ADVENTURES IN ARTHROSCOPY

Sometime in late April, I fell while helping Mother up some steps and didn't realize that I'd had a serious injury. I continued working out and thought the swollen knee and redness was due to poison ivy. When the poison ivy on my hand faded and the knee was still swollen, I saw a doctor who diagnoses bursitis. I was all downhill from there until MRI results showed I had menicus tears. What follows are my notes about my experiences which may or my not have any relevance to another person's injury.

July 15, 2006

Knee surgery

I will be undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery July 21th due to a horizontal tear in the posterior body of the medial meniscus extending to the undersurface and free edge. There is also blunting of the free edge of the body of the lateral meniscus with a subtle horizontal tear extending to the superior articular surface. Additionally, I have a small Baker's cyst at the back of the knee (which is probably what is causing me the most pain).

I will need to keep the knee immobile from Friday until Monday and that will mean making a small area around the sofa my eating/sleeping/everything area for the weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to bounce back quickly. I'll be keeping a log to try to keep my recovery on track. Stay tuned for boring exercise and diet reports in the near future.

July 21 through July 31, 2006

Knee surgery Update

The knee surgery was performed on schedule July 21st and I spent the next three days on the sofa. Although I tried to sleep, this wasn't practical. The sofa kept shifting on me so that I fell between the sofa and the cushion and thus I moved upstairs to bed for the last night prior to returning to the doctor's office. There, I received instrutions for exercises to do 3-5 times per day.

  1. Heel Slide. While sitting, pull foot towards body. Assist stretch with hands. Hold for five second then pull the foot a little closer and hold for another 5 seconds. Relax leg and try to squeeze the knee flat against the floor.
  2. Wall slide. Lying on floor facing wall, slide foot down the wall then cross the right foot over the left foot and give the foot a little assistance in coming down further.
  3. Towel stretch. Sitting, wrap towel around foot. Pull towel. Stabilize leg by plaing one hand on thigh and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Heel Prop. Whenever sitting, place heel on foot rest. Heel must be high enough for calf and thigh to be off the ground. Hold for 10 minutes. Use cyro-cuff while doing this.
  5. Extension habit. When standing, shift weight to involved leg and tighten thigh muscle to lock out the knee. Hold 10 seconds.
  6. Straight leg raise: Sitting or lying down with opposite knee bent, tighten quad and lift involved leg 4-5 inches off bed or floor. Ten times.

It took about 4 hours to complete three sets the first day, three hours to complete 4 sets the second day, and two hours to complete 5 sets the third, fourth, and fifth day. I was afraid to take any NSAI medication due to the problems I had last time so I survived on Tylenol and lots of Cyro-Cuff usage.

I had planned to return to work ASAP but simply couldn't manage the physical therapy and a return to work that early. Thus, I returned to work Thursday and only worked half a day. Friday was another half day and then I had Saturday and Sunday to devote entirely to exercising and trying to reclaim the ability to walk normally. I resumed going to the gym but restricted myself to upper body only workouts.

August 1, 2006

The Second Visit to Physical Therapy

Although I can now slide my knee a little closer, my leg will not fully extend. To solve this, I've now been checked out with an Elite Seat. Thus far, I'm finding it uncomfortable but not really painful. However, I need to find something to do to distract myself because I have nothing to do except think about how uncomfortable I am for ten minutes.

August 3, 2006

A Swollen Knee

I woke up this morning to a badly swollen knee. This is extremely disappointing as the swelling had been going down slightly each day. I gathered up my gear and used the CyroCuff for half an hour at work before doing my workout.

Using the EliteSeat is proving increasingly more difficult as I'm anticipating discomfort. I need to find a way to distract myself. If I'm not thinking about the discomfort, it will be easier to crank up the settings.

August 9, 2006

The Third Visit to Physical Therapy

Although I have more mobility than before and can straighten my leg better than before, I do not yet have a full range of motion and thus I'll be using the EliteSeat for another two weeks. I am also now allowed to return to fencing, but only for bladework.

I'm also slowly beginning to rebuild strength in the left leg. I have exercises to do and I'm approved for low impact aerobics. I start with 5 minutes a day and will gradually increase the time on an exercycle or ellicipal trainger until I can do 30 minutes a day.

August 22, 2006

More Exercising

Today was another 3 sets of 12 of leg presses on the right leg at 20 nd on the left leg at 10 followed by 3 sets of 10 for leg extensions. I'm also doing laps in the swimming pool afterwards.

August 23, 2006

The Fourth Visit to Physical Therapy

I have very little change in mobility and still cannot fully straighten my leg; thus, I will be using the EliteSeat for another two weeks. However, I can now advance and retreat and do light fencing drills. I am continuing to work out at the Wellness Center and I am trying to build confidence/reduce my tendency to panic by overcoming my fear of water. While I cannot swim, I can float on my back and paddle my way across the center's swimming pool. I am now up to 10 laps but I'm continuing to have problems with swelling and pain.

August 24, 2006

Fencing Lessons

I didn't move my feet at all during last night's lesson, which was all about bladework. While I am still light years from where I want to be, I can see definite improvement and I'm gaining confidence that I've never had before.

I'm rather old to finally be blossoming.

Since the Physical Therapist said I could do some light drills, I decided to try a little fencing on the strip with clubmates. Unfortunately, I was having difficulty restraining myself so I didn't fence as much as I would have liked. However, I noticed that my parries were no worse than they were a month ago and I'm starting to FEEL the blade. IOW, there are times when the blade is almost an extension of my hand rather than a foreign piece of metal. I find this to be an incredible sensation and hope I don't lose that feeling.

This morning, the back of the knee feels like someone hit it with a lead pipe.

August 29, 2006

Knee Tremors

I think my knee is starting to re-learn how to move again.

Since May, my knee has felt like it is no longer part of my body. If you've ever been outside in subzero weather without gloves and smashed her thumb with a hammer, you might understand the concept of a body part feeling numb and still hurting like the dickens. My knee has felt disassociated from my body since May and that's a sensation that I'd learned to live with.

I now have to adjust to the feeling that there is something between my upper and lower left leg. It's not a knee yet, but there are bits and pieces that are starting to be there that haven't been there for me in a long, long time.

And yesterday, while I was focusing upon trying to straighten my left leg, I watched a tremor. I was concentrating on straightening the knee without touching it and I saw the muscles on each side of the knee twitch.

Hopefully, this is a good sign.

What doesn't feel so good is something that feels about the size of a small marble that is moving up and down the back of my knee when I do hamstring exercises. It is apparently a Rice Krispies wannabe because it's making snap, crackle, and pop noises as it moves up and down in back of my knee.

August 30, 2006

Moving Forward - Exercising

Last night I went to the Wellness Center and did 3 sets of leg presses, 3 sets of leg extensions, 3 sets on the hamstring machine (no weight added), 30 minutes on the ellicipal trainer, and 15 laps back and forth in the swimming pool.

I note that the hamstring exercises are the only ones causing any real discomfort. Each time I lower my legs, the back of the left knee sounds like someone is snapping a wishbone. It feels like something is moving down the back of my knee and while it's not a screaming kind of pain, it definitely feels weird.

Once again, my life is devoted to physical therapy.

September 2, 2006

Fencing Lessons

Today's lesson was the first time the coach had me advance and retreat post-surgery and I quickly discovered that I'd forgotten how walk and chew gum... er... I mean do bladework... at the same time.

I think tomorrow, I shall stand in the driveway and practice making cuts at the same time as the front foot hits the ground.

I cannot yet lunge. My lunge is a long stride. I tried a lunge once today and it was surprisingly painful.

On the plus side, I've spent part of tonight propping both legs on a file box and trying to make my knees flatten by extending the leg and turning my toes towards me.

I've got a long way to go but the left knee is moving down and the muscles are contracting slightly.

Progress!

September 1, 2006

Moving Forward - At A Neckbreaking Snail's Pace

The knee continues its long, slow, rehabilation. It no longer feels as numb as it did before and it's trying out for a cereal commerical by making snap, crackle, and pop noises. When I exercise, I have no visible improvement in mobility but I can see muscles quiver and try to work when I concentrate hard and try to will them to function. Hopefully, I'll one day be able to fully extend my leg again.

September 6, 2006

Once More, Into the Breach

My physical therapy appraisal did not go well today.

I still cannot fully extend my leg nor can I flex it.

Thus, I'll be using the torture device for another three weeks and will not be competing until October.

I am severely annoyed.

The exercises I'm supposed to do now are:

  1. Hell slides/sit on heels with pillow.
  2. Elite Seat X 10 minutes.
  3. Towel Stretch X 10 with active heel lift.
  4. Heel prop with quad tightening whenever sitting.

Continue with elliptical, bike, leg press, and leg extensions adding weight as able.

When standing, lock-out knee.

Continue to focus on range of motion on extension.

So I'm trying to crank it up. The exercises I did today after work are:

  1. 3 sets of Leg press. I increased the weight by five pounds.
  2. 3 sets of Leg extensions. I increased the weight by five pounds.
  3. Leg curls.
  4. Ellicipal trainer for 30 minutes -- I increased resistance from 1 to 2.
  5. 10 laps in the swimming pool for 1,000 feet of back paddling.

Upon returning home, I did the elite seat for 10 minutes followed by the towel stretch with active heel lift and then propped my leg up on ice for ten minutes with occasional tightening.

I'm dreading the attempt to sit on heels with pillow later. That hurts a lot. I'll need to do the towel stretch again afterwards as well.

September 7, 2006

More Boring Exercise Stuff

Exercising at work did not go well today. Too many interruptions. Thus, I only got through one set of exercises before leaving early to go to the gym.

I did the leg press at 15 lbs and the leg extensions at 15 lbs. I also added 5 lbs on the last set of the leg curl. For calves, I used 70 lbs. I cranked the resistance up to 3 on the elliptical trainer and did 10 laps in the pool. Upon reaching home, I changed and went to fencing practice where I did very little. Upon returning home, I did 3 sets of counting to thirty while trying to sit back on my heels with a pillow doubled over between feet and butt. I then undoubled the pillow and sat back and counted to 30. I tried... really I tried... to do this without a pillow but I got as far as counting to ten and I just couldn't take the pain any longer. T en minutes in the Elite Seat followed by towel stretches and then a few minutes with my knee on ice and my foot propped on a pillow so it would be straight. As I type, I've tried to prop up my foot and tense & untense my knee.

Painful and boring.

September 8, 2006

Even More Boring Exercise Stuff

This was followed by 10 minutes on the sofa with my knee in the cyrocuff. The knee is swollen. I need to reduce the swelling.

September 10, 2006

And Yet Even More Boring Exercise Stuff

I got to the gym at 1030 hours and did the following:

I put the knee on ice upon returning home because it was too swollen to do any further exercises. four hours later, I finished the following exercises:

This was followed by 10 minutes on the sofa with my knee in the cyrocuff.

I never anticipated this much pain and hard work.

I am frightened by the number of people I've met who can't do what I'm trying to do and who have stopped trying. They haven't been injured; they've just gained weight and/or grew older and gradually lost muscle tone.

That fear is the only thing keeping me going at the moment. It's force myself to work through the pain or face a future of losing the ability to do something I've always taken for granted.

September 11, 2006

And Yet Even More Boring Exercise Stuff

When, WHEN will I be able to sit back on my heels without screaming? Or even with screaming?

September 12, 2006

The Never Ending Saga of the Knee Exercise Effort

I noticed in the mirror that my knee is much more swollen than I'd realized.

I'd been looking down at it and when I saw it at an angle in the mirror, the difference was dramatic.

Wow! It's twice the size of the right knee. Time to back off a little bit... or at least ice down the knee

I am now icing down the knee while eating a tuna salad sandwich (Subway).

Next effort: The torture device and heel slides & kneelling. My knee hurts just thinking about it

September 12, 2006

My Knee Says Hello

After eating, I began my self-torture.

First, I did 25 heel slides and quickly realized that my knee was far too swollen to make any real progress tonight.

I managed to double the pillow and sit back on it for a full minute but when I undoubled the pillow and tried to sit back on just the pillow, I could only manage 30 seconds and those were very anguished seconds. The attempt to sit back as far as I could without a pillow was a wash.

I then tried to warm up for the EliteSeat by doing 5 towel stretches and found I could almost lift my heel above the floor. After ten minutes in the EliteSeat, I discovered that I could hold the heel lift after the towel stretch. Ten towel stretches later, I shifted to the left slightly and tried to lift.

Success! Okay... so I cheated a little... I still got my heel off the ground.

One time is an aberration. Twice is progress. If I can do this three days in a row, it's another reacquired skill.

I never dreamed I'd be so thrilled over the ability to lift my heel off the ground.

Next effort: The torture device and heel slides & kneelling. My knee hurts just thinking about it

September 13, 2006

A Light Day

My knee was fairly swollen by the time I left work today so I resolved to keep it light.

Yeah. Right.

I went to the gym and did the usual sitting leg press, leg extensions, and leg curl and then skipped other workouts to go to the bike for a light 20 minutes. Why only twenty? Because the knee felt really sore and I figured I was already overdoing it.

I then went to fencing practice and stupidly did footwork. Light. Yes, I kept it light, all right.

My knee is on ice now.

I still need to do the heel slides, the kneeling, and the rack before going to bed.

I couldn't do a decent heel slide and I wimped out after some feeble attempts to lean back on my heels. However, I put in my ten minutes in the EliteSeat and I had another good towel stretch session.

Every single towel stretch resulted in an active heel lift.

Yes!

September 14, 2006

Happy Snoopy Dance!

I can now do an active heel lift!

This means that I can sit on the floor with my legs stretched out in front of me and lift the heel of my foot without lifting my leg.

Yes, it's nuts that I'm so delighted to be able to achieve such a small victory.

I cut back on my exercise yesterday because the knee was badly swollen and I figured it was my own fault for pushing harder than I should.

I did do the important exercises, however: heel slides, towel stretches, and the 10 minutes in the EliteSeat.

Tomorrow, I'll spend some time in the gym working at a slightly slower pace and maybe reduce the resistence if swelling continues to be a problem.

September 15, 2006

Friday Exercises!

September 16, 2006

Saturday Exercises!

Today, I woke up feel rather blah and thus didn't accomplish much at the gym.

I did the usual lower body exercises EXCEPT I skipped the 30 minutes of aerobics and did a half set of upper body exercises before going to fencing. At the club, I stayed late to help with the beginners and returned home to start my exercises. I'm having an increasing amount of difficulty with bending but the straightening part is proving easier.

I just can't seem to get past the wall of pain on bending the knee.

September 17, 2006

Sunday Exercises!

I decided to flip my usual order of exercises since this is Sunday and I can wait until later in the day to go to the gym.

Thus, I did ten heel slides followed by a horrifically painful attempt to sit back on my heels.

At the gym, I did:

After dinner, I did 15 more heel slides and tried the pillow trick again. This time, I could manage to sit for the count of 30 3 times again and then 30 seconds on a single pillow. Once again, it was only 15 seconds sans pillow but this time I tried to figure out just how close I was getting to my heels and realized I was withint two inches of sitting on them.

September 18, 2006

Monday Exercises

My body was still recovering from a nasty reaction to a meal at Montana Mike's Steakhouse (I guess the Italian dressing, because nothing else seemed likely). Thus, I left work early and did a light exercise of 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 3 sets of leg extensions, and 3 sets of sitting leg presses before going home and collapsing into bed.

After four hours of much-needed sleep, I woke up and did my usual 15 heel slides, 3 doubled-pillow sits, 1 pillow sit, and one sans pillow sit. I still cannot sit back on my heels without the pillow but I think I'm within an inch of reaching that goal.

I then put in 10 minutes in the EliteSeat followed by 10 active heel lifts and ten minutes on ice with leg extension.

I still feel under the weather but at least I accomplished the minimum exercises.

September 19, 2006

Tuesday Exercises

Today was a lot of stuff at work and that meant I left later than planned. I did the usual routine at the gym and then I came home, put the knee on ice while eating, and tackled the heel slides and pillow sitting.

I can now sit back on a doubled pillow for a full minute without screaming. Some whimpering may occur but no screaming. I can also sit back on a full pillow for a minute without much more difficulty. The complete sit back on my heels is not yet possible. I tried and it hurt and I pushed as hard as I could, but I was still a good inch or more away when I just couldn't take it any longer.

Maybe I'll be able to succeed by the weekend.

I note that my leg extension continues to improve and I can hold my foot above the floor for a long time but I haven't yet been able to press the knee fully against the floor while doing so.

Close. Almost there. Just a little more.

September 23, 2006

More of the Same

The last few days have been a little busier than usual.

I skipped the gym Thursday partially because work was so busy that there just wasn't an opportunity to leave in time to exercise and get to fencing practice. Although I'd started the day with a normal-sized knee, it was badly swollen by the time I returned home.

Once there, I did the heel slides, the Elite Seat and the towel pulls.

Friday, I stayed a little late and then had a car repair to attend to and that also got me to the gym rather late. I restricted myself to leg exercises only and kept it lighter than usual in hopes of reducing the swelling.

Saturday, the knee was still swollen and I did only the leg extensions and the leg press at the gym before heading to the club's outdoor pirate fencing competition. Unfortunately, it rained before we finished and when I returned home, I went to the gym to finish the workout and then home to do the usual PT exercises.

I still cannot sit on my heels. Drat!

One day left and then another visit to the PT. I am not optomistic.

September 23, 2006

Sunday's Workout

Today has felt rather depressing from the knee recovery standpoint.

I did the usual exercises at the gym minus the calf workout (because the knee was too swollen) followed by 5 laps in the pool and then trying to rock back on my heels in the hot tub. At home, I iced my knee for a while and then tackled the hard exercises.

I managed to feel my butt touch the heel for a fraction of a second before I feel forward to escape the pain.

Progress. And for this, I suppose I should be grateful.

I had expected a quick and speedy recovery back to where I was before the injury. I had expected to be fencing at Notre Dame this weekend and here I am, trying to be happy over finally being able to push through a wall of pain to kneel down without a pillow, sit back, and push my butt against my heel for a nanosecond.

I want my old leg back. The one I had at the beginning of April that could jump, leg press with the other leg over 100 pounds, and push off for a good lunge and jump back in time to avoid an opponent's thrust. I want to be able to squat down again and bounce back up.

I want healthy legs again.

September 24, 2006

Monday Physical Therapy Check-In

Today was the physical therapy check-in to see what condition my condition is in (to quote an old song.

First, I warmed up the leg a little and then they took measurements of how straight I could straighten the leg and how much I could bend the leg. The bottom line is that I've made progress but I'm still not quite there yet. If I were comparing this to a race, I would say that I am on the home stretch but still several lengths from the finish line.

I can almost fully straighten my leg without assistance. In fact, I can fully straighten my leg after using the EliteSeat for ten minutes but can't just walk in, sit down on the bench, and straighten the leg. When I can do this unaided, I will no longer need the EliteSeat. I suspect that if I work hard this month, I can probably retrn the torture device.

Bending the leg back is still impossible. I can bend it further than I could last time, however, so this is progress and I'll just have to continue working and trying to be patient.

One thing we did that was different this time was to have a strength test. The first one involve me being strapped into something like a leg extension chair only it's connected to a computer and offers resistence. First we tested the good leg kicking out and pulling back and then we tested the left leg. As might be expected, the left leg is not functioning as well as the right leg.

Next, I crawled into a leg pres chair but for this one, it's simply testing how hard I can push against the base. In this case, my left leg is at 60% the strength level of the right leg. Again, this is not great. It is, however, a baseline and my objective is to do much better next month when I'm tested again.

I still cannot run, jump, jog, or engage in other high impact aerobic activities but I can return to competition.

Note that this means I'm going to be fencing smarter, not harder, and I hope that I'll have an opportunity to pick up some additional skills/learn how to adapt my game before the National C competition in Richmond, Virginia this coming December.

So here we go with yet another boring four weeks of exercise reports.

October 2, 2006

Exercises

I've gone to the gym every day and I've done the required exercises every day but I have cut back slightly on the non-PT exercises due to life happenings. I can now sit on the heels of my feel but it hurts like heck when I do this.

I am not yet able to fully push the knee to the floor and lift my heel off the floor in the same motion. The right leg works; the left leg is still lagging behind the desired level of success. I can push it flat against the floor with my hand and lift my heel, but only after using the EliteSeat for ten minutes before attempting this feat.

October 9, 2006

Columbus Day Catch-Up

Life threw a curve ball last week as Mother had a minor problem and we opted to take her to the emergency room as a precautionary measure and they discovered her slighly swollen leg was due to a blood clot. Thus, I didn't have as much time as usual to devote to exercises. I did sign up at the Hancock Wellness for a personal trainer on the Pilates Reformer and managed a session Wednesday and Friday before leaving for Context. [Mother returned to the assisted living facility Thursday evening.] I did continue using the Elite Seat daily but other exercises were somewhat hit and miss this week.

Today, I went to the Wellness Center and did the following:

Afterwards, I swam three laps and relaxed for a few minutes in the hot tub. I also cut grass for the first time in over a month.

October 4, 2006

Going For Broke

I have spent far too much money for a package at the Wellness Center to work with a personal trainer on the Pilates Reformer with the objective of regaining full use of my left leg. After an hour of being the equivalent of a horizontal puppet pulling my own strings, the only part of my body that aches are my sides and upper abs.

October 9, 2006

Weighty Issues

I'm now back down to 115, which is my preferred weight. Clothes fit better at 110 but my focus is upon developing more muscle and less fat and that means holding firm at 115 is a healthier weight goal.

October 16, 2006

Pilates

Today was another session on the Pilates Reformer. I also found that I could bump up the weight on the vertical leg press from 20 to 25 pounds on the last set and it wasn't much more difficult than 25 lbs. After 30 minutes of aerobics, I soaked in the hot tub and tried jumping around while squatting. [No, there was no one in there with me.]

October 17, 2006

Another boring exercise post

Today, I arrived at the gym late due to visiting Mother.

1 sitting leg press at 20

2 at 25. Yes, I bumped the weight up 5 lbs.

3 leg extensions at 15

3 leg curls at 10

3 reclining leg presses at 30 lbs

a shoulder workout

a chest workout

a biceps workout

30 minutes on the ellipical trainer at setting 5 and resistance 4.

10 minutes in the hot tub doing squats.

I can almost squat on dry land. It's an ugly, off-balance squat and my RIGHT knee pops every time I go up and down.

October 23, 2006

Check-Up

My check-up was today and the worst news received was that my left leg had dropped 2% in one of the strength test comparisons against the good leg. However, the numbers had improved for both legs; I had imply gained more strength in the good leg than I had in the injured leg. I'll be modifying my workouts slightly to increase the workout on the injured leg.

The best news of the day is that the restrictions are lifted. [Woo Hoo!] I can start easing back into footwork, running, jumping, etc. I still have exercises to do daily but I no longer have to strap my leg into an EliteSeat and turn the crank to straighten my leg.

I return for another checkup in six weeks and call if I have any problems.

They tell me that when I can fully straighten and bend the leg and when my left leg is at 90% the strength of the right leg, it will be considered normal. At present, the left leg ranges from 64% to 72% the strength of the right leg.

After the check-up, I went to the Wellness Center for my usual Monday afternoon Pilates Reformer workout with Personal Trainer Christine and followed that with the usual leg press, leg extension, and elliptical trainer workout. I did increase the weights on everything.

October 24, 2006

Continuing Exercises

I visited Mother at Sunrise after leaving work and thus didn't reach the Wellness Center until after 5pm.

  1. 1 set on the sitting leg press at 20 lbs., 2 sets at 25 lbs. The right leg could manage 30 lbs. but the left leg couldn't manage. Finished with both legs at 40 while waiting for the leg extension machine to be available.
  2. 3 sets at 15 lbs. per leg. 1 set of 7 at 20 lbs. on the right leg.
  3. Reclining leg press: 20 lbs. on the right and 10 on the left to begin. Added 5 lbs. to the right then 5 to the left. One more set.
  4. I also did shoulder, chest, and biceps exercises.
  5. elliptical trainer at setting 6 and resistence 4.

The leg feels okay thus far. If it's not overly sore in the morning, I'll crank it up another notch before fencing tomorrow night.

October 25, 2006

October 25th Exercises and Fencing

I arrived at the Wellness Center tonight and did the following:

  1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, 1 at 25, and 1 at 30
  2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15, 1 at 20, and I tried 25 but couldn't succeed so I dropped back to 20.
  3. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer
  4. 1 hour of pilate reformer with PT Christine, who also offered some suggestions for other exercises to help improve the knee and gain stability.
  5. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer
  6. 1 set of 35 on the reclining leg press, 1 set of 40, 1 set of 45, and 1 set of 50.
  7. 3 sets of 15 lbs. on the hamstring machine.
  8. Placing a ball at my back, I leaned against the wall and did half-squats ten times.
  9. Using the half ball, I lunged a few times to get the feel for it. I'll do more of this later.

I grabbed a quick meal before heading to the JCC and realized half-way there that something I'd eaten was not agreeing with me. Thus, I spent the first fifteen minutes after arrival in the restroom, debating whether or not I could fence or if I needed to turn around and go home. Fortunately, the yucky, I'm going to puke or pass out symptoms finally faded and I was able to fence.

My fencing is terrible and I have 6 weeks to improve before Richmond.

Cue the Rocky Theme again... No, NOT Rocky and Bullwinkle! Eye of the Tiger

October 27, 2006

October 27th Exercises

  1. Seated leg press 20, 25, 25, and 30 on the right but I only managed 6 on the last set on the left.
  2. Leg extensions 15, 20, and 20.
  3. Reclining leg press 40, 45, 55, and 60.... Woo Hoo!
  4. Leg curl 3 sets of 15.
  5. Shoulder press 3 sets of 20.
  6. Side raises, 2 sets of 5 and one of 8.
  7. Upright row on Smith Machine was 40, 45, and 50.
  8. 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

October 28, 2006

October 28th Exercises

  1. Seated Leg Press 20, 25, 25 and 30. Only 7 reps on the left leg at 30.
  2. Leg extensions 15, 15, and 20.
  3. Reclining Leg Press 50, 55, and 60.
  4. Leg curl: 3 sets @ 15.
  5. Side raises 5, 5, and 8
  6. Shoulder Press 20, 20, and 8 @ 30.
  7. Upright row 40, 45, and 50.
  8. Chest curl 8, 10, and 12.
  9. Biceps curl 8, 10, and 12.
  10. Modified biceps curl 8, 10 and 12.
  11. 30 minutes on the ellicipital trainer at setting 6 with resistance 4.
  12. October 30, 2006

    More exercises

    My knee is swollen so I back off a little bit.

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, 1 at 25, and 1 at 30
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15, 1 at 20, and I tried 25 but couldn't succeed so I dropped back to 20.
    3. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer
    4. 1 hour of pilate reformer with PT Christine, who also offered some suggestions for other exercises to help improve the knee and gain stability.
    5. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer

    November 1, 2006

    More exercises

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, 1 at 25, and 1 at 30
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15, 1 at 20, and I tried 25 but couldn't succeed so I dropped back to 20.
    3. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer
    4. 1 hour of pilate reformer with PT Christine, who also offered some suggestions for other exercises to help improve the knee and gain stability.
    5. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer

    November 3, 2006

    Follow-up

    I was so proud of myself for increasing the weight and doing better with the knee... until it swelled so badly that I could barely limp on it.

    Obviously, I overdid it and now I have to back off and undo all the gains I thought I'd made.

    Worse, this probably set me back a week because I cannot do anything until the swelling is down such that I can bend and straighten the knee again.

    I'm an idiot.

    November 4, 2006

    Follow-up

    I was limping so badly today that I only did a short set of exercises.

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, and 2 at 25
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15 and 2 at 25.
    3. 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    November 5, 2006

    Follow-up

    My knee was badly swollen this morning so I kept it simple.

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, and 2 at 25
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15 and 2 at 25.
    3. 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    November 6, 2006

    Monday

    My knee is still swollen this, so I kept it light.

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, and 2 at 25
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15 and 2 at 25.
    3. One hour of pilates with Christine
    4. 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    November 7, 2006

    Tuesday

    My knee is still swollen this, so I kept it light.

    1. 1 set of seated leg press at 20, and 2 at 25
    2. 1 set of leg extensions at 15 and 2 at 25.
    3. 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    November 8, 2006

    Fall Back! Regroup! Prepare to Attack!

    The knee is swollen more than it has been in almost two months. Ibuprofen causes stomach problems such that I couldn't swallow for almost two weeks last time I tried this so I'm taking Ibuprofen with a Prilosec chaser and hoping for the best.

    I went to the gym today and made it a light workout.

    Home for another attempt at heel slides and towel stretches.

    Even after 20 heel slides, I was still well off the usual amount of bending. I just couldn't get it. I tried kneeling with a pillow doubled under my butt again and it's back to be painful. A single pillow is more painful. Sitting back without a pill is impossible.

    I'd reached the point earlier where I could sit back without a pillow and feel my heels.

    Damn!

    I also couldn't manage to lift my heel despite continuing with the towel stretches.

    I am so bummed.

    If the swelling doesn't go down by Monday, I'm going to contact the physical therapist and see what she recommends.

    For now, it's elevation, ice, and stay off of it as much as possible.

    I guess this means I won't be going to the Turkey Shoot competition.

    November 9, 2006

    Taking it Easy

    I took the day off today partially so I could get some rest for my knee. Thus far, things are not working out as planned.

    November 10, 2006

    Taking it Easy II

    November 11, 2006

    Taking it Easy III

    The good news -- what little there is of it -- is that the swelling IS going down.

    November 12, 2006

    Sunday

    November 13, 2006

    Monday

    Today was my last pilate session with Christine followed by:

    November 14, 2006

    Tuesday

    November 15, 2006

    Wednesday

    Today was my first workout session with Christine wherein I'm trying to regain my former strength, flexibility, and balance. Among other things, we did:

    November 16, 2006

    Thursday

    November 17, 2006

    Friday

    November 18, 2006

    Saturday

    November 19, 2006

    Sunday

    November 20, 2006

    Monday

    Today was my first workout session with Christine wherein I'm trying to regain my former strength, flexibility, and balance. Among other things, we did:

    November 21, 2006

    Sunday

    November 22, 2006

    Monday

    Today was my first workout session with Christine wherein I'm trying to regain my former strength, flexibility, and balance. Among other things, we did:

    November 23, 2006

    Tuesday

    Since I had problems with swelling, I have dropped the weights for my exercises.

    November 24, 2006

    Wednesday

    Today was my second workout session with Christine wherein I'm trying to regain my former strength, flexibility, and balance. Among other things, we did:

    November 24, 2006

    Friday

    Today, the Wellness Center was closed for Thanksgiving so the only exercise I did was the heel slide and the heel lifts.

    November 25, 2006

    Tuesday

    November 26, 2006

    Saturday

    November 27, 2006

    Sunday

    December 1, 2006

    A week in Boston

    I flew out to Boston Monday for work-related training and did not return until Friday. The hotel did have an exercise center but the equipment was a little different and after using it Monday, doing a lot of walking Tuesday, and using it again on Wednesday, I found I couldn't go into the engarde position without a stabbing pain sensation in the leg.

    December 2, 2006

    Saturday

    Fortunately, the pain had faded in my leg and I was now able to fence again. I was careful to ice my knee frequently while in Boston and I'm continuing to ice frequently to reduce swelling. After fencing Saturday, my knee felt a little exhausted and I noticed some swelling that night so I stayed up late to keep it iced. Today was the first time in weeks that I missed doing my heel slide and heel lifts. I was simply too exhausted and spent too much time in the car today.

    December 1, 2006

    Saturday

    My left knee hurt so much when I tried to do the leg extensions that I decided to stop, skip the planned swimming, and go home to put the knee on ice. About half a day later, I did the usual heel slides and lifts and I note the following:

    It take more effort than it should to bend the knee and I need 20 -- not 10 -- heel slides before I can sit back with a pillow between butt and heels. I also cannot yet sit back on my heels without twisting my body into a malformed pretzel pose. However, I can now do a full leg extension with 2-8 towel stretches so I'm improving in that area.

    December 6, 2006

    Wednesday

    Although my knee was better than it had been earlier, the PT put me back on the Elite Seat. I'm now at 75% the strength of the left leg but I've had a drop in improvement. This is not the way I want it to go.

    December 8, 2006

    Wednesday

    The knee is mostly working for the competition. I've not noted the amount of work preparing for competition but I have been struggling with training smart versus training hard. Thus far, I'm not doing well.

    December 17, 2006

    Wednesday

    The knee was fine after the first competition day but swelled incredibly Sunday between the time the competition was over and the time I arrived home. I limped off the airplane and my leg had shooting pains. Thus, I feel like I'm back to square one again. I'm taking Alleve and chasing it down with an anti-acid-reflux pill. I spent the entire day on the sofa with the leg elevated (when I wasn't doing range of motion exercises) after a tooth was pulled and I'm still not making any progress on reducing the swelling. This is all so annoying!

    Today, I kept it light with 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer followed by 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, and 1 set of 20 on the leg press followed by 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, and 1 set of 20 on the leg extension.

    December 22, 2006

    Frustrations

    After work, I went straight to the Wellness Center, did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, and 1 set of 20 on the leg press (left leg only). I could only do 1 set of 10 and 2 sets of 15 on the leg extension (left leg only).

    After returning home, I tried to do heel slides and I just couldn't get my leg to bend properly. Likewise, I couldn't get a heel lift. I then spent 10 minutes in the EliteSeat followed by heel lifts with the towel. I CAN -- properly primed -- hold that heel off the floor for a brief moment.

    Much more work is needed.

    I then put the knee on ice for ten minutes while resting it on a rolled throw and it's now still on ice and propped on a plastic file box while I'm typing.

    At 1430, I ran some required errands and returned to the gym where I discovered that everyone was attempting to do their upper body workout before the holidays. Thus, I did a couple of sets of shoulder exercises, tried the hot tub, and bailed out of the steam room after I couldn't sit up with my left leg bent even a fraction of the amount that I'd bent it the day before.

    I'm far, far too depressed. Annoyed. Angry at the world.

    I am House, only without the intelligence and the medical degree.

    I did not make it through ten minutes in the EliteSeat on the 3rd set of the day. Maybe five minutes and then I just couldn't take it any more.

    On the plus side, I COULD do a heel lift afterwards without needing the assistance of a towel stretch.

    But odds are good that this ability will be gone tomorrow morning.

    My knee is on ice again and it's staying on ice for as long as I am awake. When I go to bed, I'm going to disconnect the cyro cuff and leave it filled and connected.

    My knee may never work properly again but it won't be because I didn't try.

    December 23, 2006

    Losing It

    I went to the gym about 1000 hours and kept the exercise light: 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer followed by 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, and 1 set of 20 on the leg press and then 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, and 1 set of 20 on the leg extension. I then went to fencing practice, kept it light, and barely fenced beyond the lesson. My knee feels like small worms are underneath my skin, crawling around and making tracks. I hate this. I hate it! Hate it! Hate it!

    I stopped on the way home and bought a bag of ice and placed it over my knee while driving home. Upon reaching home, Greg sent me out on an errand for him and once I was finally able to return home and stay there, I spent the evening with my knee on ice unless I was doing exercises. This time, I did two routines of heel slides and Elite seats and I found that I'd lost everything I'd accomplished the day before and then some.

    I am incredibly depressed over my inability to reduce the swelling. I'm taking Aleve and worrying about side effects but the biggest fear is that this won't work either.

    December 24, 2006

    And Today The Swelling is WORSE!

    Despite keeping the knee on ice as much as possible yesterday and going to bed wearing the cyro cuff, the swelling is WORSE this morning.

    December 25, 2006

    Christmas

    All I wanted for Christmas was my 2004 left knee returned. The moment I woke up, I felt pain in the knee and knew my Christmas wish was unanswered. I immediately did one PT routine including the Elite Seat and put the knee on ice. I also iced my knee most of the day and insisted that Greg do all the driving.

    December 26, 2006

    The Swelling is Finally Going Down

    At last! The swelling is finally going down. I took my Elite Seat with me to work and managed three full PT sessions on it and I'm delighted to report that I'm regaining some mobility.

    December 27, 2006

    DAMNIT!

    Back to square one. I was doing better but after going to the gym, the knee started swelling above the kneecap and by the time I returned home from fencing, I'd lost range of motion and was right back to where I was two weeks ago.

    December 28, 2006

    Torturing Myself

    I kept things light and iced my knee constantly. I note that I still have range of motion but something just feels wrong.

    December 29, 2006

    Torturing Myself

    I finally did what I should have done earlier. I contacted my physical therapist by e-mail, described my concerns and listed what I'd been doing for exercise. I'm now to stay out of the gym and do only those exercises described to keep range of motion until I go in for a Tuesday appointment. I also learned that what I considered an incredibly light and easy exercise was actually a strong workout. More, using a half-ball was a bad idea as the knee is not yet strong enough for this. Oops.

    Update: I have objectives for January, 2007 from the doctor and physical therapist. Before I can resume light exercise, I must first achieve the following:

    January 2, 2007

    A Visit to the Physical Therapist and Comments From the Doctor

    The knee, which had swollen to extraordinary size, was no longer badly swollen when I saw the physical therapist and I could once again extend the leg. However, I'd gone two steps forward and one back so many times that they talked bluntly to me.

    I had torn both the inner and the outer meniscus on the left knee and I limped around on it, fenced on it, etc. for far too long before surgery. It's going to flare up when I use it and if I don't want to take up one-legged fencing, I need to back off and do nothing but physical therapy until instructed to begin easing back into strength training.

    This time, I think I'll err on the side of caution rather than pushing forward to see how far I can push.

    January 3, 2007

    Day One of being cautious after the leg essetially failed

    I woke up several times during the night with leg pains but I didn't have much trouble walking when I finally got out of bed.

    At 1100 hours, I did the following:

    At 1340 hours, I did the following:

    At home, about 1930 hours, I did the following:

    January 4, 2007

    Day Two

    I woke up about 0300 hours this morning and could walk rasonably well.

    At 0900 hours:

    At 1300 hours:

    At 1930 hours:

    Swelling is down. The knee looks very similar to the other knee but cannot yet flatten.

    January 5, 2007

    Day Three

    I didn't have a chance to use the Elite Seat this morning due to work and vet visit so it was 2pm before I did my first set:

    I also spent some time this morning trying to walk without limping and asked co-workers for opinions. I'm definitely favoring that left leg and the more I focus on not limping, the more I limp.

    At 1900 hours, I did the second set. Yes, I'm running late today. I'd wanted to go to a local tournament and watch, if nothing else. However, I fell asleep and woke up feeling 20 lbs. heavier and stupid. I think I need more sleep.

    I woke up at 0100 hours to repeat all of the above except I sat on the doubled pillow for five minutes and skipped trying to sit back without the pillow. I also forgot to do the 10 towel stretches. I did remember to ice the knee for 10 minutes afterwards. And now I'm going back to bed.

    January 6, 2007

    Day Four

    January 7, 2007

    Day Five

    At 0900 hours:

  13. 20 heel slides. I could NOT lift the heel after the heel slide and since I was wearing shorts, I was very aware that I was NOT putting the back of the knee to the cold floor.
  14. 5 minutes sitting on a doubled pillow and watching myself try to sit properly in the mirror. I'm a little less lop-sided.
  15. 2 minutes sitting on a pillow while watching myself in the mirror. I shifted positions a few times, trying to sit straight.
  16. 1 20-second attempt to sit back on my heels. I can sit back on both heels but I'm leaning badly to one side and then pulling back the opposite direction. I'm forming an S.
  17. 10 minutes on the Elite Seat.
  18. 10 towel stretches. By the 8th lift, I could touch the back of the knee successfully to the floor while lifting the heel but I note that the heel slid down on the left while it does not on the right.
  19. I went to the gym to swim three laps on my back and spend some time in the hot tub and then the dry steam room.

    At 1400 hours:

  20. 20 heel slides. I could lift the heel after the heel slide but the back of the knee was not touching the floor.
  21. 5 minutes sitting on a doubled pillow and watching myself try to sit properly in the mirror. The mirror helps.
  22. 3 minutes sitting on a pillow while watching myself in the mirror. I am almost straight.
  23. 20 seconds on my heels and badly tilting to the right.
  24. 10 minutes on the Elite Seat.
  25. 10 towel stretches. I could touch the back of the knee successfully to the floor while lifting the heel.
  26. I'm noting a trend. Every time I do these exercises after sleeping - be it overnight or a short nap, I cannot do heel lifts and keep the knee to the floor. At 1900 hours:

  27. 20 heel slides. The bending ability is doing better, although it still hurts, but the attempt to heel lift after each bend isn't going well.
  28. 5 minutes sitting on a doubled pillow. I was fairly straight.
  29. 3 1-minute efforts to sit straight on a pillow. Much improved. Hurt.
  30. 20 seconds on my heels and not tilting quite as badly.
  31. 10 minutes on the Elite Seat.
  32. 10 towel stretches. I could touch the back of the knee successfully to the floor while lifting the heel.
  33. January 8, 2007

    Day Six

    At work at 0730 hours:

    At work at 1230 hours:

    After work I went to the gym and swam 4 laps on my back, spent some time in the hot tub trying to extend my leg and sat in the dry sauna with my knees bent as far as I could bend them and up on the bench with me. When I returned home, I did the following:

    January 14, 2007

    Day Twelve

    Woke up late -- almost 0830 hours, and went downstairs to do PT#1 for the day:

    They were having some kind of promotion at the gym and the pool was filled with kids so all I did was sit in the hot tub and then the steam room before returning home for PT2.

    PT 3 at 1800 hours:

    January 15, 2007

    Day Thirteen

    I got up at 0330 hours with the intention of driving to Columbus, OH but things didn't work out so I started my PT exercises instead at 0530 hours:

    At 1100 hours:

    I went to the gym at 1400 hours to swim 5 laps and spend some time in the hot tub and in the sauna. At 6pm, I hit the PT routine again:

    January 16, 2007

    Day Fourteen

    At work:

    I repeated this again at noon. At home:

    January 17, 2007

    Day Fifteen

    Unplanned exercise: Carrying water-soaked items up from the basement. At least 50 trips up and down the basement steps until the knee couldn't take it any longer. At 0300 hours:

    At work:

    I spent a couple of hours going up and down stairs and moving stuff out of the basement. About 1900 hours, I did the following:

    January 18, 2007

    Day Sixteen

    At home, waiting for crew to arrive to continue work on drying the basement:

    The work schedule was so confusing that I didn't get a chance to do #2 set until 1500 hours:

    At home about 1800 hours:

    January 19, 2007

    Day Seventeen

    A late start today due to work schedule and house problems. At 1230:

    I tried another set at 1600 hours, but my foot kept cramping so I stopped after 20 slides and went to the gym at 1800 and tried again when I returned home:

    January 21, 2007

    Day Nineteen

    January 20, 2007

    Day Eighteen

    A At 0900:

    At 1600:

    January 22, 2007

    Day Twenty

    In the morning at work:

    In the afternoon, at work:

    At home:

    January 23, 2007

    Day Twenty-One

    I'm finally allowed to start exercising so I went to the gym and tried one of the new elliptical trainers that replaced the only equipment and had to ask for assistance. Five minutes. That's all I'm allowed. And if my ROM drops, I'm to stop.

    January 24, 2007

    Day Twenty-Two

    January 25, 2007

    Day Twenty-Three

    January 26, 2007

    Day Twenty-Four

    I got a late start this morning due to work concerns and not taking my PT equpiment with me. Thus, it was almost 1700 hours before I started my first set of the day.

    At 1930 hours, I did the following:

    2030 hours:

    Day Twenty-Five

    I got up early and did a quick routine, skipping the effort to sit back on my heels. I went to the gym just before noon, did 9 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then put my knee on ice for 10 minutes before going to the JCC where I did heel slides followed by extensions while the fencers did footwork exercises. After doing a little directing and talking to people, I returned home and did another short routine, taking only a minute to sit back on my heels. It's not yet feeling any less painful but I am trying to go from ten heel slides to sitting on my heels in the hope that I'll need less warming up to get where I want to go.

    For the third effort, I warmed up with 15 heel slides and sat back on my heels for 2 minutes.

    Day Twenty-Six

    The 0900 morning routine was a quick, one minute sit back on the heels followed by 11 minutes of elliptical trainer exercising at the gym at 1300 hours, followed by another quick round of PT exercises with only a minute sit back on the heels. The last session of the day was more of the same. Tomorrow, I get on a plane and try to continue my PT while at a conference. If all goes well, I'll work on trying to increase my time sitting back on my knees.

    January 27, 2007

    February 1, 2007

    Day Thirty

    From Monday through Thursday, I was in New Mexico and thus my ability to continue my exercises was somewhat restricted. I did get up to 17 minutes of the elliptical trainer by Wednesday, but I didn't have an opportunity to go to the gym Thursday. I also only had a morning opportunity on the Elite Seat before I had to pack it up, head to the conference, and then fly home.

    I had good intentions about sitting back on my heels but that was before I discovered ants were burrowing from the carpet when I slid my heel back. Thus, I did no more than 10 heel slides per session and these went along the lines of Slide the heel back, 1-2-3-squash the ant 4-5-extend, reach and squash another ant. Repeat.

    Because I was spending so much time sitting, I also took my towel with me and did ten towel stretches every time we had a break.

    February 2, 2007

    Day Thirty-One

    It's good to be home, but I'm exhausted. My first exercise of the day was at 1000 hours when I did the following:

    At noon, I went to the gym and put in 19 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    At 1400 hours, I did the following:

    I repeated the above at 1800 hours.

    February 3, 2007

    Day Thirty-Two

    I went to the gym at 0900 hours to do my required 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then returned home to do the usual routine. I only sat back on my heels for a minute, concentrating on trying to be straight. I note that the pain level is down to discomfort.

    February 4, 2007

    Day Thirty-Three

    Went to the gym to do 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer and some upper body strength training.

    Update #2: The Physical Therapy appointment/check-in went well February 5, 2007, and my new tasks are thus:

    1. Ten heel slides -- sit back on heels for 2 minutes.
    2. Ten towel stretches (perfect extension and equal active heel lift)
    3. Use a stationary bike or elliptical or efx trainer for 20-30 minutes (work slowly up to 30 minutes).
    4. Every other day add a Single leg press. Start with about 45 lbs. 3 sets 10-12 reps. Slow and controlled.
    5. The same day as I do a single leg press, include a Single leg extension. Start with about 10 lbs. 3 sets of 10 reps.
    6. Finish with ten towel stretches
    7. Continue with the 3-times daily (or more) heel slides and towel stretches. Use the Elite Seat as needed to keep a perfect extension.

    February 6, 2007

    Day Thirty-Five

    At 0900 hours:

    Due to inclement weather and nasty driving conditions, I did not go to the gym. I did do the following at 1800 hours:

    February 7, 2007

    Day Thirty-Six

    At 0700 hours:

    At the gym I did 10 heel slides, 10 towel stretches, 24 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and 10 towel stretches.

    At the gym, 10 heel slides, 1 minute sitting back on heels, 22 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 3 sets of 12 on the sitting leg press, and 3 sets of 10 on the leg extension followed by towel stretches and then 10 minutes on ice at home.

    February 8, 2007

    Day Thirty-Seven

    At 1000 hours:

    At the gym I did 10 heel slides, 10 towel stretches, 24 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and 10 towel stretches.

    February 10, 2007

    Day Thirty-Nine

    Today, I did one round of the usual at 0800 hours followed by a trip to the gym at 1100 hours for the full round and then did some knee slides and towel exercises between the main fencing practice and the beginners practice. I did NOT fence. I refereed.

    February 9, 2007

    Day Thirty-Eight

    I got a late start due to not taking my Elite Seat with me to work. Thus, at 1130 hours:

    At 1500 hours:

    February 11, 2007

    Day Forty

    At 1000 hours:

    Went to the gym at noon and did the prescribed workout plus some crunches while icing the knee for ten minutes followed by ten minutes in the hot tub and some time in the sauna.

    At 1600 hours:

    I missed the last workout of the day because I fell asleep shortly after this workout and although I woke up numerous times during the night and had difficulty breathing and falling back asleep, I never went downstairs to complete the last set.

    February 12, 2007

    Day Forty-One

    At 0900 hours:

    At 1400 hours:

    At 1530 hours: I did 29 minutes on the elliptical trainer followed by swimming, hot tub, and sauna. At 1930 hours:

    February 13, 2007

    Day Forty-Two

    Today is a snow day. No going to the gym but lots of snow shoveling. I started the day with the usual routine at 0800 hours.

    February 14, 2007

    Day Forty-Three

    Another snow day. Three sets without sitting back on heels (because I kept having foot cramps) and one night time trip to the gym to do 28 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 3 sets on the leg press, and 3 sets of 10 on the leg extension followed by a few minutes in the hot tub and then the sauna.

    February 15, 2007

    Day Forty-Four

    Back at work for 28 minutes on the elliptical trainer in the basement exercise area followed by the Elite Seat workout then another one before leaving work and again upon reaching home.

    February 16, 2007

    Day Forty-Five

    I got a late start due to waiting until after a half day of work to begin my exercises but I managed three full sets and I also did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym in addition to an upper body workout and three laps in the pool.

    February 17, 2007

    Day Forty-Six

    At 0730 hours:

    February 18, 2007

    Day Forty-Four

    I went to the gym at 1000 hours and did the heel slide, sat back on my heels, did towel stretches and put in 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer before returning to towel stretches and then three laps in the swimming pool.

    February 19, 2007

    Day Forty-Eight

    At 0930 hours:

    At the gym:

    February 21, 2007

    Day Fifty

    Due to not taking the Elite Seat to work with me, I was only able to complete one set. However, I did the full Elite Seat after returning home and then went to the gym and did a full workout. Tomorrow, I have a similar problem in that I'll be working from a different office but I'm packing the seat into my car anyway and hoping for an opportunity to use it.

    February 20, 2007

    Day Forty-Nine

    At 0080 hours:

    At 1200 hours:

    At 1630 hours, 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym. At 1930 hours:

    At 0080 hours:

    February 22, 2007

    Day Fifty-One

    I barely managed to squeeze in the required three workouts today.

    Day Fifty-Two

    Since I forgot to take the Elite Seat with me and since I need to meet the claims adjuster today, I went straight from work to gym and put in one complete set at the gym before coming home to put my knee on ice.

    February 24, 2007

    Day Fifty-Three

    Friday was a busy day and I only got in two sessions (plus the required work at the gym).

    February 23, 2007

    February 25, 2007

    Day Fifty-Four

    I got in one routine on the Elite Seat before going to fencing practice, where I did some heel slides and towel sretches as well as stretching exercises with the group before they started footwork. Afterwards, I did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer followed by one routine on the elite seat.

    February 26, 2007

    Day Fifty-Five

    Only two full Elite Seat routines today but I also did the heel slides and the towel stretches at the gym today in addition to the 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

    February 27, 2007

    Day Fifty-Six

    I only got in two Elite Seat workouts today due to time constraints at work but I did do a session at the gym, including heel slides and towel lifts.

    February 28, 2007

    Day Fifty-Seven

    I only got in two Elite Seat workouts today again due to time constraints at work but I did do a session at the gym, including heel slides and towel lifts.

    March 1, 2007

    Day Fifty-Eight

    I got in one Elite Seat session at one office and another Elite Seat session at another office and stayed after work to use the gym to do my Elliptical trainer workout but skipped the rest due to time constraints.

    March 2, 2007

    Day Fifty-Nine

    Only one set at the gym, followed by the Elite Seat and then three hours in the car, some activities, and then an Elite Seat activity at the hotel.

    March 3, 2007

    Day Sixty

    Nothing today, due to being away from home.

    March 4, 2007

    Day Sixty-One

    After returning home, I did the following:

    March 5, 2007

    Day Sixty-Two

    With a day off work, you'd think I'd accomplish more than two Elite Seat routines and one full workout at the gym. No hot tub. No time.

    March 6, 2007

    Day Sixty-Three

    I took my Elite Seat to the other office but only got in one session at work. As today was my day to visit Mother, I went to the gym later than usual and came home and did a full set.

    March 10, 2007

    Day Sixty-Seven

    It's been a rough few days and I've only managed two Elite Seat sessions a day. I have, however, stayed on track with the gym workouts.

    March 11, 2007

    Day Sixty-Eight

    I noticed that the first minute of sitting back on my heels is very lopsided but then I begin to sit a little straighter.

    March 15, 2007

    Day Seventy-Two

    It's been more of the same for the last few days, which is mostly a good thing. I've had some difficulties with scheduling but I've kept up the exercises for the most part and I'm seeing slow but continuous improvement. Today, I began with the usual at work, except I forgot to sit back on my heels for 2 minutes before using the Elite Seat.

    March 15, 2007 through March 18, 2007

    Day Seventy-Two through Day Seventy-Five

    The usual routine continues with nothing new to add.

    March 19, 2007

    Seventy-Six of the new, improved, effort

    Today was another visit to the physical therapist. Unfortunately, a communication glitch occurred and the therapist was not there. Thus, I had a check-up and strength test with another therapist and talked to the usual PT in e-mail later.

    The good news is that measurements of my ability to flex and bend my knee shows the left leg is now 100% as capable as the right. [I note, however, that it takes some priming of the left knee before I can achieve that flex and bend.]

    The bad news is that my left knee's strength is less than it was in December. Thus, the plan is to do NO exercises on the right knee while increasing strength training on the left.

    April 3, 2007

    Slow, Steady Improvement

    There's little to report since the last update. I'm continuing to use the elliptical trainer every day and I'm continuing to do the leg press and the leg extensions every other day. I'm up to 18 lbs. on the 5 sets of 12 leg presses (20 was just a bit more than I could handle and still keep proper form) and 13 lbs. on the 3 sets of 10 leg extensions. I'm continuing to use the Elite Seat once a day and to do the heel slides and towel stretches on a catch-as-catch can basis. It's tempting to cut back on those little exercises as the knee is mostly functional. However, I fear backsliding and thus I'm continuing to prime the knee a few times a day.

    Last Friday, I cut the grass for the first time this year and the knee was sore afterwards. I also spent most of Saturday on my feet, refereeing, and that was a little tiring. Sunday, however, the knee felt fine again so I'm cautiously optomistic that I'm going to be able to resume normal activity. The question is: am I going to be able to resume competitive activity?

    April 15, 2007

    Catch-up

    No real news to report. I'm continuing to do my exercises and the knee is continuing to improve at a snail-slow rate. I've found it's much more difficult to keep going when I'm not keeping a daily log and it's also more difficult to exercise consistently when there's no perceived gain. Much like dieting, it grows old after a while and if I don't see results for all the hard work, I tend to slack off.

    I have stuck to the daily routine, but I've been inconsistent with the three-taimes daily stretching exercises.

    April 24, 2007

    More of the same

    I've been doing a good, consistent job of sticking to the required routine, but it's growing more and more difficult as time goes on and the knee no longer needs as much priming to get going in the morning.

    I still limp. I still feel off-balance most of the time. I don't howeer, feel pain very often and at worst, I feel like a rubber band is wound up inside my knee.

    April 30, 2007

    Check-up

    Today was check-up day at the Physical Therapy location.

    The bad news is that my knee is swollen this morning. Next time I drive three hours (one way) to a competition, I need to ice that knee a little longer before driving home.

    The good news is that I've made good progress and I turned in the torture device. I can do an active heel lift without needing to warm up first. I have full extension and flex. The strength tests were in the 70s except for one, which was in the 90s and the goal was to get into the 80s. While 100 would be ideal, 80s would be acceptable.

    I'll report back for another test at the end of June and I essentially keep doing what I've been doing. However, I do get to start easing back into fencing with the warning not to overdo it and to take time off when I have swelling, etc.

    I've lost the "shock absorber" on my left knee and the next best thing is to build muscle and develop a very strong knee.

    This season is a loss -- although I still plan to fence WSV50 at the SN -- but my focus now is upon improving for the 07-08 season. I'm hitting the 55 mark this summer and I'd like to make the finals a few more times before I age into the 60s. With the strong fencers coming out of the 40s, this would be a major challenge even without the knee issue.

    May 18, 2007

    Continuing to heal at a slow pace

    I'm up to 20 pounds (one leg) on the leg press and 15 lbs. on the leg extension. My latest body comp shows no improvement since September. Before the knee injury, my body fat was below 12%. Now it's 19.7% which is only 0.01% below last September's test. I haven't had it measured before now because I didn't want to know how bad it was going to get while I was recovering.

    May 26, 2007

    I'm shrinking

    Either I mismeasured earlier or I'm shrinking. My right calf measures 13" around and the left is 12 1/2". I'm very annoyed and esp. so since I've been slowly but steadily increasing my activities and esp. so on the left leg. It should be growing thicker, not skinnier.

    June 2, 2007

    Increasing the Weights

    I'm now up to 5 sets of 12 at 20 lbs. on the single leg press and 3 sets of 10 reps at 15, 15, and 20 lbs on the leg extension.

    June 17, 2007

    Increasing the Weights a Little More.

    I'm still holding at 5 sets of 12 at 20 lbs. on the single leg press and 3 sets of 10 reps at 15, 15, and 20 lbs on the leg extension. I am following that, however, with leg extensions at 10 because I noticed that I'm not lifting the leg as high as I should to work the knee effectively.

    June 25, 2007

    Knee Check-up

    I had another knee check-up. today.

    Summary: My range of motion is normal. Strength continues to improve too slowly and thus I've got another appt. for two months from today and more exercises to do to focus on regaining the strength in the left quad muscle. I can basically do anything I feel comfortable doing and if it doesn't feel comfortable, I'm supposed to stop. I'm also supposed to be careful because I'm still a little off-balance.

    Details: I was at 72% at the last checkup and I'm at 74% now. 80% is the minimum I'm supposed to reach before they release me. 90% would be within the normal range.

    I can fence and I'm supposed to be doing some lunges, squats, one-legged hops, etc. to work on the strength and balance issue.

    July 8, 2007

    More Weight

    My knee held up fine while fencing at the Summer Nationals WSV50 competition but I was uncomfortable on the first leg of the flight home (Miami to Houston) and could fill the knee throbbing on the flight from Houston to Miami. I was limping by the time I got off the plane but the swelling is slowly fading today. The knee is stiff, but bendable and I can fully straighten it. Sitting back on my heels hurts just a little, but I did it anyway. I also increased the weights on the leg press to 20-20-25-25-25 and on the extension it was 15-20-20. I tried to push it up to 25 but could only manage 3 reps at that weight. I also stood on the step and stepped down to tap my right heel against the floor and rise back up again 50 times. This is easy on the 4-inch step but I can't yet master it on the 6-inch step.

    Juuly 22, 2007

    More Progress

    I haven't been able to add any additional weight yet but I have managed to squat and stand up again without needing support. I can run (but not far) and I'm relearning how to jump forward and backward. On the down side, I now have tennis elbow. It looks like I'll now need to start another injury recovery log.

    August 26, 2007

    Released

    My strength tests are now good enough that I'm discharged from physical therapy and the only restrictions are common sense ones. I need to continue doing individual exercises to insure I continue to strengthen the left leg but I can also resume doing dual-leg exercises.

    I'm at 80% on the leg extensions, 90% on the leg press, and my left leg's ability to bend and straighten is at 100%.

    It's been a long, hard year and I'm not done yet. I cannot yet squat easily nor can I squat walk or do many of the other things I used to take for granted. With a little luck, that ability will also return.