34 min read

ACL an Odyssey

ACL an Odyssey

She was moving her arms to guard her sides, but that's not what I was focusing on. I was aiming for the head. I wasn't practicing those roundhouse kicks for no reason, and can we not forget those splits (I swear it wasn't meant for flexibility but more as a torture method). She flipped her stance now, I think she's trying to kick my left side. I switch to my left side and kick, aiming for her head.

Yes! I hit her! Wait... why am I falling with her? Shit, shit shit, she's holding on to my calf. We both fall and then snap.

A snap, a tear, a kind of pain I've never felt before, that single snap brought with it years of depression, bitterness, and overall sadness that lasted years. That was back in 2011. Over 10 years have passed, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. The day I tore my ACL. It was also the day I developed a fear of pain, not only physical but also mental. Can you just imagine, more than 10 years of numbness, of not feeling anything, of having a cold soul? That was me.

All those years, I was hyper-aware of my left leg, of trying to not get it bumped by anyone, of not letting anyone touch it, and I don't think I did a good job at it, given I broke my ankle this year (and did I mention it's the sample leg as the torn ACL? The universe is playing a joke on me), but something happened last year.

My sister tore her ACL too, but unlike me, she didn't go through depression and hid away. No. She was brave. She did the constructive surgery right away. She went to physical therapy, She did her exercise with tears because of the pain, but she did it anyway, and I saw it all. Saw each phase of her journey, and just four months later, she ran a 5k race. A month later, she runs a half marathon! All I could think while seeing her grow stronger and stronger is that Wonder Woman has nothing on her! Damn, I was just aww struck.

Which brings me to this year, where I decided that if Adwa (my sister) did it, why can't I? I really can't live like this anymore. True,

  • I'm scared shitless
  • My ankle isn't healed yet
  • My hemoglobin level is low
  • I have my period (TMI but deal with it)

But is that just me making excuses? I believe so, but not anymore. No more living in fear. No more making excuses for myself, no more hiding in comfort. It's time to take action, and that's what I am doing tomorrow. I'll be having the surgery I feard for the last decade. I also want to document the whole journey here. I want to look back knowing how I felt each day, week, and month because I've waited so long for this day might as well document it all.

I'll start with this audio snippet. So Athoug how are you feeling?

audio-thumbnail
The day before the surgery
0:00
/2:11

June 7th 2022 - Day 1

Woke-up to my alarm, and it dawn on me, wow it's today! I don't think it sinked in yet that I'm doing this today. Hell I'm in the room assigned to me as we speak (or is it type?) and well it feels like any other morning just with a different view.

Maybe I'd feel different when I wear the gown, and dragged to the operating room? At the moment, I'll just enjoy the view while listening to a podcast.

my view

4 hours later, and Im still waiting... I think the wait is making my anxiety level sky rocket.

When hour 6 came along, It was time to take me to the operating room (or so I thought) instead, I was taken to a waiting room where I was facing a lime green wall and a clock for an hour (Note, best way to make an already anxious person paranoid is letting them face a blank wall with a clock). Anyways, later, I was in the operating room and one of the nurses there was so cute, I was shivering Β so she held my hand and started singing, and then 3, 2, 1 I was out...

I woke up to a burning pain in my knee, and a dry throat that felt like my pipes would break the moment I spoke.


June 8th 2022 - Day 2

Okay yesterday all I kept seeing is two heads for every person I spoke too, but today I think the drowsy effect wore off since now, people have only a single head. Also, I can put pressure on my leg! Yes, it's painful but doable (Look at the half cup full attitude, yes please keep this positive mindset Athoug).

The physical therapist came to day and bent my knee to a 90 degree angle. Progress? I think so.

physical therapy was a breeze 

I also managed to walk half the hallway and back

I am walking the runway

My sisters also came to visit which brightened my day. It was nice chilling and laughing like we always do. They also got me a card of witch the first line made me grin. Yup, you're right guys, finally!


June 9th 2022 - Day 3

Today is a bit of a scary day because I feel a sort of tightness at the back of my leg muscle, I'm acting like it doesn't exist because if I voice it out, it would feel real. Also a weird thought, I keep forgetting that I actually did the surgery. Funny given that my leg is all wrapped up and at moments I feel a burning sensation coming from it, yet still, it hasn't dawn on me, that I actually did it... Why?

A funny moment during physical therapy was seeing my leg beating as if it has a heart beat

0:00
/
a knee with a heart beat

and on a final note, we went back home today, and dear god it was an adventure. getting into the car, going up the stairs, and just trying to get situated.

Extra: at the end of the day, this happened

audio-thumbnail
My knee speask
0:00
/1:24

June 10th 2022 - Day 4

Today felt a bit off honestly, I don't know what about it that just made the day a massive meh. Maybe the excruciating hot weather? Or maybe I'm not sleeping well (yeah comfort is a thing of the past) or maybe it's those bloody fruit flies. It could be a mixture of it all but damn, I don't like this mindset...


June 11th 2022 - Day 5

A new day a new attitude. Maybe it's because I've picked up reading again? I've been spending my day with Sally Rooney's character's and I'm just enjoying every minute of it.

what is normal anyways

Also, today was my first day out of the house. Getting into the car was, let's just say, a challenge. The road bumps were not to kind to my knee and well the sad bit was the whole outing was for nothing. The place was closed. Yay.


June 12th 2022 - Day 6

Now I finished Normal people the book, and today was all about the TV show, and now I have a new favorite author. Sally Rooney wrote human relationships and the way they deal with social pressure very realistically! I'm just in love and the show adaptation is so good! It truly gave it justice.

Now Athoug, this is a log of your ACL journey not your current obsessions. Okay so today is a special day. It's PT (physical therapy) day. I was nervous honestly but riding the car with my mom and the driver relived that tension because well awkward. Here's a snippet

0:00
/
a injured person, a mother, and a driver go into a bar

In the waiting room, there was this wall. It's meant to be empowering and honestly it's a sweet idea, but for some reason the logo just seems off to me, what's up with the Β leaf that comes out from the leg? isn't meant to represent growth or rather growing through pain? I don't know but hey to each their own, still cute none the less.

the wall of hope

Okay, I have to put it out there, I'm a very difficult person to deal with. Stubborn, ego repulses me, and I would love to be treated like a human please. But hey I am difficult I know, so coming into this I was already on edge because well I know me, but my god I was blessed with this doctor! He was patient, called me out on my bullshit, gave me time to recover when I needed it, reassured me, and it's always a plus when someone laughs at your jokes, also he said I'm the weirdest ACL patient and I take that as a complement. He truly gave me the confidence that I've got this! Here's a clip of one of the practices

0:00
/
A baby learning to walk

So from the video you can tell that I was told to use crutches and not grandpa up's thingy so to you my friend I say goodbye

Goodbye my lover goodbye my friend

Truly hope the therapist assigned to me is just as cool as the doctor (prayers please)

PS: I'm listening to Normal People soundtrack while writing this. If you're interested here's a link to the playlist. Enjoy.


June 13th 2022 - Day 7

It's a full on week now! Man, at times I can't believe that I actually did it, you know, I go one about my day, and then at times while walking, or just siting and watching something, I'd look at my knee and think "holly crap I actually did it! ... I have a normal knee now."

Today, I signed up for a race on December. Why it's just been a week and I wanted to have something that would force me to get into shape and up and running by then (because accountability and stuff is actually a thing) so yeah I did it, and here's hoping this time I don't break another ankle 🀞


June 15th 2022 - Day 9

Today my knee had this sense of pressure that resembles a water ballon that's about to pop. On a brighter note, I met my permanent physician today and she's just a ball of sunshine.

Also I got this cute gift from a friend. I feel loved πŸ₯°

walking on sunshine, woooah

June 18th 2022 - Day 12

Today I follow up with my doctor to check on my sutures. In the morning I was young and naive and here's my thought process at the time

audio-thumbnail
Hours before Dr follow up
0:00
/2:33

I wanted to enjoy the visit so why not do a montage and thats' what I just did

It's been a while since I last edited a video, I'm a bit rusty.

Okay if you've watched you'd know I started freaking out at one point, and well that's when everything went down to hill.

When they opened the bandaids and I got to see the wound, there is this one part in that wasn't sealed and you can see a gush of blood and flesh and it had this weird bump. I kept asking why they wouldn't suture it or at least seal it but I kept getting a non convincing response.

I came into the hospital all hopeful and optimistic, left all sad and depressed. Cried in the car, cried when I told my mother about it, and just felt all gloom and glum.

I hate feeling like this because not only is it affecting my mood, it also made me scared. Scared of doing my physical therapy exercises because hell I have an open wound! I also keep pressing on it to have the skin align, but my mother said something that made me stop and think

Leave your body to heal itself - mom

I'll leave it at that wise saying and not mope around some more.


June 20th 2022 - Day 14

I approached today with a new mindset. Let me back up a bit. From my last entry, you could tell that my emotions were all over the place, and I was in a negative head space. It lasted two days. It's mostly due to the open wound and the belief that it will leave a hideous scare. I'm aware that's a bit superficial of me, but the thing is I already have a not so great self-image and to add that to the list is just icing on the cake.

Now back to the new mindset. I thought of the Japanese practice where they put together a broken pot or ceramic using gold to highlight that there is beauty in broken things. Using this practice, I tried to implement it to what I am going through. So yes, it might be a hideous scare, but this scare made me knee normal. Made me have a healthy knee again. Despite how you will look scare, I will love you. You are giving me the ability to move freely again.

With that said, something nice also happened today. I visited my nutritionist because well I've been really bad at the health department. Funny thing happened, looking at the measurements, I've gained in muscles, and you know what do I own thanks to? The crutches! Yes my weight isn't that good, but those muscles are shaping up! Β 

Side note, I got some flowers! Seriously this journey also made me realize I'm loved (I need to work on my self image man)

oh look at the view, it's filled with blue

June 21st 2022 - Day 15

New PT exercises! I did bridge today. Yes I freaked out a bit but it all ended well. So maybe new exercises = leveling up? I'll just think that. I need whatever positive mental state to survive this journey. So yes, new level unlocked πŸ”“


June 23rd 2022 - Day 17

I was sitting in the rest area, waiting for my physical therapist to come. I usually just sit, and play any game on my phone, but this time I decided to bring my headphones and just listen to music (It always has a way of soothing my nerves). While listening to a playlist, this track came

No more running

A rush of emotions came in that little room. Why might you ask, well this was the song that triggered this hole journey! This was the song that made me take the plunge and go through this whole shebang.

MACKS might not have written this song in hopes for people to face their fears (I'm sure it might be a love song or something) but there is this one line

If I'm undone undone by the fears I'm running from

That line, it made me sob in the car, decide to do the surgery, book an appointment, and actually do it in a span of a week.

Ten years of doubt were undone by a single song lyric. Thank you MACKS.

3 minutes later, my Physical therapist came, and I went to training with a real smile for a change.


June 24th 2022 - Day 18

It's 1:00 A.M, I'm wide awake... Those sutures are bloody burning! Not only that, but itchy as well. I think my body is rejecting those strings. I really can't wait for June 2nd to come and hopefully (really hopefully πŸ™ ) would remove them and not have a June 18th incident again.


June 26th 2022 - Day 20

Today is a momentous day! It's funny that I'm saying this when yesterday was the day of pain. Anyways back to the momentousnesses, I biked today! This officially makes me leveled up! Take a look πŸ‘‡πŸ»

0:00
/
Eddy Merckx has nothing on me

Also, my bend reached 110 degrees! I can't take off the smile from my face, super happy in comparison to last weeks mood. I guess I owe my knee a thank you for improving.


June 28th 2022 - Day 22

So now that I can use a bike, the next logical step is well buying one right, right? (say yes to justify my purchase).

I'm determined to get healthy and fit now, before I used to make up excuses because of a torn ACL, well now, I have a normal knee now so no excuse πŸ’ͺ🏼

Hello new best friend

June 30th 2022 - Day 24

Today PT was in the morning so I got to meet new people. One of whom was a basketball player. She made my past memories of playing come rushing in. I was a bit jealous because back then it was rare to find people to play with and here she is with a national team. Now all I want is to get better, and play as well.

Also, my PT (physical therapist) will go on a vacation, I'm not good with change. A little anxious now...


July 1st 2022 - Day 25

Observation: it's kinda odd that an inanimate object that you never used before nor cared for would grow to be something you feel as if it's an extension of yourself. Hell I trust the crutches more than I do my own arms, and that frightens me.

On another note, I started secretly practicing to walk without the harness. Don't tell my doctor, PT or even family (They coddle me too much that the thought a lone would freak them out).


July 2nd 2022 - Day 26

So today is my second checkup with the doctor. I was in a low kind of energy mood, why might you ask? Well PTSD thats' why. I keep remembering the last visit and how horrible it felt.

I wanted to capture how I felt so I decided to record before the visit and well,

audio-thumbnail
Before meeting up with the doctor for the second time
0:00
/1:11

Time kept ticking and it's time to go... This time I got some back up with me (a.k.a Mom) just incase I start to panic again, but it turned out well. I removed the sutures but still though there's this still open bumpy wound that I'm not happy about which everyone is telling me it's normal, them saying that makes me feel like I'm in the twilight zone but oh well at least the sutures are off.

0:00
/
I thought they'd pull off the strings not just the tip πŸ™„

Also another good note! The doctor gave me the clear to take off the harness, more proof that PT is babying me.


July 3rd 2022 - Day 27

I met my temp PT, not sure how I feel about him... No honestly, I know how I feel. I'm not a fan, he said something misogynistic and it rubbed me off the wrong way. On the other hand he did give me new moves so I'm grateful. Is this what they mean by a double edge sword?

I'm not enjoying PT anymore and I kinda don't trust them either. I feel that I should be in a different level by now. I keep comparing myself with my sister and she said she was doing more difficult moves at my stage... Don't know what to do nor feel. I was googling ACL rehab to maybe do some on my own... or should I just switch centers? Maybe I should wait for my original PT to come back and voice my concerns.

Aaaaaagh I hate feeling like this πŸ˜”


July 4th 2022 - Day 28

I officially removed the bandaid that was covering the scare, The site was... one can say, not a sight for sour eyes, hell, it might have been the sour in the eyes to begin with. Yet, pessimism aside, I'm happy they're off. They've been causing me itchiness and I actually developed a rash.

It sorta looks like my most abused emoji 😏

Today also marked my first visit with the doctor that did the surgery. He addressed most of my concerns (mainly the protruding skin in the scare) and all seems and looks good. He did a

  • leg extension test (all systems go) βœ…
  • a bending test (we aced it) βœ…
  • muscle strength (we failed miserably... In his own words "Your muscles are so weak") 🚫

That comment "Your muscles are so weak" might have just been an observation on his part and didn't mean much, but it shattered me. Why? Well it just solidifies my concern with PT and how I feel that I'm not progressing. I'll wait for my official PT to come back and address these concerns because this girl is freaking out.


July 5th 2022 - Day 29

Today, I realized that my mentality is going back to my good old negative habits. Especially reading over the last couple of entries I wrote here. I've been focusing on all the things outside of my control, and as all the stoics say, Ignore what you can control and focus on what you can.

So yes, I'm zen now, and I'll mainly focus on getting better and what I can do to achieve that. So watch me "try" emphasis on "try" to control my emotions.


July 6th 2022 - Day 30

Today is my last day with the sub PT and he took us to the guys gym and I have a gripe to share. How come the have all the fancy cool equipment?! For real, their's has more modern and well equipped gym than the woman's...

Okay with that out of the way, something cool happened today, I tried this treadmill sort of thingy that takes off 1/2 your weight and it made me walk! actually speed walk and the grin on my face was undeniable! I needed to feel this sort of joy after days of depression. Seriously, the feeling of walking was so good. Something that was so normal a month ago seemed impossible and now I'm feeling it again and it's just, if he (my physical therapist) wasn't there I would have sobbed crying but he already has this premature assumption that females are whinny and I didn't want my actions to feed that false belief so i was crying happy tears deep inside πŸ₯²

It's a good day when one can walk normally even if it was just for a brief 5 minutes.


July 7th 2022 - Day 31

I officially took off my harness and life feels a little bit better.


July 8th 2022 - Day 32

My left inner thigh muscle has been hurting for a full two weeks now, but today it started to affect my practice exercises. No amount of Voltaren and message seem to help the issue...


July 9th 2022 - Day 33

I started to teach myself how to walk again. Not sure how it will work, but I need to do something.


July 10th 2022 - Day 34

I realized today that I am completely lost and need to educate myself about the ACL recovery processes. Just relying on physical therapy isn't enough for me, and honestly they make me anxious so today I went over the Melbourne
ACL Rehabilitation Guide and started to understand more about the phases, how one moves forward and all that jazz so now I'm more aware and les anxious. Yay for knowledge.

I also went over a couple of youtube videos about the rehab process and created a playlist. Now watch me evolve faster than the other patients (have I mentioned that I'm very competitive. Secretly though I don't voice it)


July 11th 2022 - Day 35

I now know that I'm in Phase 2 of the rehabilitation process. Also, I have a couple of exercises that I haven't yet managed to do which makes me a bit late (not sure if late but maybe not there yet) I did a checklist though to help me know what I'm doing and what I have yet to do to complete this phase

"What gets measured gets managed"

July 13th 2022 - Day 37

Today I see my original PT (Physical therapist) and doctor! I planed on telling them how frustrated I am and confused, and well... I did tell them, my PT tried to reassure me that I'm doing good and on track, and well my doctor just kinda felt like he's making fun of my concerns. I left the center annoyed, due to the feeling of not being heard.


July 14th 2022 - Day 38

This is what happened at 12 something in the morning

audio-thumbnail
PT is so frustrating
0:00
/6:11

After resting a couple of hours, and reflecting on my feelings and well everything, it dawned on me, that I've been approaching this journey all wrong. I thought having my siblings experience as a guide would be helpful, but it backfired and I started playing the comparison game. Not cool Athoug, not cool. It's unfair to the people helping you and more over not fair to you. So I regrouped, apologized to my people, and built a new perspective.

It's time to embrace my journey, and let's have some fun along the way shall we.


July 17th 2022 - Day 41

Today is all about balancing! It's the first time (well not really but not this extreme) we introduce balancing into the program. Two things, the single calf balancing, and the leg raised bridges killed me.

I also started doing my Gait exercises at home and well, I don't have cones so water bottles will do (the thing is, my family started thinking that someone went mental 🀣)

I leave a trail of evidence

Also, my PT printed a sheet to help me know which phase I'm in (Such a thoughtful gesture and I appreciate it, what a cutie)


July 19th 2022 - Day 43

A new mile stone in bending has been reached! I repeat, a new milestone in bending has been reached! My bend reached 125Β° πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ


July 20th 2022 - Day 44

I walked on a treadmill.

audio-thumbnail
Some foods that are thoughts
0:00
/3:00

July 21st 2022 - Day 45

I used the weight machines today! I guess that's a new level up for me. One thing I love about this machine, it does automatic counting, I don't need to mess up counting or try to focus on counting (I can't multitask)

0:00
/
you can't weigh me down πŸ’ͺ

July 22nd 2022 - Day 46

I had a mini scare today. While walking, I think I moved my leg maybe twisted it, but I swear it was straight so I'm confused... Anyways I did some kind of movement that sent pain waves throughout my whole knee and even my full leg. The pain made me afraid. I'm afraid now to move, though, I need to because what other way will I heal, but that pain man... It was almost as painful as the tear. My mother says it's all in my head. Maybe. Yet, I can't help have a little fear inside. Damn it, I need to disclose this with my PT.


July 24th 2022 - Day 48

My PT told me today that she's moving to a new center, and I'm all kinds of nerves. I wanted to capture how I'm feeling right now so what better way than audio.

audio-thumbnail
All kinds of afraid
0:00
/3:31

July 25th 2022 - Day 49

A good thing happened today, I swam 🏊! Well, semi-swam because I held the wall while splashing and doing high knees but I was in the water none the less, so that is a victory! I really needed something positive after the turmoil I was going through yesterday (especially at night when your brain starts on panic mode the moment you want to sleep)


July 28th 2022 - Day 52

I did new workouts today! Are they workouts or routines? I don't know and at this point I don't care, the fact that I'm doing some of the same exercises as the girl who's with me (who's in phase 3) is giving me an ego boost.

The new ones include

  • Code movement
  • Double leg weight pusher machine (bare with me I'm making up a nameπŸ˜…)
  • Weighted leg raise machine

Today is a good day. It also helps that the weather gives off a rainy feel so we have the smell of rain and dest.


August 3rd 2022 - Day 58

My physical therapy situation at the moment isn't clear or more like I haven't made a decision yet. As I said before that my physical therapist is moving centers and I'm thinking of moving with her, so today I decided to go to the new center to test it out. I wanted to document it but... I didn't do that good of a job but here's some of what happened

Testing, testing, 1 2 3

And well, the place was lovely, but what convinced me to move is the Physical therapist that walked me through some exercises. Man does she know her stuff! Not only does she say what to do, but why and what happens to the muscles. Also she actually listened to my concerns, and the fact she gave me exercises for my injured ankle makes her a goddess in my eyes.

So I'm moving centers, and I also started using a band in my training (I don't like them, they hurt... a lot)


August 8rd 2022 - Day 63

A good thing happened today, and honestly I needed something good this week given the low moral. So here's a reaction of my first time test crossing my leg

0:00
/
a happy moment

As much as I appreciated that happy moment, soon after my knee started acting up by sending shock pains each time I straighten my leg walking...


August 9th 2022 - Day 64

This sums it all

audio-thumbnail
It s okay to not be okay
0:00
/10:21

August 12th 2022 - Day 67

I reflected a bit after that day (9th of August) and I realized I was a bit harsh on myself and filled with trust issues so I decided to let go. Let go and trust. Trust my physical therapists, trust my leg, trust myself.

This might not seem like a big deal to anyone, but to me it is. It very difficult for me to trust anyone (myself included) so this is a huge step for me. A step to heal, and step towards growth.


August 21st 2022 - Day 76

A crazy idea came to me, what if I tried to jump? So i started with fast calf lifts, then I got a bit courageous, I did a teeny weeny hop. Wow, nothing hurt! My courage now doubled, so a tiny hop. Okay, okay, I can do this. Now, let me try a hop. I'm hopping but I'm getting a weird feeling. Yay, this is a try. Let's keep this a secrete for now, just between me and whoever reads this post. My physical therapist wont stop saying how I'm not even ready for a single leg squat, what would she say about jumping.

Also, today was the first day I did planks. being on all fours on the ground felt weird, it hurt a bit, but hey I'm always in pain at this point, and well with those hops I did in the morning, it didn't help the pain in the afternoon.


August 23rd 2022 - Day 78

I got complemented during PT about my control. Funny I wasn't in the mood (when am I ever) to go, I was moody as hell, and was hating every minute, and then what do they say, "Oh your control is getting better. What did you do?" Oh Aside from hating you guys, I've been killing myself at home with those bands and stretches that I can't remember that last time I didn't have a sour muscle.

Man, I'm becoming a bitter ass, I hate it. I don't want to be like this. I'm just not is a good place mentally.


August 24th 2022 - Day 79

My brother came back home today. He's an ACL expert since he did this surgery twice πŸ˜‚ I showed him what exercises I was given and he helped me adjust my control (mostly go slow not fast, and focus on the movement) and sorta reassured me and freaked me out equally.

Reassured me with by telling me to trust the process (now that I think about it, it's not that reassuring) and freaked me out because well, he said that his leg is still numb, and some times he feels pain. God, pain is becoming a constant that my mother got me ibuprofen as a gift, and the funny part it's the best gift ever.

Sigh... what can one do to change their mindset. I need help. really.


August 25th 2022 - Day 80

It's been 80 days since the surgery. fuck... Time flies. I wish I was as optimistic as the beginning of this journey now I'm in the middle with the darkest mindset I've been in for a while. With that said, I want something positive in this entry so lets do a systems check

Systems Check
βœ… Full knee bend 🚫 Leg lift with bend
βœ… Crossing legs less awkwardly 🚫 Kneel
βœ… Swim 🚫 Turn while walking
βœ… Go up and down the stairs less painfully 🚫 Lunge in any direction
🚫 Balance on a half ball
🚫 Numbness in the knee
🚫 Ankle still killing me

September 4th 2022 - Day 90

I checked the calendar today, and noticed that I hit the 3 month mark... Wow, I remember it like yesterday, opening this post, the day before the surgery to write this odyssey.

My Physical therapist pointed something out to me, something that should have been obvious, but my oblivious self didn't give it a thought, and that is, attitude, and how it affects the healing process. So throughout those 10 days between the two entries, I realized, she was right, my approach and mentality mid journey has been, well, shit. So a shift happened, a new mindset that focuses on progress rather than checking off a to do list, gratitude rather than pessimism and small goals rather than big goals.

Honestly, this shift in mindset has been a blessing! I am much more approachable, optimistic and cheerful. (also I've been listening to cheesy motivational videos that help pump me up in the morning πŸ˜‚)

I wanted to look back on what I have learned thus far throughout this, so lets go~

  • This is more of a mental journey rather than a physical one
  • Attitude and mindset is key in this
  • Focus on progress not perfectionism
  • Show up every day even if you don't feel like it
  • You suffer more in imagination than in reality
  • The journey isn't a linear graph more like a sin graph
  • There is a lot of discomfort, numbness and pain, but they in turn, make you stronger
  • You need to be patient, I can't emphasize on this enough. I hate this point too, but it's the one I need to hammer into my head.

So yeah, that's what I learned so far, also I don't want to brag but I realized I'm actually strong. Just wanted to put that in here.

I'm excited for the days to come, I want to document it more with video's and audio. Hopefully my lazy ass would actually do it.


September 6th 2022 - Day 92

My body was in a sever state of fatigue today, but still something happened, I was walking and of course the frontal knee pain was there as usual (it's a constant at this point), but then for a moment, it was gone, and my leg felt as normal as my right leg. I couldn't believe it! I went to my sister all excited telling here, "the pain is gone! The pain is gone! It feel normal!!!!" and then as I was finishing that sentence, the pain came back... Yet still, this boosted me up. It made it feel possible to feel normal again.

On another note, one of the Physical therapists at the center I go to said I had a perfect dead life form! I'm not used to compliments so yeah, despite the fatigue, it's a good day 🌻


September 11th 2022 - Day 97

A new skill unlocked today, It's the half ball balance! I remember in week 2 or maybe 3 I saw this girl with me doing it and got jealous of her and wanted to do it myself, but I was told that I was still weak and not ready.

Today, I was doing one one of the band hamstring exercises and saw the item and asked "Hey Shaden, can we do this?" and to my surprise she said yes! I honestly was suspecting a no, so when she took it out and set on the floor, and it was time for me to stand on it, I got a little scared. Flashbacks to week 3 and being told that I was weak and and all, I could feel the fear.

I stopped, took a deep breath, voiced my fear, and she reassured me that she's here if anything happens and there I go, stand on this balance ball. You'd think, why the hell is she scared of a bloody balance ball, but I was and I don't know how I can rationalize that, everything is scary at this point when it has to deal with my leg.

None the less, I did it. It felt great! Yes my ankle hurt a lot, I lost balance most of the time, but I was doing it! week 3 Athoug would be proud.


September 12th 2022 - Day 98

Every morning, when I wake up, I reach out to my leg to make sure it's there, because if you read this long journey, you'd know I've been suffering from numbness and I don't really feel anything in my leg. So this ritual turned into some kind of reassurance and maybe a calming practice every morning.

Today though, it was different. I kinda felt the bed sheet on my left leg, I was surprised, I could never feel that before! There were even moments where at certain positions, it kinda felt just like my right leg. My god, is this real? Some sensation came back to my leg. Not fully though. you can think of it being say 5% and now it bumped up to 27% How? What was different between yesterday and today for it to turn out like this?

Believe my, I'm not complaining, I just want to know what I did or what happened so I can do more of it.

Anyways, I'm grateful to have felt it. Also, I am happy that I'm teaching myself to be patient, and embrace the journey. Now, if only I can document my training for future keep sake, so please future Athoug, don't be lazy and do it πŸ™


September 15th 2022 - Day 101

There are a couple of movement's I can't really do yet, but today we attempted two new ones! A momentous day, I tell you, I first try to do the kneeling exercise (I looks like this but imagine a pillow between my leg and butt) It was okay, but what was killing me was my ankle, it hurt a lot 😒

The other one was lunges. it was a bit sad because it wasn't bending much, I didn't feel it moving at all, even though my PT kept reassuring me that it was, but oh well slow progress is better than no progress.


September 16th 2022 - Day 102

It feels a little bit less mechanic when walking.


September 24th 2022 - Day 110

I watched a lot of recovery videos on ACL and always felt inspired by their recovery. I wanted to have or rather do something similar, have a way to look back and see how far I've come. The thing was, I was a bit hesitant to record I don't know why, felt a bit shy maybe πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ. I got over it though the second day, and tried to record, it was a mess, at times, the camera fell, others the angles were well horrid (as you can see in some of the frames), but hey, it's better than nothing. So Yeah here's to more recordings.

I died in the end.

September 25th 2022 - Day 111

My lunges are getting better! It was less painful, and the ben was way way better than the first time. Not sure what happened between those two weeks but I'm not complaining her.


October 5th 2022 - Day 121

It hasn't been easy these days, the fact that I'm not able to do the single leg squat has been getting to me hard, and I started getting a bit worried that I won't cover much ground when I reach December 11th which is my last session day (I decided it will be the last, my PT wants me to keep going for 3 extra months after that date)

Then this mornings conversation wasn't helpful either

Sister: How long have you been in physical therapy?

Me: Ummm I just hit the four month mark

Sister: Oh... you've been there long. Both Mohammed and I didn't go take long.

My mind: shit... don't panic please. shit.

I didn't want her words to affect me, I've worked so hard to develop mentally that I won't allow her comments to break that progress, but I won't lie, it bothered me a bit, and added to my already growing stress.

That evening, I had a physical therapy session, my spirit was down, and while exiting the car, my knee hit the door... my bloody injured knee. I just can't today. Despite the pain, I was determined to attend the session, it was painful, but then one thing, one thing happened that shifted the depress mood I was in, into a happy determined mood. My physical therapist wanted to do a test to check my progress, and guess what she wanted to see... the single leg squat! I was moaning about it and told her that the day I hit me knee and hurt it you want to do a test, unfair man, unfair.

I sat on the bench, breathed, and pushed. Oh. My. God. I stood!!! I usually fall right back down, but this time, I stood up. I was surprised. Thought it might have been just a fluke so I did it again, and again, and I keep standing. I swear if she wasn't there I'd have balled my eyes out crying. I can do it! The single leg squat. How? I don't get it. I'm in massive pain due to the bump, my body is all sour, and my energy is just as low as it can get, but I stood. I wish I had a video. I might ask her to send it to me, but anyways, that moment reminded me of how I need to trust myself, and keep putting in the work and slowly, slowly, I'll get there. I might not be as fast as my siblings in recovery, but I'm one hell of a persistent ass that I will get there.


October 8th 2022 - Day 124

I saw my PT buddy today. It was nice. She can hop now. I'm happy for her. I'm also jealous. On the other hand, I got a complement for my single leg heal squat so I guess that balances it out.


October 11th 2022 - Day 127

I ran today! Okay, yeah I might have been using the anti gravity machine but hey it only removed 34% of my weight. I almost teared yup, and my physical therapist pointed out my excitement and I told her "It's been 4 months in the waiting, I'm more than ecstatic about this!"

Even my smart watch was like "are you running?" and internally I said, yes watch, yes I am πŸ₯Ή. Nothing can ruin todays mood.

what a joy run

October 12th 2022 - Day 128

So I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, that the new approach is to focus on mini goals and well, we had a systems check and well, the results are awesome!

This just means I kicked ass!

I managed to crush those goals, and now it's time for new ones, and I'm a tad bit nervous. So tomorrow, a new physical therapist will test me, and the thing is, whenever I hear or see the word test my body crumbles and my mind panics. This is what I'm afraid will happen tomorrow, Shaden (my current physical therapist) keeps telling me that she's been telling the new one to go hard on me and damn it this doesn't help my already exhausted nerves. Pray for me I do well tomorrow πŸ™πŸΌ


October 21st 2022 - Day 137

Almost a week after the last entry, and well moral is a bit down but I'm really trying to shift my attitude. After my sessions with Sarah (which was great, she's lovely) my muscles been acing till this day.

I'm back with my previous Physical therapist, however my body didn't recover from the last session, so I couldn't do anything. Β Also, my front leg pain is back, and my ankle is hurting again and it just made me feel like I'm getting weaker... I was told that this is normal, that they challenged me so that's why the pain is back, but damn it's been a week and it still hurts. I've been icing it none stop but to no avail.

I have a session tomorrow, truly hope I won't fuck it up like I did the last.


October 22nd 2022 - Day 138

I wasn't feeling it today. I'm having an internal battle in me where one side is like, you can't run by December, you'll leave before you complete your recovery. And then there's this other side that's saying, no, no, no, you can do this! It's all about attitude. All the while my front leg pain is throbbing...

I told my Physical Therapist about my worries, and she kept reassuring me that we've got this, and boy did she kill me in training... It took two hours, and both my legs and arms were shaking none stop. I knew that I was dead the moment I sat in the car and my eyes had tears. I wasn't crying, but I think my body was πŸ₯²

But yeah, I don't know what will happen, but after today, all I know is, I want to have fun, so progress be damn, lets have some fun!


October 25th 2022 - Day 141

Today I ran on the hamster treadmill (not sure if that's what it's called by it looks like it to me) with my full weight! For a whole three minute. I am happy.


October 29th 2022 - Day 145

These weeks to come, my PT said she'll crank-up the difficulty to 90% all that to test if I'm ready for the next phase which is jumping!!!

I won't lie, I feel sour most of the days, part of me is like, good yes, my muscles are working, and the other part is, I'm dying! Can't we get a normal day please.


November 3rd 2022 - Day 150

Today was a momentous day, why? for two reasons,

  1. I did power squats and lunges (and boy did my body cry and well I feel tomorrow is going to be a soreful day)
  2. She did some needle thing to my thigh and my god, it felt weird and uncomfortable as if someone with inserting straws into my muscles and messing with them, also some shock wave thing. The first was very uncomfortable, and eerie, but the shock... despite it being painful, it made my front. leg muscle relax! I've been complaining about it's tightness, and weird feeling and everyone said, "yeah, yeah it's normal" but when I asked others who went through the surgery if they had it, all the replies were no, so saying it's normal is a bit misleading. Anyways, after the shock wave, it felt loose, it felt a little bit like my right leg and my god, it feels good.

So yeah, I'm sour, but happy, and will start enjoying the journey from now on.


November 8rd 2022 - Day 155

I had to alternate physicians today, and my god with the alteration came new exercises! You see, I've watched a lot, and I mean a lot of ACL recovery videos, and each time I do, I kept thinking oh man, when will I reach there level, they're so strong... One exercise seemed difficult to me the sled

oh boy...

And today, I did that! I was grining the whole time, and they (physicians) kept asking why am I happy, and I told them how I've been dreaming of doing this, and now, I finally am! Now, my legs are dead, and the ever present front leg pain is back, but we're happy ☺️


November 17th 2022 - Day 164

A semi jump was executed today! I repeat a semi jump was jumped! What I mean by semi is that I had to grapple on a band that kinda held most of my weight, but none the less, I did it, and I feel like I'm evolving slowly into a normal human.

Happy day.


November 20th 2022 - Day 167

My sister mentioned in the weekend that she believed what's slowing my progress is my fear. I kinda took offense to that, I've been pushing and pushing despite the pain (because I'm afraid of pain).

However, I'm defiantly bias so I thought I should ask my Physical therapist is she thinks so too, because who knows they might be seeing something I am not. So I did... and she said yes 😭

She said before it was extreme, but now I'm better and I challenge myself, but her quick 'Yes' response was alarming. Guess I wan blind. Now, no more fear, and I will work on being aware if I stop out of fear or pain.

Hey fear, go away please.