Monday, November 24, 2008

Surgical Dressings...and some reflection

I am going in today to get the surgical dressings removed. My leg has been screaming for them to be gone! They are slowly melting away and I am excited to see the new scar that will be present underneath. Call me a masochist if you would like, but there is something exciting about seeing the carnage that exists underneath the bandage.

My leg is feeling pretty good. I have been trying to take it easy and not do too much activity that will aggravate it, but I have also been craving exercise and movement. Last night I did an amazing hot yoga class and although I could feel the dressing peeling away with each bead of sweat that permeated it, it felt incredible to stretch. I came home after the class and felt so invigorated and alive! In fact, I am going to another class tonight because I felt very connected to the world. I had a smile from ear to ear when I got home and, to me, that is pretty darn special.

I have been struggling lately with finding a balance. Some days I feel like I have it all figured out, but then other days I hear the grumble in my head and it starts to drive me a bit nuts. Our thoughts are very powerful. They say that our thoughts cause our actions, our actions lead to our experiences and our experiences become our lives. I want to live a positive, beautiful and remarkable life. I want to be confident, secure and know that I am making a difference. I always strive to be the type of person who radiates positive vibes. I want to be the smile and the embrace that makes everyone around them feel like the world and life in general is brilliant. I feel like, in a way, I have started to let the negative self talk take me away from being this person. I guess we all go through phases of doubt and uncertainty, but I am convinced that loving life and embracing the unknown without preconceived judgment will lead to ultimate happiness.

I am heading to Hawaii on Sunday for 2 weeks of rest and reflection. I need some solitude to start shaping some ideas. I feel like life can get so busy and we can become distracted by all of the "I should Be's". I booked this trip a little while back knowing that I would be feeling this way at this point in the year, especially post surgery and 3 months post Beijing. I have always had a keen understanding of myself and my needs. My ability to trust my gut has led me in a direction that I am very content with. But I have been thinking too much lately about what I should be doing and not about what I want to be doing. This needs to stop. I need to take some time to listen. The only place in the world that I have ever felt epiphanies and utter ease of mind has been in Hawaii. There; life slows down, the mind slows down and directions become more clear.

And I will leave it with that.

Enjoy your day and make sure to breathe, slow down, reflect and appreciate the beauty in your life.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


Ta Da!

Here is the picture I have been promising.

On the left, you see the plate and the 4 screws. On the right, I put my house key beside the metal just so you can have a basis for comparison. Now you'll think of the size of my plate every time you lock your door!

I am back at my place now. I came home last night and it felt great to sleep in my own bed. I feel 50 times better today than I did on Friday. Hallelujah!! It's crazy how much of a difference a couple of days can make.

I had my first shower yesterday afternoon and there was a constant stream of blood running down my leg. It was a little nasty, but it was all of the dried blood getting washed away. I can't tell you how awesome it felt to get clean...being in hospitals makes me feel like I have disease running through my hair.

The great news is that if I continue to heal at this rate, I should be good to go and ready to get movin' in a week or so.

I went to a friends last night to watch Iron Man (It was ok, but didn't live up to the hype IMO) and I brought the hardware in to show it off. It was only in my car for 20 minutes max and when I pulled it out of the jar it was freezing cold. Brrrr. It's all coming I know why my leg ached on those cold winter days last year! No doubt I was experiencing pain, that metal was as cold as ice.


Friday, November 07, 2008


I am sitting here at my parents place, in my old room - the one I lived in for 4 months during my initial recovery. The memories are flooding back. The sound of the crutches sticking to the hardwood floors, creating a clunking beat that is oh so familiar. The pillow on the chair in the kitchen to prop my leg up. The bags of ice. The bloody gauze (really bloody this time around). The containers of meds. The smell of toast with margarine....

I honestly thought that this surgery was going to be a breeze. Maybe it will be in a couple of days, but today it is more intense than I initially thought it would be. I am in a lot of pain. My leg is swollen and tight. My toes are stained yellow from the surgery. My leg is a little prickly from the hair that is trying to grow back after the stink cream burned it off.

I guess deep down I thought that I would get the plate out and everything would instantly be better, but that is not the case. This is going to be a battle and I don't think I adequately prepared myself to be tough. I woke up this morning and wanted to bend my leg so bad, but couldn't because I could feel the skin was taught and my knee was aching. It's almost as if my leg got slammed with a hammer and the aftermath is a bleeding, swollen and throbbing mess.

I'm going to take it easy for the next couple of days. A little R and R never hurts. I have a lot of movie watching to do! If you have any recommendations then please let me know. I am planning on checking out 'Iron Man' tomorrow night. I'm excited because I heard it's a gooder.

There's something else I wanted to mention. I had another flood of memories come rushing back to me yesterday at the hospital. I actually got a little emotional. I could feel the lump in my throat and my eyes welled up. Pain of another sort sank into my heart. When I was signing in at the admissions desk I had to answer all of the standard questions. Age, height, address, etc. Well, the last time I was at the hospital I had a different address. I was almost starting to forget that chapter in my life. But having to face this head on made me realize that so much has changed since last year at this time and it caught me off guard. Even though my mom was there as my trusted assistant (Love you mom!), I couldn't help but feel a little alone. Support of family and friends is so important and special, but it's just not the same as having someone that is 'your world' there to hold your hand. The lady asked me if a certain someone was still my emergency contact. Gulp. No, she isn't. But then I thought to myself that if I really needed her to be, she would be there in an instant. I know that for sure.

Life is ever changing, ever evolving and constantly moving forward. Once in a while though, you experience a moment when you look back and really miss what was.


ps- I got my plate and the 4 screws that were in my leg (I thought I only had 2!). I'll take a photo and post it when I have my camera handy. It's really cool to think that they were in me less than 24 hours ago.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Plate Removal

Tomorrow is the BIG day! I am getting the plate removed from my left leg. I can't wait!

I am going to keep the screw in my right knee because I don't even notice it's there, but my left leg has been flaring up like a grass fire since the games. It has been causing me lots of discomfort and annoyance since Beijing. It's probably because I am not taking any anti-inflammatory meds and I haven't been as strictly focused on a gymnastic goal. Before Beijing, pain was not an option. Competing at the Olympics was all that mattered. I knew that I was going to experience discomfort and I just accepted it because I had to. Now, I have a little more freedom and time and I want that sucker out! I want to be able to lift my heel to my arse without feeling an extreme burning sensation across the front of my leg. I want to be able to do a hardcore workout and not have my leg swell up to twice it's size around the plate area.

My bones are completely healed so there should be no complications with the surgery and recovery. In fact, and I found this out in March when I was really struggling with the burning when I ran, I could have had the plate removed before the games. I chose not to because I couldn't afford any time away from the gym for recovery. Now though, I can take my time and rehab myself back to full strength with no imminent deadlines looming. I have actually set some recovery goals to help with my motivation. I want my legs to be stronger than they were before the accident. I want to have quads that are rock solid and defined. To be honest, I never achieved that in my initial recovery. My left leg is still much skinnier than the right, it's still slightly atrophied and all I can blame is the plate inhibiting my potential to put on muscle mass. I just couldn't push myself to that point of "burning muscle growth" because I had another kind of burn. It was nervy, excruciating and limiting.

So tomorrow is the day. I am excited, but quite nervous too. Surgery is a big deal. I am hopeful that I don't feel like dying again! My mom and dad are going to be my trusted assistants...Love them to death. I have to be put under and then the actual procedure itself takes less than an hour. Tonight I have to prep my leg, remove all the hair with a stinky depilatory cream and then not eat from midnight until the time of my surgery. I'm sure I won't sleep well as the memories of my last experience under the knife will most likely rush into mind and soul. It's hard to believe that this injury is finally coming full circle.

I also asked Dr.Mohtadi if I can keep the plate. Hopefully he remembers! I will post a pic of it if I do get my hands on it. I am trying to think of a good preservation idea. I might get a small shadow box to put the plate in and put it up in my office. I guess I could also put it in a zip lock baggy and keep it in my glove box! Whatever I choose to do, I think it's important to have constant reminders of our strength, courage and determination surrounding us. It's our journeys, our fight and the obstacles that we have overcome in the past that make us who we are today.