Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 70 - No more Crutches and Ankle Brace!

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 - Week 18

Today I woke up to the same tender bruised feeling around my ankle. More of course on the right ankle side because that's where the metal is. I do the usual quick ankle turns and stretches before stepping out of bed. I'm noticing the tender bruised feeling is narrowing down and less spread out. It's now more on the area closest to the scar and ankle joints on both side of my right ankle. I didn't use my 1 crutch or ankle brace since a few days before my last week's Physical Therapy session. 

I got to Physical Therapy 15 minutes early this time. This time, for the first time I warmed up on the Elliptical! I did feel pressure on the ankle whenever I took the step down to maneuver each step. No resistance added to the machine. No pain, just pressure on every push off. It felt like a pretty good warm up because it sort of took my limp away. Yep, I still have a visible limp that is slowly going away.

Colleen did the usual measurements and said that my range of motion is looking very well and improving. She asked me about walking, how far I can walk and if I am in pain. No Pain and I told her I am confidently walking around without the need of my 1 Crutch and ankle brace! I do by the end the day with a bigger limp and feeling a bit achy. As expected by her and my surgeon, I will be off of it by the end of this month! Well, I still keep a crutch on my passenger seat just in case I do get too tired. So far in the past week I was ok and didn't need to use it at all! Good bye to my crutches and my ankle braces!

Next she asked me to do some squats. This time, I was less stiff on the top of my foot where it bends. I still can't fully bend it evenly with the other foot. Then she had me walk in a line from toe to heel forward and backwards. Next she had me try out a new heel raise exercise by placing my toes on the edge of the stair step and doing leg lifts. I am still wobbly and unbalanced as I always tend to lean to the right. Even with the standing with just my single right foot baring my entire bodies weight. I can only hold it for about 6 seconds at max and then I start to lean to the right. Again I feel the pressure tender bruised feeling. Clearly I need to work on my right leg muscles to get it strong again. Getting there. She also had me do some heel lifts on the Leg lift machine (behind the Elliptical machine in the picture above) using my own body weight. This time, she added one extra bar of weight and I didn't even know it! She wanted to test me out and clearly in just a week my ankle and leg is getting stronger. My right calf still is a chicken leg compared to the ginormous left calf. I wonder if the Chinese medicine really does work? I have to keep up with my exercises and stretches. I'm healing well so far, and hope for the tender bruise feeling to go away soon! I end my sessions with the usual bag of ice which I take to go with me after 10 minutes of icing it. I went outside to schedule my last 4 weeks, once a week sessions with Colleen! This makes my full 20 sessions! So far, Colleen didn't ask for more. Does that mean I'll be done after these last 4 coming weeks? I hope so!

Day 67 - Chinese Herbal Soup

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - Week 17

I woke up to a sunny day. As usual, I feel the stiff tender bruised feeling on my ankle. I do a few ankle turns to warm in up before stepping out of bed. Since my Physical Therapy session on Wednesday, I haven't used my 1 crutch and ankle brace! I'm feeling better by the day and improving. I still continue my ankle exercises and using the Chinese medicine. 

My mom calls me to pick up some Chinese Herbal Soup. She said it was good for my ankle. I never question her and just drink it. I never know what's in it. Sometimes I don't want to know. The last time I went to my grandparents to have dinner, they gave me soup and said it was good for my ankle. I asked what was in it and they said they'll tell me after. They told me it was frog! It's just so gross to me haha. I am very Americanized but still will respect their ways. It didn't taste too bad.

As I was walking back to my car after eating dinner at grandparents, I saw a handicap sign that made me sad and laugh at the same time. What does this mean haha?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 63 - Went to Physical Therapy without my crutch for the first time!

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 - Week 17

I woke up feeling great today! I feel my ankle getting stronger! It started to rain today, boo... I went to class without a crutch for the first time! I also didn't wear my brace the entire day! Colleen congratulated me for finishing my last Pool Class I had this past friday! This was my 14th Physical Therapy session and she had prescribed for 20. She mentioned depending how well I do, she may have me join in on the exercise classes. Starting this week, I've also gone down to going to Physical Therapy once a week now! I can't believe how fast this has gone by and how much I have progressed. I am so happy to hear this news =).

Colleen did the usual ankle flexing measurements and so far it's improving and looking well. I told her about how my ankle scar feels tight when I lay a certain way in bed. It's like a tight pinching feeling where the skin on the scar area feels like it's pulling. It's hard to explain really. She does notice the upper half of my scar area on the leg is a bit stiff with less movement on and around the scar area. Then she suggested cupping. I didn't know they had that there. She said that it would help pull and loosen the tightness on the scar area. So I went for it and gave it a try. This was exactly what the cupping material she used looked like. She first put vaseline on top of the scar area near the top of my ankle where it was tight, and suctioned the air and then my skin raised and looked like a red bruise. She then moved the cup up and down the scar. So our individual rooms has an open ceiling which means people can hear our conversations. My sentences during the cupping session was, "ow, ahh. haha, ticklish but not really. Too much!" Haha! This one specific part of my ankle was very tender, clearly the part where it is tight. She did this a few times and it felt uncomfortably good. Colleen said this should help to loosen up the tissue underneath the scar. It was really red after the few cupping sessions. So far it hasn't bruised up.

Afterwards, Colleen had me walk from one end of the room the the next. She wanted to see how my balance was. I still clearly have a limp and can see that I am taking a smaller step with my right injured foot and not fulling stepping off and rolling my ankle. The then tested me on walking a line from toe to heel forward and backwards. I always seem to lean to the right, still unbalanced. Then she had me stand on my right injured foot to see if I can hold my weight. I still am not able to fully do it more then about 6 seconds before I need support. Then we went to the leg press machine and did some heel lifts. I was starting to feel more sore then. I realize my right calf is still not as strong as I need it to be along with the bottom of my right foot. I am still not able to put my entire body weight on it quite comfortably yet. She prescribed me to continue these toe heel balancing exercises at home along with the single foot balancing to build up my strength to hold my body weight.

Here is an image of what my ankle looks like from the top view. As you can see my right calf is still smaller then the left. You can also see my right ankle is bigger because of the metal inside. The darker skin area on my right ankle side is from the dead skin scabs I got from wearing the cast for so long. Colleen said that the skin in that area heals a bit slower so the discoloration may stay forever but will fade in time. I'll see her again in a week!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 58 - Last Pool Class!

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 - Week 16

I woke up feeling good on my ankle today. The only thing that bugged me was my ganglion cyst on my left wrist haha! It came back from using the one crutch. This time, it is bigger then ever! It irritated me and I sort of felt the pain of it squeezing against my nerves. I'll try not to use the crutch so much and will need to massage the wrist so it goes away. Dr. Lundy said that he could drain it for me with a needle but only if it really bothers me. I'm ok for now.

I still wore my ankle brace and used my 1 crutch to get to Physical Therapy. There's this hill that leads to my Physical Therapy and using a crutch will help me get up that hill just a bit faster.

I came in early and ready for the Pool Class. I can't believe it was going to be my last pool class! I was so happy! I got in the pool and no pain! I was able to take the warm up lap walking around the entire pool circle and not needing to stay in the deep end anymore for the weight support. I was able to do all of my exercises without any bar support as well! I've really improved and Serena can tell. She's so proud of me! I've kept up with my homework and listened to Serena and Colleen with the continued homework therapy I needed once out of there.

My scar is also starting to look better by the day. Maybe Cocoa butter is working? I still see a bit of the rash scarring, the dark spots around the scar. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 56 - New Standing and Balancing Exercises!

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 - Week 16

I think I had a little too much fun being out and on my feet for too long on saturday for a few friend's 30th birthday. I have been sore ever since! It's a lot better today though. I've been using my one crutch and ankle brace for the extra support. Was feeling achy, bruised, tender, and the weird cold metal feeling. The best way to describe this feeling is like getting a shot of novacaine in your mouth. That instant pinch.

For the first time, a police officer came up to my parking spot and checked my handicap parking placard and my ID! I was able to get around without using my one crutch today in my session. Serena gave me a really good ankle massage this time. My measurements with the ankle bending up and down continue to improve. She's very impressed with my progress. Then she had me do more standing and balancing type exercises. She also looked at how I'm walking and correcting my steps by reminding me to use my thigh muscles to step fully and rolling off my foot from heel to toe when stepping. After the massage, I was able to walk with pretty much no limp! So exciting! Serena was very happy to see my progress. Next she had me walk up and down stairs. I was doing completely fine. Surprised how well I did, I even rolled my feet evenly stepping through each step. Then she had me try out the elliptical machine and I was so excited to find out I am ok with it. No pain!

Then she had me try this new exercise stretches using the TRX. This felt really good, got some good upper body workout too. After today, I was more sore then usual. Ended up limping a bit after my last exercise with the toe raises. Got some ice and off to work I went! I'll go home and continue my homework as well as using my Cocoa Butter on the scar and the chinese medicine my grandma gave me. I'm getting really close to walking without a limp!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 51 - Fifth Pool Class

Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 - Week 15

I woke up feeling very emotionally drained from what happened yesterday. I don't cry often and it really took a lot of my energy. I really just let it all out. My ankle is feeling better, walking around with a little limp still. I didn't need to use my ankle brace or crutch today!

I was the only one in class today! I had my very own private session, it was nice. I did the usual exercises and my fingers started to prune towards the end of class.

I still haven't walked my dog since I've gotten injured. My friend and mom has been walking her. She's getting a bit chubby haha. Poor Pebbles.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 50 - I cried...

Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - Week 15

I cried my eyes out today, I can't believe it. It wasn't because of pain. I finally am emotionally drained about my ankle. Someone I know for the past 2 months has been jokingly pretending to kick, hit, swing things, throw things, etc.. at my ankle. For those past 2 months I've cringed every time, gestured protecting my ankle hand movements, had an annoyed face, and asked kindly to please stop and said it's not nice. As I was leaving, he pretended to kick my ankle, then grabbed my 1 crutch to pretend swing at my ankle. I had to tell him seriously this time, please please stop, I feel scared every time he's around. I am seriously traumatized and do not like or want to have that feeling of being scared I will injure it again. Then I went to my car and cried for an hour. This person broke me today. I am not an angry person nor do I ever get mad. But when I do, I just cry... The fact that this is the second time I broke the same ankle caused by people accidentally hurting me was enough. I can't take it anymore and think this can be the third accident by another person. Especially one that won't stop from me asking to please stop. He may think it's a joke but it's not funny one bit. The fact that he knew it was bothering me made me made me more mad. I felt so disrespected. I have not once cried out of surgery nor the day I got injured and was in excruciating pain. This was it, I realized I was emotionally drained from staying so positive and working so hard to get well soon. In a moment, he takes that positive energy all away by joking around. I couldn't contain myself. Today has been an emotionally tiring day. I had to seriously tell him this time to please stop.

To those of you who are experiencing the same I am and going through healing from an ORIF ankle surgery, it's ok to let go emotionally and tell someone, your friend, family member, or someone close to you how you feel. I actually feel a lot better now that I've expressed my feelings to that person who's bringing me down. Be honest. Just have to get rid of the negative and surround myself with positive people. Since the beginning, I've been very positive, not upset about what happened, and looked forward to each day for more healing. I know this is a process and have accepted it. No point in feeling bad. Just have to keep thinking positively and keep up with the exercises and make goals to reach for. I will get back to my usual self in no time. So far my remedy has been funny shows and movies. This time around, I've turned into a Gleek. Glee is so addicting and sometimes very cheesy haha! Each day is a new day, keep pushing forward! 

Day 50 - First time without an ankle brace!

Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - Week 15

Today was the first day I went without an ankle brace! I woke up and felt even more better as each day passes. I was less stiff and did a few warm up movements before stepping out of bed. I was able to walk to my car without crutches, which I have been doing the past few days, and still brought a crutch to get to work in case I got tired at the end of the day. So far so good! Once the end of my work day came, I started to feel more tired and limpy. Yes, I still have this undeniable limp. My steps still look a bit wobbly. I just need to keep reminding myself to flex my right thigh when taking a step and the limp sort of goes away.

I started to massage my top of the leg next to my scar more. Since yesterday's physical therapy session with Serena, you can see, feel, and notice that it's a bit swollen and stiff. It feels a bit like a bruise on that area too. It is also a bit stiff and hard. After massaging it out, I do feel sore. You can see a bit of the swelling to the right of my scar just above my top arch. Notice also the tiny little bulge under my ankle, that is the part where I feel the tender bruise most whenever I walk. There's still pressure there. On the top of my ankle, you can sort of see a little bulge/indent, that's where the metal end begins. I've already put on some Cocoa Butter and continue the Chinese medicine. I will continue to massage my foot and scar, as well as keeping up with my ankle exercises everyday. I look forward to my pool class tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 49 - Tenth Physical Therapy Session

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 - Week 15

I felt good waking up this morning. Not as stiff as usual. I got around without using crutches! One of the crutch is in the car and the other one is downstairs in the living room. I'm getting around slowly. I made it to my 9:15am appointment with Serena for some land physical therapy. I only wore my neoprene brace to physical therapy and kept it off the rest of the day. She sees that I am doing well and can walk without my one crutch I brought! I got the usual measurements before and after the warm up stretches and massage. This time, the massage on the top of my leg really made me sore. I was pretty stiff on the top of my leg this time. It felt sooo good after. I was really warmed up and walked with less of  a limp. We now started more balancing exercises. I stood on the half yoga ball to balance. Did the side steps, foot in front and back, walking in a straight line toe to heal and backwards, and finally the leg weight machine to push my body while bending knees. Serena watched me walk and reminded me to flex my upper legs when taking so I am more balanced. It's weird to have to relearn to walk. I just had to remind myself to flex and the limping sort of went away. I'm still a bit wobbly but getting there. She took a look at my scar and notice it fading away.

I've started using Cocoa Butter on my scar since last week. I'm still waiting for the darkest part of the scar to fade away. This was the part where it bled when the surgeon removed the dressing the day I got my cast taken off. I still use crutches or one crutch for longer walks to wherever I need to get to because it's just faster to get around with. I'll continue to use the chinese medicine grandma gave me. My next session will be in the Pool. I love it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 44 - ~1 month follow up with Surgeon since cast came off

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 - Week 14

November 21, 2012 was the day I got my cast off! I can't believe it's already the new year! Time flew by so fast. I finally come in to see Dr. Lundy for a follow up after about a month and a week's worth of physical therapy to see how I'm doing. Before heading in, I went to buy an almond cake to thank and wish Dr. Lundy and staff for helping me. 

When I wake up every morning, I feel the stiffness around the ankle and need to stretch to warm it up before I step down on the floor to get up. It doesn't help that it's winter and cold right now. With the cold, it's definitely more stiff feeling. I need to continue my exercises diligently.

It was 9:15am, and I went straight to my room to wait for Dr. Lundy. He came to my room within minutes and then he began. He reviewed my scar, told me I had to keep at my physical therapy as this is a very crucial time to heal my ankle. Also to massage my scar incision area so the skin has movement. He sad that my ankle looked really good, not much swelling and that it will go down over time. It's looking really well. He asked if I was in pain and asked if I was still taking any pain medication. I told him I had stopped taking it 2 days out of surgery because I was able to take the pain and didn't need it. Then he said that I can ween off using the ankle brace by the end of the month! I was so happy to hear that! The brace actually lays right on top of the incision area which makes it uncomfortable at times. He also said, don't use the brace when I'm home but use it when I'm out or around a crowd to protect it. Luckily I still have a neoprene ankle brace I found laying around from my previous ankle injury. I will use that in replacement. So far it has been working well and a lot smaller.

This month end would make it my 2 months of physical therapy. If I needed more, then the physical therapist can send over a note to request for more sessions. We'll see how I do by the end of the month! I'll be back to see Dr. Lundy again in about a month for another followup. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 42 - Able to sort of walk around without CRUTCHES!!!

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 - Week 14


I'm am having a great start to this new year! Since a few days ago, I've been able to get around the house without crutches! However, I do still have a bit of a limp, but I am able to walk around very slowly! I've really missed driving and have been doing more of it.

I went in to my physical therapy follow up appointment with my original physical therapist Colleen. I can't believe it has been a month and a week since I her in my first appointment. I've made so much progress since! She started with my ankle measurements and went straight into massaging the ankle. It felt sooo good. After massaging, we did another measurement and of course I was more warmed up and flexible. 

Next, she had me walk without crutches to see how I was doing. So far so good, but still a bit unbalanced on the right ankle. She said I can graduate from not using crutches whenever I can but bring them with me in case I get tired. YAY!

Colleen reviewed my past exercises and would like me to start more balancing exercises. She moved me on from using the towel ankle stretching to standing leg and ankle stretches. This feels really good. 

She gave me 5 more exercises, another one was the toe and heel raises. This one feels really good too. I'll show the other exercises in my next post. More homework! I just have to keep walking to get use to not relying on crutches now. After today's session, I was a bit sore and got some ice to relieve some of the heat around my ankle. Great start to this year! I'm so happy!