“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson
Wise words, Mr. Nelson. Wise words. Though I kind of wish that, instead of sharing wisdom, you’d share your stash. That would do more for my knee pain, I’m sure.
I’m kidding! Mostly.
I’ve covered a lot this week in terms of what I’ve been doing, but where has it all gotten me? I’ve had a lot of positive things happen, and I wanted to share them here. Here goes… in no particular order.
One. I have no pain at rest. For the most part, anyway. I do get achy if I sit at my desk or in a car too long. But it’s so much better than it has been since the big surgery.
Two. I am not taking narcotics. This is a big improvement because I was taking two Norco tablets just to be able to ride my bike a little over a year ago. In order to take the Norco, I also had to take Zofran, so it wasn’t a good situation.
Three. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night because of an achy knee. Sleep is SO helpful when you’re trying to deal with LIFE.
Four. I can (sort of) kneel. Which means I can do yoga much less awkwardly than previous attempts. This is something that continues to get better and better. I expect that I will eventually be able to kneel with no problems.
Four. I can swim 1.25 miles five times a week. Doing so means that I both swim and bike on the same day. So much activity!
Five. I can bike on consecutive days. The shortest rides I do now are 10 miles. This means that I can do at least 20 miles over two days and not want to tear my knee off. I’ve done higher mileage, but I try to spread those rides out over the week, rather than on consecutive days.
Six. I no longer have to ice my knee every day! Yep, you read that right. I DO NOT ICE EVERY SINGLE DAY. My cryo cuff and I are not breaking up any time soon, but I’m excited that we have some space between us now. I still ice fairly frequently (5-6 days/week), but this is a definite improvement.
Drumroll, please. This might not seem like the most significant achievement, but trust me. It is. I can do a full extension on the leg press. Full ROM! Do you know how long it’s been since I could do that? I don’t think I’ve been able to do that totally pain-free since I broke my leg. I’ve struggled mightily with it because, once I get to a certain bend, the pain is nearly unbearable. I’d been working with PT on doing leg presses above and below the painful point in my ROM. After starting over from scratch for the umpteenth time, I am now able to do a full extension. My personal trainer helped me figure this one out. I started doing them with 10 pounds. That’s it. I would sit there and feel like an idiot as I cranked out three sets of 10 with no more than 10 pounds. I did that for WEEKS. I then started adding just five pounds per week. I worked up to 30 pounds, and it’s still pain free. I’m sticking with 30 pounds right now; I’m adding more reps rather than weight.
I really like to focus on all the positive things, but it’s not painting an accurate picture if I don’t mention the not-so-positive things. I’m not going to go in depth here, but I do want to mention a few things. Stairs are still the enemy. I still have pain in three distinct spots in the knee: the lateral side near the top of my patella, right over the patellar tendon area and through the joint line on the medial side. These spots hurt at different intensities depending on the day. I still have explosive pain during a specific ROM (roughly between 20-70 degrees). Anything outside of this ROM is totally bearable, but it’s nearly impossible to do anything that requires bearing weight on a bent knee. I’m hopeful that the progress I’ve made this year means that I will continue to make progress and will see the pain go away.
I’m planning to continue doing what I’m doing at the moment. I think it’s helping, so I see no reason to change course.
So that about sums things up with what I’ve been doing and where I am now (thanks for hanging with me as I’ve been uncharacteristically prolific with the posting this week). There have been many ups and downs already this year, but there have definitely been more and more ups lately. I intend to stay on that trajectory.