On November 1, 2013 I was swept off a mountain in an avalanche.
I shattered my patella and dislocated my knee joint. ACL, PCL and MCL tears. I had surgery to reconstruct the patella on November 8th and had to spend 9 1/2 weeks in a straight leg brace. My leg felt like a useless appendage; a big, heavy piece of wood strapped to my hip. I spent several weeks in bed.
As I healed and pain in the knee receded, the rest of my body wanted to do more. I was instructed to keep my leg straight. No bending, no weight bearing. Although I have been injured before, this one was worse. I wasn’t getting up this time. I got upset and daily life seemed worse every day.
Other things started going wrong in my body. I felt weak and fatigued. The pain meds were making me sick. There was concern that I could get a blood clot. I had terrible back pain from being on crutches. Even though I wore a circulation sock, my foot was constantly cold. The blood just wasn’t moving in my body like normal.
Mentally, I was a mess. I love back country skiing but was it worth it? With more surgeries on the horizon to ‘fix’ the injury I felt worn down by worry. Would they be successful? Would my knee function again? Will I want to go skiing in the mountains? Can I? From the stress of my situation my immune system dipped so low that I got sick with Shingles. I felt trapped in my body and bombarded by pain. As someone that is constantly in motion, this injury was devastating. I felt not only physically broken, but totally broken down through and though.
My blood needed to move. It needed to run through my legs and make me feel alive again!
My normal go-to activities were out or reach. No skiing, no climbing, no running, no working… not even walking. I tried ‘distance crutching’ but that only hurt my arm pits. I couldn’t think up an effective work out.
As a surprise gift from my boyfriend, I received some private sessions with Crystal at Wright Training. I went to my first session and she had all kinds of ideas for a workout. Crystal is a person that understands injuries (she’s been through a few herself) and is able to safely train around handicap.
My back pain went away by doing the lifts the (W)right way and holding certain stretches. We got my heart rate up and blood carried oxygen to my body, even to that injured leg. Recently, I found out that my PCL had repaired itself. It grew back! This does not happen in all cases and surgical PCL repair seemed almost a certainty. I am currently researching if the increased blood flow from working out could have made a difference in ligament regrowth. My evidence for the increase in circulation was that my foot feels warm. I feel my energy level is up and like myself again.
Most of all, I needed someone to understand how it feels to come back from a scary injury. Crystal made me feel that I am not alone in my recovery process. She’s gotten through it, so I can too! She helped to fix my outlook on the injury. A positive attitude goes a long way when your life seems broken.
By: Laura Krusheski