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Week 41

Week 41 of my recovery journey after breaking my ankle has come and gone.  Let’s check on my progress, shall we?

I went to physical therapy on Monday.  I did my regular stretches for my hamstrings and Achilles tendon.

I was actually feeling pretty good for a Monday (the first full week back at school too).

J, my trainer, had me try a new balancing exercise.  She put me on two disks that I had to stand on for two rounds of three minutes.  It was a little harder than I’d expected.  I was a little surprised though because back when I was doing my PT during the spring, I was balancing on a disk on one foot and had gotten pretty good at it.

By the end of therapy, things started going south.  I don’t know what happened, but one of the exercises pushed my ankle too far, and I suddenly experienced a lot of pain.  Despite having the STEM and ice therapy when I finished, I limped out of there.

I was pretty sore for the next few days, but when I went back in for my second weekly round of therapy on Thursday, I was feeling pretty good again.

My trainer has been extremely pleased with my progress, so she decided to up the ante a bit . . . in the form of a thicker towel for my stretches.

Go ahead and laugh, if you want, but sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

We have been taking BABY steps in my rehab this go-round to allow my body to slowly adapt itself to new moves – moves non-injured people take for granted.

J also added in some new exercises on Thursday.  One of them was monster walks.  I had to put a band around my knees, slightly bend myself into a squat position, and take small steps in one direction with my legs spread out hip-width.  As I stepped, I had to push my knee over my ankle sideways.

I moved to the left first, all the way to a pole that’s in the back room.  The, I repeated the walk but to the right.

My butt and thighs were BURNING, and I actually worked up a sweat.  I did another round.  The push to my right was the hardest on my ankle.  That’s the side that I have the plate, and it’s also the side that had the longest break.  It’s not nearly as flexible as it used to be.

Another exercise I did that day was a semi-lunge, which I’d been forbidden from doing during my home workouts.  J put me in a lunge position, with my right foot on the floor, knee bent, and my left leg bent with my knee on the floor.  Then, I had to push into my right heel to raise myself, straightening both legs in the process.  I repeated this ten times, going up and down in the process.

It was pretty tough.  My heel has a lot of pain still because of the tendon issues, but it felt so wonderful to be doing a “normal” exercise.

I repeated this on the other side, and it was hard for different reasons.  With my right foot behind me, I had to push with those toes, which required more strength from that foot (along with balance).  I was very hesitant.  My confidence has been shot over the last few months; my balance is definitely not what it was before I got hurt.  I did another set of ten.

Then, I did one more round.

Yay me!

One other exercise that I got to do for the first time was bridges with a twist.  With my hips raised, I had to alternate lifting one leg and then the other, knee bent each time.  This made me put more pressure on each foot and worked on my core.  I liked this move.

I went through my other exercises and ended my session with ice and STEM, the very best things ever!

I’ve had a pretty good weekend with my ankle.  Taking it a little easier on the days I’m not at work has become especially important in my recovery . . . a lesson I’m finally learning.  I can really feel it when I push too hard, like when I walk through Sam’s Club or Walmart.  My ankle yells at me pretty loudly.

So that’s it for this week.

Joy was so easy to find this week; the pain much more manageable despite doing a LOT of walking while I taught five straight days.

God continues to amaze me with His gracious provision and healing touch.

Weeks 39 and 40

Y’all, it’s Week 40!

That makes it sound like it should be ten months; however, I counted on my fingers, and it’s only been nine months (November 13th to today).  I’m not a math person, so I’ll leave you to figure out how 40 divided by 4 (a typical month) equals ten, but it’s only been nine full months since the break.  Whatever.

Crazy stuff (both my inability to do math and the fact that time is flying by)!

Shall we move on?


Well, I never got around to blogging about Week 39 because of a little something called work (and the fatigue that quickly ensued).

Let’s see if I can combine both weeks.

I actually did start writing about Week 39 (I found the post, already started, when I came back to blog).  Ha!  So, here goes.

Week 39

I was a little nervous going into physical therapy on Monday because that was my first day back to work.  Even though I’d been sitting in meetings for most of the day, I figured that my ankle would be all frozen up and difficult to work with.

I had, however, worked out my back and biceps that morning, so there was that.

Not bad for a 5am workout, eh?

So, back to the PT thing.  I warmed up, and my ankle felt pretty good.

Then, I did my not-so-favorite exercises . . . calf stretches . . . six minutes of pain.

My trainer walked me through some of the same moves as last week, but then she added a few new ones.

I’ve already described using my heel to pull back an exercise ball while my trainer holds a resistance band.  Well, on Monday, she stood at my feet and held that same band.  I had to flex my foot and pull the ball toward me with my heel (the same move as before), but I had to pull against the resistance band.  The purpose was to stretch the front of my lower leg.

Yeah, I felt it.  It was, by far, the most difficult thing I’ve done so far.  My hamstrings were on fire when I finished.

She also had me do some bridge lifts (feet flat on the mat while lifting my pelvis in the air).  I had to do this move with my right foot in three different positions – turned in, neutral (straight), and turned outward.  She was gauging my tolerance.  I had no pain whatsoever, which she thought was good.

The final exercise I did involved me standing with my right foot up on a platform.  I had to position my left leg behind me, kind of in a lunge stance.  Then, she put a resistance band around my right leg and held it tight from my left side.  I had to lean forward into a bit of a bend while pushing my knee to the right in the opposite direction from the band.  I held the stretch for three seconds before leaning back into the neutral position.  This was a bit painful.  We analyzed when and where I was feeling discomfort.  She tailors my regimen according to such details.  I just adore her, if you couldn’t tell that already.

After that, it was time for ice and STEM treatment, and I felt pretty good when I left.

I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of that week toting items back to my classroom before my all-day meetings started.

I sat in training Tuesday afternoon, answered a question and earned a ticket for a drawing, but didn’t win anything in the end.

I did some eating out . . . two days in a row . . . at my favorite Thai place . . .

By Wednesday of that week, I felt like I needed the following to help me find my way to the surface.  I felt like I was drowning in new information . . .

Thursday morning, I was singing a new tune though, attitude well in hand, after going to bed at 9pm the night before . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I did on Thursday, besides sit in more meetings.  I did have physical therapy that afternoon.  It must have gone well because I was still smiling afterward . . .

Or maybe I was smiling because I didn’t have to work the next day.  My district has four-day work weeks during the summer, and that week of planning was the final one with the special schedule.  I could totally do short weeks!

I got up Friday and mowed the back yard.  It hadn’t been cared for in over a month because the mower had been in the shop getting a major overhaul.



Pele approved . . . of the yard and the fact that I was home . . .

I managed to get my workouts in each day.  One thing I’ve been more cognizant about is taking it easier on my rest days.  No, I don’t fully rest, but I do slow down and make sure I’m going through some of my physical therapy exercises.  I manage to burn some calories, thus satisfying that need inside of me, while stretching out my tendon and hamstrings.

That weekend, Freeform hosted another Harry Potter Marathon.  I was pretty much glued to my TV on Saturday and Sunday . . .

Why do I always turn it on at the saddest parts?? Oh my!

Week 40

Last Monday started Week 40.  I headed back to school for three days of room prep (with the exception of one department meeting).

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t get much accomplished.  I did manage to get my new cell phone pocket holder hung up, along with my cell phone procedures and an informative graphic . . .

It was hot as the place down under (and I’m not talking about Australia) as I went back and forth between buildings . . .

I had physical therapy that afternoon . . .

I was hurting pretty good that day.  This time, it was the underside of my heel, which only got worse the longer I was working out.  J, my trainer, told me she would work on my foot, but before she did, I got to go upstairs (cue the angels singing) to the big girl section, and play with some battle ropes . . .

She and my other physical therapist were actually impressed with how strong my upper body was.  Heck, I told them, since I’ve been forbidden from doing lower body workouts, I’ve got no other parts to exercise at home!  Ha!

J also showed me how to use a foam roller.  I’d been reading about how good they are for working out kinks, of which I have a lot.

Then, I went back down for my foot “massage.”  Ahem.

After whipping up a pot of 8-Minute Pantry Dal, a recipe by Angela Liddons, I watched some TV.

I went to bed super early.  Getting ready for a new school year while rehabbing an ankle is tiring business!

Tuesday morning found me up before the birds, doing my regular workout . . .

Yeah, that getting up early thing . . . not my favorite and not something I’ll miss when I get to retire in the next century.  Ahem.

Tuesday was all about working in my room, discovering supplies I needed to buy to get organized, shopping, and going back and working some more.

All the while trying my best not to overdo things on my ankle.

Each class has its own color . . . because I’m an overachiever like that.

I added pencils to my cell phone organizer so that no kiddo can tell me that he/she doesn’t have something to write with.  Did you know that sharpening three dozen pencils takes FOREVER, even with an electric sharpener??

I went home at 3 but spent the better part of the evening working on lesson plans, mindful of keeping my foot up . . .

Wednesday was crunch time.  I started out with a good stretch of my muscles . . .

I knew that it was going to be a LONG day on my feet.

I sported wild hair to match my anxiety level . . .

Don’t ask me specifics about that day.  All I can say is that the Lord is good, and He made it all come together by the end of the day.

I went home exhausted and hit the bed early because THURSDAY was my first day with kids.

I’ll share the details of that for another post, but I did have physical therapy after school . . . on my first day.  I wasn’t supposed to go in until Friday, thank you insurance for messing up my routine, but the PT office called me as I pulled INTO SCHOOL, thank heavens, and asked if I could go in that afternoon, so I parked in a spot that wouldn’t have me locked in to the parking lot (allowing for a faster exit later that day).  The Mr. kindly took my PT clothes and sneakers to the school because I wasn’t going to have time to run home and get them.

I am not going to lie.  By the time I walked in to PT that afternoon, my foot was a hot mess.  The bike warmup was not fun.

As I did my stretching, my tendon and hamstrings were as tight as they’d been when I started going back to therapy.

My ankle was pretty swollen by the end of my session.

I was still pretty stiff on Friday.  You can see this in the picture below.  I could barely bend my right knee for one of my stretches (see how far I can bend the left one?).

People who aren’t in education (i.e. parents) often complain because we start school on Thursdays each year, but honestly, I don’t think the students or teachers could handle more than two days at first.  My ankle was mighty happy when I got home Friday afternoon after having me limp on it all day.

Overall, I’m feeling okay.

I did have more pain these last two weeks, but I expected that because of the start of school.

I am even more grateful that God put me with the trainer I’m currently working with.  The fact that she’s pulled back on the intensity of my exercises has helped so much.

I haven’t gone on a walk in over two weeks, and I think that’s helped reduce some of the intense pain I’d been feeling before.  I’ve also been taking it a little easier on my “rest” or “leg” days, so that’s helped give me regular breaks.

I’m realizing that my gung-ho attitude, while good in some ways, has probably hampered my progress to this point.  There’s such a fine line between pushing myself and pushing past an acceptable limit.

So, that’s my two weeks, in a huge nutshell.  Ha!

I know that this week will probably be tough since it will be my first FULL week with kids (i.e. little to no breaks during the day).  I hope my ankle holds up okay.

As always, I’m #findingjoyinthejourney and so grateful for each step forward that God allows me to make.

Back to Work

Today, I headed back to school for the first day of pre-planning.  It’s a little hard to believe that I’m beginning my 8th year of teaching!

Just the other day, Rebecca and I were texting about this (maybe that was actually this morning), and she said that she could remember when I started.  We’ve been blog buddies ever since I went back to college to finish up my degree, so she’s witnessed this entire journey.  It’s crazy how fast time flies sometimes!

I’d gone to bed at 9pm last night, which made getting up to my 4:30 alarm a tad easier (although still a bit unpleasant) . . .

I’d also laid everything out the night before to make my life a little easier.

What can I say?  I’m an overachiever in almost every way.

I felt a little more put together than usual and was finally wearing a full face of makeup.  I’d even straightened my hair . . . something I hadn’t done in a couple of weeks.

I wish I could say that I got a lot done in my classroom, but alas, today was the first of four days of meetings / trainings.  Four!  Good gravy!

I will admit that it was fun to see the awesome teachers I’d bid adieu to in June when we left for summer break.  I also got the chance to meet a new friend.  She’ll be teaching at my school this year, and I am so excited!  She’s just the cutest thing ever!

The day did go quicker than I’d expected.  I’m very fortunate to work with a great group of educators.  I talked the Mr.’s ear off as soon as I got home (I was late since I had physical therapy right after school) and all through dinner, which was out because, well, just because.

I did start feeling tired on the way home, though.  It’s funny how sitting all day can be more tiring than actually doing stuff.


I managed to snap a selfie (fun filter courtesy of Snapchat) with a smile on my face . . .

The Mr. was driving, and he wasn’t amused.  He thinks these photos are silly and look like something a 12 year old would do.  Whatever.

I have a lot of work ahead of me before the kids return on the 17th.  With only three actual days to spend in my classroom, I’ll be hoofing it pretty hard next week, but you know.

I’m nervous going into this new school year because I have a new prep, and lesson planning is going to be VASTLY different from previous years.  I’m not sure how my prep is going to fit in with the new protocols because it’s something that only a couple of us will be teaching.

I’ve already started praying for wisdom to address my students’ needs and flexibility to adapt to the changes.  I don’t do change that well, so, um, yeah.  Fortunately, all of the teachers in my school are in the same boat, so I’m not rowing all by myself.  That’s comforting.

I’ve also been praying for the students who will enter my classroom, many of whom I taught either last year or the previous one.  They are in for a BIG surprise when they see me on their schedules.


The good thing is that I know their strengths, weaknesses, and habits, so that will help a lot.  They’ll be a few months older, which will hopefully mean that they’ll be a little more serious about the job at hand.

I’ll have a lot of books to talk about . . . 21 to be exact (one is not pictured) . . . all of which I read from June through yesterday.

If you’d be willing to say a prayer for me as well as all teachers going back to school, I’d sure appreciate it.  This profession is getting increasingly difficult as the Powers That Be (:::cough::: state legislators :::cough:::) make ridiculous mandates without having a clue as to what it’s like to actually do the job of teaching.

It’s a good thing we are in it for the kids and not for the politicians!

Thanks, y’all!

Week 38 – Reset

Today marks 38 weeks since I broke my ankle.  It also marks my second week back at physical therapy since my month-long hiatus (forced upon me by insurance).

You might recall that my previous post was one big pity party.  I couldn’t help it – I’d had a horrible week beset with a lot of pain.

Well, this week was so much better!  Although I wasn’t pain-free, the level I experienced was down a lot.  I suspect a big reason for that was the REST day I actually allowed myself on Sunday . . .

It was supposed to be a leg day, but I’d been asked not to work this part of my body at home, so I actually complied.  I had thought that I would go for a walk, but I wound up sleeping in a little, and then the Mr. and I kept pretty busy after church.  By the time the evening rolled around (when I thought I might still sneak in a walk), I was too tired.

So, my ankle was fairly well rested.

I arrived at physical therapy on Monday raring to go.

As always, I warmed up on the bike . . .

The athletic trainer I’m working with had been doing her homework, so she was ready for me.  I’d sent her a link for the Body Beast workout sheets that detailed the exercises I’d been doing.  She had made her own list . . . of things she didn’t want me to do right now . . .

Y’all, I just about died.

That’s a crap ton of moves . . . that I can’t do!

She explained that we are doing a “Reset.”  Like I mentioned in my previous post, we are going back to basics and will work our way up from there.

She wants me to get back to being able to do easy moves with no pain and then proceed, slowly, to harder moves.

Slowly is not a word I use very often, unless I’m talking about my running speed.  Ha!

So, I started out by doing stretching moves to help me get my hamstrings flexible again . . .

Two moves involve me putting my feet on this board while keeping a rolled towel between my thighs, raising my hands over my head, and sliding them down, very close to my body all the way down to my toes.  After holding them by my toes for three seconds, I have to slide them up again and start over.  After thirty reps, I moved so that my heels were on the board with my toes on the floor and repeated the movement thirty times.

This might not sound difficult, but this girl was really feeling the burn in my hammies.

The next move involved me standing in a band of sorts, walking forward until it was stretched tight, and then sliding my arms up and down, reaching for my toes, thirty times.

I also had to do the move from last week where I held onto the stick at the front of my right foot and leaned my foot forward with my knee moving to the outside of the stick, thirty times, to stretch my Achilles tendon.  I did this exercise with my right leg bent on the floor, stretched by a smaller band, while leaning forward to stretch.

I felt a bit like Gumby.

I did some other work in the main room on a mat using a band to do windshield wipers to help with my range of motion.  I also had to do some pulling and pushing band exercises.  Then, she had me do some work with an exercise ball (I’ll show you a picture in a sec).

After all of that, it was “Tool Time” because my tendon was knotted up . . .

This has to be one of the most painful things I have to endure at therapy; my bruises stick around for a week or two every time I get the “tool.”

My ankle was a bit swollen after all of the hard work I’d done that day . . .

I was rewarded with a heating pad and ice, with STEM treatment underneath . . .

I’m pretty sure that I spent a few hours at the pool after therapy, but I didn’t take a picture!

On Tuesday, I got up and walked four miles . . .

It was not an easy walk; I was sore most of the way, but I pushed through.  This was the day when I had the most pain.  I even considered sending the following picture to my surgeon’s nurse to ask if I needed to go in . . .

That’s the area where I’m experiencing the most pain, and it’s different from the pain I’ve had before.  It’s a very confusing thing.

I am not one to be held back for long, though, and I really wanted to work in my classroom, so I headed out after my walk, with a stop at Chick fil A first.  They gave me two extra boxes of hash browns, y’all, because they said that they had extra.  I wound up eating only two of them but still!

I tried not to overdo; my main goal was arranging the furniture.  Here’s how my room looked after a couple of hours of work . . .

After that, I figured I’d earned a trip to the pool . . .

What a great way to relax!

Wednesday was supposed to be a cardio day, but my PT had, in essence, removed almost all of the exercises I could do, so I worked out my abs instead and then headed back to school.

I cleaned every single table, counter top, and bookshelf and put more of my room together . . .

I repurposed our old DVD shelving units by loading them up with books . . .

I grouped some of my favorite authors’ books together . . .

I was a little shocked when I got a shout-out by one of my favorite ladies on Twitter.  I totally fan girled, y’all.

See, Allison van Diepen and I have been friends on Twitter for a few years now – ever since I sent her an email about how much one of my students had loved a book she’d written.  She’s such a nice gal!  ❤

I’m going to be organizing my students’ work a little differently this year, so that will leave my back counter free for books to be displayed . . .

After all of that work, I needed some water therapy . . .

The forecast was calling for a lot of rain the next few days, so I figured this would be my last chance to read in the pool for awhile.  I accidentally got part of my book wet.  I guess I misjudged where my elbows were.  Ha!

Because I’d taken it a little easier, Thursday’s trip to physical therapy was a lot easier.  I repeated the same exercises with a slight twist on the ball one . . .

The trainer thinks I’m going to be coordinated enough to roll the ball back with both legs at once.  Ha!  We didn’t actually do this one yet (she was actually prepping me to work on my left leg to make sure both leg muscles stay balanced), but she promised that we would be doing this next week.  I told her that she must really need a laugh.  😀

I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday afternoon so I could finally get a prescription to get a bone density scan.

I’ll be talking more about that in a different post once I get the results of that and the twelve vials of blood I had drawn the next day (the rainiest summer day thus far) . . .

It’s a good thing that Friday was my real “rest” day.  I doubt I would have had much energy after fasting for the blood work and having to wait for over an hour for the bone scan.  I think that having two rest days each week is going to be another key to my ankle healing fully.  I might tend to overdo things . . . just a bit.  Ahem.

Saturday had me back to the routine and working out my chest and triceps . . .

Overall, I am feeling a lot better, aside from stomach woes that are the result of the stress I put myself under with my doctor’s appointment (I do not do doctors very well).

My ankle is almost back to its normal level of pain, which is a good thing because I have to report back to work tomorrow.  We don’t get our kids back until the 17th.  I fully expect my ankle to be a hot mess the first couple of weeks with me being on my feet six straight class periods before my planning time, but that’s really no surprise given the severity of my injury.

Thank you for your prayers and your indulgence last week while I cried.  Some weeks just require tears, while other allow for shouts of joy.  I’m somewhere in the middle this week, which is a good thing.

#findingjoyinthejourney was a bit easier, and for that, I’m grateful.

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