This weekend I’m checking off TWO items on my Bucketlist! #11- Go wine tasting in Napa AND # 97 Participate in a Race! I’m doing the GUNBUNFUNRUN 5K which is part of the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in California. The sign-up was last November and sold out within hours. This race is extra fun because when you reach the finish line… they HAND YOU WINE! How great is that?
When I signed up for this race last November, I had just undergone double knee surgery and had no idea how plausible it would be for me to participate. I had double lateral and bi-lateral release surgery right before Halloween. Genetically, my kneecaps were tilted at a slight angle, creating bone-on-bone grinding so they ached all the time. It was to the point that most active things weren’t even an option — even just going on a walk around my neighborhood made them hurt. I had done all the physical therapy, arches in my shoes etc to avoid surgery, but finally after ten years of pain I’d had enough! I wanted to be able to be active! I’m young and healthy and enjoy being physically active. So, I decided to bite the bullet.
Dr. Anderew Cooper performed my surgery (He was an excellent surgeon and I highly recommend him and his team) and was fascinated to find that both of my knees had the same identical problem. Even after the bilateral release (where they cut through the tight retinaculum so the kneecap pops back up into place) he ended up suturing my kneecaps in place to keep them from moving during the healing process. Here’s me four days after surgery…
The healing process is supposed to be 4-6 months and it’s pretty intense. But they take you off crutches pretty quickly, within a few days, so I think that’s what made me think I would defy the odds and be back to my daily routine pretty fast. Also, did I mention that my son had just turned one?
The recovery was MUCH harder than I thought it would be. I have to give my husband HUGE kudos here because he literally saved me. I do not know how I would have made it that first month without him. He basically took everything over. And I mean everything. I am insanely grateful to him for not only taking care of the kids and and working at the same time, but also taking care of me and shuttling me to and from physical therapy. Plus I couldn’t drive for a while so he had to take me everywhere, and I’m the kind of girl who goes a little stir crazy after one day of not leaving my house. I cannot overstate how much he did and how thankful I am for all of his efforts.
Here’s a glimpse into a few of those days the first couple months:
This is the BEST part of physical therapy. Cold water is pumped into these compression wraps and they get really tight and since the water is so cold, it numbs your knees. Underneath these are little pads that generate small electrical pulses. It sounds like this would be torture, but it felt amazing, especially after a hard physical therapy session. Let me tell you, I will never again take walking for granted!
Ice- or rather, PEAS! They are your best friend during recovery! We also moved three months after I had surgery. I know. I’m freaking crazy. You can see we were packing in that picture.
This is kind of funny. Here’s proof that I voted. With sexy compression socks and all. I was still on crutches for that escapade.
This is actually the BEST way to ice. I’m totally a pro, so here’s what you do- Get FOUR bags of peas, a few paper towels, an ace bandage and a bunch of pillows. Arrange pillows so you can place your legs on them in an elevated manner. Wrap the paper towel around your knee, so the peas aren’t directly on your skin. Then place one bag of peas on the front of your knee and one on the back. Using the ace bandage, secure peas into place. Wrap TIGHT so it creates good compression. Elevate knees on pillows for 15-20 minutes. I had 8 bags of peas to rotate so I always had ice cold bags ready. Eventually, you can do this whole process by yourself.
This is what the scars looked like after a few months. Thankfully they are much lighter now. Swelling is the biggest problem with this surgery and its a really fine line between how hard you can work your muscles without causing them to swell more.
Keeping your legs elevated helps. So does coffee and snuggles with your doxie.
Starbucks also helps.
SO. I’m doing the 5K this weekend and I’m thankful I can walk again! They say you never really appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore, and so many things are connected to being able to bend and put pressure on your knees! I’m so glad I can walk again! I’m excited to be working toward the level of physical activity that I want in my life.
***I want to mention I’m going do my usual blog just once a week for now. I want to make sure I’m allocating enough time for writing and editing my books! I will keep posting my reviews of books I read whenever I finish them and this will also free up some time for me to do posts on writing that I feature on my Tips for Writers page.
I hope everyone had a fabulous week! By next Tuesday I’ll have crossed off two items on my Bucket List! YAY! Here’s to recovering from surgery and wine in Napa with amazing friends!!