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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Anniversary and an eBook!

Well, it's been almost 2 years since I broke my ankle - and since I started this blog. The break caused a lot of unexpected things - emotions, time spent rehabbing, lots of money thrown at surgery - but most awesomely, a connection to a HUGE community of fellow ankle-breakers. I've loved reading all of your YouTube comments, emails, blog comments, and tweets. Even though it sucks that you have to go through what I went through (or some version of it), I felt so isolated when I broke my ankle, and it has been so great to know that I've not been alone in my experiences.

And all of you want to know more. How am I doing now? How long until I started driving? What are some things you can do to speed up the healing process? Where did I practice walking and for how long each day? The list goes on and on and on.

So I decided to write an eBook. It is a complete guide for What To Expect When You Break Your Ankle based on all of my experiences. Here you will find the stories from my blog, a detailed chronology of my healing and steps (literally), as well as tons of practical tools and advice to navigate your totally stupid injury, and come out better on the other side. I hope you enjoy it – and happy healing to you.

Click below to get your copy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recovery After Ankle Surgery

It's been a year since I made THIS video, so I figured I should make a follow-up. Here's how I am one year after walking - and one month & one year after weight-bearing.

I suppose as long as you guys show interest, I'll keep posting - so let me know if there's anything specific you want me to talk about :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let's be done with this already!

Today I went in for my final follow-up. First, i got my hardware back! It's cool and weird...haven't figured out what I'm gonna do with it yet...

Then we looked at my x-rays...below is a before (left) and after (right) the hardware removal:

As you can see, the picture on the left has a plate all the way down the outside of my ankle as well as the one on the back. Since the one on the back wasn't bugging me, and it provided some stability, we left that in, and took the side plate out, as well as the 5 screws associated with it. This whole time I've been saying I had 2 plates and 8 screws, but turns out it was really 9 screws! Oy vey. 

Anyway, next month will mark 1 year from my first surgery. I can't believe what a crazy year it's been - amazing how such a seemingly small thing can have such a gigantic impact. I still have some range of motion to regain - I'm back at yoga and even starting to incorporate some traditional home workouts. I'm not saying goodbye to you guys forever - don't worry - I'll continue to check in. And feel free to keep emailing me with questions!!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Scar Massage: The Horror/The Brilliance

Let me start by saying: Ashley Mueller is the best massage therapist in Portland, Oregon. Maybe the best in the country...I've tried my fair share. I've been seeing Ashley since a few months after my first surgery - so like, late summer early fall of last year. She's strong, she's intuitive, and she knows a lot about feet/ankles (amongst everything else).

Let me tell you guys - massage is so important to rehabbing your ankle - particularly to getting your scar-skin moving like regular skin again. Scar issue attaches itself to anything it can - it has little legs that grab onto bone, muscle, ligaments...whatever's around it - and it fucking HURTS. It causes major major discomfort and tightness. Unfortunately the only way to break it up is to have somebody as awesome as Ashley massage it out. IT HURTS LIKE HELL. But then it hurts less.

So if you've had your surgery and done your rehab and you still feel tightness or any sort of similar ache, try the scar massage. I'm telling you. And if you're in PDX, tell her I sent you :)

Aside from that, things are slowly getting better. I haven't gone back to yoga yet, but the time is coming soon. Maybe next weekend, making it 5 weeks post-op. The holes in my bones are supposed to close up 4-6 weeks post-op, so I think I'm reluctant to push myself too much before that. My foot/ankle is still a little bruised. Also, I had a little sharp thing sticking out of my incision/scar which Ashley said was an un-absorbed suture and that I should pull it out...so I did:

There's another one too, but I can't get it. I have a checkup with the doc in 2 weeks so I may solicit his help. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I had a little breakdown last night. 

See, when you have hardware removal surgery on your ankle - there are a few things you hear over and over: "it's nothing like the last one" and "recovery for this one is really easy" and "you'll be fine." This is great, because it's an encouraging thought that recovery for surgery #2 won't be THE FUCKING FLAMING HELL that surgery #1 was. But it's also not great - because it doesn't actually help you know what to expect going in, and afterward, it makes people forget really quickly that you're in surgery recovery mode.

Of course, I have a really supportive network of friends and family - I'm not blaming anything on them. Hardware removal surgery is deceptive because you are up and walking the first day, you can move your foot (kinda), visually there is way less going on, and you've already done the physical therapy and everything. So your loved ones will be tricked into thinking that everything's cool. But for me - inside - there is still a lot going on! My digestive system is still weird, I feel a little light headed sometimes, my ankle hurts and is bruised and I have very little range of motion...not to mention, I went shopping yesterday and within 10 minutes of being on my feet I was swollen and limping. Oh! And now I have to walk EXTRA carefully because for the next 4-6 weeks I'll have holes in my bones where the screws are and can re-fracture really easily.

In many ways, it's a lot like recovery from the first surgery. I use the same stack of pillows to elevate, the same ice packs with all its timing and wrapping rituals. I'm back to not being able to do yoga which SUCKS. I'm nervous about going back to work tomorrow (I worked from home my first week of recovery) - maybe I should bring some ice packs with me? I have to be back in sneakers after I've been back to real shoes for a few months and loving it. Ugh, that part is terrible.

The hardware removal, though it may be nothing like the first one, is still surgery...and it conjures up a lot of old emotional stuff. I was able to break down last night with my mom and just talk about all of the stuff that's in pain and freaking me out...so I think I'm ok now. Kinda. There may be another breakdown in my future. After surgery #1 I had little breakdowns literally every single day.  I'll keep you guys posted...of course.

ooooh the paranoia

I've gotta say...one of the worst parts about getting surgery is the paranoia that comes with recovery. In my case, the thing I'm most afraid of - now and after the first surgery - is a blood clot. Soooo one begins to Google. 

This is obviously the worst possible thing to do. But here's the rub: with ankle surgery, especially if your foot/ankle/calf is immobilized afterward, you start to get muscle cramps like crazy because you can't contract and release your muscles, which is like their main purpose in life. So here you are with these calf cramps, and then you remember that something in all that post-op literature you got said that's a major symptom of blood clots. So you Google "blood clot symptoms", and start to get anxious when you see the calf cramps you're feeling. You feel the anxiety in your chest...and as you read on, you see that blood clot symptoms are not only cramps in your calf, but tightness in your chest!! And so on...

Anyway, it's scary. I don't have answers, but omg fuck Google for freaking me out ALL THE DAMN TIME. I'm so exhausted  by it. I can't even advise you not to be scared because if it's really a blood clot you should be getting medical attention!! Ugh. So this time around I'm trying to stay away from Google, but it's hard, and I do have cramps in my calf and pains in my chest again...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

week 1 checkup

Today is 6 days post-op, so I went back to superhero (Dr.) Gellman for him to take a look at what I've got going on...

I told him that around my incision was really tight, and he said scar tissue has a difficult time recovering, and just to keep moving my ankle and massaging the area. But not too much, because the incision hasn't healed yet.

Then he took off my tape, cleaned it up, and put new tape on which I need to keep on for another 5 days.

The yellow stuff is something he put on there to help the tape stick - it's not the color of my skin, though I do have a little bruising. 

I can take regular showers now! I've been showering with a trash bag on my leg, and my leg basically up in the air because I don't have faith in the trash bag  method. So that's cool. They didn't have my hardware ready to hand me yet, which was not cool. (Fun fact: Gellman said about 95% of his patients ask to keep their hardware). 

I can't really feel a difference yet between my mechanical ankle and this one - probably because I'm not moving this one like a regular ankle yet and there's still some swelling. I go back to the doc in 6 weeks where he'll take x-rays and make sure everything looks how it should. 

Oh, and I'm off pain meds. I was only on them from day of surgery (Thurs) until Saturday...very cool. Now I also have a pill bottle full of hydrocodone which I have no idea what to do with.