Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The deal with my knee

When I stopped blogging in April/May, I was recovering from my knee surgery.  It's too bad I didn't document a little bit more as the months passed because it was kind of a major thing for me.  I'll have to try to sum up the major details, why it was hard and what I learned.  (I'll use some instagrams to help me out here...)

Major details:

I couldn't put any weight on it for 6 weeks.  So  I crutched EVERYWHERE and it was crazy trying to be a mom on crutches.  Crutching from the car to parent teacher conferences, band performances, track meets was awful.  Super awful was grocery shopping.  I totally used the driveable little carts and looked ridiculous but I couldn't wait for Ryan to do it.  He was full enough trying to pick up the rest of my slack.
I have a love/hate relationship with these objects. One one hand, I need them to get around.  On the other hand, I need them to get around.  #braceisheavy #crutcheareexhausting

Today's spring break activity: my 5 children push my wheelchair on our favorite trail to our lunch destination--Red Robin.  #nowheelchairshame #rolereversal

Prepping for my first post-op swim! #cardiofinally!

My handicart and I are a menace.  #theaislesaretiny #pricetagsandhangersareclingingtomycart

You know what this means? It means tomorrow I can start putting weight on my my left leg! #6weekspostsurgery #walkinghereIcome #ihatecrutches 

I was so happy to start Physical Therapy.  I am someone who likes to WORK on stuff when it's messed up and so starting exercises and stretches and therapy toward that end was huge for me mentally.  The day I could fully rotate my leg on a recumbant bike made me cry.

Look what I'm doing! #whenPTsaidyesIalmost cried!

There was almost no pain after the first two weeks.  The repair went super well and the pain meds seemed to work awesomely.  I was paranoid of dependancy (and wanted to get pregnant) so I only used one round of prescriptions.

The hugest problem was, and still is, my limp.  I am almost 9 months post surgery and I still limp.  It's gotten better...the first 6 months it caused major back pain.  I hardly notice it now, but others do and it makes me CRAZY.  No one can quite figure out why I limp.  It's either a straightening problem (probably the biggest cause in the beginning but probably not now) or a strength problem (Hip? quad? no one knows) or a mental thing (like, my brain has just gotten used to limping).  I kind of walked away from PT and doctors about 3 months ago because I'm hoping it will get better with time and the pregnancy doesn't help it and I'm just frustrated.  I can hike, bike, swim, run (I ran 3-4 miles a week August-November) but I walk like a gimp.  Grrrrr!

Just some picture from MY FIRST BIKE RIDE OUTSIDE #mayhavecryingatinybit #feelssogoodtobemovingmybodyNOTinagym

Why it has been hard:

  • I don't like being perceived as weak.  I hate that anywhere I go, people can see something is wrong with me.
  • I hate that I can't identify the problem (with the limp) and just work my hardest to fix it.
  • I hated giving my already over-loaded husband so much of my job.  It made me feel pointless as a wife.
  • Um, weight gain? Yeah.  Started the pregnancy 20 lbs overweight.  Not fun.
  • I hate having to talk about my stupid leg ALL THE TIME.  I'm not bugged that people ask, I just don't have answers and have to say the same stupid phrases over and over.
  • I hate not being the athlete I've always been.
  • I hated having to modify what I could do with my family, especially in the beginning.
  • Add that to morning sickness and other pregnancy ailments, starting in May, and it's been a rough year.

What I've learned/silver linings:


Just kidding.  Kind of.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the purpose is in this injury.  It's what I do.  I have a very fatalistic (things happen for a reason) way of looking at life.  It makes me to feel better about the hard things that life throws at you.  So, I've tried to look for what I'm supposed to be learning.  And it's not completely clear.

I've definitely learned a lot about service.  Those 6 weeks that I was non-weight bearing were humbling and sweet as I watched people give my kids rides everywhere, drop off dinner, babysit bored 4 year olds, stop by with flowers, leave plates of cookies, clean my kitchen.  This is what I learned:
1.  Doing something is all that matters.  It doesn't at all have to be the perfect thing (plates of cookies did nothing to speed recovery or help the housework get done--but it made me feel remembered and that is a service.)
2.  You have to just show up and start helping.  People who said "call me if you need me" were sweet but I never called them.  People who said "I'm bringing dinner one day this week.  Pick a day." or "I'm here and I'm cleaning your kitchen" were the ones who actually performed service for me.  It's been a huge revelation and hopefully has helped me improve.

These kids deserve thank you Notes for all the extra they've done around here the last six weeks. #luckymom #alsotakingthemonathankyoudate

I've tried to learn that my worth doesn't lie in my output or appearance.  Isn't coming easy, but I think that's why we have a long life, with lots of experiences...so Heavenly Father can teach us a small percentage at a time.

I've learned that sometimes I just have to endure.  I can't MAKE things change or happen a lot of the time.  I realized about 3 months ago that the reason the limp bothered me so much was because I, deep down, thought it was MY FAULT.  I thought if I'd used crutches longer, or did PT every day instead of every other day or didn't go to kick boxing, etc. that I wouldn't be limping.  Ryan laughed out loud when I told him that and said "what is it like in that head of yours?!"  I think this is a hard thing that just takes time to work through.

I knew I'd find a use for the 40 lbs of cranberries I accidentally ordered last November. #icepack

I learned a little bit more about compassion.  I can relate a teensy bit more to people with chronic illness, depression, physical malfunctions, surgeries than I did before.  I think there is great value in that.

So there's the summation.  I can't quite type "I'm glad I've had to go through it".  Wish I could.  I can type:  I'm glad my Heavenly Father knows me and trusts me to grow and change through trial.  I might still be limping along, but I'm getting stronger and better everyday...in my knee and in my heart.


Nurse Graham said...

Thanks for sharing this journey about your knee. I loved your last two sentences.

Elizabeth said...

I am so pleased that you shared this story. I think its really hard when your body doesnt do what you want it to ! I wish you a very successful complete recovery and I think you are a legend for the way you have handled it.

Lauren in GA said...

Okay, brace yourself (oh, unfortunate choice of wording and NOT meant as a pun) for my epic, "First World Problem". Our desktop died and we are all sharing a laptop and *sniff* my kids need it for homework so much that I don't get to comment the way I want to.

The reason I am telling you that is that I feel like I don't get to comment as quickly as I would like...and I have wanted to comment on this post for seemingly forever.

Simply put, I admire you so much and I appreciate the details of this trial. I learned from your words. I asked myself, "How many times have I said, "Call me if you need me." or the like...I need to make sure I just get in there and work. Sometimes I do a pretty good job and sometimes I don't, sadly.

Even though it has been, literally, "life altering hard" I appreciate your humor when you say things like, "I have a love/hate relationship with these objects. One one hand, I need them to get around. On the other hand, I need them to get around."

I can only imagine the frustration of having to field questions about your knee constantly. If only you could wear a sign that explains everything...or pass out a flyer when people ask to prevent you from having to repeat yourself ad nauseam. ;)

I bought the same exact, "thank you" cards which proves we both have impeccable taste.

I, of course, don't have a medical degree...and am sure your doctors have I'm sure thought of this...and know you don't need another person weighing in on the possible cause of your limp...but hopefully when your sweet baby boy is born, it will disappear somehow...maybe it is some sort of sciatic nerve trouble that plagues you during your pregnancy...

Okay, unsolicited diagnosis portion of this comment is over...

I LOVE that you look at life as a way to glean what Heavenly Father wants you to learn and know. I really and truly admire you, Jessica.

katie said...

I think you're amazing. And I will now spam your comments to tell you that. Trials stink. Your recovery sounds way worse than mine was in high school. And then you went and got pregnant. You are seriously sacrificing so much for this new little one. Hats off to you, Jessica.