My last few blog posts have updated you all that I am nursing what is thought to be an ACL tear in my knee. After 9 months of physios, specialists and surgeons, I had it confirmed that my ACL was completely torn.
Another 4 months on, I am now recovering from my operation and my ACL is on its way to being healed. They took a graft from my hamstring to repair the ligament and my recovery is going great guns.
Let’s take a look from the beginning. Since doing the damage on April 12th 2013, I was not aware until I’d woken up after my surgery that I had torn my ACL completely. There were plenty of assumptions made on what was wrong within my knee but an actual diagnosis was never given.
The unknown diagnosis was playing with my head and I wasn’t as motivated as I have been, to keep exercising. That’s why I signed up to go to gym. I thought this may keep me motivated until I had my operation. I signed up in the new year and still had not had an clarification on when my operation was going to be. I hit it hard. I went almost every day for the first 3 weeks of January. I was loving it.
I’d already been waiting 4 months for my operation I had called the hospital a few times in that time and asked for an update. The only thing they could tell me was that I was on the list, but no date had been allocated. I got a phone call on the 23rd January from the hospital (only a couple of days after my most recent call for an update) and they were pleased to inform me that they had a cancellation on the list and I had been put in that spot. I listened to the nurse tell me some important information, everything apart from when it would actually be. After all her spiels, she finally gave me a date, January 31st. I said to her, that’s next week. She said “Yes, it is. Is that going to be a problem?” I didn’t even consult my work or my boss, I just said no, it was fine. The nurse concluded saying she would post me off the details of the surgery then hung up.
I was excited. Ecstatic even. I skipped around the office for days. Everyone was confused on my surgery was of such exciting nature. I had been waiting 9 months for this. Not the surgery, but just an answer to all my questions.
The week leading up to my surgery went slow. Just like all things you are waiting for. They take what feels like months to arrive. Finally, Friday arrived and I needed to be at the hospital at 7am. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to sit around for too long. After holding back some tears (finally feeling my nerves) I filled in all my paperwork and sat in the waiting room for hours. Not just what felt like hours, actual hours. The first waiting room, I sat there for about 2 hours and then got moved to another waiting room in which I sat there for another 2 hours. After being there from 7am, I finally got the call at about 12.00pm. I said goodbye to my mum (fighting back tears again) and went through to the ward.
I got changed into the sexy night gown they give you, with no back and text my mum, boyfriend and best friend that was about to go in. After being wheeled into the corridor to theatre, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I was now terrified. There was no one there to hold my hand this time. All the nurses were really caring, trying to calm me down, saying my operation was standard and I had nothing to worry about.
Everyone I had spoken to had told me that they ask you to count backwards from 10 when they administer the anesthetic to you. All I remember is the doctors and nurses asking me to tell them my name for the paperwork. I was out cold.
I do remember waking up in recovery at about 2.30pm and I was in pain. A lot of pain. I had multiple doses of pain killers and was asked to rate my pain out of 10. My pain took hours to come even close to a 3, which was the acceptable limit to be moved from recovery to a ward. My mum came to visit me on the ward after I was moved. She stayed for a while but there wasn’t much she could do.
I had a nurse check on my every hour for ages which was annoying because all I wanted to do (after I’d eaten) was sleep. The doctor also came in and informed me that my ACL was quote knackered unquote. For all the pain I was in, I had only assumed that was the case.
My boyfriend’s dad came in and brought me chocolates but didn’t stay too long. He could tell I wanted to sleep. When I was due to sleep, I was given more pain killers that would also help me sleep. HA! They actually kept me awake. I watched the clock from 8.30pm until 12.00am. After that I called the nurse and said, please give me something else. I am exhausted. They swapped my meds and gave me a sleeping tablet. I didn’t get much sleep, having to stay on my back and not move. The nurse checked me every four hours after that.
Breakfast came which meant I would be coming home soon. Yay! The hospital physio came around and brought me some crutches to use. Finally, I didn’t need to be wheeled around everywhere. She took me for a small walk around the ward to make sure I was okay on the crutches and tested me going up and down on some stairs.
My boyfriend was in around 11am to pick me up and take me home. I had to wait to be signed out to I munched on some lunch but not long after that, I felt very light headed and needed to be laid down before I passed out. There was a delay in the surgeon signing off my xrays so I could leave but I wasn’t in any state to be going anywhere fast.
After I was finally cleared, I was feeling good enough to go home. After being wheeled out and put in the car, my gorgeous boyfriend produced this. A small inflated balloon which had a cup of lollies attached. So cute. I did make me smile even though I was in a lot of pain. I stayed at his house that night and the night after because my parents had already planned to be away. He was great in looking after me and his family were amazing. His mum even bought me flowers. Naw!
I had called my boss after I got the news from the doctor and told him I wouldn’t be in for that week but I’d do my best to be in the week after. That didn’t end up happening. I had 2 weeks off work. I did try go in after a week but I was too exhausted and wasn’t very productive. It wasn’t busy anyway so the boss told me not to worry about work and just go home and get better.
I took a photo every day for the first 2 weeks so I could keep track on the progress. My bruising got worse and worse. They were the worst bruising some of the doctors and nurses had ever seen from an ACL reconstruction. I have no idea on what they did during the surgery but it must have been rough.
From 14 days post surgery, I have been seeing a physio every 2-3 weeks. My recovering is flying along and was able to walk almost properly after only 6 weeks. I had been told by my physio that another lasy he was helping (who had the same surgery) was still off work and on crutches. That made me feel great.
My progress has been phenomenal. After 8 weeks, I was allowed to go back to gym on light duties. At 12 weeks I was given the okay to run. At 16 weeks, I was told I was allowed to start kicking a football. At 17 weeks and 2 days, I ran my first 5km again. (Although I was in a little bit of pain a few days afterwards). Now at 18 weeks (and 3 days), I have kicked a football and it felt great. They were only small passes back and forth between my boyfriend and I but I haven’t done that for over a year without pain.
The downside to my operation and lack of motivation, it that I have put on 5kgs. My goal now it to get back to my pre-operation weight, then hit my pre-operation goals. However, one step at a time.
I have started my running sheet again and am doing my best to stick to it. I have given myself a target of 20km running for the month and attend gym 10 times (excluding my boxing sessions). It is a reasonable goal, so I just need to stay motivated. Currently, I’ve only ran 5km and been to gym 2 times (and 1 boxing session) but it’s a start.
I also need to stay motivating to eat well, which I haven’t been doing. I keep saying next week, next week but there is not more next week. There is tomorrow. If I take a step backwards, there is no next week. There is the next meal. Start again, minutes later. Not days or weeks.
At Day 129, It’s all up from here, right?
It’s good to be back.