Today marks 6 months since my unexpected journey of fracturing my Talus began that fateful day in June. In some ways I can’t believe it has been that long, in others it feels like it has been forever.
In November I had another follow up with my surgeon. I visited him after work the day before Thanksgiving. He saw me walk into one of the exam rooms and expressed his satisfaction at how well I was walking. I explained that I really walk the best while at work during the day, but that when I rest at home it tends to stiffen up again. He inspected it all, ordered me a routine of anti-inflammatories and stated confidently that even though there was still a long road of recovery (this injury can take years to recover from) that he was optimistic that I would make a full recovery. Its funny to see/hear his optimism when my physical therapists often comment on how stiff my ankle is. I think its the difference of the thousand foot view versus being in the trenches. I don’t fully understand what my surgeon means by a “full recovery” I doubt it means getting my full range of motion back as I feel like that has not really increased since surgery recovery began…but that I’ll have a good “new normal” afterwards that includes things like running and some level of ballet? Time will tell.
Overall, I’ve decreased in pain, which is why I was only taking NSAIDS before physical therapy and not every day, hence starting this new cream and daily NSAID. I definitely feel my foot loosen after the cream, but it took me awhile to realize how much it was drying my hand out (FYI you want to apply that stuff with gloves on). I’m not nearly as stiff as I was in the mornings when I first returned to work/the weather first turned cold, and there really are times at work where I’m walking as fast as I used too.
The rough time is in the mornings getting my ankle started or if I’ve left my ankle rest from work I feel like I become Peg Leg Hobbling Pete. I have struggled with discouragement about it all this month of December. I’ve been frustrated with the “shoulds” of it all “I’m just 30 I shouldn’t feel this way, My ankle should be healed by now” (Which, by the way, all “shoulds” do is drive you crazy). I was weary of my daily routine of waking up a few minutes early in order to apply the cream and use the heat pad in order to loosen my ankle. I began doing Physical Therapy at 7:30 am because I was frustrated about it interfering with my work schedule.
Months again my PT warned me that I’d face the plateau when I wouldn’t see the big exciting changes anymore, and I felt it this month. I never felt that I was making progress at least not in any sort of consistent fashion. One day at work I randomly checked to see if my knee could touch the wall and I came within milometers! It was the closest I’ve been able to flatten out my foot and bend my knee over my ankle! But it was also frustrating because I couldn’t tell you why my ankle was looser that day. My PT’s encouraged me that we were making progress, just slowly.
Last month I was even hopeful about my recovery because I tried on heels on a whim and I was able to walk around in them in my house!
Cue Christmas break, relaxing, staying up late and feeling sorry for myself. I probably get about half the steps that I usually do when I’m not working, I just don’t randomly get up and walk around, I sit, watch tv, craft, read, do photography stuff. I ended up not doing my exercises for 2 days in a row, then the next morning I did my morning range of movement exercises and I pulled something in the ankle, creating a soreness that wasn’t usually there.
The next morning I returned to PT and they said it was definitely stiffer than normal, but they couldn’t say if that was from the injury or from less usage. It felt better over the next few days and I felt well enough on Friday to do my normal PT exercises, with a slight ache in that muscle.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how I feel, no matter what “shoulds” I get stuck on, I broke my ankle, I broke my Talus and sat on my butt for 8 weeks this summer while it healed, and it is going to take time to recover. I can face my recovery head on, or I can whine about it, feeling sorry for myself. The problem with that, if I whine, if I don’t do my exercises each night, if I don’t do them well, not only will I not complete my recovery I could lose hope of normal without a consistent limp. So, its time to put on my big girl pants, focus on all that I still have, and fight to finish this recovery well.
What helps you stay motivated to finish things well?