down sets of steps.  I haven’t been doing impact things with the ankle, but it’s time.  My therapist wants to help me become fully functional; this is part of that process.

It felt wonderful, although I need to, upon reflection, practice stepping down more than one step.  As it is, I can only step down one at a time (putting my left foot down on the same step before going to the next one).  I need to learn how to walk down multiple steps in a more fluid motion.  That will come.

Now, I need to take a second to talk about that new RX.

My insurance plan allows me to have a certain number of visits every six months.  Once I use them up, they don’t cover.  I’d mentioned this a couple of months ago when I ran out.  Fortunately, my PT’s office has a special program that they allowed me to use that didn’t break the bank.  I’m on my third session of it; however, they won’t allow me to sign up for another one.  I will finish on June 19th with the session I’ve already paid for.

On Wednesday, I learned that my insurance company won’t start doling out my new visits until the end of July . . . six months after the first time I went to physical therapy (January 23).

So, there will a gap in my physical therapy.

My physical therapist went ahead and printed out home exercises, even though I still had three more visits.  He wants me to start working on them from home.

Just the front page . . . the packet is at least three pages long. Be jealous.

My home now looks like a physical therapy site . . .

I was not a happy camper that day; having all of my ducks on a row is important to me, and having a fluid treatment program is integral to my healing.

BUT . . . I prayed that God would work it out, and I believe that He has.

Honestly, the break in therapy is probably a good thing.  The Mr. will be having a big surgery the end of this month, and I was going to miss a week of therapy anyway.  I’ll also need to be home with the Mr. at least a week after we get him home from the hospital; we just don’t know how he’s going to do with it being such a major surgery.

I’m going to plan on starting therapy again on July 24th, which is only about a month from when I will have stopped.  I’ll do my exercises from home, and then I’ll finish up the last six weeks at my PT’s office with my ultimate goal set at being able to jog/run again.

I had to email the nurse to find out if the doctor would write me a new script for the therapy because I’d heard that scripts are only good for thirty days.  She quickly replied to my email and assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, so we’re good there.  I also called my insurance company to verify when my new visits would be dropped back into my account, and it looks like I’ll be ahead by one visit after that first week since I went to therapy three times the first week I started in January and I’ll only need to go twice a week once I start back.  So, I’m good there.

God took care of the details.

I guess you can see why my week was so nuts!  It was emotionally draining.

All I want to do is make a full recovery; kinks in my progress frustrate me as much as not being able to physically do the things I was doing before I broke my ankle.

I still trust God and praise Him for the way He is taking care of me.

There is still so much #joyinthejourney.  I am grateful for the people I am meeting, the things I am learning about how the body works, and the inner strength that God is cultivating inside of my heart as He heals the physical brokenness of my ankle.

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