Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seven Weeks

Wow... just realised when I came here to post something that I'm Seven weeks post op today. :)

Let's see.... swelling's mostly gone. I've got "most" of my range of movement back... they say the last bit is the hardest. I'm on the leg press at the gym, the single most effective tool for building my quads back up. Quads and hamstring's are the most effected muscled in ACL surgery.

I can jump on the exercise bike and just go. I can use the rowing machine and ellipital machine now too. There's an other bunch of machines and exercises I can do now too. I'm back in the hot tub without having to worry about overheating my leg. I still do the hot/cold routine cuz it works however. Suffice to say, things are going well.

This is the point people call the "plateau".
The dramatic "holy crap I can walk" moments are over. This crosses over into straight up body building land. The "gains" are "slower" and less apparent, so you can get discouraged. It's a lot of more of the same. It can feel like the improvements have stopped.

I won't lie, there was a day at the gym where I felt it creeping in. Then I realized that I hadn't ate properly and had gone to the gym tired. Big mistake. Especially as my workout routine has gotten kinda extensive. I've added a lot of machines and spend a long time there. Going on an empty tank just ain't gonna work.

The next time, I was prepared. I had a good feed at the right time and had more and more of the right stuff. Big difference. I've started bringing bananas and protein bars to the gym too.

I'm finding it important to track what I'm doing too. Without the markers, you don't see the changes. In the "holy crap I can walk" phase, there were built in markers. I think that makes a big difference. When you can't pedal all the way around on the bike, you've got a clear marker ;) As I pay more attention to them, it seems to help mentally.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Now that's a hearty breakfast :)
All whole grains. All ingredients your gramma could understand.
If I'm not careful, I'm going to start to look like I know what I'm doing.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


I'm six weeks post op as of today :)
(can I get a "hell yeah!"?)

Feeling good, but I also know this is where you can screw up too. You feel good and forget that you're broken... maybe go out and do something stupid, maybe push a little too hard, or maybe just forget to protect your knee. Gotta keep that all in mind. But feeling good.

I can get around almost without issue. Even walking down stairs is starting to come right. Down is the hard one for those that don't know.

Breakfast right?
This is a happy one for me. See, I've been curious about "eating right" for a while now. What exactly "right" means is not as straight forward as it sounds. There's a LOT of information to sort through. But thanks to a friend (hi Bill), I got on what seemed to be the right path.

Well, I'm six weeks in now, so I think I can "look back" enough to see some stuff.
One of the big ones is Breakfast.
We all know the old tome "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day".
That's never said a hell of a lot to me.
There's been times where I'd have a bowl of cereal every morning and sure, I maybe wouldn't eat lunch as soon or something. Big deal right? It all sounded like "an apple a day!" to me.

Ok, missing bits there... "A good" Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
One of the first bits I noticed when I started this was once you get onto truly good food, not just off the "junk food", everything else starts to taste like fluff.

The next bit though is that breakfast starts taking it's true role.
I eat a really good breakfast now. And if I miss it, I know I've missed it! It makes a big difference.

Eggs over whole wheat toast, rolled oats, a banana and orange juice.
All the real deal... not "orange juice like" drink, not wheat bread... WHOLE wheat bread. Not fu-fu cereal, rolled oats... you can get this wicked rolled oats and rasin mix cereal here... I'm a complete addict!

It tastes good and feels like lead :)

It's weird, though not "shocking", that once you know what to look for, you can see just how much bad food there is out there... and how hard it is to actually eat good food! It can be done of course, but man, if you don't know what to look for... good luck!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Doing much better these days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Clickety Clack

Not much "news". I'm in "more of the same" phase now. I've passed the major trauma of surgery and recovered much of my range of motion. Now I work on rebuilding my scrawny little leg.

Odd though... These days, I go to the gym and after two hours, I feel like I just got there. I do my whole workout routine, hit all the machines, some twice and some new ones here and there... and I'm left thinking... "Wait, did I miss something?.. I can not be done yet". I go to the pool (part of the gym) and hot tub and go through that routine in a blink as well. Before I know it, I'm done. RATS!

Oh well, better than the opposite problem :)

Spring's poking through here and there now.
We get birds in the morning now from time to time. It's warmer and the snow's melting up on the mountains... we rarely get snow in the valley. The skiing's buggered... they have a term for it here... the snow is "rain effected"... that's the bits where it's rained on the snow and turned it icy.

Oh yeah, the clickety clack.
My knee's started cracking. This is normal and tends to happen as things heal up... so it's a good sign (IMHO). And it feels lovely. It's like cracking your knuckles. The after effects are soothing. There's compressed bubbles in the joint and I can feel them getting in the way, but as I straighten my knee, they pop like bubble wrap.. all at once though. It happens pretty regularly when I'm driving around since my truck's a manual and my knee pops when I straighten it, when it does pop that is.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mind game

Been a mind game a bit over the last few days.

For various reasons, I've slipped here and there with my mental callisthenics if you will. It's so very important not to chose to wander into "IF Only" land. Nothing good comes of it and it's psychologically destructive. You have what's in front of you and that's it.

I phrase it that way specifically because it is a choice. My friend would term it "a well trained elephant". In more common terms, though I like the elephant/rider better, your conscious mind doesn't control your subconscious, but it does influence it.

Basically, you wake up and you have what's in front of you.
Coming out of a coma years ago was rather instructive in this. You wake up and think... Ok... I'm in the shit... what do I have to work with here? It's very focusing.

A good analogy is selling a car or house that you've had to put a lot of money into. People very often fall into the trap of trying to recoup this "lost" money. But in fact, it's "lost". You have your car/house. That's it. It's worth what it's worth and that's all. There is no difference between it and an equal simply because you put money into it. It's not easy of course, but that's the way it is.

Sometimes it just takes reminding yourself... "ok, what do I have to work with here".
I've got a lot.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Having a chat with a friend of mine and she clued me into something of a disconnect. She was reading all my knee stuff, and then... wham, I inexplicably switched gears and started rambling about food?

So there's a bit of an explanation.
Yes, my current obsession with "good food" is part and parcel to getting my leg healed up. As guessed, yup, can't build well with crap materials.

Bit more to it though.
Some of it comes from Adam. Adam's a big body builder type and got me thinking more about the importance of not only food in general, but specifically the food you eat right after you work out. Other bits as well.

I've also always been interested in eating better.
A simple idea, but there's so much information out there. I wanted to understand what really made a difference. I mean really... carbs? calories? fat? what?

Then my friend Bill got me on the right track.
He got me a good food book.
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

Now there's some real information.
Basically, eat real food... if your grandmother doesn't know the ingredients, especially the first three, don't eat it.
There's way more in there. But that one's huge.

So the leg thing and the food thing just sorta converged.
I'm happily trucking along on my whole food "diet".
I love that I now have the tools to actually understand what is and what isn't "good" food, and why.
I love that "bad" food has started to taste bad and unfilling.
I love that whole wheat toast with real butter is so freaking fantastic!
So is my new favourite rolled oats breakfast cereal!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Tub :)

Ok, with a swollen leg, stepping into a hot tub isn't exactly something you just go do... that could wind up being a very painful experience.

I judged things based on how painful a hot shower was on my leg. Once it wasn't bothering me, then I'd think about maybe jumping in the hot tub. My physio agreed and said to limit my time to 5 minutes.

I gotta tell ya, I was pretty nervous about it, but things went very well.
I'd go hot tub for a minute or two, then back to the pool, then ice my knee. Hahaha, yup, right next to everyone relaxing in the hot tub... there I am with ice packs on my knee. Love it.

So after I got comfortable with that routine, I started flexing my knee... wow, the hot tub really helps with that!

The best bit though...
I still walk with a very slight limp. And more than the limp, you just feel it. You're not quite right and you know.
Well, for about 5 minutes out of the hot tub... I walk right.
And not just no limp... I just walk.
No effort, not thought, nothing feeling "a little off".

It's a happy place.

Monday, August 09, 2010

1 Month post surgery

Holy crap! It's starting to look like my knee again!

Now that the swelling's mostly under control, I'm moving into the world of rebuilding my very weakened knee. This is a happy place. Working on damaged equipment while it's trying to heal... sucks. Now I'm working on just weak equipment. It's a matter of patience and determination from here. Both of which I have in spades.

This is also the time before the "plateau". The initial gains come quite fast. You get used to the meteoric rate and when it returns to a more normal pace, it's a bit of a let-down.

But I'll just go ahead and enjoy the rapid improvements while they're here, thank you.

I'll worry about my motivation through the plateau when I get there.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Five minutes

Travelling most of the day for a 5 minute checkup with my surgeon.
Funny, you can think of it in a bad way, but in reality it's not.

See, first off, I only have to go so far cuz my surgeon is far away. He's far away because the closer ones are all booked up.

But the big one is... I'm very happy it was five minutes.
You don't want a long meeting for this one.
A long meeting means something's wrong.
A fast one means all is good.
Mine is the latter. :)

He also told me to loose the crutch. Said it was "redundant" at this point. So I'm limping around all on my own now. I still need the crutch for stairs without handrails though. That'll get better as my knee starts flexing more. The gym will be a big help with that.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Manly men!

I'm a lumberjack, and I'm ok...

So this week I got back to the gym. Happiness ensued.
Some day, I'll be able to go back to the hot tub as well. My knee's still a bit swollen for that adventure just yet.

My main thing at the gym for now is the exercise bike. I did a lot of work on the bike before my surgery. It's one of the main tools you use with ACL reconstruction.

I was warned before going that I would not likely be able to make a full revolution. Your knee just doesn't flex that much. So you "pedal" forward as far as you can go, then go backwards as far as that will go. It's very similar to stretching, something I'm very very comfortable with. I did heaps of stretching in my martial arts days and I really liked it. So this was familiar and comfortable territory.

So then the summit of the mountain before me would be to actually be able to "ride" the bike. The path to get there would be slow. Yesterday I was feeling pretty good... I'd progressed to the point where I could put the pedals vertical in reverse and level in forward. This was heaps of progress. I could barely move them when I started. But the bike is super effective. The progress I made each day was pretty stunning. Just ten to fifteen minutes payed off bigtime.

I was feeling pretty stellar when I hit true vertical today. I could feel the teetering on the top of the arc. It was great. Then, I pushed forward and went past level. I knew once those two angles met, kinda like a pie chart if you will, then I'd go all the way around. What a day that would be :)

Then back to reverse to see what past vertical would be like. I knew it would be just a little past, but that would be a very happy place.

Well, I tell ya, I about lost it when my foot just kept going... all the way around. Slow as hell, but holy *($*#@@#*$ YEAH!!!!!!!!!

I went a few times in reverse, then slowly slowly pushed through forwards. No pain. I wasn't overdoing it... I was there.

Ah, the little things :)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Back at the gym baybe!

Ok, I'm totally stoked today :)

I finally made it back to the gym! It's been three weeks.
There's just something awesome about actually being able to do something about your situation other than wait.

Till now, I've been in "recovery mode". I think of it as recovering from the trauma of surgery. I know many people dive right into things, but I just didn't feel like that was the wisest choice. My physio seemed to agree. So when she said I was good to go back to the gym, I was very happy. She gave me some very clear things to do and expectations. That helped a lot.

I knew to go straight to the exercise bike and not to expect to even be able to do a full rotation... which I most certainly wasn't able to do. But instead, to pedal back and forth as far as was comfortable. This seemed a lot like stretching to me, which I'm very familiar with from my martial arts days, so I treated it as such. And happily, it responded as such too. Very familiar territory :)

Stretching was one of my favourite aspects of martial arts... slow, consistent pressure. With patience it leads to measurable results. I know this world. I'm very comfortable here.

Oh, I'm so happy with my knee. I had to take a pic.
It's still swollen, but it's starting to look like a knee again!

This is my jury-rigged compression setup...

I got back to doing some upper body work as well.
It's just so nice to be back.
There's something about going TO the gym. You can do some of this at home, but there it's 100% focused. Everything there is set up for it and it's the only reason to be there. No distractions. Just work. Just get better. If I could ice my leg there, I'd stay longer.

Hrm... I should get a cooler! Bring some ice packs!
Oh, I like that one.
I like that a lot!