Me and My Trimalleolar: 11 Months and Moving Right Along

Pacific Grove post trimalleolar fracture

Stella and Kenda at Pacific Grove

Tomorrow, June 3, 2012 marks 11 months since T-day.  I promised somewhere earlier in this blog that I would report back, that I wouldn’t be one of those people who heals through this thing and leaves without an update.  Well, I haven’t done such a great job at updates.  So, in an effort to keep my word, here’s a quick catch.

December 15, 2011:  On my birthday I ran my first mile since before the accident. It hurt.  It took 16 minutes.  I can crawl faster than that.  Then my hubby took me and Stella to the beach for some fun.  I completely stopped wearing my hiking boots shortly thereafter.  While I felt vulnerable in regular shoes, I needed to cut the ties (or shoestrings) and let go of the boots.

January – February:  Continued to build strength and continued PT.  Thank goodness for health insurance that allows for unlimited sessions albeit with a battle and a $1300/month premium.  Dorsiflexion = almost back to normal.  Plantarflexion = not so good.  My left ankle plantarflexion measured in at about 46 degrees compared to the 64 of my right ankle.  Walking down hills and steps remained an issue despite the fact that I worked on it every single day trying to loosen up the tendons and break up scar tissue.

March 12, 2012:  I ran 4.5 miles in 46 minutes.  I felt like puking, but I did it anyway.  THEN, I felt great!  It was so nice to get back in touch with my inner Kick-Ass.

March 19, 2012:  I ran 5 miles – this was my goal.  yeah. baby.

Between the end of March and the beginning of May (6 weeks total), I traveled in Europe for both work and pleasure.  It was cool to be able to walk around.  It was scary to walk on wet cobblestone.  But because it was so cool to have the ability to walk, I dealt with the cobblestone thing.

I don’t think I’ll ever take walking for granted again.  My ankle is not 100%.  I sometimes wonder if I’ll go a day without noticing my ankle or feeling tightness and some discomfort.  My plantarflexion is still very tight.  My PT suspects some type of adaptive tendon shortening.  My big toe doesn’t bend and has very little strength (as evidenced by my inability to pick anything up with it).  While the plantarflexion has definitely improved, it’s probably only about 80% of the “good” foot.  Let me rephrase that.  I only have about 20% to go.  I’m still numb from my big toe to about the middle of my second toe and down the right side of my foot, BUT I have noticed lots of tingling the past couple of months and new sensations.  I do believe the feeling is returning.  This is good, because having a numb big toe feels weird in shoes.  Which probably sounds curious, but yes, numbness feels weird.

I still get very stiff, and my calf muscles easily get tender.  There’s something going on with my Achilles, hence the calf muscle tenderness.  The scars are healing fairly well.  I rub scar cream on them everyday with the hopes that I’m also breaking up scar tissue on the inside.  They (the scars) have only seen the sun once as I’m trying to prevent them from getting any darker.  It still swells on occasion – especially if it’s hot and if I’ve spent a long time on it, but otherwise, it’s almost back to the same size it was before.  Every evening when I sit down to watch a movie with my hubby (yes, we watch a movie almost every evening), I spend the entire time stretching, doing the Alphabet, massaging it.  I foresee a lifetime of special attention to this foot, but then again, that’s not a bad thing.  I try to give lots of attention to my other foot too, as not to make it jealous.

I have learned that…
1   Time really does heal ankle wounds.
2.  Sometimes all I can do is cry, and that crying is one helluva fantastic way of healing assuming that it doesn’t go on for too long.
3.  I can get PTSD from this type of trauma and can begin to heal through it.
4.  Some kind of innocence is lost after a serious injury and it slowly gets replaced with another kind of wisdom and more caution.
5.  I can feel metal in my bones, and I don’t like it.
6.  I can have the metal removed as I plan to do on July 18, 2012.
7.  It’s okay to be afraid as long as it doesn’t stop me from living the way I want to.
8.  What might seem like a desperate eternity when I was couch/bed-ridden and unable to be mobile is not an excuse for bitching but an opportunity to sit down, shut up, and practice the art of being.
9.   It is possible to muster up strength, a bit of courage, and even a little humor while in tremendous pain, and that all those things help make the pain feel less painful.
10.  A good diet helps the healing process.
11.  Loved ones help the healing process and how important it is to accept support graciously (still working on this).
12.  I have a friggin’ awesome husband (tho I knew this already).
13.  I have fun, funny, loving, supportive friends and family (I knew this already too).
14.  In general, stuff I read on the internet about illness and injury is more damaging than the actual illness or injury.
15.  I should’ve listened to my husband and avoided reading stuff on the internet about Trimalleolar Fractures.
16.  One day a year will pass and I can look back with utter relief and gratitude that the worst is over.
17.  To watch my step and appreciate my body’s capabilities.
18.  About 98.5% of my limitations reside in my brain and not anywhere else -including my muscles, tendons, and bones.

There you go – that’s my update!

Overall, I’ve healed very well and life is very good.  I’m moving right along – ONWARD!

To see all the  posts in the trimalleolar series, click away!  Things DO get better!

Post #1 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Life-Changing Tripulation
Post #2 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Transcending the Funk
Post #3 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Tiny Bubbles of Progress
Post #4 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Healing Ankle
Post #5 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Talus All About It
Post #6 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Week of Firsts
Post #7 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Cast of Characters
Post #8 Me and My Trimalleolar:  9 1/2 weeks…
Post #9 Me and My Trimalleolar:  The Screw, Some Scars, and a Busted Uvula
Post #10  Me and M Trimalleolar:  Walk a Mile in My Screws
This is Post #11 Me and My Trimalleolar:  11 Months and Moving Right Along
Post #12:  Me and My Trimalleolar Go to Mexico…with my husband and our pooch

12 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: A Week of Firsts Travels and Tripulations

  2. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: Cast of Characters - Travels and Tripulations

  3. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: 9 1/2 weeks… - Travels and Tripulations

  4. Pingback: Me and My Trimalleolar: A Life-Changing Tripulation - Travels and Tripulations

  5. So enjoyed your story! I read it from beginning to end, and it helped me smile. Not so easy, as I’m almost three weeks out of surgery and just beginning my journey. I spent the first week and a half crying. Deep mourning for an entire summer’s hiking and sailing and swimming lost to a “garden watering accident”. Thanks for all your insights. You reminded me that time really does heal everything, and all you really need is patience and a can-do attitude!

    • Hello Kelly,

      Welcome to the blog! I’m sorry for the circumstances, yet I’m glad you’re here.

      Three weeks out ORIF – that’s a big deal and probably the hardest part of this journey. A “garden watering accident.” I sense a good story in there somewhere. The summer might be tough as it seems you keep yourself active with outdoor adventures. Your new activities now will be all about healing and keeping your body strong. It may not seem like it now, but I feel fairly confident in saying that you will look back on this one day with great relief and a newfound sense of accomplishment for overcoming an incredibly difficulty. People around you who haven’t had this experience may not fully understand the pain and the struggles or even the excitement that comes with the “wins” along the way. Here, we do.

      Yes! Patience will be your friend! The can-do attitude helps tremendously! Mostly, be true to yourself. During those moments you’re feeling crappy, let yourself feel crappy. Crappy passes faster (IMO) when you acknowledge it.

      Keep us posted on your progress if/when you feel like it. I’m always grateful to know when a fellow T-mal emerges from the muck and is back on her feet!

      Cheers to you and your healing!

      Kenda

  6. Hi Kenda, I really enjoyed reading your story and reliving some of my own earlier horror/fear/amusement.

    I’m 11 weeks post ORIF for a tri mal. My only saving grace was I did not need a screw on the tibia side as my surgeon truly wanted to avoid that. I just started walking this week with the lace-up brace vs. das boot and it’s a new world of pain. I am struggling with dorsiflexion and happy to read how well you’ve progressed.

    Is Stella a long-haired Weimaraner by chance? My faithful companion during my recovery has been Ozzy, our LH weim. I finally took him for a walk on my own this weekend. I think I annoyed him with my slow and halting gait but it felt great to be out again on my own power.

    Thanks again for the inspirational read!

    • Hello Rebecca!

      Wow. I think you’re doing great – you’re already walking Ozzy (love that name!). We’re not exactly sure what Stella is. She’s an SPCA variety. We’re fairly certain Aussie/Border Collie with a dash of lab and a sprinkle of human. She was super silvery as a puppy, so you may be right about the Weimie part. One day we’ll do the DNA test. It’s good to have a faithful companion during times of horror/fear/amusement. 🙂

      I love what you wrote “….to be out again on my own power.” How true in so many ways.

      Hang in there with the dorsiflexion and keep at it even outside of PT as I’m sure you are. I feel confident it’ll come back. With a furry friend to walk, you’ll have lots of opportunity to practice.

      Keep us posted?

      Hopefully my messages are posting. We’re traveling with not-so-good internet.

      To your healing!

      Kenda

      • Hi Kenda,

        Thanks so much for taking the time to write back while you were traveling! I meant to tell you, Santa Cruz is one of our favorite places. You can walk everywhere! I hope to be able to get back to that. 🙂

        I know it’s been awhile since your break, but I think I read you had issues with your big toe not moving well. I’m having the same thing and it’s so frustrating! It’s just so darn tight, I usually can’t bend it much and it causes a bit of pain walking. I’m hopeful you aren’t still experiencing that issue and it’s just a matter of time.

        Enjoy the rest of your summer and hugs to Stella!

        p.s. I kind of miss the boot. With the brace, it just looks like I’m sloppy and wear the same pair of New Balance shoes with every outfit!

        • Hi Rebecca,

          My pleasure!

          Ahhh yes, Santa Cruz. One of my favorite places too. We now live in Southern Oregon and dream about the weather there!

          Oh I remember those days of frustration with lingering tightness and discomfort. It’s no longer like that and hasn’t been for many years now. Everything is working well with no pain. Keep up with your PT and pamper your foot and ankle when you can. I remember spending time (usually while watching a movie at night) massaging my foot, toes, and ankle.

          Your boot comment made me laugh. It definitely helps to have a sense of humor. Maybe every now and then you can whip out the boot for some validation that you’re not sloppy! 😉

          Stella received your hugs and sent you several wags back!

          Keep us posted on your progress!

          To your healing!

  7. Thanks for writing your story! I’m 17 weeks after bi mall fracture. I started weight bearing 7.5 weeks post op and am doing great with ROM, but when I dorsiflex my ankle makes a grinding feel/sound. It may be from a lumpy mass on the front lateral of my ankle. You have any noises, scar tissue, or front tendon problems?

    • Hello Nancy,

      Thank you for joining us, and I’m sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.

      Wow – you seem to be doing great weight bearing 7.5 weeks post op!

      I recall an annoying grinding sensation early on in the process – scar tissue is what I was told. I kept working at (like massaging the area) and I also did some acupuncture and FSM. Eventually it went away.

      Are you able to or interested in any alternative treatments? It might help. Always consult your OS or PT first.

      Keep us posted?

      Cheers to you and your healing,

      Kenda

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