Baby steps…

It’s amazing how excited you can get over the tiniest things when you’ve been through injury. Achilles’ injuries are no joke. You use your Achilles’ tendon for essentially everything you do on your feet. I’ve learned I have taken so many things for granted through this injury. 

One being just the ability to walk on two feet. I went back to the doctor at 5 weeks post-op to get that cast off! Dear Lord Baby Jesus! I had better leg hair than most men! There’s something we take for granted… taking a bath and shaving! I was singing Outkast So Fresh, So Clean the entire time I was bathing. However, the bigger deal was they put me in a walking boot. I figured he’d tell me I had to use my crutches. Nope. He said I could use them as needed, but I could go full weight bearing. 


Full weight bearing. I wanted to jump and skip I was so happy, but we all know that didn’t happen. Still… I was more excited than I can explain. Until I took that first step. Geez, I never felt so much pain. For weeks I’d been hearing people on my support group on Facebook talk about their pain and swelling. I’d been nonweight-bearing and in a cast so I didn’t know how much swelling was going on and I didn’t have a ton of pain. Until that first step. Everything from my ankle to my heel, to my Achilles, to my calf radiated with pain. 

I had to use my crutches. I walked on it, but I had to go partial weight bearing because of the intensity of the pain. I felt a bit defeated. In my mind… I thought I’d be walking like a pro in that boot. We always think we can do things until reality smacks us right in the face. Baby steps, Drakeford, baby steps. 

I tell myself this everyday. I’m impatient and independent to a fault. I want to do things and I want to do them quickly so I can move on to the next thing. Injury doesn’t work that way… especially this one. I keep telling myself, you’ve got a year. It’s going to take a year. I hope deep down it doesn’t, but I have to listen to what my doctor says. He’s dealt with professional athletes before… he knows his stuff. 

I spent this past week walking on my foot. By Tuesday, I was down to one crutch, Wednesday, full weight bearing and used my crutches only when I got tired. By Thursday, I didn’t need them and I went an entire weekend in Gatlinburg with no crutches… because I trusted my kids to pack them and they forgot! 

When your kids forget to pack your crutches like you asked them to!

As of today, I’m 6 weeks postop. I’m full weight bearing and today I took out my first wedge. I have about 4 inches of wedges in my boot. These keep my foot in a dorsiflex position, keeping the tendon from being overstretched too soon. Each week, I am to remove a wedge until I am down to neutral. Talk about awkward! A walking boot is pretty tall to start… but add about 4 inches of wedges and the diffference between a tennis shoe and the boot is crazy. I was so off balance I started wearing heels! Yep… I was the chick with a walking boot and heels! 

I have to admit I was nervous for the pain. However, to my surprise, it felt better without the bottom wedge! I feel good. I’m doing light PT at home now. It’s mostly just range of motion exercises and bearing weight on my foot while standing in my boot. I’m icing like crazy. I bought some portable ice packs and take them in my bag. I ice in the car, at work, you name it! And so far… I’ve not had a ton of swelling. 


This is such a crazy journey. It’s a roller coaster ride all the time. Lots of ups and downs physically and mentally, but I keep thinking it’s only making me stronger. Ive been told the comeback is stronger than the setback. I plan on making that true.

If you’re not first, you’re last

I love Will Ferrell movies. I can quote most of them frontwards and backwards. They are absolutely hilarious and not sure I’ve ever seen one I didn’t love. Today… I kinda felt like Ricky Bobby.

I had my workout all planned out today, however, when I saw the programmed workout for the box, I thought, “hey, I can do this!” Sheesh. At some point I’m going to realize that I’ve taken a month off and all this stuff that used to be super easy for me is now super hard. However, I’m apparently not at that point yet. So today’s programming looked like this:

Strength/Skill: 

  • 4×4 deadlifts at 60-80% 
  • 10 min of accumulating wall sits

WOD

40-30-20-10

  • Wall balls (20/14)
  • Push-ups

I know what you’re thinking. How can she do any of that? Well, let me tell you I have done a lot of research… A LOT. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding ways to modify a lot of crossfit movements and make it work for me. I also substitute work that I can do for work that I can’t.

I knew I couldn’t do wall sits so I traded them out for an EMOM of hanging L-sits on the rings. I can’t do deadlifts, but I can do single-legged deadlifts with my foot propped up on a bench. Wall balls, my favorite, (no… I’m not joking) I have to do either kneeling on my knees or seated on a bench. Since we don’t have gymnastics mats, I chose to use the bench today and do seated wall balls. Push-ups… easy. I just put my casted foot on top of my left foot and do push-ups. It’s possible to make the programming work.


What I wasn’t expecting was how exhausting it would be for me. Normally, this WOD would have been a piece of cake. Yesterday was my first day to get back in the box and really train. I did weighted push-ups, DB snatches, and a lot of strict work on the pull-up bar and rings. After a month off, my everything was sore! However, in my mind, I am still the same crossfitter I was a month ago. In reality… not even close.

When we think of injury, we think of the physical injury itself. No, I can’t use my right foot for anything because I’m nonweight-bearing. It doesn’t cause me any pain other than a super uncomfortable cast, but that’s what we see… the physical part. I’m telling you now, it’s not even in comparison to the emotional and psychological aspect of an injury. It does more to us I think than the physical limitations.

Feeling tired from 45 pound deadlifts is a punch in the gut when you’re max is 300. Being the last one to finish when you are usually the first is a shot to the ego. The funny part is that I thought it would bother me more than it did. Truth is, it didn’t bother me at all. Honestly, when I finished today, I felt good. It was an opportunity to feel the high of competition again… the reason I truly love crossfit. Beating a time, a goal, a number of reps… 


At the same time… I was exhausted! My leg and arms were shaking when I finished. Mentally, I thought this would be easy. Emotionally, I was frustrated, yet proud. Physically… tired. Yep, I finished last. But I finished. I worked out 5-6 days a week prior to injury. Right now, I think 3-4 days is going be my limit until I build my stamina back up. 

It isn’t just crossfit… it’s all aspects of life. You think you can do something because you take for granted how easy it was, but reality quickly knocks you on your butt (sometimes literally) and you have to take a step back to realize you aren’t that same person right now. 

Jimmy is super excited about going to Keeneland. I love Keeneland. It’s my favorite thing to do in the spring and fall. I immediately said yes… but then reality started setting in… long distance walking, standing, crowds to push through… yeah. Then I got sad because I miss getting to do all the fun things with my family. Here’s where I get to modify in life! Called the ortho and got a temporary handicapped parking pass. ✔️ Bringing my scooter for getting around easily. ✔️ Taking a chair where I will sit and watch the horses while letting everyone else fetch me bets and beer. ✔️ Problem solved. 

So that quote from Talledaega Nights, “If you’re not first you’re last…” yeah. That’s garbage. You have to admit you can’t do it all when you’re injured. You’re not the same person. You can’t do the same things the way you used to… but you CAN do them! You might do them slower. You might do less. You might struggle. But there is strength in the struggle. That’s my mantra. When things feel rough, when it’s hard, when you want to bail out… remember these are the times you grow the most. 

The wait… 


I am extremely impatient. I hate waiting. I hate sitting around. Some of this is because I swear I have adult ADHD. My life is a constant whirlwind of taking kids to practices, tournaments, games, school, church… you get the idea. I never slow down because I would rather be busy and enjoy the things I love than sit around the house and watch tv. Not saying that’s wrong… just not my thing. 

So when you’re forced to stop, it’s annoying as hell! I ain’t got time fo dat! But here I am… waiting for surgery which is on Friday…. 5 whole days from today. I can’t complain, though. It’s annoying to me, but that’s all it is: an annoyance. I say that because waiting is something that’s really hard for everyone, but when it’s a life or death situation, it’s almost unbearable. 

My injury is not life or death and maybe that’s why I’m staying so positive about it. Life or death is my husband’s uncle, Joe. He’s one of the best men you can find. He’d give the shirt off his back for anyone, has the best sense of humor, and loves his family more than life itself. He suffers from pulmonary fibrosis… the same disease my father-in-law had. Think of a time you were completely out of breath and then imagine that as your every… single… day… all… day… long. That’s what he goes through. It’s so hard to watch a loved one go through this, but my family is now enduring it a second time. 

You want to know how insufferable waiting can be… talk to his family. They are all on the edge of their seats right now waiting for the call saying they have a match for a double lung transplant. I remember that feeling. It’s awful. You are watching your loved one lay there suffering wondering if that call is going to happen in time. 

Then when it does come, there’s more waiting. The surgery for a double lung transplant is hours long and feels more like weeks. Your praying to God that they are strong enough to get through that surgery, that the surgeon can make the transplant, that the new lungs take to the new body… 

I can’t complain. As annoyed as I am with waiting and being impatient, I throw myself back in those shoes. They say everything happens for a reason. I think sometimes this happened to me now so I could keep things in perspective. I’m not fighting a life or death battle. I merely have to recover from an injury that is keeping me from doing things I love. But it’s just a drop in the bucket. This guy below is fighting for his life and I pray every single second that call comes soon cause I want to spend a lot more family dinners with him, watch him pull more practical jokes, and see a lot more of that big grin of his. 

The next time you complain or feel like life has dealt you a bad hand… remember, someone else is fighting a much bigger battle than you. Appreciate the blessings you have and those bad things won’t seem so bad anymore. Prayers for Big Joe! We love you!