Monday, December 29, 2014

All American Surgery Recovery - Week Three Update

Merry Christmas! Christmas Day was the three week mark for me. I hope any of you who read had a wonderful Christmas holiday spent in whatever way makes you happiest, and if you don't celebrate the holiday hopefully you had a great and relaxing day off :)

This week was full of ups and downs. If I am realistic, I can see that there has been improvement, but it feels like there is still so far to go. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it isn't even January yet and I spend 3/4 of the month still in my hard cast!

Last week's goal of successfully managing the car ride to my in-laws in Connecticut went really well. We had me propped up in the back with lots of pillows and blankets, plus extra crackers, ginger ale, and ice packs. Since I was behind my husband, conversation was a little tough, but we had Amy Poehler's "Yes, Please" on audiobook to keep us company. I highly recommend it! Plus, when we got to the house, I got to spend most of my time on the couch cuddling with the family's two basest hounds. Pretty hard to complain about that!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Surviving the Holidays While You're Laid Up

This year is a little different for us in terms of holidays. The last couple of years, my now husband and I have split time between my family in Iowa and his family in Connecticut. Usually we drive to his parents house, fly from Hartford to Des Moines, spend a few days with my parents, then fly back and stay with his folks. It has worked pretty well, until I decided to throw a wrench in it and get my foot chopped open.

Because of my inactivity and limited movement, I am considered a higher risk for blood clotting. Part of this means I've been instructed to take an asprin every day, but I also am restricted from flying for the three months after the surgery. And since I definitely can't manage the 18+ hour car ride it'd take to drive home, this will be the first year that I don't go home for Christmas.

It is definitely a bummer, and I am really not happy about it, but luckily my in-laws are awesome and have completely welcomed me into their home. Even then, maneuvering around with my foot in a cast has been pretty tough. Here are some tips that so far are helping me manage, and hopefully will help you as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

All American Surgery Recovery - Week Two Update

All the pretty colors, plus 2/5 of my incision sites
Yesterday I had my two-week follow up with the surgeon's PA. We took the soft wrap off, removed the stitches and staples (ouch!), took a couple of x-rays, then I got my new shiny hard cast.  The PA walked me through the different procedures that they done, explaining the incision on my inner left calf that I hadn't expected (lengthening my Achilles tendon) and we talked about restrictions on the recovery. The bad news, I am allowed to do upper body weight lifting, but no cardio. That sort of kills my goal from last week to get active again, but I'll readjust for this week).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Find Your Disney Age

The "can we fit four people all over 5' 7" into one teacup" tradition
A friend asked me why I'd decided on a Disney half marathon as my recovery goal. Why not one of the many, less expensive races closer to where I live?

Hi, my name is Jenna, and I am a Disney addict. My family loves Disney. Even stating that seems silly, because anyone who knows us understands this to be true. My mom visits the parks annually, with the rest of us tagging along as often as possible. Quotes from various movies get thrown around the house, and anyone with a shred of wisdom quickly realizes that a game of trivia will not end well for them. Depending on my mood, I have different Disney movies that are my go-tos, or that are associated

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Staying Healthy While Immobile

My view for two weeks
One of my biggest concerns going into this whole surgery recovery ordeal was making sure I was able to stay as healthy as possible. Because of the pain that led to the surgery itself, I've fallen out of exercising and into some bad comfort habits (I'm looking at you, Cheez-its) and unfortunately find myself weighing in at the heaviest I've ever been. While I am really looking forward to being mobile again and being able to return to physical fitness, I didn't want to wait to get the jump on being healthy. Here are the measures I've put in place to stay healthy while I'm still stuck on the couch.

Exercise What You Can
At least until Wednesday, I am on 23 hour leg elevated rest. That said, I need to give my shoulder a little bit of work to keep it from getting too grumpy, and I want to avoid my leg muscles atrophying too much while I'm stuck on the couch. Here's the exercises I'm doing in some combination every day:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Favorites - 12/12/2014

A couple of the blogs I enjoy reading do a Friday Favorites post of their top finds for the week. I figured I'd do the same. The topics themselves might change a little bit week to week, but I like having the opportunity to share some things I am excited about with you!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

All American Surgery Recovery - Week One Recap

Wiggling my toes as the pain block wore off. Oh how naive I was to think that was a good thing!
One week ago yesterday we went in for All American surgery on my left foot. The week has actually gone surprisingly fast, but I was also in the hospital for about 34 hours so the first two days were pretty much a blur. I wanted to take some time to look back at the last week and write out what worked, what I would have done differently, and what I've learned. Bad stuff first, then we'll get to the good I promise!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Makes a Surgery All American?

If you're like me, you hear "All American" and you instantly start singing Book of Mormon. But, in the surgical world, it means something different. In the simplest explanation, it is a correction for adult acquired flatfoot.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Big Post-Surgery Goal

In 2016, I will run a half-marathon at Disney World.

New Year's Eve, 2010
This, my friends, is my big recovery goal. I'm really excited about this for many reasons (awesome RunDisney community, running in Disney themed outfits, getting back in shape), but there are three in particular that really make this a goal I am excited to work towards.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How SMART Are Your Goals?

I am the type of person that works best when I have specific goals in mind. I love making lists, the more detailed the better. One of the things I'm hoping to accomplish now that I'm on bed rest is my current list of goals. I want to revisit those that I've already made, and flesh out future goals.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

3 Ways to Be Your Own Health Advocate

My lovely temporary soft cast
On Thursday I had surgery on my left foot and ankle. The short story is I'm getting a recently developed flat foot and it's resulting problems corrected. But, this is a blog, and blogs aren't about the short story.In July of last year I started to notice my left ankle ached, mostly at night when I was trying to fall asleep. There was never a moment where I noticeably rolled or twisted it, but my younger years as a volleyball player prepared me well for the identification of a sprained ankle. This started me down the journey that led to today. Between this and long-term shoulder problems, I feel like I've learned a lot about how to self-advocate with health care professionals.

After nearly seven years with chronic shoulder pain and dealing with this foot/ankle stuff, I've come to learn that the best person to trust with your health is yourself. Today's medicine seems to be moving in that direction, which is great. Make your health care a conversation, and work with your medical professionals to find the best solutions for you and your body. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 Steps to Save Your Sanity After Surgery

Tomorrow, I am having surgery on my left ankle and foot. The procedure is called the "All-American" and I have to stay in the hospital overnight, but I'll touch more on what it is and how we figured out it was necessary in a later post. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is not my first surgery rodeo, so I wanted to share some of my advice for making your recovery as easy as possible.

Coming home from the surgery, I'll be laid up for a LONG time. That means no cooking, no cleaning, no going out and wandering around Target, and no work for at least a couple of weeks. So, for any of you who are going through something similar, whether it is an ankle/foot or anything else that'll keep you laid up for a bit, I thought I would share my strategies to staying sane during the recovery.