Sunday, January 20, 2008

Skiing Again!

I lied. That wasn't my last post. This might not be either. No promises.

I'm back out there skiing! I was a little tentative at first and have been building up the number of runs/day gradually. I also am practicing some of Harald Harb's Essentials of Skiing exercises. They are great for intermediate skiers who want to move up to the next level. They are a killer on the quads, but that's exactly what I need since I sort of stopped going to the gym. Ooops.

I haven't had any swollenness after any day on the slopes or at the gym. Knock on wood. I think it's because I didn't have any miniscus damage. I have noticed that my opposite knee is feeling a little strained, though, after a day of skiing. I must be favoring it.

OK, that's the latest. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Farewell Post!

Kayaking in front of Shoup Glacier outside of Valdez.

OK, if I'm able to kayak 16 miles and hike about in Alaska (with a side trip to perform with the Kingikmiut Dancers at the Alaska Native Heritage Center) then I think I'm done with blogging about my torn ACL, the surgery, the rehab, the physical therapy and all the rest. My knee fared pretty well during the trip. I did need to take ibuprofen regularly but it was fine.
I saw my surgeon yesterday. He said the ligament is strong but my quads are still weak. He said I have to get on rebuilding my muscles if I want to go skiing this winter. He also said that I probably caused some irritation with all the activity but it wouldn't have been so bad if I had been stronger! So I went right out and joined a gym. I did a good work out yesterday and didn't hate it (so much).

Good luck to all the newbie ACL reconstruction patients! Choose the best surgeon you can, find a physical therapist you like, and do the exercises. It will all work out. If I can do it, you can do it.



Friday, July 20, 2007

3 Months

This will probably be my second-to-last post. I'll write one more after my next doctor's appointment in mid August. Then, that's it. Blog over! Thanks for everyone's moral support.

It's been 3 months now since my ACL reconstruction surgery. My knee feels pretty good most of the time. The only time I have any discomfort (usually) is going down stairs and deep knee bends. But I'm sure it's because my muscles are still pretty weak. Which is no real surprise since I haven't done a very good job of keeping up with physical therapy. I missed all this week. And next week I'm off to Alaska for 10 days.

Last night was the first time in a month (just guessing) that I've had trouble falling asleep because of leg pain. It was strange. It was at the top of my tibia, on the anterior side. It felt like bone pain or very deep muscle pain. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was muscle pain from the home exercises I did two nights ago. I may have over-done things in a misguided attempt to make up for lost time.

Here are some random fun facts.

Range of motion: I can bend my knee 145 degrees now. [That's in the normal range.]

High heels: I wore the tiniest of heel on Tuesday -- it did not feel great. That was probably a bad (but necessary) move.

Hiking: I'm clear to do hiking but I'm not supposed to take any HUGE steps.

Scars: Did I ever write about the scar treatment? I think I did. Well, the scars are fine. They are "loose" if you can imagine what that means (not adhered all the way through the depth of the incisions). I showed my scars off in Chicago to a stranger. He said my knee looks like it has a smiley face on it.

See some of you next week (I hope)!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wrong Direction

Not doing my home exercises for two weeks finally caught up with me. At physical therapy today it was obvious that I've lost ground in my recovery from ACL reconstruction. Turns out these PTs might know a thing or two afterall! Back to squats, lunges, single-leg squats. And now we're adding some small jumping exercises to retrain my leg and knee to handle running down the stairs.

Holy Disintegrating Allografts, Batman!

I found a fascinating posting today on some site called Big Bob's Knee Blog* or something like that. It's about ACL allografts (i.e. tissue from a cadaver) failing because the tissue disintegrates!

Aaaaaaaaiieeeeeeeee! Something new to worry about.

This discovery led to me searching on "disintegrate allograft ACL". I'm happy to report I haven't found much (yet). But I did learn that a GoreTex synthetic ACL option exists.

It has a high failure rate, so even if I had known about it before my surgery I wouldn't have wanted it. But it is cool to think that some day you could replace an ACL with man-made material.

One of the links to the right covers work early physicians did trying to find a suitable ACL substitute, such as using braided silk thread. Which reminds me that there's a book out there about the evolution of successful blood transfusion. You wouldn't believe what some poor woulded souls had to suffer coursing through their veins all in the name of science -- pig's blood, coconut milk. I heard the author on NPR a long time ago but have never followed up to read the book. The horror of what happens when your body rejects pig's blood has never left me.

Merde! What a morbid post!

*The actual site

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yoga with Witold

Today I took a private yoga session with Witold at Yogasana.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I can resume yoga classes. I'll go back to Level I. About a year ago I was poised to progress to their Level II classes. So it goes.

Witold gave me a routine to do at home that should help to strengthen both of my legs evenly. He said I should do it every day. It entails a sequence of triangle pose, warrior, and a modified pose that I forget the name of (it's sort of a combination of triangle and warrior). He also showed me how I can modify child's pose -- one of the last areas of flexibility I need to recover is stretching my quads when they're weight bearing and this pose is it.

I'm really happy to be back in yoga! I especially like the notion of working both sides of my body evenly. My hope is that it will help to restore the parity of the size of my thighs ; )

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eight Weeks

I had a big big weekend in Boston. I went to see the Cyndi Lauper et. al True Colors concert with my friend Stanley. It was reasonably good if a little long. Cyndi was the star. Debra Harry was a nightmare. Erasure rocked and the weather was beautiful. (The venue was held in a big tent.)

I wore a dress that I never get to wear. The tshirt concessionaire was selling "true color" tiaras for just $5 so I had to buy one. It went with the dress. It was fun to wear because I got a lot of attention. I think maybe people thought I was a man in drag -- or maybe a woman playing a man in drag. Either way, people thought it was a gas.

My friend Stanley has an old photo of me "dressed in drag." He said he uses the photo as a trick question: "Is this a picture of a man dressed as a woman or a woman dressed as a woman?" Scary! I thought I was just dressed in a flapper costume with a blonde wig.

The latest on my knee is that I can flex it to 133 degrees. It's practically back to normal in terms of straightening and bending. Now I just need to rebuild my quads and work on some lateral stuff. I still can't run for another 8 weeks but I should be skiing on opening day this winter.