Have you seen the Beats “Hear What You Want” commercials with Colin Kaepernick or Kevin Garnett? The song is pretty catchy, but I’d not heard the full version of “I’m the Man” by Aloe Blacc until recently. Now, it’s my new motivational song (despite my not actually being a man). Granted, I don’t have hordes of hateful fans throwing things at me, but I do struggle daily with myself. I’m an optimist where most things are concerned, but it’s hard not to get a bit down from time to time after nearly four years of pain, surgery and rehab. So when I have those moments, I like to crank up the tunes and let my mind stop thinking. Just let it go blank. My entire gym jam list consists of motivational, upbeat songs that help me just do one more thing one more time. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
Somewhere I heard that life is a test
I’ve been through the worst, but I still give my best
God made my mold different from the rest
Then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed
Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
It’s time to do what must be done
And be a king when kingdom comes
Yesterday was a good day. I got my stitches clipped, so that’s something. Incisions are almost entirely healed, and I didn’t need steri strips. It’s the small things. #winning
I also had my second PT session of 2014 yesterday. I’ve progressed well, and I’ve already recovered full range of motion at one day shy of two weeks post-op. I no longer have to do the towel stretch, heel prop or quad sets. We started the day off with hamstring and quad stretches. I just started these, per my PT’s instruction, five days before my appointment. My PT had to run back to her office for a quick minute, and when she came back, she sat down with her eyes wide. I was afraid that I’d done the quad stretch incorrectly. Screwed something up. Imagine my surprise when she said, “I’m going to leave you alone with your exercises more often. I had no idea you could do that!” My quad stretch was good. My hamstring stretch wasn’t too bad either. The yoga that I picked up a few months ago might have something to do with that.
I’ve been pretty damn good about sticking to the program this time. It’s taken every last ounce of willpower, but I’ve managed to stick to just the prescribed exercises for the prescribed length of time. Except once… I was told to only do the bike or walk for eight minutes, starting in Week Two. Of course, my choice was the bike. Always will be the bike. I did a good job of sticking to the prescribed time limit, except one time on the third day. I pedaled for eight minutes and twenty seconds before I talked myself out of trying for 10 minutes. I copped to my indiscretion, and my PT’s response made me laugh. “It’s ok to let your inner control freak fly for 20 seconds. That’s not going to hurt you. Just don’t go crazy.”
I had to take a minute at the end of our time together to acknowledge just how much she’s helped me in the last six months. To say a quick thank you for sticking with me. I was better prepared for this surgery than the previous ones, and it shows. I was telling her how relieved I am to be on this side of the surgery and doing well because I’d been so afraid in the weeks leading up to the surgery, not knowing what to expect. She said, “It’s nice when the ball starts rolling downhill after it’s been going uphill for so long.” Yes, indeed.
Week Two exercises are below. I’m capturing these because I want to be able to look back and appreciate how far I’ve come each week.
- Easy cardio: walk or bike for up to 8 minutes (add 1-2 minutes for Week Three)
- Wall sits
- Squats (This one is two-fold. I’m doing quarter squats and sit-to-stand exercises to stay out of the painful ROM.)
- Isometric knee extension (90o to 60o while sitting)
- Straight leg raises with 3-5 lbs
- Calf raise with the knee bent (this should help with balance, too)
- Side step with theraband (you can find them at Dick’s Sporting Goods for less than $20)
- Calf stretch
- Hamstring stretch
- Quad stretch
We cut out the step-ups that I was supposed to start on Week Two because ouch. I immediately had pain with just a 2-inch step-up, so I asked if I should just do them anyway. Nope. Not unless I could make them pain-free. I tried different heights, different surfaces, doing them at different times in the routine and at different times of the day. The only thing to make them pain-free is to not do them. So I’m not doing them. And that’s ok… for now.