Monday, June 16, 2014

2 months post-op check point

My procrastination has officially reached epic proportions.  I have abandoned weekly retrospectives without formally saying I would do so, and I didn't follow through on my promise to do a large-scale retro on how things have been going since surgery.  This lack of discipline is abominable, and is not likely to improve very much in the coming weeks.  But it has been two months since the surgery, and so the least I can do is write an update on how things are going now.

I had a follow up with doctor Zarnett last week as well, at which he told me that the knee looks good, but I need to be doing more to increase the muscle strength.  I have been exercising, but have found it challenging to increase the intensity, and so I have been feeling weaker and somewhat stuck.  I've been trying to get more motivated to go to the gym, which also hasn't been easy with the arrival of the gorgeous summer weather.

How's the knee feeling?

Compared to a month ago, I have more stamina, and can walk more and sit in the same position longer.  Having learned my lesson earlier, I avoid long distance walking or uneven terrain.  I can sit cross-legged for a bit as well, and even find that it feels good to stretch the knee by dropping it sideways.  There is less numbness, and almost no swelling.  The knee looks almost normal, although the right (operative) leg is still somewhat smaller than the left one.  There is still lots of tension on the outside of the knee and in the patella area.  I still find it hard to straighten the leg from a bent knee.  In the last week I have been feeling more pain which is probably partially due to the fact that I slacked off for a few days and then did two pretty intense workouts in a row. 
The incisions are looking very good - one of the small scoping ones has almost become invisible, and the long one is also fading.  There is still a small hard spot in the very bottom where a piece of stitch is likely causing trouble, but it doesn't seem to be trying to come out anymore.  Dr. Zarnett said it will eventually dissolve altogether.  The whole incision is fully closed and healed.

What am I able to do?

I exercise 3-4 times a week.  At each session I do some combination of half-squats and lunges, one-legged dead lifts, step downs and step ups, hamstring exercises, leg presses, use the cable machine to do hip abductions and adductions as well as to workout the glutes and the quads with about 10-15 lb weights.  I also do cardio on the eliptical and the stationary bike.  Believe it or not, this is the minimum amount of exercising I need to be doing.  I should be doing a lot more.
In terms of day to day activities, I can do almost anything that doesn't involve heavy lifting, squatting, or stepping up with the full weight on one leg.  I have been catching myself trying to skip, or quickening my step almost to running without much regard for the knee.  This feels good, but I still don't have an ok to actually go jogging or to skip.
I can't really squat or kneel yet either.

What's next?

Since the frequency of my physio has now been reduced to once every three weeks, I am facing the challenge I was weary of from the get go.  As evident from my perpetual procrastination in updating this blog, I am not the most disciplined person, and this shows in my recovery as well.  I worked very hard in the beginning and reached a certain level, but have now plateaued and need to get unstuck.
I am still formulating the plan to deal with this situation, and I will write an update on some ideas I will try in the next few days.
I also need to schedule a strength test with Dr. Zarnett's team in the next 4-6 weeks which give me a good deadline to work towards.   And the ultimate goal should not be forgotten: winter is less than 6 months away and I need to get in tip top shape for skiing by then. 

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