I knew, going into the knee surgery, that I would need to be committed to physical therapy. I was hopeful and optimistic and sure of my desire to heal and my strength. I'm still committed, hopeful and optimistic, but I'm learning that my strength is not where I thought it was.
Granted, the surgeon changed the muscles in my left leg. So I know it's going to take time to heal and time to regain my strength. It's just taking more time than I ever expected. I think it's also taking more time than my physical therapist thought it would. At least that's what I took away from therapy yesterday.
They tested my strength of my quadricep contractions. On the first day of physical therapy, I was at a 5 on a scale of about 1-1000. Yesterday, I was only at an 11. Yes, it's twice as strong, but I still have a long ways to go. There are things I am able to do now that were nearly impossible the first day of physical therapy. I can use my own strength to lift my left leg up off the table (or couch) and into the air. It's not as easy as I would like it to be, and it still hurts more than I want it to. But I can still do it.
I'm also able to bend my knee a little bit more every day. On my own, I was able to bend it to 72 degrees. The therapist can bend it a little more - which makes me cry as I did yesterday. As much as therapy has hurt, I've never cried until I was forced to let me leg hang over the end of the therapy table bent. That was bad enough until my therapist started pushing on my leg so that it bounced.
He asked me during therapy if I felt like I couldn't do things mentally or physically. I said physically. And I do think a lot of it is physically. It hurts so much when I do certain things.
But there is also a lot of fear. A lot of fear.
He told me I wasn't going to tear anything. That I was going to be okay. I have to remind myself of that at all times. And it's going to hurt. Everything I do right now is going to hurt. That's what happens when you have major knee surgery and then start physical therapy. There might be good pain and bad pain. But it's hard to know right now because the pain is just always hanging around.
Now I just need to figure out why I am blocked mentally. Because there is a block. I didn't think there was yesterday - or I didn't want to admit that there was one. But there is.
I realized it late in the day yesterday when I looked in the mirror. And I saw the weight gain. I saw all the bad foods I've eaten instead of good and healthy foods. It's not just how I've eaten while recovering from surgery, but it's how I've eaten for the last several months. It's why I have gained, lost, gained again, and lost again the same 5-10 pounds.
So I have to figure out this block. I have to stop it from creeping into my thoughts. I have to stop it from self-sabotaging myself into weight gains and healing slower. I know I'll be stronger at some point. And I know I'll lose the weight at some point. The question is when will that some point be. Is it going to be in just a few months? Or is it going to take me another few years?
(title from "a thousand years" by christina perri)