Day 30: Mental ‘Fitness’

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March 6, 2005 at 12:01 am

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The following is something

to a fellow thirty-something on Bob’s Knee Board that I feel deserves repeating here for posterity:

I’m 31 years old and female, and I’m one month post-op as you are. What type of graft did you receive? It’s not fair to yourself to compare your progress to anyone else in rehab. One, we all heal differently and we all experience different things in different ways. It’s not a cop out, it’s true. And you already know that age plays a factor, as does youthful exuberance. I’m mostly among TKR (Total Knee Replacement) rehabbers in my clinic, and thus am among the younger crowd when I do my PT, so it’s the other way around for me — others are asking me what my “trick” is or commenting aloud how frustrated they are to not be where I am in their rehab. I and the therapists are quick to point out that 1) I had a completely different, less invasive and ultimately far “easier” surgery than they did and 2) I’m two or three decades younger than they are, and age slows down healing. Even among the ACL rehabbers at my clinic, my PTs are good about not letting people get worked up about their progress relative to others. Some people went longer before having their surgery, and thus are either better able to deal with the pain OR on the other side of the coin have more damage and subsequently more repair to recover from. Some people have multiple ligament injuries, others “just” have ACL reconstruction; some have one or more meniscus tears, others have none. We’re all different.

I’ve found one’s mental “fitness” is as important, if not moreso, as one’s daily physical fitness in PT and at home exercises. There will be bad or “down” days, but finding a light in every day to motivate and buoy one’s spirits is key, IMHO. If I have any “trick” that is all it is… a healthy mental outlook. That doesn’t mean I don’t get bummed or frustrated, but it does mean I don’t let myself stay that way for very long. I like to look at the big picture, the fact that I’m on the other side of the mountain and healing now instead of stressing out about surgery or falling or in pain that seems to have no solution like I was before surgery. I’m in the land of the “known” versus the land of the “unknown” when it was all new and scary. Even though I don’t know everything, the important things are: I know I’ll heal, I know I’ll get back to activities I love in due time, I know my leg feels better and stronger every week, and I know I’m getting more physically fit overall as a result of having to do all these exercises at home and in PT. These are all positives to me that keep me motivated and focused when I see someone doing better, going faster or seeming to have an “easier” time than me on any given day.

Here’s something else that’s motivating — !

When I’m in PT or doing my exercises at home, I know one reason I’m doing them is so I can keep up with Jillian whenever Justin and I visit her in Dallas!

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