It has been seven weeks since my femur fracture and I continue to progress in leaps and bounds.
The most rewarding advancement has been the return to my daily routine. Initially after Jonathan’s parents left, it took nearly an entire day to do the work I did in addition to my training. “Simple” house-hold jobs like laundry, cleaning, cooking, and tidying up for a family of five were quite difficult to accomplish with crutches, on my own. But I managed to find ways to function safely around the house to get it done and it began to get easier as my leg got stronger. Of course, I had help from Team DuChene. Now I am back to getting the kids ready in the morning, heading to the gym, lunch and quiet time with 3 yr old Leah, those house-hold jobs, after-school activities, dinner, and bed-time routines.
My spirits remain high but I am human and there are times I’ve felt a bit bummed. Missing planned races, not seeing my name on the Canadian team for the Commonwealth Games, and the occasional, “You should be careful” from people I hardly know has sometimes bothered me but has been short-lived. I look at where I’ve come from and where I’m going and expect it to be one serious come-back!
I’ve had many people contact me with their stories and the one thing I continue to believe and apply, in many areas of life, is to remain positive and not compare myself to others. Although possibly similar, every situation is unique. I choose to disregard the negatives and focus on the greater steps to come.
Initially, there seemed to be so many things I couldn’t do—stairs, walking, driving, standing on the broken leg and the obvious, running. But now running is about the only thing I can’t do. Every few days I am able to do something new, which is both encouraging and exciting. A few days ago I was able to take 5 or 6 steps, without limping and without my cane. Two days later, I completed 3×5 minutes of walking on the treadmill, hands-free! This morning I did my longest walk (with the cane) of 1 hour, followed by 30 minutes of cycling, which felt great. Every day the soft tissues are getting stronger and stronger.
I think I will be able to wean myself off the cane by 8 weeks, which will give me 4 weeks of steady and solid walking before I attempt jogging. In my mind I will take about 3 months to progress from jogging to running. I’ve often compared this injury to that of a pregnancy come-back but to be honest, I think this will be easier. Because I was back to my gym, physio and massage routines, less than 3 weeks after my surgery, I did not lose too much strength or endurance. Before the fracture, my resting heart rate (RHR) was 36, and when in my best shape it’s been as low as 29. For me, tracking this is a good fitness indicator. After my fracture, my RHR was up to 48 and now it’s down to 41. Getting there.
As for pain, I continue to be without it. The odd time I may experience some is when I quickly catch my balance on the fractured leg, usually to prevent a trip over one of the kids or dog. Ten legs around your two can sometimes do that! I guess I could say I’ve had some pain in the soft tissue in the left leg, as it has been built, but it is certainly very different and nowhere near the bone pain from the fracture.
In terms of set-backs, I have also been very blessed in this area. I did however, get a second infection in the same area as before. For those of you who know anything about surgery, particularly involving bones, you do not mess around with this. I notified Dr. Dill right away and we gave it a few days but it was not getting better as I likely had a dissolvable stitch that did not dissolve. So, off to the fracture clinic I went. Weak stomach? Stop reading here. As a parent, I’ve always believed in taking kids with you to appointments. They need to learn how to behave appropriately in such environments. However, this was one time that I had to go solo. After freezing the area, Dr. Dill essentially cut a tunnel, 1 cm x 1 cm in diameter and 1 inch deep. Yes, 1 inch deep. So much for what I thought would be something simple like removing a sliver! His wonderful nurse, Susan, assisted him in filling it with packing tape, and covering it with various layers to keep it clean, dry and protected to heal from the inside. At one point, Dr. Dill consulted with an infectious diseases doctor and did a swab to confirm that it was indeed a simple, external bacterial infection. If it was some other strange bacteria or infected internally, near the hardware or bone, we would have one very serious issue. I had to have the area changed 5 times in the first week. It is healing quickly, I am now finished my antibiotic, and hopefully I will be able to resume my pool work in another week or so. No rush.
I have missed the water but have still been able to get in 1.5-2 hrs of daily activity. At the gym I use the elliptical, stair-elliptical, bikes and treadmill. At home I walk outside and bike downstairs on rollers. The walking allows me to build those glute, quad and hamstring areas, necessary for running but does not create much of a cardiovascular workout as I can only get my heart rate to about 100 BPM. The other methods provide a great variety where I can usually keep my heart rate at about 150 BPM, allowing me to get back into decent form. I do some stretching and a variety of upper and lower strength training, nearly back to my original settings. Both Sherri (physio) and David (massage) think I have about 80% strength in the left leg. I am hoping that this previously weak left leg will be, and stay, at 100% in another 5 weeks when we expect to get the green light to run. Well, jog. In the evening, I am up to a 2:15 plank, 25 pushups, and a steadily growing variety of other exercises.
I have a bone scan on June 20 and my final ortho appointment with an x-ray on July 18. I am still enjoying this break but am mentally starting to really miss running. I know I am not ready yet but believe that my mind and body will be in sync when the time is right. #KristaStrong
Psalm 37:4-5 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.