Let it

Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
Harvey MacKay

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Slow Limp to Freedom

"There are some patients that I have to crack the whip on, and some that I have to pull back on the reins. I think it goes without saying that you are the latter." 
Brian is my new physical therapist. He is excellent at what he does, and easy to get along with. I've been to see him 3 times in the past week. We chose to take the aggressive approach to therapy.

At 11 weeks post surgery, after 2 weeks of being up to 50 lbs weight bearing, I ditched my crutches a week early. I still wore my boot out of the house, but at home, I got to work using my ankle as it was intended to be used. It hurt some, but not in a bad way, so I took it as a go-ahead. At 12 weeks post surgery, Doc Chardack pulled up my x-rays and showed me the faint line around the outside of my talus that meant the bone was alive and growing. I did a seated happy dance. Then, he wished me luck and set me loose. No boot, no crutches. I asked him for a PT prescription. "I have goals. I have mountains to climb." He shook his head with a stifled smirk and wrote up the scrip. I walked to the car with a huge grin splitting my face. I turned in my knee scooter, tossed my boot in the back of the pirate van, and cranked the radio up. As I cruised down I-15, my eyes would skip over to the parallel Wasatch Range. My mountains. I spoke to them like old friends. "Soon. I'm coming." And then I cried. 'Cuz I do that lately... way too much.

The coming Friday, Katie and I took the kids geocaching up Skyline Drive in Bountiful. I needed to be up. I'd missed too much of Fall already. We spent a few hours driving, with frequent stops for mini hikes. It felt good to test what my ankle was capable of. I was careful, but not too careful. I tired quickly, but my soul felt fed. The fall colors were radiant. My kids were thrilled. Katie was the best company, as usual. I was so happy.

My mountain buddies.
I paid for it that evening and the following day. It was painful, but oh, so worth it.

On Monday, I met Brian. In a room filled with generic workout equipment interspersed with specialized therapy equipment and lined with massage tables.  We liked each other immediately. With measurements and prodding, and muscle tests he evaluated my needs and my progress. While he worked, we discussed hobbies and background, interests and goals. He declared me Wonder Woman and gushed about how incredible my healing and my capabilities were for the severity of my injury. Then he said it. Those words I had been aching to hear, but not daring to hope realistically for. "I am confident that we'll get you running trails again." They rang golden in the air and I smiled so big that my face hurt. I cried ugly, happy tears the whole way home. Of course I did.

Physical Therapy has been less painful than I had been led to believe. Brian says, "Hurting people is old school." I love going to therapy. Real movement followed by massage? Yes please. Me time. I want to push it harder. I want to work out, hike, go for walks, do interval training. But I find that the everyday mom stuff, as much as I've pared it down to basics, comes first and takes too much energy. At this point, it's one or the other. If I work out, or go out much, I can't make dinner. After a week of painful in between days, Brian strongly recommended that I take it easy in between PT sessions. The problem is, I thought I was.

I get frustrated. And when I do, I name the simple things I'm grateful for. The autumn colors, the sunshine, the mobility I do have. My leg is starting to have shape again. It's getting its curves back. My ankle looks like an ankle. A scarred ankle, but an ankle. That makes me happy.

It still hurts everyday. By evening it is swollen and sore, and shades of the old bruising come back. I ice and elevate and try to rest when I can, but life is demanding. Field trips, holidays parties, scout derbies, home school, house work. A busy day means a night with my foot on ice. And sometimes most of the next day with it propped up. How can my house be a wreck when I'm on my feet all day long?
I am frustrated. But I am grateful. I will run again. How long have I waited to be able to say that with confidence?

I just want to run. My heart throws tiny tantrums as I browse the images of my friends adventures. I wanna go! But my time will come. I keep on telling my mountains, "I am coming. I am coming! I'm just coming very slowly. "

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