January 21, 2010- Injury
It was a perfect day for snowboarding. The sun was shining, the snow was good, I was out by myself and had my i-pod...good stuff. I had been out for about 4 hours before I decided to head home. I was on my way to the lodge and hit one last jump about 3/4 of the way down. I went off the jump funny and landed off balance on a flat section of the hill. All my weight came down on my front leg (left) when I landed. My knee buckled and down I went.
Go figure...last run of the day.
I've read and heard tales of the noise that an ACL makes when it snaps. I'm sure I would have heard something had it not been for my i-Pod jamming away in my ears. Even without the noise I knew immediately that something was very wrong. I laid there for a second...trying to will away the pain. I started sweating, got shiver-bites (my daughter's word for goose bumps) and felt like puking. I was laying under the jump and was afraid of someone else landing on me and making a bad situation worse. And truth be known I was more stressed about laying there long enough for ski patrol to find me. No way was I going to get pulled off the hill on a sled. I had two main thoughts running through my head in a matter of seconds: 1. I'm screwed. This injury is going to impact everything and 2. pick yourself up and get to the car!
It took me a good 15 minutes, but I managed to get myself out of my snowboard and limped my way to the parking lot. It didn't occur to me that I should call someone to come get me. I wasn't thinking very clearly at this point. The pain was intense and I just wanted to get to the hospital. So I drove myself. 1/2 hour drive. My loving hubby met me there (we finally connected by phone when I was almost to the hospital) and wondered why I hadn't allowed ski patrol take care of me and why I drove myself. I'm still glad ski patrol wasn't involved, but I agree with him that I should have called for help and not driven myself to the hospital. I should not have been driving. I later found out my Mom was only minutes away at a local mall when it happened. Ooops. Lesson learned.
After a few hours in the ER and an x-ray they wrapped up my knee, set me up with crutches, gave me pain meds and a referral for follow-up. Off I went to do a whole lot of sitting still.
(The above photo is not indicative of my current skill level! Photo was probably taken ~18 years ago when I was riding almost everyday. I took a break from snowboarding when we had kids and was just getting back into it so I could teach my son how to ride. He's thinks Shaun White is the coolest ever and I kinda have to agree)
January 26, 2010- MRI
MRI. Not a fan. I'm claustrophobic. Thankfully I was in only up to my shoulders, but that was enough. Breathing exercises came in handy!
January 29, 2010- Follow Up Appointment/Blood Clots
Initial follow-up appointment with the surgeon. My ACL is completely torn and I have a grade-1 injury to the MCL. I also have some pretty good bruising on the bones surrounding my knee...not uncommon for an injury like this.
As the doctor was moving my leg and knee around he noticed that my calf muscle was very tender...not normal. He expressed concern about possible blood clots in my calf. I'm not new to blood clots. I had one 8 years ago after my c-section with my son. So, off we went to the Cardiovascular Department at the hospital for an ultrasound on my leg.
The ultrasound found 1 DVT (deep vein thrombosis) clot and 2 superficial clots in my left calf. Same location as my clot 8 years ago. Off to the ER to start a course of medication. Several hours later and refresher course on self injections of Lovenox we left the hospital. Back to the couch with my bum knee, Lovenox, Coumadin and growing frustration. Now I really have to sit still! As if I wasn't still enough before.
Thankfully my coumadin levels became therapeutic very quickly and I only had to give myself the shots of Lovenox for 3 days. I'll continue on the coumadin for a while with weekly finger sticks to check the medication level and make sure it's therapeutic.
February 4, 2010- Start of PT
Starting physical therapy 3x a week. My knee is really stiff and I'm not able to bend it very much...maybe 60-70 degrees...and straightening it is already a challenge. It hurts. I'm sent home with basic exercises, but I'm cautioned that we are going to take it slow because of the blood clots. Sweet. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to get surgery done quickly. Going slow is not what I wanted or envisioned. I was told to let pain be my guide and not to press anything too much. Ok...I'll play along and be the good patient.
February 15, 2010- Crazy Lady Therapist
The crazy Canadian lady substituted for my regular guy. She wanted to know why I was still wearing the monster leg brace and using crutches. I thought I was being the good patient and was doing exactly what I had been told to do. She said that if I don't push it it's never going to move. Good point. 2 hours later my knee was more swollen than when I started the session, but I felt good. I felt like I was getting somewhere. Thanks for giving me the green light to start doing more. I definitely felt like that day was a turning point.
Mid-February, 2010- Help at Home
I have a really hard time sitting still! This injury has forced my family to adapt. Everyone is stepping up and taking on new rolls...and I'm stepping back. Thanks to my husband the kids now have chore lists for after school, they've learned to vacuum ("learned" certainly does not mean they've mastered it....it's a work in progress) and they help with laundry. I realized just how much work I was doing before. It's not as if my family refused to help...it was self induced. I either didn't ask or didn't allow others to help. I have a bad habit of wanting things done a certain way so I just do it. Needless to say this is something I've been forced to work on because of the injury, but I think something positive can come out of this....a more balanced household and sense that everyone is contributing.
February 24th, 2010- Back on the Taekwondo Floor
Taekwondo has become a major part of my life the past 3 years. I am usually at the studio ~3-4 times a week training and assisting with classes. I love the sport, the people and the atmosphere. Being laid up at home and not being around the studio bummed me out the most. I missed working out and seeing everyone. I knew that the rest of my tournament season was done (ending in June). I already had plans for 2 regional tournaments (Feb and April) and was just starting to plan for one national tournament in Las Vegas (Mar). See ya...it was fun while it lasted.
After my doctor determined my coumadin level was therapeutic I started going back to kickboxing. Kickboxing...sitting on my butt. Not the same, but it's something. I was also going to our taekwondo leadership/instructor class on Wednesday nights and just listening. It depressed me watching everyone out on the floor, but it was worse not being there at all. After a few rounds of that I began to realize that I could still assist with instructing classes. I would obviously have to modify my teaching style and rely on verbal instruction a lot more. In the long run I know that this will benefit me. I'm sure there will be a learning curve associated with it, but I know what to do and now it's just a matter of getting it done. My instructor has been supportive...he went through the same thing a few years ago. So last Wednesday (24th) I assisted with a class for the first time in more than a month. It felt so good to work with the kids again and to be involved. I'm going to do what I can.
February 26, 2010- Check Up Appointment
Not good. I went into it too optimistic about having a surgery date set by the end of the appointment. Instead I was referred to the Hematology Department for blood screens/tests etc because of my blood clots. They want to evaluate the risk level for surgery and to see if I have a clotting disorder. I am glad this is happening for my kids sake. If it is some type of disorder it may be genetic and may be a concern for my kids later in life. With that being said I am beyond frustrated with these damn clots. Surgery may be put off for a while until the clots are settled and the medication has run it's course. No one will give me a general time for how long that may take...1 month....6 months? I am goal oriented. Give me a time frame so I know what to expect. I was pretty down this past weekend about the whole situation.
I plan to use this blog to write about my ACL journey. I've looked at some others and it helped to read what others went through. This will help me just writing about it and getting my thoughts out. If it helps someone else in the process that will be a bonus!