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November 06, 2016


It's now nearly 6 months since my successful ACL surgery back in May - it's been an extremely challenging and even at times, rewarding experience. As I'm sure you can gather from the previous posts, the entire situation was painful and even depressing at times, as it changed every single aspect of my day-to-day life as it had been. All of a sudden I was transformed into a bed ridden crank - I'll admit I was pretty sour and disappointed for a spell. BUT, as with any setback or negative situation, it's important to find the good, the positive aspects of it and create opportunities. This includes setting realistic and achievable goals, both in the short and long term. These are especially important when the ultimate end seems to be at the top of a mountain. 

Since my surgery, I've slowly but methodically rebuilt all forms of routine both physically and in my "normal" daily activities. From multiple physiotherapy visits each week to the hard-work put in at home, doing flights of stairs (very slowly at first), gradually increasing my walking outside, getting back on some hiking trails and even starting back up on the treadmill when given the green light. These were where my recovery began during the early days and weeks. Each new task was a challenge but was so rewarding when I could accomplish it again! One of the toughest for me was getting full range in straightening my leg again - it took weeks and lots of help from my very patient better half, but we did it!!

I took it as a challenge to learn as much as possible about my body, the injury and how to listen to my body as things progressed through my recovery. I have been very lucky to work with some great people at Nova Physio including Rob Kelland - I highly recommend doing any sort of recovery, maintenance or even education with this gentleman. He brings extensive knowledge, an amazing attitude and great work ethic to every patient and case he sees. I've spent well over 100 hours at the clinic since early January and can guarantee you will leave Nova more knowledgeable and feeling better. Rob helped me tenfold with not only regaining strength, movement and confidence in my knee but also understanding how and why it all worked. It helped that I am extremely interested in the field but I could not have asked for a better recovery experience - everyone at Nova is top-notch.

The first major green light (there are hundreds of them along the way) was being able to walk and hike again, with limitations of course but just being able to get back outside and return to some of my normal activities, even at a reduced level, was an awesome lift.

The next major accomplishment after the countless hours of hard-work and persistence was reaching an adequate level (per Rob) to start running outside again. The biggest part of this stage is being strong and stable enough to handle uneven terrain - graduate from the treadmill; another goal accomplished! 

As soon as I got this green light I went at it, my lungs were begging to hurt again but I wasn't sure what my legs could take and was definitely not going to throw away all the hard-work by doing something silly. This was mid-September so we were still seeing some straggling Summer weather, which meant even harder conditions for someone who hadn't run outside for nearly a full 12 months. By early October I was consistently reaching personal bests (post-op) for distance and time and was able to run my first full 5km of 2016! 

I still experience pain and some setbacks with different things but they are all part-in-parcel of any major recovery, especially a reconstructive one to such a vital part of the body. With the help of those around me, Rob at Nova Physio and the knowledge I've gained, I am able to work through these minor setbacks and continue to strive toward a 100% return to activity and performance.

Terra Nova Golf Resort - September
It is now early November and I've completed individual runs of 5, 6, 7 and 8kms (and everything in between) while consistently getting in upwards of 20km+ total each week. The progress has been slow at times but overall steady and great to see. One of the best bits of information throughout this process was a timeline post-op that listed some general benchmarks to achieve during the year following surgery. It is super critical to listen to your own body and adjust accordingly but it is also important to set these goals and be able to measure yourself and your progress against the standards. That's the competitive nature at it's finest but also an important drive to return to where I came from activity-wise.

I can't say enough about how much my best friend has helped me throughout this and will always be thankful for her in my life. The process has actually had a positive impact on her as well; from a former "I don't like running" to someone who can't wait to get our early Sunday morning run in and even asking me to do half-marathons now....it's been a positive experience as well! The recovery is far from over but it's important to acknowledge and recognize the positive outcomes when they come. The next step is for me to continue upping my gym-time and crushing the strength numbers with Rob.

Thanks for following along on my road to recovery. Hopefully the next major update will include myself and a soccer ball. 

- KC

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