This is part 6 of the story of my full meniscal repair surgery and recovery process. In all its raw and real glory, my best account of the journey I have been on. To those who may be facing this road, you can do this! In this chapter, we dive into the next phase of the journey as I am relearning to walk !
THE LITTLE “MARKERS”
DATE: November 18, 2019
WEATHER: -18, -25 with windchill in Red Deer, Alberta
SURGERY: Full Meniscus Repair on September 16, 2019
STAGE OF RECOVERY: 9 weeks, 3 physio sessions complete, still in brace
Let’s catch up!
It’s been one more month into the journey and I’ve definitely reached a few new milestones. Since we last talked, I completed two weeks at 25% weight-bearing and then two weeks at 50% weight-bearing. This just means that even though I’m starting to put my foot down, I’m still required to take 25-50% of the pressure off my leg, with my arms. All of this was still done using crutches or my walker, with a wheelchair to get me into the building for physiotherapy, and my knee brace worn most of the time.
When I initially was given 25% weight-bearing, I thought that meant my freedom was coming back. It didn’t really turn out to be much more freedom at all, and once again I think I had to accept the realization that this journey was so much more than I had been prepared for. When you get 25%, it really just means that you are allowed to touch your toe down when you’re brushing your teeth or lowering yourself to go to the bathroom or when you take a pause in the middle of walking. Being told I can do 25% was actually kind of a bummer for me but I knew I had to get through two weeks before I could get to 50%.
When my physiotherapist gave me the green light for 50%, that’s when I began to really notice some changes. Not huge leaps, but little daily markers that filled me with joy. Let me try to explain what I mean.
THE LITTLE MARKERS.
For the last 2 1/2 months whenever I would shower, I would have to carefully lower myself onto the shower stool and then lift my bad leg over the tub wall and gently lower it down to the bottom of the tub. Well about a week ago, I thought, what if I just stand facing the stool, lift my bad leg over the wall, place it down carefully onto the bottom of the tub and then sit on the stool swinging my good leg over after. Well I tried it. And guess what? No pain. FREEDOM.
Getting into bed fairly easily has become another little marker. Where I used to not be able to roll over at all onto my side, I am now able to do without much effort. I can also lay on my side for more than 10 minutes and I’m finding I don’t need to have a pillow in between my knees anymore.
“IT MIGHT BE THE SMALLEST THING, BUT WHEN IT HAPPENS, I KNOW IT MEANS PROGRESS”.
Another marker would be brushing my teeth. When I stand to brush my teeth I can now confidently stand with 50% weight distributed evenly on both legs without the left leg shaking or feeling like it’s going to give out. I still have my walker close by or use my hand to grip the counter but make no mistake, I am standing on two feet!
Those are just some of the little tiny (yet so significant) markers that I have noticed in the last couple of weeks.
AFTER 2 FULL MONTHS BY MY SIDE, WADE RETURNS TO WORK
Well kids, my sweet Wadey went back to work. This needs its own moment, because there aren’t the proper words to articulate my gratitude to him for all of this. For all the meals, the brace buckling, the medicine, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, tucking me in, helping me up, helping me out. Day in and day out, he never wavered in his support. It’s also worth mentioning that in the entire time I have known him, we had never spent this much time together. Normally his work has him up north 4 days a week, but this journey kept him working from home this entire time. What the two of us have endured these past 8 weeks has truly brought us closer than either of us could have imagined. He showed me the true meaning of “and sickness and in health” and for that and so many other reasons, I will love him forever.
The first day he left, I cried for much of the day. Yes, that’s wimpy. But being alone in the house knowing that you are 100% responsible for yourself was a big one for me. Even Ollie had gone to camp so it was on ME. Thankfully in the hours when Gav wasn’t at college he continued to be an amazing help. THANK GOD FOR FAMILY. That first week Wade was gone we made sure to keep the wheelchair very handy so that any time I left the bedroom to be in the kitchen or living room I would at least have a place to sit.
LEAVE THE WHEELCHAIR IN THE GARAGE
The second week he was gone I told him he didn’t need to put the wheelchair in the kitchen because I needed to start standing more. I will say that it was tough but I also have to push myself and not rely on the equipment as much anymore. Little by little I am seeing changes happening.
I am still not able to cook but I feel that will change in the next week or two. When you are at 50% you still have to use crutches or the walker to get around and it doesn’t leave you with any free hands to carry pots or pans or dishes or groceries. PRO TIP: Your arms get stronger! I have managed to make my morning coffee and I will say my shotput arm is getting pretty strong because I’m able to throw cheese strings and apples and water bottles all the way from the kitchen to land on the bed! Breakfast is served!
I have now completed three sessions with the physiotherapist (shout out to Nick at CBI), each one more difficult than the last. They tell me that I am on track and that the main goal is to regain range of motion as well as re-build the strength in my leg. All the shakiness that I feel will eventually go away as I continue to get stronger.
And so, the journey continues. Until then, I will say it again. When all of this is complete, I will NEVER take walking for granted again. EVER.
Talk to you soon! Meg xo
Want to catch up on the whole journey? Let’s start from the beginning!